Introduction & Specification Details and Close-up
Today we will be looking at the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. SteelSeries is aiming this headset at both portable gamers and stay-at-home gamers.
In this review, we will be pulling apart all of the features of the Arctis 1 Wireless. We will be taking a look at the audio quality in both in-game and music listening scenarios. We will also be looking at the design of the headset, the software that SteelSeries provides, the durability of the headset, the provided microphone, and more.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless comes in at a price point of $119.99, and we are going to see if its worth that cost for a particular type of gamer. SteelSeries has a long line of headsets that are renowned as fantastic, so let's see if they can live up to their name with the Arctis 1 Wireless.
To kick things off, we have the front of the box. Here is where we get a nice image of the Arctis 1 Wireless. We also see that the headset comes with support for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Android devices.
On the back of the box, we get a more in-depth look at the features that come with the Arctis 1 Wireless. We can see that Discord has certified this headset and that the wireless dongle can be plugged into a range of different devices. Examples include PC, Android devices that have USB-C, Nintendo Switch, and PS4.
Moving onto one of the sides of the box, we can see a full breakdown of all of the contents that are included in the box, as well as the specifications for the headset.
The other side of the box showcases all of the accolades that the headset has received from multiple publications.
In this image, we are looking at the left earcup. From the bottom of the image to the top of this image, these are the features listed out: microphone jack, micro-USB jack, 3.5mm audio jack, volume wheel, microphone mute switch.
Moving on, we are looking at the headband extension, which extends to a maximum of 3.5cm. It should also be noted that the headband is made out of steel, and is quite strong.
The Arctis 1 Wireless earcups can rotate 90 degrees, and from this image, you can see that the rotation is quite extreme, but it's very welcomed.
The above image is of the outside earcup, and as you can see, it's very minimalistic and clean.
Moving on, we can see that the earcup can also adjust vertically. The range for the adjustment should be enough for any person's head size.
This next image is a picture of the power button that also doubles as a multimedia control option. I will get into how good this is later on in the review.
Next, we have the AirWeave earcups. These are incredibly comfy and breathe really nicely even when worn for extended periods of time.
Here we have an image of the Arctis 1 Wireless headband. This headband is quite comfy, its leather, and had a strong, snug feel to it that isn't overpowering. The tightness is just enough that you don't have to worry about the headset falling off if you are bending over to pick something up.
In the above image, we are taking a look at the Arctis 1 Wireless microphone, and while this could be my least favorite part about the Arctis 1 Wireless, the microphone is still super slick and overall quite decent.
Lastly, we have the USB-C to USB-A adapter cable, 3.5mm audio cable, micro-USB charging cable, and the USB-C wireless dongle.
Jak's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero X570 (Wi-Fi) (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X @ 4.4GHz (buy from Amazon)
- GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER XC GAMING (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: be quiet! Silent Wings 3
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: GALAX HOF Pro SSD PCI-E M.2 2TB
- Power Supply: Corsair CX Series 750 Watt (buy from Amazon)
- Case: be quiet! Silent Base 600 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Design & Software
After using the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless headset for over a week of solid gaming, music listening, and video listening, I can say that overall SteelSeries definitely has a winner headset with the Arctis 1 Wireless.
SteelSeries has chosen to use steel for the Arctis 1 Wireless, and I personally think this was a fantastic choice as even though the headset is relatively on the lighter side, it doesn't feel cheap and nasty. The steel frame it's built on reinforces the snugness of headset, and really makes the earcups press firmly against the sides of your head.
As for the earcups, SteelSeries calls the earcup cushions 'AirWeave ear cushions', and since the cushions have such a fancy name, you'd expect that they would be comfy. If you expected that, you'd be very much right. SteelSeries has done a fantastic job with their 'AirWeave' air cushions; they are elliptical shaped and breathe really nicely. This means that sweat doesn't build up when gamers have extended gaming sessions, or when they are gaming in the Summer.
The height of the earcups can also be adjusted by sliding them up and down. They don't slide very far (3.5cm), and unfortunately, there are no visual indicators to let users know what height they are currently sitting at.
SteelSeries has really designed this headset with portability in mind, and it shows. Since the Arctis 1 Wireless has control buttons on the left ear cup, both stay-at-home gamers and portable gamers can enjoy muting their microphone, changing volume levels, and skipping songs really easily. The volume wheel is analog, which means that it changes the volume of the headset and not the volume in Windows. The left earcup also features a 3.5mm audio jack for those gamers who cannot use the USB-C wireless dongle.
