SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 review – “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”

I know, I know, you’re probably getting tired of hearing about SteelSeries headsets from me. I can tell you this, it’s tough sometimes to figure out the best ways to say, “these are great, you need one”. Especially without constantly repeating myself. Sometimes that is possible and sometimes it isn’t, but after using the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1s with a couple of devices, but specifically with the PSVR2, we’ve got more SteelSeries to talk about.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 Unboxing and Setup

This is the more budget friendly option for SteelSeries fans, weighing in at only $59.99 MSRP. For the most part it looks like the Nova 3s, just without the fancy RGB. As light as its brother is, the Nova 1s somehow weigh less as well, at only 236 grams. This makes it a fantastic option for carrying around, as it won’t add much to your bag or backpack.

Inside the box, you’ll find the Nova 1 headset, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, and a dual extension 3.5mm (input and output) cable for use with a PC. That’s really all there is to it. It may not sound like much, but the extension cable is a nice get; most headsets don’t come with one, and if you try to run it on your PC you’re only getting the output sound.

As per usual, these are amazing when it comes to comfort. They feature the classic SteelSeries design you know and love, while being so light that you barely feel like they’re even on your head. Just like the Nova 3s, they don’t feel premium, with an all plastic build, but they’re still sturdy enough. Thankfully the ear cups have a nice memory foam that breathes well, and the ski-band does the heavy lifting, keeping your head nice and comfy. I will say, they also had a really nice fit right out of the box, with a tight fit over my ears.

While I appreciate the lane they stay in, the Nova 1s do lose points in the versatility department. One thing SteelSeries headsets generally do is work on almost everything, and with the move to USB-C for lots of things (including phones), 3.5mm jacks are becoming a thing of the past. Your Nova 1s will still be useful with many devices, working perfectly when I used them on PC, PS5, Xbox, Switch, Steam Deck, and more, but I can’t use them with my phone at all without an adapter. Given most won’t have the plethora of devices I have and only one gaming system and a phone, it’s an unfortunate miss to not have something in the box to help this problem we find ourselves with in 2023.

That being said, I used the heck out of the Nova 1s with the release of the PSVR2. As I said, it’s tough to think of ways to talk about similar headsets, but this was a prime way to try them out. They might be the perfect headset to try if you’re looking for something that will work well with your new PSVR2, especially since the white looks good with it. The biggest advantage they offer is being so lightweight. Even as light as the PSVR2 headset is, it’s still something on your head. With the Nova 1s weighing in at barely half a pound, it’s perfect.

And that’s before taking into account the benefits of the sound. I will always trumpet the well tuned SteelSeries drivers, and they are wonderful in VR. A lot of what you’ll experience in PSVR2 relies on being immersed, and let’s be honest, the earbuds in the box aren’t going to cut it. Getting a good pair of headphones changes everything, and it’d be nice to get something good without breaking the bank more than you already did with a $600 VR headset. The Nova 1s accomplish that, and even if they still depend on volume over detail in sound (I talk about this more in our Nova 3 review), you still get the great spatial 3D audio the PS5 provides through them. That’s with anything too, not just PSVR2. The only thing that sucks a bit; the mic doesn’t work when plugged in through the PS5 headset, which is a bummer when you play multiplayer on PSVR2.

The microphone isn’t an issue when plugged in anywhere else though, with that awesome ClearCast sound. I did have an issue with my recording software picking it up when capturing a few rounds of Modern Warfare II with friends, but none of them had any trouble hearing me whatsoever. I’m chalking that up to something weird with the software and the 3.5mm connection, but it’s worth remembering if you’re trying to do any serious recording.

Lead Video Game Editor | [email protected]

David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.



SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 headset

Review Guidelines

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1s aren’t going to blow the doors off the audio scene, but they are going to be a perfect budget headset. Featuring some of SteelSeries greatest features with the ClearCast mic and tuned drivers, along with still being the most comfortable design out there, the Arctis Nova 1 will do exactly what you need it to. Oh, and did I mention it’s arguably the best PSVR2 headset?

David Burdette

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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