Let’s get one thing out of the way from the start so there are no illusions. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless isn’t perfect, and we think our review reflects that. Other than that, this is probably about as perfect as a gaming headset can be. For now. Let me put it another way. The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is a shining example of how good a gaming headset can be when great sound quality is your main goal.
But it’s not just the sound quality that sets this headset apart from virtually every competitor. The headset has many of the same features found on other high-end options. Plus a few rare and/or unique features you won’t find anywhere else. No matter how hard you try. SteelSeries really nailed it. And for us, at least, much of that is due to the design as much as the other excellent features.
But as I said. The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless isn’t perfect. It’s expensive, and I’ve had occasional hiccups during my time with it. I still love it though and it’s quickly and easily become my go-to gaming headset that I can use for anything. So let’s get to the why.
The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is the king of battery life
One of the biggest issues with wireless headsets has always been battery life. Even now, wireless headsets struggle with that. With the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless this is not a problem. SteelSeries has retained the same battery design as its older Arctis Pro.
Featuring swappable batteries that can be swapped out when one gets weak enough to require a charge. This ensures you always keep a battery charged so it’s ready to go. Then, when you need to swap out the battery in the headset for the charged one, simply slide the dead battery into the side of the game DAC and repeat the cycle.
What I really liked is that I never really had to charge the headset. There’s always a charged battery ready to go, which means all I have to do is turn the headset on and use it. I no longer worry about battery life. The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless batteries are also hot-swappable. From the moment you remove the battery from the headset, you have around 5-8 seconds to insert the new one before it separates.
This is extremely useful when you are in voice chat. In my time with the headset so far, I’ve had to hot swap the battery about 10 times. And each time it became clearer how useful it is to have such a feature. More or less, this gives the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless near-infinite uptime. As long as you always have a battery charging/charged. That’s probably the best thing about this headset, too. However, it’s hard to say because there are so many other good features here.
Use it with all your platforms
Does it annoy you when you have to separate your wireless headset dongle from one platform and move it to another? While it’s great to have a single headset for all your gaming platforms, this is a problem I’ve encountered for years.
The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless solves this problem too. And all thanks to the game DAC. This allows you to keep two devices connected at the same time. There are two USB ports on the back so you can leave one connected to your PC and one to your console, which in my case is the PS5. Whenever you want to use the headset with one or the other, all you have to do is use the gaming DAC to change the audio input to the device you’re gaming on.
It can even simultaneously connect to a mobile device via Bluetooth while you’re connected to wireless audio on a PC or console via the gaming DAC. I usually use this feature when I’m playing on PS5 but want to be in a voice chat on Discord. For example, during the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II beta last month. I was playing on PS5 with friends who were on PC and we all jumped into Discord. I then connected the headset to my phone and joined the call using the Discord mobile app.
I also tend to play Final Fantasy XIV on PS5, but many of my friends play on PC. Which always gave me a choice of what audio to listen to. I could be listening to either Discord or the game. Sometimes both when I wanted to strip off one of the headset earcups. But that got uncomfortable pretty quickly. With simultaneous connection, you don’t have to choose. And believe me, it’s amazing.
The most beautiful headset SteelSeries has ever made
SteelSeries headsets have always offered pretty good sound quality. But I’ve never been a fan of the ski goggle headband design that the company used to use on all of its headsets. It just felt like it didn’t have enough support and the ears never extended. The only way to adjust the length for larger heads was to shorten the goggle strap. Honestly for me this was a bad design that was much less efficient.
However, now SteelSeries has changed things and changed the design of all of its headset models. Starting with the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and a few others. Luckily the ski goggle headband is gone. In its place is a stretchy band that offers a bit of traction support. Band tension can also be adjusted with small snaps on the inside of the band.
Another detail that has changed is the metal band itself. The band is now uncovered (meaning no ski goggle strap runs over it) and has some soft-touch plastic on the bottom to help with structural build-up. Also, the ear cups now lengthen as well, and the band looks slightly angular starting at the ear cups and flattening out towards the middle.
