The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is a wild change from the company’s former flagship headset, but is it worth the hefty price tag?
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro wireless headset rocked the gaming headset market as it was one of the – if not the first – wireless gaming headset to feature a premium DAC and a hot-swappable battery.
Following the success of the Arctis Pro, SteelSeries is now releasing a highly anticipated flagship successor, the Arctis Nova Pro headsets, which shake up the design and have a few more tricks up their sleeve. We bought the wireless version of the headset and put it through its paces.
But at a pretty steep price tag of $350, is the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless really worth it?
- Connectivity: USB-C, 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth 5.0
- Driver diameter: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 10-22,000 Hz (wireless), 10-40,000 Hz (wired)
- Microphone: Bi-directional noise cancellation
- Weight: 338g
- Compatibility: PC, Mac, Playstation, Switch, Xbox (Xbox version only)
- Features: Active noise canceling, transparency mode, hot swappable battery
Included in the box: Headset, GameDac Gen 2, 2x battery, 2x USB-C to USB-A cables, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, 2x detachable magnetic ear plates, microphone pop screen.
While the Steelseries Arctis Nova Pros are technically a spiritual successor to the Arctis Pro, they share few design aspects with the old headset.
SteelSeries has ditched the infamous Arctis oval design for a sleeker and more modern matte black look. The earcup is paired with a retractable microphone that now sits flush with the headset. The included magnetic plates hide the removable battery and USB-C charging port with a very subtle SteelSeries logo on either side. These small additions give the SteelSeries Nova Pro a more premium look compared to other gaming headsets.
The company has ditched the athletic ski goggle headband in favor of a slightly stronger elastic band that has attachment points near the earcups to accommodate noggins of all sizes. Between the new headband and leatherette earcups, the Nova Pro clamps my head just right to move me throughout the workday with little to no discomfort.
With the switch from fabric ear cups to faux leather, we worried about how sweaty we’d be after wearing them – and we were pleasantly surprised when our ears were still sweat-free after more than 6 hours of use.
While it’s a gaming headset at its core, SteelSeries upped the audio on the Nova Pro Wireless, increasing the audio resolution to 96kHz/24-bit for much more detailed, high-resolution audio.
It does this by using their second generation GameDac, which allows the headset to sound good across the spectrum. From booming basses to riffy mids and the highest highs. However, listening to music via the Nova Pro Wireless’ included Bluetooth connection causes it to lose a bit of its shine in almost every way. That’s a shame, although it’s clear that some thought has gone into the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless experience.
Unlike its predecessor, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless features a four-microphone system (two inside, two outside) that offers active noise cancellation and a much-appreciated transparency mode that gives users the option of almost nothing or all on to hear once.
The noise-cancellation does a good job of drowning out everyday noises like the air conditioner and our keyboard throughout the workday. However, it struggled with the rush of traffic outside. It’s purely usable and nothing special.
SteelSeries introduced Spatial Audio with the Nova Pro, which offers a “Performance” mode to improve your sense of direction, which is ideal for FPS games like Call of Duty, Warzone, and Apex Legends. For single-player games and movies, you can also set your spatial audio to immersion, giving the headset a more realistic surround experience.
On PC, the headset ditched the older Arctis model’s earcup-based chat mix in favor of the more detailed sonar software built into their all-in-one app – and we’re here for it. The Arctis line’s hardware watch face was slightly bumped, throwing everything off balance.
SteelSeries Sonar software provides separate volume controls for your game and chat application. This allows you to mix both audio sources however you like, and it works decently enough. This is a staple feature in most gaming headsets, so we’d be more concerned if this crucial feature were missing.
The software also takes this a step further, for both game and chat mixes. For game mix, you’re offered an equalizer, spatial audio options, and gain and volume controls. When it comes to the chat mix, Sonar replaces spatial audio with ClearCast AI noise reduction and adds noise reduction sliders, as well as a noise gate and intelligent voice.
These are nice bells and whistles to play around with, although we wonder how many people will end up optimizing the experience so much. Noise gates can be applied via other software, and while Clearcast may be decent, it doesn’t compare to Nvidia’s own broadcast software. Regardless, the centralization here is useful for users looking for an all-in-one app.
One of the aspects that has helped SteelSeries headsets become so popular is the high quality of the microphone. SteelSeries didn’t let us down with the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless. The microphone is comparable to our dedicated USB microphone – and sounds like you’re talking to your friends in person.
The microphone uses the same bi-directional microphone design that Formula 1 crews use. This might seem like a marketing gimmick, but they really are only that good. Paired with ClearCast AI Noise Cancellation built into the companion Sonar software, you can eliminate everything from the clicks and clacks of your mechanical keyboard to your little sister trying to talk to you in the background.
Thanks to the new design of the Nova Pro Wireless, when you’re done talking, just slide it into the earpiece and those around you won’t even notice. It’s a much more elegant solution than a detachable mic sitting around waiting to be lost.
SteelSeries offers three variants of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: PC, PS5 and Xbox. But there is not much difference between the three.
With a feature called Multi-System Connect, the PC and Playstation versions of the headset can switch between PC, Mac, Playstation and Nintendo Switch. However, you can only use two of the options at a time via USB-C, with an additional one available via Bluetooth.
However, if you’re an Xbox owner, the only way to connect is with the Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, and you’ll have to sacrifice one of the rear USB ports to do so.
Offering plenty of outputs, the GameDac Gen 2 offers a great way to customize your headset’s options while charging the (included) second battery for uninterrupted gameplay. But that’s not all, as it also doubles as a headset control center with options to control the ANC, transparency mode, input select, “sleep” timer for battery saving, and all linked to a handy volume control.
The cordless Arctis Nova Pro has excellent battery life – at around 22 hours cordless with ANC on, or 18 hours cordless and Bluetooth simultaneously. After using the headset for eight hours a day for a few weeks, we only had to charge the two included batteries once.
It only takes three hours to charge in the GameDac Gen 2, so users will practically never have to suffer from a dead headset again. This is probably one of the best features of a gaming headset, never having to fumble for a charging cable in the middle of a game ever again.
should you buy it
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Gaming Headset, while available at a particularly high price, is one of the most impressive gaming headsets money can buy.
From the premium audio quality that sings in your ears to the extra comfort offered by the intelligent redesign. All of this is backed by heaps of connectivity via the second-gen GameDac, which neatly wraps this gaming headset around an arc. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless ticks all the boxes to deliver an overall experience that its competitors just can’t match.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is one of the best gaming headsets you can buy today. With unique features you won’t get anywhere else, it’s a worthy upgrade to any setup. Despite being expensive, it simply offers a lot more than its competitors. Whether you’re looking for an upgrade or you want a quality gaming headset, you could do a lot worse than pick up the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless.
You can buy the Steelseries Arctic Nova Pro Wireless here: Nova Pro Wireless, Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox.
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https://www.dexerto.com/tech/steelseries-arctis-nova-pro-wireless-review-the-king-of-gaming-headsets-1854296/ SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review: The king of gaming headsets?