Steelseries Arctis Nova 7 – headphone test. Perfect for gamers, a bit worse for music lovers

The recent Steelseries headphone tests have generated a lot of different comments. Some could not believe that the Arctis Nova Pro are so good, even though my opinion was in line with the feelings of the vast majority of reviewers from around the world. I decided to approach Arctis Nova 7 a little differently, clearly emphasizing the use of this equipment.

Steelseries headphones have been very well made for some time and in this respect you cannot fault it. It is no different in the case of the new Arctis Nova 7 model, which is to successfully replace the already worn out Arctis 7. The changes in the construction itself are very clear. The oval design of the earpieces was abandoned in favor of even larger curves, with a metal frame, a comfortable and detachable material strap and airy cushions in which our ears hide. On the right earpiece you will find a knob to adjust the mute of the environment when talking through the microphone. In addition, there is a USB-C connector and two buttons – a switch and bluetooth pairing. Full technical specification can be found on the manufacturer’s website.

On the left earpiece, in turn, there is a mini-jack connector, a retractable microphone, a volume control knob, and a button responsible for mute the microphone. On the sides there are round, replaceable caps (you can buy colorful ones in the Steelseries store, together with the strap, for PLN 155). The aforementioned material that settles on our head is black, blue or green depending on the model, which clearly illustrates what equipment we should connect Nove 7 to (model differentiation is also adding the letter “P” to the PlayStation edition and “X” to the Xbox Edition). It is worth noting that only the latter fits Microsoft consoles and can connect to them wirelessly. Steelseries went crazy with the price and the latest Arctis Nova 7 cost as much as PLN 959 in the official store, which I consider a severe exaggeration in terms of their capabilities, but let’s not get ahead of the facts. I invite you to the photo gallery below so that you can see the construction in all its glory. What else I have to mention – the headphones are quite light, but they do not stick very stiffly on the head, so they can fall off when tilted. However, I consider it an advantage because they are not tiring even after several hours of use. Unlike such Pulse 3D for PS5 from Sony.

Arctis Nova 7 is a series of headphones that are to meet the expectations of players and also do a great job

I decided to divide this test into two categories and differentiate it a bit. I noticed that in the case of the previous Arctis Nova Pro review, you had a few reservations about the conclusions themselves. This time I divided the impressions into those typically gaming and more useful, with particular emphasis on listening to music. However, we’ll start with something basic. What things does the manufacturer add to the set? A cardboard man that you can put together as a decoration, a set of instructions, a radio receiver, as well as three cables – mini-jack, USB-C for charging and USB-C / USB-A for connecting the receiver. In addition, the headphones are packed in a thin, fabric cover. The whole thing makes a very positive impression, and in addition, the height of the earpieces can be adjusted thanks to pneumatic bearings. They put up a lot of resistance, but thanks to that they keep a fixed position all the time.

Okay, but let’s move on to what is most important here, i.e. the functionality itself. First of all, the equipment does not have active noise reduction, which I find completely incomprehensible at this price. The manufacturer adds the ambient mute control knob. We can use it to regulate whether we want to hear what is happening around us in a wider or narrower range. If we set it to one side, then all the voices picked up by the microphone can be heard, which helps a lot when conducting voice calls. We hear our own voice, which allows us to keep a relative silence when speaking (otherwise we just start screaming, which may be uncomfortable for people in chat or in the household). At the same time, when we hear sounds around, they do not interfere in any way with listening to the sounds of the game. After turning the knob the other way and completely mute, we just cut off what the microphone picks up in our headphones. This in turn is useful when we play alone. I am after a few multi sessions in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 open beta and in my opinion this system worked perfectly.

