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SteelSeries Arctis 7 (2019) Review: Wireless gaming on a budget

SteelSeries has been a drive within the gaming area for years, providing nearly any type of peripheral you can want. The Arctis 7 is the subsequent in a lengthy line of gaming headsets from the corporate, bringing a Discord-certified mic, lengthy battery life, and wi-fi functionality.

The gaming headset market gets more crowded each week—how does this one stack up?

Who’s The SteelSeries Arctis 7 for?

The Steelseries Arctis Professional is for players of all stripes who need a simple, wi-fi answer to their audio needs. This headset works like a appeal on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.

Out of the box

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 comes with a method to hook up with just about every little thing.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 comes with a USB dongle for wirelessly connecting to your PC or consoles, together with a USB charging twine, and a three.5mm twine for connecting to your telephone or undocked Nintendo Change.

What’s it like to use the SteelSeries Arctis 7?

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 laying flat on a wooden desk.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is snug and sturdy headset.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is a wi-fi headset that connects utilizing a 2.4GHz wi-fi RF USB dongle, fairly than Bluetooth. Whereas meaning the headphones are a little less versatile, you don’t have to spend as a lot time pairing something, and it has no noticeable latency.

It’s design is nearly similar to the SteelSeries Arctis Pro, which we lately reviewed, with a sturdy aluminum frame and an adjustable, ski-goggle-like suspension band. The headphones sit on barely offset hinges, with panels that have a matte texture.

Very similar to the Arctis Pro, the Arctis 7 is basically snug. After briefly adjusting the velcro suspension strap, I easily settled in for a variety of snug gaming periods. The strap was snug and elastic, making use of just the correct quantity of strain to keep the headset comfortable on my head.

Nevertheless, it being wireless, strolling around my house sometimes made it really feel a little unfastened. These headphones are undoubtedly designed to be used while seated, regardless of not truly needing to be all that near whatever you’re gaming on. Even relatively mild movement can jostle things a bit.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 and its Airweave headphone pads.

The Airweave pads are snug and keep cool.

The headphone pads included with the headset are manufactured from airweave material, which looks like it sits between leather-based and velour in rigidity. Identical to the Arctis Professional, these pads didn’t get almost as scorching as leather-based, they usually have been giant enough to suit comfortably around my ears. Even so, they could not work as well as velour with glasses, it could be prudent for bespectacled players to switch them.

Controls line the underside of both headphones. On the left headphone, there’s a mic mute button, a volume dial, and 3.5mm, Micro-USB, and four-pin ports. The fitting aspect homes the facility button and a dial for switching between the sport and chat audio channels the headset supports (represented as Arctis Chat and Arctis Recreation whenever you’re utilizing the Arctis 7 on PC).

The left headphone also houses the retractable microphone, which extends out about 4 inches on a versatile wire.

In contrast to most gaming headsets, the Arctis 7 doesn’t positively shout gamer with its aesthetic. There aren’t any neon highlights or LED striping—the one outstanding mild on the whole thing shines when the mic is muted. Nevertheless, as I mentioned earlier, these headphones aren’t terribly properly suited to use whereas strolling around, so how you’ll look in public issues a little less here.

Software program

A screenshot of the SteelSeries Engine 3 program.

SteelSeries Engine allows you to turn on surround sound and customize the headset’s output and dynamic range.

Whereas the SteelSeries Arctis 7 gives a lot of the same options as Arctis Professional, it does so using software program, quite than an included DAC unit. The headset makes use of SteelSeries Engine three, the same software program different SteelSeries units use.

Engine allows you to customize the Arctis 7’s sound settings in a variety of methods. You possibly can toggle forwards and backwards between stereo and 7.1 sound, set the audio dynamic range, and even manually regulate the headphones’ output at totally different frequencies.

I’m not usually a fan of needing an app to completely use a piece of hardware like this—to be blunt, it sucks you need this so as to flip on encompass sound. Nevertheless, the app itself is more simple than most comparable choices from SteelSeries’ rivals, so it doesn’t get in the best way. It’s not best, however it could possibly be worse.

Encompass sound gaming

Shot of Sam Moore wearing the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

The Arctis 7 mic extends about 4 inches from the left headphone.

The Arctis 7 options 7.1 digital encompass sound for gaming using DTS Headphone:X 2.0 tech because the Arctis Pro, providing reasonable 3D audio environments in video games like Overwatch and Fortnite. This implementation fell fairly properly consistent with my expectations for a gaming headset. The sounds of footsteps and gunfire have been straightforward enough to put in Fortnite, as have been the totally different vocal character cues of Overwatch.

