It’s been a crazy start to the year, and I remember toward the first part of 2022 having a similar opening. Because of all the video games coming through so quickly, I dealt with a little bit of burnout and pivoted to gear, and was able to review some truly astounding devices. Our best of last year award went to the Arctis Nova Pros (review here), a headset I use for everything. SteelSeries somewhat quietly moved this design forward as the preferred line, and now you can buy a Nova in every shape and size. We’ve gotten a couple of these to put to the test, and the 7X variant has caught my eye, nearly a split image of its daddy.
Inside the familiar box (to those who have purchased SteelSeries products before), you’ll find the Arctis Nova 7X along with several other pieces of equipment. These include the USB-C multi-platform dongle, USB-C to A extension cable for said dongle, USB-C charge cable, and a 3.55mm cable. There are also instructions and a little papercraft character named Lars, who you must protect with your life.
The Nova 7X is a beautiful piece of hardware, almost perfectly mimicking the sleek design of the Nova Pros. The biggest differences are ones you could deem monetary, like a metal band that feels less expensive and cloth ear cups. Even so, the design is still sturdy, and it’s just as comfortable. It might be even more; the materials chosen allow it to be a little lighter. The only thing that doesn’t feel as good is the fit from said lighter feel; the Nova 7X doesn’t have as tight of a fit to your head and can lead to some minimal sound leakage. Beyond that, you can’t do better than the SteelSeries signature ski-band, your headset feels lighter than air because of it.
SteelSeries certainly does comfortability right, and they continue doing the next thing right as well: versatility. The Nova 7X has three ways of connection, a passive 3.55mm jack, the USB-C wireless dongle, and Bluetooth. Something different with the Nova 7X is complete wireless compatibility with everything, and it’s amazing. There’s a switch on the dongle that toggles between USB and Xbox, allowing you to finally be able to get the best out of your headset everywhere. Using a headset with the Xbox wirelessly has usually been a pain; you have to buy the specific one and give up PlayStation and other devices. With the Nova 7X that is gone and I am super excited. Besides that, it also supports simultaneous Bluetooth, a boon to all of us that have someone calling in the middle of a match.
For reference, here is a list of the devices I’ve been able to seamlessly use these on:
- PlayStation 5
- Xbox Series X
- Nintendo Switch
- Steam Deck
- Quest 2/PSVR (and I’d assume the PSVR2)
There’s not much it won’t work with, making it the go to option for a gamer who likes playing everywhere like me.
I think I might be spoiled with the Nova Pro, because the 7X doesn’t match it in how finely tuned the drivers are. That doesn’t mean it’s bad though, with crisp audio from some nice 40mm drivers. If you’re playing something like Call of Duty, you can expect great surround sound, being able to hear the approach of your enemies wherever they’re coming from. I’ve been playing an atmospheric game for review as well (that you’ll hear about soon), and the spatial audio certainly sets the mood. SteelSeries has never had a problem delivering great audio experiences, and the Nova 7X continues the tradition at a much more affordable price (currently $99.99 on sale from their site, but $179.99 MSRP).
As for mics, it’s arguably just as good as any SteelSeries offers. Headset mics generally have a bit of buzz, and that’s not absent, but it’s precise and provides a clear method of communication. The ClearCast design doesn’t really need any updating, it’s crisp and pretty good at keeping out other noises in the background. It’s also awesome because of the design; retracting into the ear cup so the Nova 7X looks like a regular pair of headphones.
The last part of this one is the battery life, and I almost forgot to write about it because of how great it is. Steelseries advertises 24 hours, but I never got that far, even using it for several long gaming sessions. The ability to use the Nova 7X wired is nice, but getting the full power of it is better, and the battery life allows you to get the most out of it. It also charges via a USB-C, so you can very easily get a few hours of charge from 15 minutes of plugging it up.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X wireless headset
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X is a worthy pickup for the avid and multi-platform gamer. It delivers great sound and amazing battery life, meshed with arguably the most comfortable design in gaming headsets. You can’t get much better than this, especially at the asking price.
- Superb audio
- Extremely comfortable design
- Incredibly versatile
- Fantastic battery life
- Almost too light
- Not as tight a fit