Overall, the design of the Arctis 1 Wireless is fantastic. I'm a sucker for minimalistic looking headsets that have friendly features, and the Arctis 1 Wireless definitely fits the bill. The headset is extremely comfortable, lightweight, and durable. Since it's accompanied with volume controls via the power button and I can connect it to my Pixel 3XL, I not only use the Arctis 1 Wireless for gaming on PC but also as the listening device I take to the gym.
If you are after a download link to the SteelSeries software, it's called SteelSeries Engine 3 and a link can be found here.
So how good is the software? Honestly, I was a bit disappointed when I first opened the software, mostly because of simple things like the image below.
As you can see, the software window doesn't scale at all and is one fixed size. This isn't a problem performance-wise, but it's still something SteelSeries should be adding to their software. How good is the software to use? Well, I like that everything you would need to change on the headset is right in front of your face, and there is no messing about through multiple tabs, but then again, everything does feel somewhat cramped and small, especially on higher resolution displays.
Everything you would normally find in headset software is there; you have EQ, live-microphone preview (amazing touch), mic sidetone, mic volume, power options (choose how long to wait before the headset auto turns off), presets and dynamic range compression. If you don't really care for tweaking audio software, the SteelSeries Engine 3 won't be an issue for you, but if you do care about fine-tuning your audio experience, you will definitely feel limited here.
Performance & Microphone
Onto the crux of the review - performance. Performance is usually what determines whether or not someone is going to buy a product or not, and in this case, I'm guessing you are asking yourself whether or not you should buy the Arctis 1 Wireless? Well, that depends on your use case.
As expected, the Arctis 1 Wireless did everything I expected it to do while in-game. The audio is perfectly clear, even during high and really low moments. SteelSeries has clearly designed the Arctis 1 Wireless around in-game audio, and it really shows when you put the headset on and jump into a game of Apex Legends, or Call of Duty: Warzone. The directional audio is great, and while it isn't the best audio I have heard out of a headset, it's probably up there with the top 5 contenders for its price point. In short, you will not be disappointed with what you hear in-game with the Arctis 1 Wireless.
Gaming headsets don't always sound the greatest when it comes to music and movies, and unfortunately, the Arctis 1 Wireless isn't an outlier in this fashion. At moderate levels of volume, there is a slight static sound in the background, you really have to listen for it, but once you have heard it you can't un-hear it. This static sound also increases as the volume is increased, making it almost unbearable to listen to music at high volume levels. This issue isn't specific to the Arctis 1 Wireless, as I have found this to be a problem across numerous gaming headsets when listening to music.
SteelSeries, you have done fantastic work with the microphone. Using the live mic preview option in the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, I was able to tweak the microphone to exactly what I wanted. While there aren't that many options available, the main ones were present - microphone volume, mic sidetone, and dynamic range compression. The microphone sounds great, very above average for a headset mic and something that SteelSeries should be proud of. Since the Arctis 1 Wireless comes Discord certified, I'm happy to report that Discord users that hear you through the Acrtis 1 will say you sound clear and crisp, just as my friends did.
The Arctis 1 Wireless is lightweight, durable, has fantastic in-game audio, has a decent wireless distance, great cushions, a solid headband, and an above-average microphone. The average gamer would be very happy with the Arctis 1 Wireless.
SteelSeries has shipped this product with too many cables. I would've love to see the Arctis 1 Wireless have a USB-C port instead of a micro-USB port on the headset. This would remove the need for a micro-USB charging cable, and also the need for two free USB slots when both using and charging the headset. SteelSeries also needs to update its Engine 3 software to the same standards as their great microphone. I feel like the software is half-hearted, its there for users to play with, but not for users to enjoy.
Let's wrap this up. Should you buy the Arctis 1 Wireless? Well, as I said before, it depends on your use case.
If you are a hardcore gamer that loves to fiddle around with audio settings, have extensive software customizable setting, and also doesn't care for gaming on the go, then don't buy the Arctis 1 Wireless. There are plenty of other headset options on the market that would better fit your use-case, and I feel you would get a lot more out of them if you spent a bit more money. Examples of this would be the Logitech Pro X Gaming Headset.
If you are a gamer that doesn't really care for audio tweaking and just want a headset that is lightweight, comfortable, above average in-game audio as well as an above-average microphone, then grab the Arctis 1 Wireless. To reinforce that use-case recommendation more, if you are a gamer that likes to take their gaming on-the-go, whether that be with a Nintendo Switch or Android device, then I recommend the Arctis 1 Wireless more, as you can do all that with just one headset.
SteelSeries has hit the nail on the headset in terms of portability, cost, sound quality, and microphone quality with the Arctis 1 Wireless. Gamers on-the-go that simultaneously want a headset to game at home with will have a hard time passing up on this headset.
The Bottom Line
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is a great wireless headset that is perfect for gamers on-the-go, and a more than adequate headset for gamers at home.