SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro Wireless: One Minute Review
The launch of SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is arguably one of those defining moments in the history of gaming peripherals. Ladies and gentlemen, maybe now we’re just looking to the future of gaming headsets – a dual-purpose, multi-connectivity hybrid that comes with everything you want from the best gaming headset: detailed sound, immersive soundstage, long battery life and unparalleled comfort.
While we might be a little biased – this author has long been a fan of the Arctis line’s superb sound quality – there’s no denying the ambitious undertaking SteelSeries has successfully implemented in this wireless gaming headset.
Admittedly, some design elements need tweaking, like that secondary button on the base that only works 25% of the time and the slightly confusing, unintuitive physical controls on the headset. But since this is the whole package for gaming headsets, those hardly spoil all the fun you get.
Not that this whole do-it-all hasn’t been done before. Another personal favorite, the Astro A50, did it first. But the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless takes the A50, slaps some hi-res audio to rival the Audeze Penroseand tops it off with elements you would see on a few noise canceling headphones.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is literally the only gaming headset that does it all. How could you want anything less?
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: Price and Availability
- How much is it? $349 (£329, AU$649)
- Where is it available? now available
- Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK and Australia
All that is not cheap. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless costs a pretty penny – $349 (£329, AU$649) to be exact. And if you want to customize it with the Nova Booster Pack, which comes in cherry red, lilac, mint and rose quartz, you’ll have to pay an extra $34/£29.
That’s not surprising. Flagship SteelSeries gaming headsets have always been around that price range. And so does the competition. However, with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless you get a lot more bang for your buck.
For example, the Astro A50 costs $299 (£349, AU$489), and that’s without the Bluetooth connectivity of Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and a wider frequency range. Meanwhile, the Audeze Penrose costs $299 (£299, AU$399) but lacks its multi-device connectivity, comfort level and active noise cancellation.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: Design
- Beautiful design of gaming headset and headphones
- Multi-platform, multi-device connectivity
- One of the most versatile headsets we tested
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless has a beautiful, elegant look, luxurious fit and comfort, and all-round connectivity. And despite the clunky controls and perhaps ear foam that could be a little more breathable, these are one of the best-designed headphones we’ve tested.
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It’s relatively light at 337 grams and comes with plush ear cushions draped in soft-touch faux leather, a floating ski headband that’s thinly padded, and ear cups that swivel a lot to fit different head shapes. Overall, you get an incredibly comfortable gaming headset with plenty of grip and a size that fits most heads. We only wish the faux leather was much more breathable than it is.
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That design is a more stylish, accessible, and toned-down version of a gamer’s aesthetic, in an effort to go for a more universal look so you don’t have to be embarrassed to wear it in public as Bluetooth headphones. A good example of this is the microphone boom, which tucks seamlessly into the left earcup while still providing microphone functionality.
It’s not the first gaming headset to implement this hybrid design approach – Razer has also done something similar – but SteelSeries has done such a good job with it. It looks as good on headphones as it does a gaming headset, and we can’t wait to take it with us on our next vacation.
Fortunately, it comes with two Fuji lithium-ion batteries that are interchangeable and offer 22 hours of battery life. You insert one into the right earcup behind a removable (and adjustable) magnetic plate, then swap it out for the other when it runs out of juice.
Do both batteries need to be charged? Plug one into the built-in battery charging slot in the base station, keep the other in the headset to charge via the USB-C port behind the magnetic plate of the left earcup, and charge at the same time. Comfortable. SteelSeries has also added fast charging for good measure, so you’ll get three hours of playtime from a 15-minute charge.
Unfortunately, the controls are confusing and unintuitive. You’ll probably need to memorize that part of the manual first before you can use it seamlessly. And even then, there is still a lot to be desired.
There are two separate on/off buttons, for example for when you use Bluetooth and when you use wireless connection. Just turning the headset off with the power button doesn’t mean you turn it off completely. When Bluetooth is turned on, it will keep the current connection and still play music from that source. Meanwhile, the wireless base station has a second button that only works 25% of the time.
Speaking of the base station, it gives the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless its multi-platform, multi-device capability, which combined with its Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity makes it arguably the most versatile headset on the market.
The base station makes it possible to connect wirelessly and simultaneously to two sources. But you don’t need it to use the headset either, thanks to the Bluetooth and 3.5mm wired connection it also offers. Connect it to a mobile device via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm cable, and you can use it as a stand-alone headset to take with you on hikes, on your commute, or on a long-haul flight.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: Performance
- Hi-res audio with 10Hz to 40KHz frequency response
- Amazing, detailed audio
- ANC not very good unfortunately
With a frequency range of 10 Hz to 40 KHz, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless delivers slightly more sub-bass and high-res audio.
The sound quality here is excellent, with deep bass with a lot of rumble, even at a volume of less than 75%, a beautifully present highs with great detail and well reproduced mids. Whether we’re playing a game like Sable whose sound elements are a big part of and essential to your gaming experience, listening to Florence and the Machine’s “Dance Fever”, or watching the movie “Prey”.
We tested gaming headsets that have a much wider soundstage. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless still delivers a great soundstage. More importantly, thanks to the 360° Spatial Audio function, the sound reproduction is very good. We really feel the movement of the different game and movie elements when we use it, be it a bear chasing the main character in the forest or background game characters moving from left to right.
The microphone, which still works when stowed, is crisp and clear when retracted. You’re guaranteed to come out loud and clear, whether you’re chatting with your friends on Discord or having a quick conversation with your colleague via your smartphone. Unfortunately, noise cancellation is only available for Windows 10/11. As in our experience, the person on the other end of that phone call will even hear the hum of the AC in your apartment.
The ANC is not very good. It is effective at drowning out sounds such as the sounds of traffic in the distance or your AC. However, it’s not so good if you try to block out all the noise. That’s good for the most part, because the audio takes care of the rest to some extent. However, if you plan on using this on the plane, it won’t block the noises from those engines.
Should I buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless?
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: Report Card
|Where the||The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is pricey, but well worth the investment.||3.8 / 5|
|Design||It is feature rich, comfortable and beautifully designed. Better yet, it has multiple connectivity options.||4.6 / 5|
|Performance||It offers high-quality audio, great sound reproduction and a clear microphone, even if the ANC is nothing to write home about.||5 / 5|
|Total||Overall, this is the best and most versatile gaming headset you can ever own.||4.5 / 5|
- Rated first August 2022
How do we test?
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