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Hands-on review: SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless headset
Wed, 29th Mar 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is an all-in-one wireless headset solution for PC, PlayStation, Switch, and mobile devices. It can also be used with Xbox One/Series X|S via an Xbox controller.

The headset has a  fairly robust plastic construction with an adjustable strap across the headpiece. Even though my preference is to have a soft foam between my head and the headset, it's still very comfortable. The earcup cushions are made of cloth-covered foam that doesn't seem to be removable but is very soft and comfy. The earcups themselves have a little give to ensure a good fit, no matter what your head size; they also twist 90 degrees to allow you to lay the headset flat on a table or around your neck.

When stowed, the left earcup hides a retractable flexible mic that is completely out of sight. The left earcup also has the volume dial and mute button. The 35mm audio jack is also on the left side. The right earcup has the on/off button, the Bluetooth pairing button, and a dial for adjusting the mix of game chat and game soundtrack.  

PC installation is a breeze. Inserting the USB dongle into your machine immediately brings up a prompt to install the SteelSeries GG software application. The application allows you to customise all your SteelSeries devices in one place. For the Artis Nova 7 Wireless, this allows you to customise some of the headset's functionality.

There's a 10-band equaliser, which you can set to your personal preference or select from one of the defaults. The mic volume and sidetone settings can also be adjusted. Switching off the volume limiter allowed me to experience the headset's rather impressive maximum volume. All I can say is if you like loud audio (like I do), it'll be loud enough for you. You can allocate your custom settings to configuration profiles for easy switching.

In the SteelSeries GG software, there's also the option to install virtual audio devices using the Steelseries Sonar functionality. I tried it with limited success, very aware that it was tinkering with Windows settings that might be a pain to reset. 

The SteelSeries GG software is essential for firmware upgrades and getting the most out of your headset, but it also wants to "help" you with your gaming experience. The app has a game capture function via the "Moments" tab. It's a little too in your face for me and worth being careful to use only when you need it to do and ignore the rest. That's just my opinion and one I have with most peripheral vendor applications. 

Whilst you can use the headset whilst charging via the USB cable, you can't use the headset; you have to have the dongle or a Bluetooth connection. There's no wired USB functionality.

The USB Type-C dongle (with its Type-A adapter cable as required) makes pairing the headset wirelessly with a device absolutely pain-free. You just plug in the dongle and are good to go. 

Audio sidetone is switched on out of the box, which was good as I like hearing the sound of my voice when I talk into a mic. The headset is very comfortable, and I had no problem wearing it for an extended length of time. My only criticism was with searching for the dials on each earcup, something that I'd, no doubt, get used to in time. 

The sound reproduction is good, even at high volumes. On PC, the EQ settings allow for even more of a bass boost over the defaults when used with other devices. I used the headset reviewing Resident Evil 4, and the clarity of the audio really bought the game to life, allowing me to hear the groans of the game's enemies long before I saw them.

Whilst not written on the box, the included standard audio cable means that the headset can be plugged into an Xbox One/Series X|S controller and used with Microsoft's consoles as well. 

For PC, Mac, and Switch, the included USB Type-C dongle can be plugged straight into the devices for a solid 2.4 GHz connection. The same goes for mobile devices with a suitable USB Type-C socket. The dongle can also be used with PlayStation 4/5s via the included USB Type-C (female) to Type-A (male) cable. The cable can also be used with older PCs without a USB Type-C socket. The headset also has Bluetooth connectivity for wirelessly connecting to compatible devices. Any device with a standard 3.5mm audio jack socket via the included audio cable.  

A USB Type-C (male) to Type-A (male) cable is included for charging the headset. In addition, the headset has a USB Type-C socket, so you can use your modern phone charger with the headset. The box also includes a soft polyester bag that can be used to store the headset when not in use. 
Steelseries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is a versatile headset that should be a compatible audio solution across your full range of devices. Its comfortable, robust, and stylish design complements the superior audio reproduction and chat functionality.