So far, we’ve been heavy into the SteelSeries keyboards (including yesterday’s review), some of their mice (here and here), and even their game controller. In other words, a lot of their peripherals, but we haven’t tested out and of their audio gear. That is, until we had the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless land on our desk.
Now, we first told you about the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless right here, and we’ve been using them a good bit over the last month or so. As with other gaming headsets, while they can use Bluetooth to connect, they also have a wireless dongle (which you connect to your device via USB-C) that enables lossless transmission of sound. In our experience, it also gives you a lot more range to go on walkabout without losing your connection. Of note, you can have both enabled, so you can game and still take a call from your phone.
Out of the box, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is – bar none – the most comfortable headset I have ever worn. I’ve got a noggin that’s on the larger side, and even with memory foam padding on a headband, it ends up getting uncomfortable and needing some shifting around over the course of a day. Here, the Nova 7 has a suspension band that feels like a soft and stretchy neoprene. Using pegs on the headband itself, you can adjust how tight you want that hitting vs where you’ve got the earcups adjusted, and away you go. I just made one side tighter, and it basically felt like I didn’t have anything touching the top of my head, even at the end of the day.
The earcups of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless also go a long way to helping that comfort. The cushy without being overly soft, and are wrapped in a soft-touch fabric (not fake leather, thankfully) that doesn’t make your ears feel sweaty. Those earcups are the noise isolation you get for the headset as well, and they do a decent job. I mean, you won’t mistake them for an ANC headset, but if you’ve got a game, music, or a phone call going, background noises (unless someone is banging a pot behind you) should not be a distraction.
On the audio front, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless performed great. They’ve got a number of preset EQs that you can choose from (or set your own), and you can setup different profiles in the GG software for your different setups. In the software, you can also adjust how bright the boom mic (which extends from the left earcup) is when you’ve got mute turned on, volume limiting, and how much mic feedback is allowed through the headset. With it off, it does give you that weird sense of not quite being able to hear your voice (think about when you’ve used earbuds for a phone call), so I’ve got it kicked on at the lowest level.
In the software, you can also control what happens to your game volume when a bluetooth call comes in, how much inactive time the headset can have before it turns itself off, see the battery level, and set whether or not you want bluetooth coming on when the headset turns on. For me, once I had the basics nailed down in the app, I’ve left them more or less alone.
On the headset itself, you’ve got things you can certainly adjust. Along with the boom mic (which you can push back in if you’re not using it), you’ve got controls for the volume of the headset as well as a mute button (on the left earcup), and the chatmix setting on the right ear. So, between the software and the hardware buttons and switches, you’ve got plenty of control over the headphones.
Oh, and on that mic – while the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is not an ANC headset, the mic did do a good job filtering out background noise. In test calls I made, it didn’t really pick up any HVAC noise, and the typing I was doing barely came through either. So, while it’s not intended as a WFH headset, you could certainly use it that way if you wanted to.
Another great aspect of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is that there are replaceable parts. They’ve got replacement suspension bands (in a variety of colors) that come with color-matched plates you can swap onto the outside of the headphones, as well as the earcups themselves. Those are wear items, so being able to replace those over time is definitely a good thing.
While the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is a gaming headset, first and foremost, it’ll be more than happy to not deal with games and pipe the sounds of your favorite movie or podcast to your ears, or even jump on a work call when real life interrupts. Right now, they’re on a bit of a sale at $159.99 (normally $20 more) direct from SteelSeries.com or full-price over at Amazon.
Tech Specs from SteelSeries
- Neodymium Drivers: 40 mm
- Headphone Frequency Response: 20–22,000 Hz
- Headphone Sensitivity: 93 dBSPL
- Headphone Impedance: 36 Ohm
- Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion: < 1%
- 360° Spatial Audio: Supported
- Microphone Type: ClearCast Gen 2 – Fully Retractable Boom
- Microphone Polar Pattern: Bidirectional Noise Cancelling
- Microphone Frequency Response: 100-6500 Hz
- Microphone Sensitivity: -38 db
- Battery Life: 38 Hours – 2.4GHz Quantum 2.0 Gaming Wireless (26 Hours – 2.4GHz Quantum 2.0 Gaming Wireless + BT)
- USB-C Fast Charge: 15 mins for 6 hours play
- On-ear controls: Volume dial, ChatMix Dial, Power, Pairing, Bluetooth, Mute