SteelSeries has long offered some pretty awesome headsets. Its current lineup includes the likes of the Arctis 3, Arctis 5, and Arctis 7 headsets, and we’ve reviewed both the Arctis 3 and Arctis 5 headsets and absolutely loved them. Now, however, it’s the SteelSeries Arctis 7’s turn.
The Arctis 7, being the flagship headset of SteelSeries’ headset lineup, looks very promising. But can it deliver? Does it live up to the SteelSeries name? We put it to the test to find out.
If you’ve seen other SteelSeries headsets before, the Arctis 7 will look familiar to you. It features the same overall look as the Arctis 3 and Arctis 5 headsets, boasting a nice elastic headband to keep it in place and a sleek look. The headset is available in two colors — black and white, and while the color choice isn’t as varied as other SteelSeries headsets, both offerings look very premium.
The headset comes in either black or white, unlike other SteelSeries headsets, and they’re not particularly eye-catching. Instead they lean towards being more sleek.
There are a few ways in which the Arctis 7 is different from the other Arctis headsets. For starters, it features a nice metal frame underneath the headband, which helps make it feel a little more premium than the other offerings. The elastic headband is also slightly different in terms of design, and you’ll adjust the size using a tab at the top.
Also unlike other SteelSeries headsets, the Arctis 7 features both wireless and wired connectivity, but to use it wirelessly you won’t connect it like any other Bluetooth headset. The headset comes with a wireless transmitter that you plug into your computer’s USB port, and connects to the headset without any pairing process.
Because of the wireless mode, you’ll find a series of controls on the headset itself. On the left ear cup, you’ll get a microphone mute button, volume wheel, mobile cable input, aux port, and microUSB port. You’ll also find the retractable microphone. On the right, you’ll find the so-called ChatMix dial, and a power button.
In general, the controls are very easy to use, and the headset is very well-designed. We love the great build-quality, stylish look, and the versatility of the headset.
As we expect from a SteelSeries headset at this point, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is highly comfortable. That’s thanks to a few things. For starters, the elastic, ski goggle headband adjusts automatically to your head. You can adjust the length of the strap too, so the headset will easily fit each time you put it on.
The padding in the ear cups is also very soft and comfortable. We were able to wear the headset for hours on end without any discomfort beyond a little warmth. To be sure, the headset does get a little warm around the ears — and some might take issue with that. But in general, it doesn’t get too bad, and it certainly doesn’t get bad enough to avoid buying this headset.
Design and comfort are important aspects of a great gaming headset — but perhaps the most important thing to consider is sound quality. Thankfully, as you would expect, the sound quality of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is excellent.
The headset has a few tricks up its sleeve in the sound quality department. For starters, it offers stereo and DTS 7.1 surround sound, along with the ability to tweak the equalization through the SteelSeries Game Engine software.
In general, the sound quality is pretty darn nice. The low-end was relatively warm with a slightly more natural take on bass than what other headsets might offer. In other words, there’s less bass here than what you might want, at least with flat EQ tuning. That, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some might prefer the more natural feel, and those that don’t can at least somewhat boost the bass to their liking.
The mid-range is pretty well-tuned too. There seems to be a slight boost in the high-mids, which continues on into the high-end. The headset still offers plenty of warmth though — which is always nice.
In general, we liked the overall sound profile of the headset, and we liked that you can tweak the EQ. We think the audio performance is a little better suited to gaming than to music — but those who want to listen to music with this headset will still like what it has to offer.
The extra features are what really makes this a great headset. You’ll get 7.1 surround sound, like the SteelSeries Arctis 5, which is a very nice addition.
Instead of using Bluetooth, SteelSeries has opted for a propriety wireless technology, which is aimed at increasing performance for gaming. In our experience, the wireless connection was pretty great. We never experienced any skips or jumps at a reasonable distance, and that could be thanks to SteelSeries’ wireless tech.
The battery life on the headset is also pretty great. You’ll get 24 hours on a single charge, which is plenty, but oddly as much not as much as some other wireless gaming headsets. The HyperX Cloud Flight came in with a hefty 30 hours, while the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth offers 28 hours. Still, the 24 hours on offer here should be more than enough for most situations.
The built-in microphone on gaming headsets often isn’t all that great, but the microphone on the SteelSeries Arctis 7 isn’t bad at all. It’s probably not at the level of quality you might want for things like podcasts or Let’s Play videos, but for speaking to your teammates it’s more than capable.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7, as we expected, is a killer gaming headset. It features an awesome design, tons of flexibility thanks to the fact that it works both wirelessly and in wired mode, and a pretty great sound quality.
Of course, at $150, it has some pretty intense competition. Like, for example, the HyperX Cloud Revolver S. We, however, think that the Arctis 7 offers slightly better design and more versatility in its price range — and in fact we think that the Arctis 7 is, by far, the best gaming headset under $150.
Because of its excellent build quality and great value for money, we’ve awarded the SteelSeries Arctis 7 the Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|20Hz – 20kHz
|Active noise cancellation
|Total harmonic distortion
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