SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless Gaming Headset Review
SteelSeries has been a dominant force with gaming peripherals for quite some time now, with some top-tier mice and keyboards in their range. They have dabbled with headsets over this time as well, producing some masterpieces, with the Arctis range gaining quite a lot of support.
The Arctis 7’s are an excellent mid-range option from Steelseries, giving you excellent performance and comfort for less than half the price of the Arctis Pro Wireless, SteelSeries’ premium headset. The convenient wireless transitter and excellent audio quality netted the Arctis 7 a place in our SteelSeries headset buyer’s guide.
Whether you go for a wired or wireless headset, comfort, and sound performance are a priority. The Arctis 7 has both comfort and performance in spades, with this model being much more versatile than many of the competition, meaning you could easily use these on your daily commute with little fuss.
Without further ado let’s take a closer look at the Arctis 7 wireless headset.
- Performance – Great audio and one of the best microphones in this price range
- Connectivity – This headset works with PC, Mac, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices
- Comfort – Lightweight, tilt, rotation, and the cushioning is very soft and accomodating
- Mic – Doesn’t detach
- Tight around the neck – The clamping force is great on the head but when around the neck it is a little too tight
There was nothing special about the box or packaging, with everything arriving tidy and undamaged. Set up was fairly simple too, you just plug the receiver in, and once Windows has done its thing, you are good to go. You press and hold the pair button on the receiver the hold the on button on the headset. This process took a little longer than I thought but they will eventually sync up and you can jump into those games.
Inside the box, we see:
- SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless Gaming Headset
- Wireless Transmitter
- 4-Pole 3.5mm Cable
- Micro-USB Charging Cable
- Product Guide
|Headphone Frequency Response||20 – 20000 Hz|
|Microphone Frequency Response||100 – 10,000Hz|
|Battery Life||25 Hours|
You could spot that these are SteelSeries Arctis from a mile away. They feature that classic oval like earcup design, slender yolks, and ski-google strap. We see the highly regarded plush earcups and a retractable, but not removable, mic. The design on these offers that lovely balance of subtlety and functionality, meaning I can use these at home while gaming or on the train to work.
These don’t feature any RGB like the Arctis Pros, preserving battery life, but the ski-goggle band features and is removable. You can purchase differently styled straps from SteelSeries to personalize your headset, which is a lovely touch. I prefer the all-black look but these are also available in a crisp white, which even though it looks superb will only get dirty!
The headset is one of the sleekest I’ve come across and isn’t bulky like most gaming headsets. SteelSeries is known for this, with impressive designs across a wide range of products.
Taking a look at build quality, the Arctis 7’s feel as robust and as sturdy as you’d expect. Even though the slender yolks are plastic, there is enough give in them to ensure they shouldn’t break too easily over time, however, I would list this as the headset’s weak point, so be careful. These feel much more durable than the entry-level Arctis 1’s and while they are constructed of mostly plastic, the metal headband is extra tough, although much less flexible than the plastic from the Astro A50’s or Sennheiser GSP line.
The ear cushions are removable, meaning you can easily swap these out if they become damaged but they aren’t the easiest to get back on when compared to the magnetic ones on the Astro A50s. The material is a high-quality fabric weave which is great for warmer climates and sweaty heads in general. The cushions did a good enough job keeping my ear away from the inner wall but others have complained about the depth, so it could be worth trying before you buy.
The SteelSeries ClearCast mic retracts into the left earcup via a soft malleable cable. It would have been nice to see this almost entirely disappear or be detachable, as the headset looks great and could be used outdoors for music. For me, the little mic sticking out isn’t something I really want to be wearing out and about but others may not mind.
The hardware controls are all in decent positions, easy to press, and clearly labeled. On the right earcup, you have a power button that will give you an indication when it’s on by flashing green. I found it a little annoying that I had to hold this button down to turn the headset on but I suppose it stops you accidentally losing battery when it’s in your bag or something. Above the power button is the ChatMix dial, allowing you to perfectly balance your Discord server and in-game audio without leaving the game or fiddling around with the settings. The ChatMix dial has a little tactile bump to indicate when you are in the middle, allowing you to go back to default with ease.