The encompass sound features didn’t make much of a difference in comparison with stereo sound in non-shooter video games like Murderer’s Creed Odyssey and Draugen, nevertheless it was nonetheless nice to have.

To be clear, even when the added info of surround sound was helpful, it didn’t make a lot better at a recreation—I’m still as middling a Fortnite participant as ever.

How good is the SteelSeries Arctis 7’s battery life?

When SteelSeries released the Arctis 7, it stated the battery would last 15 hours. Since then, the company released a firmware update to enhance that, claiming it now reaches 24 hours of use on a single charge. That looks like a bit of a stretch, however replace undoubtedly improved things.

In our testing the SteelSeries Arctis 7 lasted 16 hours 32 minutes, but you may get a little extra out of that, as we examined at a larger volume than most people choose to pay attention at.

Connectivity

A photo of the SteelSeries Arctis 7's .

The Arctis 7 has all types of ports, dials, and buttons to regulate lots of its features.

The SteelSeries presents wired and wi-fi connectivity choices. When going wireless, it makes use of a USB dongle suitable with PC, Playstation four, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Change when it’s docked. For wired connections there’s a three.5mm twine, although you lose out on the varied software features and a number of audio channels.

In response to SteelSeries, the Arctis 7 has a 40 foot range. I haven’t run into anything contradicting that—strolling round my house by no means introduced any points.

How does the SteelSeries Arctis 7 sound?

A chart detailing the SteelSeries Arctis 7's Frequency Response.

For probably the most part, this is a very normal, but consumer-friendly sound.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 presents fairly good audio output, with relative readability across frequencies. It boosts bass, however not almost as a lot as most gaming headsets. There’s additionally a little de-emphasis of mids around 1,500Hz.

In a recreation this implies huge explosion sounds will appear more outstanding, typically on the expense of more delicate sorts of sound, like footsteps or totally different environmental noise.


Music sounds pretty good on these headphones, however i the sounds of strings and some cymbals can get a bit misplaced in tracks with a lot of bass or ambient noise. Take Gathering of Historic Tribes by Goat for example. The bass line comes via clearly, regardless that it’s not terribly aggressive, but the distorted guitar strains that make up a big a part of the music sound much less like individual elements than a huge indistinct entire. Larger emphasis of mids and highs would have helped with that.

A chart showing the isolation performance of the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

Excessive-pitched sounds and mids will probably be blocked nicely, but low rumbles will attain your ears.

The Arctis 7 does as properly or better than most gaming headsets on the subject of isolation. It may well hardly compete with headphones with ANC, but you shouldn’t get any hassle from the sounds of noisy roommates, household in the other room, or the occasional visitors sound out the window.

In contrast to most gaming headsets, these headphones truly work while out and about when using the 3.5mm twine. In an outdoor setting, these gained’t do much to block out the rumbles and beeps of metropolis life, but a few of that you simply’ll in all probability need to hear a few of that—it’s not often a good concept to utterly tune out your surroundings.

A chart detailing the microphone frequency response of the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

The built-in mic on the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is just about lavatory normal for a gaming headset. In line with the field, that is a Discord-certified mic. Except for a special icon popping up subsequent to the enter and output options in the Discord app, apparently this means the headset additionally does a few of the voice processing work the program often would.

It’s onerous to inform if that is meant to deliver larger audio quality to calls, but the mic nonetheless behaves very similar to non-certified mics on competing headsets. It has no hassle reproducing the range of most voices, with higher emphasis on the excessive finish, where F S SH sounds are likely to stay. Nevertheless, it additionally de-emphasizes bass frequencies, which may make lower voices sound tinny. Have a pay attention for your self:

Do you have to buy the SteelSeries Arctis 7?

A photo of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 on a desk.

The matte black end of this mannequin SteelSeries Acrtis 7 is unassuming.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is extraordinarily snug, sounds fairly good, and provides a slew of options. The headset is suitable with just about the whole lot it could possibly be, and sets up very quickly.

While I a lot favor the Arctis Pro’s Recreation DAC unit to the Engine app, it’s also $100 costlier, which is a lot to ask. There aren’t many headsets with sound nearly as good and as many options as the Arctis 7 in this worth vary. Positive, a headset like HyperX Cloud Alpha sounds nearly as good or higher, nevertheless it doesn’t supply almost as many options, and it’s wired as well.

You’d need to spend a pretty respectable chunk extra to get higher sound and options than the SteelSeries Arctis 7.