SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox ReviewMay 2022
TypeWireless gaming headset
SteelSeries’ Arctis line has long been among my favorite gaming headsets. The line’s ski goggle headband provides great comfort, even during long gaming sessions. With the brand’s all-new Arctis Nova line, SteelSeries break away from its iconic headband design (and yes, the Arctis 1 Wireless doesn’t sport the ski goggle headband either) and replaces it with a “Stretchy Comfort Band” that doesn’t rely on gravity. For the new model, SteelSeries also replaced the airweave cushions with a leatherette material. Does the new Arctis Pro Nova line benefit from these changes? Let’s find out.
Introduction and features
The Arctis Nova Pro line is the successor of the Arctis Pro and comes in various models, including the regular Nova Pro and the wireless models. As for the wireless variants, we have the Nova Pro Wireless for PC and PlayStation and the Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox. Interestingly, as was the case with SteelSeries Arctis 7P and 7X, the Xbox model is also able to connect to PlayStation consoles, whereas the PlayStation/PC model isn’t compatible with Xbox. Good to know, especially for those playing on multiple platforms. For this review, we were provided the Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, and as such, we could connect wirelessly to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.
Like the Arctis Pro, the Nova Pro Wireless models come with a wireless base station that allows for wireless connection as well as a slot for charging and holding the swappable headset battery. The Nova Pro’s base station sports an OLED display that allows users to swap between sources, control volume, set game/chat mix balance, and cycle between the different EQ presets. On the back of the base station, we find two USB-C ports, which allow the station to connect to different platforms at once. For testing, we connected one port to an Xbox Series and the other to a PlayStation 5. This works flawlessly without the need for switching USB transmitters between platforms, and while it doesn’t allow you to connect to multiple platforms simultaneously, the base station does switch to a different platform when powered on. Personally, this is one of the most exciting new features of SteelSeries' new premium headset. There is, however, also a downside to using a base station for wireless connectivity as it somewhat limits versatility by not being able to connect wirelessly to a Nintendo Switch (in handheld mode) and smart devices via USB-C. Multiplatform players who also own a Switch (or Switch Lite) can still connect via the headset's Bluetooth feature, but Bluetooth audio is somewhat limited on Nintendo's platform.
The retractable microphone with AI-powered noise canceling is hidden inside the left ear cup and blends into the outer shell of SteelSeries' new premium headpiece. The mic can easily be muted via the easily-accessible mute button on the left earcup. In addition to the mic mute button, the left side also features a volume slider and the multi-function power button, which also serves as a switch for ANC. On the right earcup, we'll find the Bluetooth pairing button. All of the buttons are well placed and allow for easy access - spot on SteelSeries.
Having moved away from the brand's iconic ski-goggle headband, I was afraid that the new Nova Pro line would be less comfortable than its older siblings. Luckily, this new premium headpiece proved me wrong. The Nova Pro is easily adjustable and rests comfortably on the top of my head without clamping too much. Even after hours of use, I've not experienced any strain. What a relief.
Although overall comfort remains great, I do think I still prefer the use of SteelSeries' airweave over the new leatherette cushions. Yes, it does look more premium, but at the same time, my ears got warmer and, at times, a bit sweaty. This might be a matter of personal taste, but I would opt for the older airweave pads. Another thing that I noticed is that the supplied ear pads are somewhat more shallow than those of the older Arctis line. At times, I felt my ears hitting the back of the headphones. Nothing major, but noticeable nonetheless.
The sound experience that this headset offers is excellent with, as is common with gaming headsets, a slightly boosted bass. There are, however, plenty of EQ customization and tuning options via the SteelSeries GG and Sonar software. Overall, sound quality is easily among the best offered by wireless gaming headsets and rivals that of the EPOS H3 Hybrid Pro. I would say it outperforms Corsair's HS75 XB Wireless, which already delivered an amazing sound experience.
When using the headset for music, there's plenty of separation between different instruments, and SteelSeries' offering makes for a viable option when you're looking for more than just a gaming headset.
As for microphone quality - I would say that the Nova Pro Wireless packs one of the better headsets mics in this segment, possibly rivaling some budget gaming mics. Voices come through clear across the board with no distortion.
SteelSeries boasts that the battery inside Nova Pro Wireless lasts for 18 to 22 hours on a single charge, but like the Arctis Pro, the Nova Pro Wireless has a trick up its sleeve - a hot-swappable additional battery that charges inside the base station. During testing, a single battery lasted for roughly 22 hours on normal volume levels, which translates to approximately 44 hours of use. Replacing the battery inside the headset is done by removing the magnetic cover on the right side of the headset, after which it will remain on for eight seconds without a battery. When a new battery is inserted within this eight-second timeframe, the headset remains powered on without having to reactivate it. The Infinity Power system, as SteelSeries calls it, works wonders. For those who don't want to use the base station as a charger, the headset also features a USB-C port underneath another magnetic cover on the left earcup.
Granted, single battery life isn't on the same level as SteelSeries's own Arctis 7+ line or the monstrous HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, but if the Infinity Power system is used correctly, you'll never run out of juice.
With the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, SteelSeries delivers a premium headset that offers excellent sound quality across, microphone sound quality included. Like the older Arctis line, comfort is superb, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable headset that also offers long-term comfort. Although it doesn't come cheap, this headpiece is jammed with features, including the wireless base station which allows for simultaneous USB switching between multiple devices. It works like a charm. Multiplatform players owning an Xbox Series and a PS5 would do well to pick the Xbox model as it supports both platforms, whereas the PS5 model doesn't. Single battery life isn't the best, but when making good use of the headset's infinity power system, it will outlast those headsets with bigger batteries.
*Review sample provided by the manufacturer
Products mentioned in this post
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless isn't the cheapest, but it offers features aplenty, excellent sound quality, and great comfort. SteelSeries' offering is easily one of the best, if not the best, wireless gaming headset currently available.
- Well-placed accessible on-ear controls
- Good built quality
- Great sound experience
- Features aplenty
- Only the Xbox version supports PlayStation, PC and Xbox platforms
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