SteelSeries Arctis 7 Gaming Headset Review
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 sits at the top of the Arctis line-up as the wireless version of SteelSeries’ latest and highly touted headset line. Aside from simply being a wireless SteelSeries Arctis 5, the Arctis 7 also houses features that the Arctis 3 and Arctis 5 do not. That merits a stand-alone Arctis 7 review! Let’s dive into what makes the SteelSeries Arctis 7 unique.
If you have seen our basic build and performance review of the Arctis headsets through our Arctis 3 review, know that the Arctis 7 doesn’t really deviate that far from the Arctis pack in comfort or build. However, there are some nuances worth mentioning in the Arctis 7‘s build. For starters, the Arctis 7 is negligibly heavier than its brethren mainly because of its wireless nature. To be specific, the battery in the Arctis 7 is the difference in its weight. However, that does nothing to change my views on the general excellent comfort of the Arctis line, and by extension, the Arctis 7.
The Arctis line of headsets was designed to have a subtly attractive look that you’d love to show off outdoors. SteelSeries knocked that aspect out of the park already with the base look found in the Arctis 3 and Arctis 5. The Arctis 7 goes a step further, changing up the general Arctis style by having its headband actually wrap around the top of the metal band. This makes the already stylish Arctis even more appealing, allowing the swappable headband to show off more of the user’s personal flair. Depending on how many headband designs SteelSeries makes for the Arctis 7, this has the possibility of having the Arctis 7 really taking off farther that the other Arctis headsets on looks alone.
Overall in looks and comfort, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is a lightweight and comfortable headset that somehow goes even farther in the looks department than its Arctis siblings. That’s saying a lot for a gaming headset line that is already attractive at its base. The suspension headband allows you to determine how much sink and the overall tightness of Arctis 7. This allows you to make the Arctis 7 as loose or as tight as you want it to be. The SteelSeries Arctis headsets are just a homerun in build quality. The Arctis 7 is only different in how far that homerun was hit – and it indeed is farther…
Features Exclusive to the Arctis 7
Off the bat, the greatest difference with the Arctis 7, in comparison to the other Arctis headsets, is its wireless nature. You still get removable cabling for a 3.5mm connection as well as a retractable ClearCast mic and on-board mic muting and master volume controls. The game and chat volume balancer found on the Arctis 5‘s in line controller is present directly on the Arctis 7 headset.
The included USB wireless transmitter is the go-between for your PC and your Arctis 7. Although, it does more than just wirelessly transmit as it houses 3.5mm inbound and outbound ports. The inbound port allows you to connect external sound sources to the transmitter so that you can have those sounds transmit to the Arctis 7, as well. The inbound connection acts as an overlay as what you’re already hearing from the PC. This allows you to conduct phone calls or have background music playing while you’re using the Arctis 7 on the PC.
Inversely, the outbound port takes all of the sound going to the Arctis 7 and duplicates it outward to yet another outside source. This is handy for gamers that want to forward their in-game sounds to external recording devices for pod casts, streaming, or any other form of content recording. This simple transmitter opens your Arctis 7 to many content enjoyment and creation possibilities.
As seen in the SteelSeries Arctis 5, the SteelSeries Engine is the customization software for altering the performance of the Arctis 7. Using the SteelSeries Engine, you can keep tabs on the headset’s battery life by percentage, tweak your listening experiences, save customization profiles, and have those profiles automatically trigger with the start of specific games or applications.
If you read our SteelSeries Arctis 5 review, you may notice the omission of lighting features and noise reduction options from the Arctis 7’s SteelSeries Engine 3 screen.
Not including LED’s in the Arctis 7 while having the feature in the Arctis 5 did not really stick out as a sore spot for me. I assumed that the omission of LED’s was in pursuit of lengthening the battery life of the Arctis 7. Having flashy lights on your headset is very appealing but does not change your sound experience when those lights aren’t there. The more curious omission from the Arctis 7 was that of the Noise Reduction feature. The Noise Reduction feature is present with the Arctis 5‘s SteelSeries Engine options and does a pretty good job at balancing the threshold from which background noise is actively filtered out from outbound chat. I wasn’t too sure why such a handy feature was omitted, but hopefully it will be added in an software update for the Arctis 7‘s SteelSeries Engine options. Gamers who use chat clients like Ventrillo, Teamspeak, or Discord may not even miss this option since many chat clients have this built-in.
Aside from that, you still have a very robust and respectable assortment of features for the wireless Arctis 7. The ClearCast mic of the Arctis series welcomes streamers with its clarity. So having a built-in option for forwarding all sound going to the headset to external recording devices is a nice touch. Sure the inbound port is meant for overlaying other sound sources to the headset, but it was nice that you can also house calls at the same time with this port. A simple 3.5mm cable between your phone and the inbound port will allow you to take your calls without having to stop gameplay. Add the nice bulk of sound customization options through the SteelSeries Engine and you have a very complete package in the Arctis 7. As for those sound customization options, we’ll go over it in the next section, Sound Presentation.