SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Headset PS4/Switch Review – Amazing All-Round On-the-Go Headset
SteelSeries Arctis 1 WirelessSeptember 3rd, 2019
I was given the opportunity to review SteelSeries’ world’s first USB-C wireless headset, the Arctis 1 Wireless, and in my never-ending quest to find the best overall headset for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, I didn’t hesitate to put the 4-in-1 headphones to the test.
There are plenty of wired headsets around that work with both the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, but wireless headsets that work on both platforms are a different story. Nintendo secretly added wireless audio support using a USB dongle through the Switch's 4.0 firmware update, but this feature only works when Nintendo’s hybrid platform is docked. Granted, players can use the Switch’s USB-C port in portable mode to get a wireless sample to work, but the hassle of using multiple dongles made me pick wired solutions through the Switch's 3.5mm audio jack instead. This is where the Arctis 1 Wireless fits in.
So what's inside the box of Steelseries' wireless Arctis 1? The following items are included:
- Arctis 1 Wireless Headset
- USB-C Wireless Transmitter
- USB-A adapter cable
- 4-pole 3.5mm audio cable
- Detachable microphone
- Product Information Guide (Download)
The Arctis 1 easily connects wirelessly with the Nintendo Switch, Android Phone and PC through the supplied USB-C dongle. Plug the dongle in the USB-C port, power on the headset and it automatically connects wirelessly - no pairing is required. As the PlayStation 4 doesn't come with a USB-C port, connecting the headset to Sony's console is accomplished by using the supplied USB-A adapter cable. Xbox One owners are also able to use this headset but only in wired mode through an Xbox controller that comes with a 3.5mm headset jack.
On the headset, we find its on/off button (which also controls media functions when using an Android-powered device), a micro-USB port for charging, a volume wheel to adjust the output volume and a physical microphone mute button.
The Arctis 1 Wireless only comes in black and SteelSeries seems to have opted for a modest mat design that matches the headset’s on-to-go intentions. The microphone is detachable, which allowed me to go outside without drawing too much attention from my surroundings. While the inside of the headband is made of steel, the headset mostly consists of solid plastics - probably to be more competitive when it comes to pricing. Due to its plastic build, the Arctis 1 Wireless lacks the 'premium' feel that other sets from the brand offer, but personally, this didn't bother me at all.
Features and design are nice and all, but how does the Arctis 1 Wireless feel and perform? A lot of headsets just don’t feel comfortable during long gaming sessions. This isn’t the case with this headpiece. The earpads are made of soft mesh and flexible enough to provide a comforting feel. Combine this with the headset’s relatively lightweight and adequate adjustable headband and you’ve got yourself a headset that hits the sweet spot when it comes to offering the right fit. I’ve asked several persons in my household to wear the Arctis 1 and everyone found it to be a comfortable ear warmer.
The Arctis 1 Wireless uses the same speaker drivers as the award-winning Arctis 7 headset and according to SteelSeries, it features the same signature Arctis soundscape, which emphasizes subtle details to provide an audio advantage.
While I wasn’t able to directly compare both headsets, the sound output of the Arctis 1 surprised me positively. Granted, the headset doesn’t offer that much bass, but it makes games sound clear and it offers an expansive soundstage when listening to music. As can be expected, more expensive sets tend to offer a bit more clarity due to the inclusion of a digital to analog converter (DAC), but the Arctis 1 does a tremendous job at offering a more immersive gaming and music experience. I’ve tested the Arctis 1 for several weeks on various titles, and on more than one occasion, I heard sounds and voices that I didn’t know existed in those games. Playing the action-packed Tomb Raider games again with this headset has been a thrill and I found myself smiling when the rain in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild soaked my Hylian tunic.
SteelSeries boasts that the internal battery inside the Arctis 1 lasts for roughly 19 hours on a single charge. I put the battery to the test and it appears that SteelSeries has kept expectations in check as I was able to play wirelessly around 21 hours on single charge - that's pretty impressive for a 'non-premium' wireless headset that sells for $99.99 USD.
So here we have a rich-sounding, comfortable, wireless headset with good battery life for a great price. Doesn’t the Arctis 1 Wireless have any downsides? Yes, I can name a few, but I would rather call these minor shortcomings as they don’t directly affect its comfort or performance. One of these minor ‘flaws’ is the lack of a real battery indicator. The headset’s power led also functions as battery led and blinks green, yellow or red, depending on how much juice there’s left. However, I couldn’t tell how much longer I could play when the led started flashing red.
Another drawback that comes to mind is the headset’s wireless USB-C dongle, which is fairly compact and could easily become lost when switching between devices (or in my case, when you have a toddler on the loose looking for objects that can be put in the garbage can). Granted, you can purchase a new dongle from SteelSeries for $29.99 but you will do to keep it close by your side.
The Arctis 1 Wireless from Steelseries is an amazing product that’s worth every penny. In fact, performance wise, it gives various much more expensive headsets a run for their money. Its main rivals will likely be the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 (PS4 version), the HyperX Cloud Stinger, the Razer Nari and the Corsair Void Pro, but only Turtle Beach’s offering is able to connect wirelessly to the Switch. However, the Stealth 600 for PS4 doesn’t connect wirelessly to PC or Android devices and the battery life is considerably less. The HyperX Cloud Stinger might sound a bit better, but this headset isn't able to connect wirelessly to the Switch, its battery life is lower and doesn’t come with a detachable mic.
This headpiece has become my favorite headset for use on my Switch, PS4 and Android phone and I will be hard-pressed if I ever needed to find an alternative. If you’re in the market for a comfortable, good-sounding and affordable wireless headset that connects to both multiple devices, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is simply a must buy.
Review sample provided by the manufacturer.
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The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is a comfortable, good-sounding and affordable wireless headset that is simply a must-buy for those looking for a wireless headset for the Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4.
- Battery life
- Great sound
- Easy to use
- No real battery indicator
- USB-C dongle could easily get lost
- No surround sound