SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless Review – Wireless Excellence
SteelSeries Arctis Pro WirelessMarch 12th, 2018
Last year, I was happily surprised by the Arctis 1 Wireless and now we were given the opportunity to test SteelSeries’ topline wireless offering – the Arctis Pro Wireless. With a price tag of $329.99, the Pro Wireless is among the most expensive gaming headsets available and triple the price of the Arctis 1 Wireless. Does SteelSeries’ top wireless offering warrant such a price tag? Before we go into details, I can wholeheartedly say: yes, it does.
Just like the Arctis 1 Wireless, the Pro Wireless uses a USB transmitter for wireless 2.4G lossless audio. Unlike its cheaper sister, however, wireless transmission isn’t accomplished through a dongle, but via a transmitter base station that features an OLED screen for quick settings adjustments, including EQ, toggle surround sound, volume and more. All of these settings can be adjusted without the need for additional PC software. Throw in Bluetooth connectivity for mobile audio and you’ve got yourself a really versatile headpiece that works on multiple platforms.
Alright, so what has SteelSeries included with the Arctis Pro Wireless? In the box you’ll find the following:
- Arctis Pro Wireless Headset
- Transmitter Base Station with OLED screen
- Two battery packs
- USB Audio Cable
- Toslink Optical Cable
- Mobile Audio Cable
- Mobile Charging Cable
- Microphone Windscreen
- Product Information Guide (download)
Design and features
The Arctis Pro Wireless comes in both a black and white design. I was given the white version and with most headsets being black, I was quite pleased with its looks. Of course, this is a matter of personal taste and I will refrain myself from rating this particular color.
The Arctis Pro Wireless comes in both a black and white design. I was given the white version and with most headsets being black, I was quite pleased with its looks. Of course, this is a matter of personal taste and I will refrain myself from rating this particular color of this headpiece.
The Pro has an elegant design and features a retractable microphone, ski-goggle suspension headband, and on-headset controls. The used materials include lightweight aluminum alloy hangers, a gunmetal steel outer headband and a soft coating on the replaceable speaker plates. Underneath the right earplate we find the battery pack. Overall, the headset feels solid and more luxurious compared to other headsets in SteelSeries’ Arctis line. Like the Arctis 7, the Pro features a ski-goggle headband which gives the Pro a more distinct look. Interesting to note is that the headband is replaceable and alternate bands are available online. The headbands used with the Arctis 7 also work on the Pro, and SteelSeries is even offering limited edition leather headbands for those interested. Also available are at SteelSeries are the so-called 'Booster Packs', which include uniquely designed ski-goggle headbands and speaker plates.
We already mentioned this, but the Arctis Pro Wireless includes a dual-wireless system where the lossless 2.4GHz connection is used for gaming while Bluetooth is used for mobile audio. Both connections can be used simultaneously and this allows users to play games while chatting on a mobile application, or stream music through a music streaming app.
The Pro packs optical audio and USB connections and is compatible with both PS4 and PC allowing for DTS surround support on both systems. This also applies to the equalizer, which can be accessed via the supplied wireless base station.
The transmitter base station features two buttons on the front which allow users to navigate through the settings. These settings can also be accessed by pressing and scrolling the volume button on the headset. On the back of base station we find a line in- and out, a mini-USB input, an optical in- and output and an optional DC power input. On the right side of the station, SteelSeries has created a slot used to charge one of the supplied battery packs.
Although SteelSeries doesn't advertise this, we can confirm that the Arctis Pro Wireless also works (wirelessly and wired) on both Nintendo Switch and Xbox One consoles, though getting it to work requires a different setup.
The Arctis Pro Wireless headband is outstanding. As with the Razer Thresher Ultimate that I tested earlier, it easily adjusts to match the size of your head - just place the earcups over your ears and you're good to go. Even during longer gaming sessions, the headband rests comfortability on your head without becoming heavy.
Just as importantly, the breathable earcups are wonderful as well. Even after more than 2 hours of play, my ears remained sweat-free.
Another thing that I loved about the Pro Wireless is its volume wheel, which also serves as a function wheel. Compared to headsets from other brands, this wheel is quite large and can easily be operated while using the headset.
The Arctis Pro Wireless offers clear, crisp audio and might even sound better than many wired alternatives in this price range. I can safely say it's easily the best-sounding wireless headset currently on the market. Whether you're playing shooters, adventure games, sports titles or listening to music, the Pro Wireless offers an unprecedented wireless audio experience that might be even better than both the Astro A50 and Razer Thresher 7.1 Ultimate bring to the table.
As with the Thresher, I would have liked the bass to be louder, but overall, bass levels are good and not excessive.
Microphone sound quality is good as well, although a bit more isolation wouldn't hurt as, on some occasions, external audio might be noticeable for other players. The supplied microphone windshield, however, did somewhat improve isolation.
One of the downsides of the Arctis 1 Wireless was the absence of a true battery indicator. A blinking led on the headset did provide an indication of how much juice there was left, but this merely provided an educated guess on the remaining playtime. This isn't the case with the Pro as the remaining battery life is displayed on the OLED screen. In addition, the OLED screen will give notifications when the battery status changes and there's an audible low battery indicator. A nice addition is that the OLED display also shows the battery life of a charging battery inside the base station.
A plus of the Pro Wireless is that it comes with 2 battery packs. SteelSeries boasts that a full battery can last up to 10 hours and I can confirm that this is the case. This is considerably shorter than the battery life of the Arctis 1 Wireless, but making smart use of the additional battery allows you to keep playing indefinitely. Keep the additional battery charged in the base station while playing and you'll never run out of juice. I've found that using the headpiece's 2.4Ghz and Bluetooth connection simultaneously results in considerably shorter battery life, but then again, this shouldn't be an issue due to the additional battery that SteelSeries has supplied.
SteelSeries' SteelEngine software allows you to change settings on the headset and the base station. Truth be told, most of these settings can be simply adjusted through the wireless base station and I haven't found myself using the software that much. The software does offer some settings that aren't found on the base station, including enhanced bass, voice enhancement, and stereo widening, but these are PC-specific enhancements that, in all honesty, don't really improve sound quality in most cases.
The transmitter settings tab might be more interesting and it includes an option to automatically turn on Bluetooth when powering on the headset. The software is a nice addition to the total package but doesn't really add anything noteworthy that can’t be done by using the base station.
Wireless headsets don't come better than the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. The only alternative that comes to mind that might offer some competition in this price range is the Astro A50. While the microphone on the A50 performs somewhat better, the Arctis Pro Wireless surpasses Astro's offering in comfort and sound quality. Then again, like the A50, the SteelSeries doesn't come cheap, but if you're willing to spend money in this price range, the Arctis Pro Wireless simply is the best wireless headset currently available on the market. If you have the opportunity, try it out for yourself and chances are you won't be disappointed.
Review sample provided by the manufacturer
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless reigns supreme when it comes to wireless headsets and if you're willing to pay the steep price, it offers unprecedented audio quality, great comfort, and features aplenty.
- Great overall audio quality
- Swappable battery system
- Easy-to-use base station with OLED
- Lossless 2.4Ghz and Bluetooth
- Bass on the safe side