Over to the left earcup is where we see most of the controls. Halfway down the earcup where your thumb would be when taking these off sits the mute mic button. This button is a little small for my liking but once I got used to the headset it was relatively easy to activate. It’s great to see SteelSeries still have this little orange accent with mute, as it reminds me of my old SteelSeries Siberias from back in the day. Beneath the mute button is the volume control scroll wheel, it’s pretty basic and I much prefer the Corsair Void’s volume control, but it works. Next up is a proprietary slot for use with your phone and the included connector but you can also use a jack to jack cable in the port just beneath that. Finally, we see the micro-USB port for charging and the retractable microphone.
The Arctis 7 wireless gaming headset also comes with a compact receiver. The receiver plugs in via USB and has a pair button on the side to sync your headset up, with an LED to indicate whether your headset is connected (solid light) or sleeping/ disconnected (blinking). The receiver also features line in/out ports, meaning you can connect your speakers through the back and not have to mess around with windows settings.
The receiver features a circular rubber base but due to how light it is, the cables make it tilt backward and generally look quite ugly on the desk. Going forward it would be nice to see this have a bit more weight to it and maybe even some extra features.
Overall, I found the Arctis 7’s to be very comfortable, the earcups are cushioned enough, and the ski mask band worked wonders for me. Furthermore, the clamping force I found to be well balanced and, with this headsets lightweight construction, it really was one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve worn.
The earcups were up there with the most comfortable I’ve worn too and the soft-feel fabric is part of the reason. The fabric is not as soft as the cloud-like Astro A50’s but it is still supremely comfy. The inner wall material is slightly more scratchy than the Aireweave breathable fabric but my ears never touched it. The shape of the oval earcups accommodates my ears efficiently, cushioning well while also creating a decent natural seal. As previously mentioned, the clamping force is near perfect, with no irritations throughout testing.
The ski-google style headband was something I was a little skeptical of at first, with no cushioning I was unsure how comfy this headset could actually be. It works well in supporting and distributing the weight evenly plus it stops things from getting scratchy up top with prolonged usage. The fabric isn’t the smoothest though so, unfortunately, bald gamers out there may want to look elsewhere. With this headband design and the clamping force, you end up with a headset that sits on the ears with little pressure on your head, keeping even the more extensive gaming sessions comfortable, no matter the head shape or size.
There is, of course, no need for adjustment sliders like on most headsets as this comes with the ski-mask headband but there is a little movement in the earcups. The earcups have a slight tilt, accommodating for larger or differently shaped heads and they feature 90-degree rotation. Unfortunately, when wearing these on your shoulders they don’t sit as well as the HyperX Cloud Flight S headset and tend to clamp around your neck too tightly.
These weigh about 354 grams, which isn’t the lightest but they sure ain’t the heaviest. For me this is a great weight and combined with the design, you’ve got the makings of a supremely comfy product here.
The Arctis 7 gaming headset was a joy to use for both entertainment and gaming. They generally had a well-balanced sound profile, however, the mid-range could sound cluttered at times due to the continuation of the high-bass. The bass could be too boomy for some but the extended bass was great for lower end grumbles, especially in games.
The software and graphical EQ from SteelSeries are really good, which I’d recommend using to get the best out of the Arctis 7s. These performed similarly to the HyperX Cloud Flight S and while they aren’t as good as the Arctis Pros, unless you need the extra features, these are certainly the money-saving option to go for.
Out of the box I have had better audio experiences but that came with a higher cost. The sound performance felt accurate and with a decent seal, these were pretty immersive. They were a bit loud across multiple games, so I did have to adjust settings and fiddle with the ChatMix quite a bit to get these how I liked them.
The bass performance was pretty good across the board but mostly for music and games like Squad. The clarity in Squad was excellent which is very important as the military sim wants to suck you in and immerse you into the combat. The gun crackles, explosions, and general environment audio all sounded crisp.
