What is the SteelSeries Arctis 7?
The Arctis 7 is SteelSeries’ luxury gaming headset for PlayStation and PC gamers who want a reliable set of cans that can truly do justice to games. It fuses a stellar pair of stereo drivers with a design that looks and feels every bit as expensive as it is.
Put simply, the Arctis 7 is the best headset I’ve tested to date. Sure, some of the buttons are little small, and the initial outlay will be out of reach for many, but if you’re prepared to invest then in return you’ll have yourself a class-leading headset.
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SteelSeries Arctis 7 – Design, Build and Features
Priced at a little over £150, the Arctis 7 is an expensive headset. Unlike many sets in this price range, however, the Arctis screams quality.
The upper section uses an intuitive self-adjusting headband for fitting, and this can be swapped out for an alternative design if you don’t like the default winter camouflage look. Unlike the HyperX Cloud Revolver, the band doesn’t conduct noise into the headset when touched, thereby achieving a comfortable fit without any negative side effects. It isn’t an overly big headset, so those with large heads may find it a little small, however.
The headset’s frame is made up of an aluminium top piece that’s connected to the earcups via a plastic hinge that allows for 90-degree rotation. The earcups are coated in a soft-touch matte finish, with the entire headset feeling great in the hand. The oval ear pads are made from a silky cloth that I much prefer over faux leather – although I’d perhaps have liked to have seen a tad more foam beneath.
Overall, the headset is very comfortable in use; even with my glasses on, I could happily wear the headset for hours. By comparison, although the Razer Man O’War headset is also relaxing to wear, the Arctis 7 offers a big step up in quality at a lower price point.
Connecting the headset is achieved with the included USB transmitter. It’s larger than some rivals, but provides a ridiculously strong signal – I can walk to an adjacent room, shut the door, and it will still be going strong. It even has a neat party trick: you can connect your speakers to the device, and it will then seamlessly output to them whenever the headset is disconnected. A nice touch.
The microphone can’t be detached, but it retracts neatly into the headset when not in use. SteelSeries has also placed a bright red LED on the tip to provide clear notification that the mic is muted. Controlling the Arctis 7 is achieved via the buttons and dials on each earcup, with options for both headset volume and microphone levels. They’re a tad fiddly, but it’s easy enough to get used to them. It’s here that you’ll also find ports for charging (via microUSB), connecting a wired 3.5mm device and audio sharing.
SteelSeries Arctis 7 – Audio Quality
The Arctis 7 isn’t just a pretty face – in fact, it’s arguably even more impressive when it comes to music and gaming. The cans have a beautiful sense of rhythm, with clear vocals standing strongly against the backing instruments. This isn’t an overly bassy headset, but it handles the mid-tones incredibly well.
In fact, it’s the most natural-sounding headset I’ve come across, even getting pretty close to a decent pair of dedicated headphones. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Jay Z or Glen Campbell – it’s all handled with substance and grace, untainted by any wireless interference.
If you’re more of gamer, the good news doesn’t stop there. Playing Horizon Zero Dawn sees you explore vast landscapes, and the Arctis 7 made it that little bit more immersive, with intricate detail in the game’s fascinating soundtrack. Arrows are fired with a sense of force, and the sudden bolt of a wild machine can make escaping feel more exciting. Games such as Civilization VI may not offer the same level of action, but the rich tones of Sean Bean come across clearly, as if the man himself is watching approvingly over your shoulders.
Equipped with DTS Headphone:X, the headset is also able to recreate a surround sound signal through the stereo drivers when using a gaming PC. It opens up the soundstage a little, but don’t expect to hear the footsteps of players creeping behind you.
You can tweak the sound signature using the SteelSeries Engine software. It’s fairly basic, but it’s certainly functional. Enabling DTS Headphone:X is simple, adjusting the EQ is reflected in real-time, and profiles can be saved to individual applications. Useful if you want a little more weight in Call Of Duty, but want to preserve the details in music.
The microphone is also of a suitable calibre. Recordings were picked up cleanly, without any significant sense of nasality. The noise-cancelling tech also works a treat, with background noise becoming significantly quieter. Some users have complained that it’s a little quiet with its pick-up, but it can be boosted in software, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use this for in-game chat or voice calls.
Battery life seems to have meet Steelseries’ expectations. I was able to use the headset for a roughly two weeks before requiring a charge, with around an hour or two of use per day.
Should I buy the SteelSeries Arctis 7?
The Arctis 7 is an outstanding piece of audio equipment. Not only is it built to look and feel expensive, but its functional design makes it a joy to use for hours on end. The wireless range and battery life are second-to-none, and while £150 will get you a better-sounding pair of dedicated headphones, the Arctis’ audio is fantastic, and will deliver the goods across your music and Steam libraries.
If you have £150 to spend on a wireless headset and have a PS4 or gaming PC, then look no further.
A near-flawless headset that delivers on every level.