(photo: Steel Series)
“I hope it’s become clear why the Steel Series Arctis 7 is my personal choice for a gaming headset.”
We at TLR are gamers, we enjoy stepping back after a hard days work and hanging out with a controller or mouse in our hand. We are also audio junkies and have no less than 5 gaming headset around us right now. It doesn’t take too much for us to grab a new set of headphones and give them a try, so I decided why not go through a few of the gaming headsets that we like and create a review series for our readers.
So here it is the first article in the series, I’ll be reviewing my personal choice the Steel Series Arctis 7 wireless gaming headset.
When I started looking for a replacement for my aging Turtle Beach wired headset I first asked myself what features I really wanted. The first thing that came to mind was I wanted something that worked on every system. When I say every system I’m talking Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC and maybe Mobile. The second thing I wanted in a new headset was great sound. The third was I wanted something that was wireless. Lastly and more importantly I wanted great comfort and build quality. What I found that met and exceeded my needs was the Steel Series Arctis 7.
(photo: TLR Technologhy)
As I said I wanted a headset that would work on every system that I have. What I found out was the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC could all use the USB dongle with no problem. What shocked me was the Xbox one won’t work with the USB dongle, apparently, in its great wisdom, Microsoft chose to make a specific protocol for USB… WHY you are a FREAKING PC company how do all the other consoles support standard USB audio and you don’t, SIGH… Anyway, that makes choosing a headset a lot harder. The way the Steel Series Arctis 7 get around this is by supplying a proprietary cable that plugs into the 3.5mm headphone jack on the Xbox One and PS4 controllers. This also allows the Arctis 7 to be plugged into mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones (if you still have a headphone jack) Safe to say the Arctis 7 will work on everything.
“I will tell you that they sound better than 90% of the other headset that I’ve heard.”
Second on my wish list was great sound, I’m not going to tell you the sound is the best I’ve ever heard. I will tell you that they sound better than 90% of the other headset that I’ve heard. They are tuned more in the high to mid audio range out of the box. The pair I bought are the 2019’s which come in smaller packaging and have some improvements based on the Arctis pro’s. One if which is the bass (lows) have been tweaked to produce a little more bass than the Pre 2019 versions. Another feature that has been added to the 2019 version along with the pre 2019 versions of the Artis 7 is version 2 of the 7.1 DTS surround sound when used on PC. The software provided from Steel Series provides an equalizer and bass boost that will allow you to get much more bass than is available straight out of the box if bass is your thing. Again the Arctis 7 had met or I should say exceeded my expectations.
It is also worth noting that the Steel Series says the mirophone is the best microphone in gaming… No it isn’t, but it is fantastic as far a gaming headset microphones go. The microphone has the ability to slide back into the earcup when not in use, and has a red led indicator to visually show when the microphone is muted when using the headset wirelessly. The microphone mute button is on the left ear cup and pops out far enough so you can feel it quickly, you’ll know if the microphone is muted or not.
(photo: TLR Technologhy)
The third item on my wishlist was I wanted a headset that was wireless. Again the Arctis 7 fit the bill, however, they more than fit the bill. In most range test that you’ll find across the interwebs including my own, the Steel Series Arctis 7 consistently had more range and clearer audio. Another win in my book for the Arctis 7.
The last thing which is a big deal is I needed something that was going to be comfortable to game in or listen to music for hours. Comfort is another area where the Arctis 7 been tweaked for 2019. The Arctis pro has a slightly more rounded headband whereas the 7’s had more of a flatter profile across the top band. The problem with the Pre 2019 was that (SOME) peoples heads would actually reach the top bar and this could cause some discomfort. The 2019 version 7 now has the higher rounder profile headband of the Arctis Pro, equalling better comfort for more head sizes. Another unique feature to the Steel Series line is an elastic band similar to the band used on ski goggles. The elastic band is actually the part that makes contact with your head which is much softer than the foam or plastic bands of other headsets. The kicker is the headband is also how you adjust the fitment, tightening the band moves the earcups up and losing the band moves them down. The ear cups feel like a breathable memory foam which have remained comfortable and cool even during epic gaming sessions. I should also mention the ear cups were another area that has been improved in the 2019 version. Some users found their ears would actually touch the plastic inner surface in the ear cup on the pre 2019 version Arctis 7. The 2019 versions of the Arctis 7 use the thicker padded ear cups from the Arctis pro, again allowing a more comfortable fit for more users.
I hope it’s becoming clear why the Steel Series Arctis 7 is my personal choice for a gaming headset. However, there are a few more features worth mentioning. The Steel Series software is simple to use, has an equalizer and allows you to set audio profiles per game if that’s your thing. Another software trick with the Steel Series. When you install the software it adds the headset as 2 audio devices, a game device, and a chat device. The benefit of this is game/ chat mixing. If you use a secondary chat app such as Discord the Xbox app or just want to mix in your music from an app like Spotify you set it as the chat audio. You set your game audio to the game audio channel. Once have the audio devices set you can use a wheel on the right ear cup to make either the chat or game volume louder. This allows you to mix in the perfect amount of chat/ music volume to game volume.
The dongle isn’t just a simple USB stick, it actually has a cord that allows to you move it to an area where there is less chance of interference. The dongle also has a 3.5mm input and output jack. The input allows you to connect another device that uses a 3.5mm headphone jack to output audio such as a phone or iPod and send it wirelessly to the headset. The output jack is pretty trick too. When the Arctis 7 are turned off the dongle automatically swaps to whatever speakers are plugged into the output.
(photo: TLR Technologhy)
It’s worth mentioning that the battery last about 20 hours. (yes, that’s a crazy long time)
So you want to order a pair but you’re thinking “I don’t want to drop $250+ dollars on a headset right now… Me either, I saved the best part for last, the cost. You can order a set of the 2019 version of the Arctis 7 in black or white for $149. You simply can’t find a better wireless gaming headset for this price… Period