Jumping into CS:GO I noticed the imaging was excellent, everything felt accurate and I could easily pinpoint targets or pick up valuable information for the team. The loudness was a minor issue that is easily fixed when setting these up but, overall, I’d be happy using these daily for music and competitive gaming.
For closed-back headphones, the soundstage was generous and up there with the more expensive premium models. The isolation was quite poor but this isn’t surprising from a gaming headset with fabric style padding. You can still use these out and about though, these keep that mid-range chatter out but you may hear the odd bus or truck speeding by. The leakage performance was pretty good, with only the higher end piercing through now and again.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 comes with the same ClearCast mic we see across the Arctis range and, in short: it’s very high quality. While it could be considered one of the better microphones in gaming headsets, don’t get too wrapped up in the marketing, there are still better mics out there.
The Bidirectional mic does a great job of both clarity and noise cancelation. The boom mic is retractable and hides in the earcup but, unfortunately, isn’t detachable. The recording quality is really good, making my voice sound quite bright. The mic handles external noise very well out of the box, with it separating my speech from my noisy mechanical keyboard without breaking a sweat.
Overall, a great mic and according to friends and my personal recordings, my voice sounded crisp and clear at all times. It is worth noting that while this beats the majority of headsets out there in terms of mic performance, the Sennheiser Game Ones, Razer Man O’War, and Corsair Virtuoso headsets all had better mic performance.
The Arctis 7’s wireless headset is one of SteelSeries’ middle-tier offerings and for the price, comes with a decent amount of features. One of my favorite parts of the headset is the customizable ski-google strap. You can swap this out for one with a bit of style, which I prefer to RGB lighting. Despite being affordable these do have plenty of features to catch your eye so let’s take a closer look.
The Arctis 7’s are wireless and operate on a lossless 2.4GHz connecting for low latency gaming. The connection remains strong and doesn’t produce any interference crackles and pops. To connect to your PC it goes through the USB receiver, which you can also plug your speakers through giving you seamless use between both devices. The USB receiver also works with the PS4 and Nintendo Switch when docked. The headset gets an advertised range of about 40 feet and while running around the flat this seemed to be accurate, with no drops, even through walls.
The headset can work when wired too, meaning it can connect with your Switch on the go or mobile device (if you still have an audio jack). The Arctis 7’s charge via the included micro-USB and can still be used while charging. After around three hours charging, the headset gave me a solid 25 hours of continual usage, with the auto-off timer saving battery when needed.
SteelSeries Engine 3 is one of the better utility engines out there and while the Arctis 7’s offer the same options as the Pros, it does so with the software rather than the DAC. The software will allow you to utilize the 7.1 surround, although I kept this off when gaming as I prefer stereo but it is nice to have the option. You can set the dynamic range, manually adjust the output at different frequencies, and fiddle with the sidetone and volume of the microphone.
I prefer using a headset as it is out of the box if possible, with minor tweaks to the EQ in dire circumstances but the SteelSeries Engine was really easy to use and I made use of the EQ presets a few times with great results.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7’s offer solid performance and great comfort, all for a fair price. The included cables and receiver are nice “ease of life” touches and while the headset isn’t particularly flashy, I think the unique design is one of the best.
For the price there are few that compete with the comfort of the Arctis 7’s, the ski-google headband works well. Furthermore, the removable earcups are soft feel and breathable, with my ears keeping cooler for longer than other models. The clamp is perfect when wearing these and the yolks feel solid enough but I couldn’t get these to sit comfortably on my shoulders.
The Arctis 7’s beat the HyperX Cloud Flights for me wit the Arctis 7’s feeling more premium and like it will last a bit longer too. The mic on these is one of the best at this price point but I wouldn’t start using it for streaming just yet.
The SteelSeries Arctis range is incredibly diverse with options for everyone from the budget Arctis 1’s to the feature-packed Arctis Pro Wireless. If Bluetooth and nice little extras are something you’d prefer, then the Arctis Pros are the way to go but for those looking for great audio and mic performance at a pinch, the Arctis 7’s are one of the best options out there.
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