SteelSeries is back with a couple awesome new headsets — both different variants of a headset called the SteelSeries Arctis Pro. We recently reviewed the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC, which we found to be among the best gaming headsets out there. But it’s not the only version of the new gaming headset — there’s also a wireless version, aptly called the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless.
Of course, the two headsets serve a slightly different purpose — the GameDAC variant is for those who want the best sound quality possible, and don’t mind the fact that the headset is wired. The wireless version, on the other hand, does away with those pesky cables.
But does it still sound good? Is it still worth buying? We put the headset to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is its design, and if you’re at all familiar with SteelSeries’ other headsets, you’ll immediately recognize it. The headset’s design is almost identical to the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC, apart from the power button and Bluetooth button — which are obviously required for wireless use.
The headset comes in black, and we really like the look of it. Unlike the Arctis Pro + GameDAC, the headset does not offer RGB lighting — though that’s obviously not a necessary feature, especially when it would be a drain on the battery.
On the back of the left ear cup, you’ll find the majority of the controls — including a microphone mute button, volume wheel, a mobile audio cable to use the headset in wired mode, an aux port, and a microUSB charging port. On the left ear cup, you’ll see a power button and wireless control button.
One of the things we love about the SteelSeries Arctis series is the retractable microphone — a feature that shows up in the Arctis Pro Wireless.
There’s also the wireless transmitter, which is pretty easy to use. It sits on your table like headphone amplifier, with a volume knob that can push in for a selection, and a back button. The interface is pretty easy to use — you can control things like the equalization, mix between your game and chat, and so on. We found it easy to get used to controlling the interface.
In the box you’ll get everything you need, including the headset, wireless transmitter, all the cables you need, and a windscreen for the microphone, in case you want it. Absent are things like a case or bag, though most people will only be using these at home anyway.
In general, we love the design of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless headset — just like we loved the design of the other SteelSeries headsets.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is just as comfortable as the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC — which means it’s pretty darn comfortable. That’s a good thing for gamers, who often wear their headsets for hours on end.
The foam used in the headphones seems pretty high-quality, but even nicer is the comfortable, cool fabric that covers that foam. That’s helpful, especially considering the fact that the clamp on these headphones is kind of tight — but the foam and fabric helps alleviate any discomfort the clamp would otherwise cause.
The sound quality on the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC really puts the sound of gaming headsets in a new league. The wireless version is slightly different. It’s still ultra high-quality — but there’s a clear advantage to using the GameDAC, and that comes in the form of hi-res audio support.
Still, there’s plenty to love in the wireless version too. By default, the bass on this headset is deep and powerful, offering plenty of kick in bass drums, smoothness in bass guitars, and oomph in things like explosions and gunshots.
The mid-range is also very well-tuned. There’s plenty of warmth in the low-end, plus the are enough high-mids for vocals and guitars to nicely cut through a mix.
It’s perhaps in the highs that you’ll hear the main differences between the Arctis Pro + GameDAC and the Arctis Pro Wireless. The Wireless still has plenty of highs — details are crisp, and there’s a ton of clarity. But there’s just not as much clarity and detail as the wired version with the GameDAC. That’s to be expected, of course — the wireless and wired versions are built for slightly different use-cases, and in general you should always expect a trade-off in sound between wired and wireless headphones.
Of course, there’s another thing to note — if you don’t immediately love the sound profile of the headphones, you can tweak it with the built-in EQ. That’s very helpful for those that like a bass boost or a bit of extra shimmer in the high-end.
Because the headphones are wireless, there are a few other metric to consider. The headset and wireless transmitter are built to transmit lossless audio with as little lag as possible. SteelSeries isn’t totally forthcoming with the tech it uses under the hood, but it largely uses a combination of Bluetooth and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. We found that it worked extremely well. Let’s be honest, you’re going to be largely using this headset at your desk, or perhaps on your couch with your PS4. For that, it’ll be perfectly fine. If you decide to get up and walk around the house, you may run into some skips, but in general we found that the connectivity was really quite good.
There’s also battery life to consider. On a single charge, you’ll get 10 hours of use, which isn’t a ton. However, the headset comes with two batteries — one that you can slot into the wireless transmitter to charge, and one that you’ll use in the headset. It’s easy to switch out the batteries, so effectively you’ll get 20 hours of use, which isn’t bad at all.
The microphone on the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is retractable, and we love its design. But how does it sound? Actually quite good — especially for a microphone that’s built into the headset. Now, in general, if you’re looking to record Let’s Play videos or podcasts, we recommend getting a dedicated microphone — but for most users, the microphone will be more than good enough.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless sets a new standard in wireless gaming headsets. It looks great, is extremely comfortable, and sounds awesome. Sure, it doesn’t sound quite as good as the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC, but that’s to be expected. In the end, we love the convenience on offer by the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, and we think it’s the best option out there for those looking for a wireless gaming headset.
But what about the competition? Perhaps the biggest competition comes from the Astro A50, which comes in at $300 — compared to the Arctis Pro Wireless’ $330. In the end, we think these two headsets are very comparable. They scored the same in our review, and we think you can’t go wrong with either.
Because of the Arctis Pro Wireless’ ultra high-quality, we’ve awarded the headset the Headphone Review Silver Medal.