The second, very important element is the option of simultaneously connecting a phone or a second device via bluetooth. This allows you to play freely and answer a call at the same time without removing the headphones. Pairing is very simple and takes place literally in a moment, just like connecting Nova 7 to a console or PC. PlayStation and Xbox instantly detect the device and autofocus the sound. Before we go over it, I want to mention the battery. The manufacturer declares that it is enough for 38 hours of continuous operation. When it is fully discharged, only 5 minutes of charging is enough for us to use the headphones for another 6 hours. I am in a hurry to explain that the battery lasts a long time. I used the Nova 7 for several hours consecutively for several hours and still had a high charge. How do I know that? Because Steelseries used a nice trick here in the switch itself. We have a LED that is green, yellow (from 50%) and red (from 20%). When the battery level drops, the color signals it. When the red starts to flash, we know that only 5% is left and we can start looking for the cable.

For players? Revelation. We have surround sound, extensive PC options and great bass

This is where I would like to clearly communicate one thing – the Arctis Nova 7 is a series of headphones designed for gaming and it is in this area that it does well – I must admit that it is great. While there is no official support for Tempest 3D Audio from Sony, Steelseries offers proprietary surround sound solutions. Once hardware has been detected on your system, you just need to turn on 3D sound in the console settings (as long as it didn’t fire by default, but it’s worth checking out). Regardless of the game, I could hear the approaching opponents perfectly well. I could easily judge from which side someone was talking to me, or where a grenade had just exploded. In the Call of Duty MW2 beta, it has helped me react faster many times. The effect works very well. Explosions are the greatest advantage of this equipment. The bass is splendid here, deep and loud. In addition, all vocals in the form of conversations are very clearly audible, where they do not mix with the background, but are brought to the fore. The high tones, any whistling or female voices that sometimes sound unpleasantly in the ears are a bit offensive. This requires an equalizer and configuration on a PC, which we will not experience on consoles, and in this respect you have to look at this equipment in two ways.

Steelseries Arctis Nova 7 are available in three variants dedicated to three different platforms – PC, PlayStation and Xbox.

Adding the excellent performance of the microphone, I must admit that the Nova 7 for players will be really great. They are definitely better than Pulse 3D from Sony. They sound more spacious, have a much better bass, are also more comfortable and objectively much more interesting in terms of audio reception. And they do not stick to their heads as stiffly as the aforementioned competition. What I must emphasize, however, is that they are far from Arctis Nova Pro, but the latter cost nearly PLN 900 more, which is why these two models definitely do not go hand in hand. However, the option of listening to music looks a bit different, because in this aspect the Nova 7 is clearly lame (without the configuration), but this is not what they were created for.

We will find songs in our playlist that will sound noticeably better than the rest. These are positions with low, male voices, with a lot of bass and guitar, possibly piano. When female high vocals, trumpets or saxophones come to the fore, then a lot of trouble begins. The tonal range in this respect is insufficient, and delicate whistles and squeaks reach our ears. At a slightly lowered volume it is not particularly dramatic yet, but I usually listen to everything very loud and sometimes my ears hurt unpleasantly. Fortunately, this can be adjusted with the equalizer from the Sonar GG application on the PC and the problem largely disappears. Unfortunately, its use is necessary if we want to use this equipment to its full potential for everyday use. On consoles, the usefulness of Nova 7 will probably be limited only to gaming, and when we often use Spotify while playing, we will find more interesting offers on the market (such as HyperX Cloud Alpha, which are much cheaper).

Summary – Arctis Nova 7 are good headphones, but sternly priced and not suitable for all types of sound

The headphones tested today undoubtedly have their advantages in the form of the materials used, the design itself, the comfort of use or the weight and the availability of buttons on the housing. It all works out great. They also have a long battery life and have a really great microphone, the sound of which is clear and pleasant for the listeners on the other side. Certain shortcomings related to the treble or the absurdly high price, however, destroy all this charm. Steelseries Arctis Nova 7 are, in my opinion, very suitable for gaming, but if we only use them in this way and buy them with such confidence. Then, in fact, they will more than meet our expectations, because they have a great, powerful bass, a very perceptible spaciousness and depth of the sounds played, which we will appreciate after a dozen or so minutes. However, they certainly cannot be treated as headphones. “daily”, that is, for all applications. Well, unless we use the PC equalizer. But here you can choose something more interesting for this price, like the above-mentioned HyperX. When the price drops, then Arctis Nova 7 is worth considering, because they are comfortable and pleasant to use.

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