I also really love the gunmetal color, and since the mic is retractable and fits in the left earcup, the headset can easily be used as a Bluetooth headset on the go. To top it off, you have all the necessary buttons and controls on your ear. Power, Mute and Volume on the left and Bluetooth on the right. The power button doubles as an ANC button with a quick click. And both earcups have removable covers for battery access and a USB-C port for software updates.
Some of the better active noise cancellation in a gaming headset
While I don’t think the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless’ active noise cancellation is the best of any gaming headset, it’s certainly up there. In fact, for the most part it does what it’s supposed to do. And I can tell you that even on occasions when I’ve played games on a laptop in a noisy cafe, I’ve rarely heard anything other than my game. Mind you, without having to crank the volume to extremely high levels.
If you want to hear things around you, you can do that by turning on transparency mode. While most of the time I’m not keen on hearing the outside world while I’m gaming, sometimes while I’m gaming I try to have a conversation with a friend sitting next to me as well. It’s also useful when you’re carrying this on the go and need to talk to other people without taking off the headset.
The headset has four microphones to support ANC, two of which are positioned on the outside of the ear and two on the inside. And there is an additional fifth microphone on the actual microphone that you use for chatting. That way, your friends will only hear your voice and nothing else.
Overall, the active noise cancellation works pretty well. It won’t hold a candle to the Sony XM4. But I’m willing to bet that most people’s experiences are similar to mine and the headset would be able to block out most if not all of the noise.
Endless sound customization options with SteelSeries Sonar and GG software
The headset sounds great without changing it much, but if you really want to fine-tune things you can use the SteelSeries GG software suite. One of the better audio features of the headset is the built-in sonar software. And coupled with the GG software, you can adjust all sorts of things to personalize the sound. You can set up different playing profiles and adjust sub-bass, bass, low-mid, mid, high-mid and treble to make things perfect.
Or you can just scroll right and choose from a dropdown list of preset custom game profiles like Apex, Valorant, CoD: Warzone, Rainbow Six Siege and more. There’s also a Spatial Sound toggle, which I highly recommend enabling as it makes the game’s audio that much more immersive. Another really cool feature is the “Smart Audio” toggle. When enabled, this automatically keeps the audio within a range that prevents it from becoming too loud or inaudible. And it has an associated slider that you can use to increase or decrease the effect. Also, these are just the settings for the Game tab.
You’ll find a number of tweaks that you can also do with the chat and microphone segments. And at the top of every tab there’s a “Test Sound” button so you can see how things sound before you commit.
For the most part, the software works well. But I’ve had times where the audio cuts out when using it. The software also tended to crash from time to time, preventing me from using certain features. A quick software reset usually fixed this. In the end, the Sonar and SteelSeries GG suite definitely improve the headset. But you really need to sit down and spend a little time tweaking things to get the most out of it.
Should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless?
Not everyone will want to spend that kind of money on a gaming headset. And I totally understand that. However, I think the investment is worth it. That being said, not everyone will need all of these features. Some players don’t need wireless. Some need the ability to swap out the batteries and don’t mind plugging in the headset when it needs to be charged. But if you want a high-end gaming headset with loads of bells and whistles, this is the only one to consider in my opinion.
Its ease of use, superb audio quality, sleek design, and hot-swappable batteries are a combination of features you simply won’t find in other peripherals. So, should you buy this headset? It depends. Here’s who I think it’s perfect for.
You should buy this headset if:
- You want a high-end gaming headset with tons of features
- You want long battery life
- They play games on multiple platforms
You should avoid it if:
- You don’t want to spend a lot of money
- They prefer wired headsets
- You like wireless headsets but just want something simple
Overall, this is an excellent gaming headset and really the crème de la crème. If you want the best, then this is it. If you don’t care about having the best, there are plenty of good options at lower prices with decent features and sound.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless