The ultimate, wireless gaming headset that has it all – SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Review

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Review – I’ve reviewed tons of wireless gaming headsets here at Craving Tech from various, major gaming brands but no one (if I’m not mistaken) has a hot-swappable battery system like SteelSeries flagship headsets. I first came into this design when I was reviewing the SteelSeries H Wireless headset back in 2014.

Four years later, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless took over the throne but since then, we’ve had many new wireless gaming headsets came out with new technologies and sets of features. Despite of not having the hot-swappable battery system, I did fall in love with their Arctis 7P+ Wireless that can be used on both the PC and PS5. You still have to plug a cable to charge every now and then, though.

So finally, SteelSeries has now launched their latest, flagship wireless gaming headset that has everything you want in a gaming headset with the new Arctis Nova Pro Wireless.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Review – Unboxing & Packaging Contents

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ1T2KoTa84

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Review – Design & Features

It basically still has the same concept: a wireless gaming headset connected to a separate Wireless Base Station, and has the hot-swappable battery system. However, almost everything else has been perfected with modern technology, design, and purpose.

For a start, the new Arctis Nova Pro Wireless looks really modern and sleek, without attracting attention. That’s important because you’d want to wear the headset outside of your home, away from your gaming devices (PC, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch). The microphone boom is retractable but more importantly can be stowed away seamlessly, as if it’s part of the headset design.

So the first question is, why would you want to wear this wireless gaming headset outside of your home? Well, it supports Bluetooth connection so you can play games like Diablo Immortal on your mobile phone, or watch movies on it. It also has Active Noise Cancelling to shut down unwanted noise while you commute.

The 4-mic hybrid design works quite well to muffle the noise around you and while it’s good, it is definitely not as good as Bose QuietComfort 45 that I have. I can still hear certain sounds got through the noise cancelling algorithms such as the sound of a water flow near the lake or when a helicopter flew in the distance. But I have to say that the ANC is pretty good to keep you immersed in your content and obviously if you really want the best noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones, you’ll never be able to find it in a gaming headset.

Surprisingly, the headset has HearThrough mode so you’ll be able to hear your surroundings while wearing it. This feature definitely sounds promising to gaming Dads like me who usually has to wear their gaming headphones with one side off-ear, so we can hear when our babies need attention. While the HearThrough works great, I do find that the immersive experience with the headset still makes it hard to listen to those cries, especially when things get intense. Wearing the Arctis Nova Pro outside though, it is really good as I can still hear my surroundings while I listen to music or play my games.

At home, you can connect the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless to both the 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth at the same time. There is a dedicated power button for turning the headset on (wireless) and Bluetooth separately. When a call comes, you can do a simple button press to answer and you can use the headset to chat through. It’s a great feature because some of us have partners and there are definitely times where you are playing a game and your partner calls.

Sound quality wise, it’s excellent. The high-fidelity 40mm speaker drivers sound really good for gaming, music listening, and movie watching. The wireless headset can output 48kHz/24 bit audio and support 360-degree spatial audio for that extra immersion. During the demo of the headset when I met up with SteelSeries, I watched a video clip of Inception with this feature turned on and was blown away by it. Not only this is important for sound awareness in gaming but also for that extra immersion when you watch action movies with the headset.

The microphone is AI-powered to cancel noises so no matter where you game, you can be heard properly by your teammates – all thanks to the SteelSeries Sonar technology. When I turned the noise cancelling on, it cuts my PC’s humming fan noise completely from the audio recording test. During an intense moment while you strafe left and right while talking, removing any distraction is crucial to winning.

I can vouch for the audio positioning and quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless headset. While playing Overwatch during my 2-3 weeks of review period, there were countless moments where I could hear a short, tiny sound detail from an unseen enemy trying to flank our positions. Some of my teammates couldn’t hear these most of the time, so I was quite amazed at how many little details this headset can catch.

In the short Overwatch clips below, you can see some examples of what I’m talking about:

  • In the first part, I could hear a faint footstep sound (which only lasted half a second) near our spawn. It was the enemy’s Lucio trying to get a pick off our Support and thankfully, I could prevent him from killing our Ana and in the end, took him down for good.
  • In the second part, I could hear our Widowmaker grunted and then the bullet shots coming from an enemy Tracer. I quickly came to the rescue and killed the unsuspecting enemy. Even got a thanks from my teammate as a result.
  • In the third part, I knew that the enemy’s Junkrat was unleashing his ultimate skill from the front left. So I was preparing myself to shoot his RIP-Tire and prevented our team to get annihilated from this skill.
  • In the last part, I could hear the footsteps of the enemy’s Cassidy (McCree) trying to make a cheesy flank. It’s an easy kill once my Roadhog’s hook made the connection. I’m sure he didn’t expect that.

There are also EQ presets that you can select and tweak in Sonar to focus on hearing footsteps more in games, among other things. There are also presets to tweak how you want to sound in the microphone (I prefer the Deep Voice configuration) and some other advanced settings you can adjust. You can record an audio sample and play around with the settings while hearing how it changes your voice in real time. Really sleek and helpful.

Thanks to the hot-swappable battery system, you literally has zero downtime – apart from a few seconds it takes for you to change the battery located inside the ear cup. The headset will use one battery where the other can be charged inside the wireless base station. How much battery you have left on the headset and inside the station will be shown on the bright OLED screen.

There are options that can be changed on the wireless base station directly, including volume control but many others like the HearThrough sensitivity level, connection switch (if you also have your PS5 on the same desk), etc. Unlike the Arctis 7P+ though, there is no USB wireless dongle that you can just carry around easily if your PlayStation console is located in a different room. You have to use the Wireless Base Station.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Review Conclusion

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless has it all: rich sound quality, comfort to wear for hours both indoors and outdoors, multiple connectivity, versatility, active noise cancelling (both audio and microphones), hot-swappable battery system, and an unexpected full audio customisation thanks to SteelSeries Sonar technology.

This is definitely the mother of all wireless gaming headsets out there! Sure, you’ll be paying handsomely as it retails for A$649 RRP but if you like all the features mentioned here, you’ll definitely love the headset! The headset is available at retailers around Australia and also at Amazon.com

Disclosure: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review sample was supplied for reviewing

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Review
Overall
5

Summary

High fidelity audio, hot-swappable battery, Simulatenous Wi-Fi & Bluetooth connection, modern design, ANC/HearThrough, advanced audio and microphone AI & customisations – this wireless gaming headset has it all

Pros

  • Sleek and modern design, microphone is completely hidden from view
  • Support wireless (2.4GHz) and Bluetooth 5 connection simultaneously
  • High quality audio, great audio positioning, 360-degree Spatial Audio support
  • Hot-swappable batteries. Use one battery while the other is charged inside the Wireless Base Station
  • Can easily switch between two gaming devices (like a PC and an Xbox or PlayStation)
  • Has ANC and HearThrough feature
  • Comfortable to wear for hours
  • SteelSeries Sonar offers advanced customisations powered by AI

Cons

  • The Arctis 7P+ is better if your console is located far away from your PC as you can just plug/unplug the wireless dongle to use the headset
  • ANC is not as good as Bose or other brands’ ANC headphones specialise in the area
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