Introduction & Specification Details and Close-up
SteelSeries is a big name in the gaming headset industry, and today we are taking a close-up look at one of the company's wireless options, the Arctis 7 Wireless.
The SteelSeries Arctis is one of the best-known gaming headsets on the market, and other Arctis models that I have reviewed have stood up to the hype of the name. Today, we will see if the Arctis 7 will, as we will be taking a deep dive into the headset's design, functionality, comfort, performance, and, of course, price.
Additionally, we will be attempting to find what type of gamer would benefit most from this headset while at the same time hopefully educating gamers into discovering what type of gaming audio products they prefer, based on the games/platform they are playing on. The SteelSeries Arctis 7 comes in at an average price of $150, but at the time of writing this review, it is going on Amazon for $139. Before we get into what the audio sounds like, let's take a close-up look at the Arctis 7.
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
SteelSeries has opted for a very sleek and minimalistic design choice with the Arctis 7 as the headset doesn't really have any features that could necessarily catch someone's eye. There is no RGB lighting, and the construction of the headset makes it orientate to wrapping around the user's head firmly. While these are certainly positives in my book, there were a few issues I have found throughout my experience.
SteelSeries is unique when it comes to its headbands, and the elastic strap that is featured on the Arctis 7 and many other Arctis models is something that the company is certainly known for. For some people, I can imagine that they would experience no problems due to their head size, but I, unfortunately, think this wouldn't be the case for people with larger heads as there isn't a lot of vertical room. The result of having a larger head is feeling the metal headband on top of my head.
While the aforementioned was certainly a problem for me, I can't knock the general build quality of the headset as it feels very premium. There was no creaking when I flexed the headset, and I noticed that when I was holding the headset in my hand, there is a nice weighty feel, making the headset feel less "cheap". Contrary to the last point, the Arctis 7 only weighs 9.9 ounces, which only speaks volumes for the build quality I experienced.
When wearing the Arctis 7, you experience a breathable headset that has a very snug fit. If you are a gamer that doesn't like a headset that has a tight clamping pressure, you can use the elastic band to adjust the size. However, this will bring your head closer to the metal frame headband, so be sure to find a happy medium between vacant space and reduced clamping pressure. The earcups are very comfortable, and the fabric used allows for a lot of breathability - perfect for a gamer that gets hot ears from a headset after a long gaming session.
The Arctis 7 comes with a wide array of features, and to best take advantage of these features, a gamer would be playing games on multiple platforms or at least using multiple devices. SteelSeries has provided a 4-pole 3.5 jack that can be plugged into a mobile device or a console without needing a power source. Additionally, the wireless receiver for Arctis 7 features a line in/out on the back device, which means users can route their desktop speakers to the receiver and have it automatically switch the sound output between the desktop speakers when the headset is off, and the headset when it's powered on.
For the line-in part of the receiver, a user can connect any 3.5mm output, and then that audio will be wirelessly transmitted to your headset. An example of this would be having your headset connected to your PC for gaming, but you wanted to listen to the music on your phone.
The drivers for the Arctis 7 are the SteelSeries GG software. A download link for the software can be found here. It should be noted that if you have any SteelSeries peripherals, you should download GG software to unlock their full capabilities.
After downloading the SteelSeries GG software and installing your Arctis 7, or any SteelSeries peripheral, you will be presented with the above screen. Here is where you can select the device you wish to customize. I was immediately disappointed that the software displayed a battery icon with no percentage indicator and instead has small bars. This makes it very difficult to judge the current battery
Next is the headset customization screen. In this part of the software, a user can create custom audio profiles, tinker with EQ's, use EQ presets, enable surround sound, enable mic monitoring, increase base enhancement, add dynamic range compression, and more. I recommend leaving dynamic range compression off, EQ flat, and slightly boosting the base. However, those are my personal gaming settings, the beauty is that you can customize the headset to whatever you like!
Performance & Microphone
As with all of my gaming headset reviews, I like to test the headset I'm reviewing for a considerable amount of time to really dive into the headset's sound signature. I tested the Arctis 7 for 20+ hours of gaming, with all of those games being competitive shooters such as Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Overwatch.
Throughout my testing, I noticed that the Arctis 7 has impressive wireless connectivity. I managed to get the Arctis 7 to around 28 feet before the connection began to drop out. Another thing to note is that at 27 feet, the connection remained steady and clear, which is very impressive for a gaming headset wireless connection at that length. The Arctis 7 beats all of the gaming headsets I've tested when it comes to wireless connection distance and sustained stable quality over a distance.
My initial thoughts when jumping into a game was that the audio was very clean-cut, and the mids were appropriately enhanced for that competitive edge. I had no problems with directional audio in any of the games I played and was able to confidently track the footsteps of my enemies as well as track down locations that enemies were shooting from by just using my audio. Halfway through my testing, I changed over to DTS surround sound and didn't enjoy what I heard.
The soundstage of the game was definitely expanded, but I felt that I lost a lot of my directional audio, as well as certain audio queues became muffled and unrecognizable. I much preferred the stereo experience as I felt that I was much more immersed and in tune with the game's sound. As for the sound quality, the Arctis 7 doesn't disappoint as the highs and mids are both crystal clear, but the bass is a little weak for my liking. However, this problem was easily solved with a bit of EQ tweaking and bass enhancement.
After putting some decent hours into the main games I play with the Arctis 7, I can confidently say that a gamer that enjoys battle royales or first-person shooters will be satisfied with what the Arctis 7 can produce.
The Arctis 7 produces a decent music listening experience as well. While writing this review, I listened to the following artists: Led Zeppelin, ACDC, Drake, J Cole, Eminem, Mick Gordon, Hans Zimmer, Elvis, and System of A Down. The Arctis 7 didn't disappoint me in any of these music genres.
MSI Immerse GH61 Effects Enabled
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Sennheiser | EPOS GSP 370 (Warm)
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless
The Arctis 7 has very good sound quality when it comes to competitive shooters with a very crisp mid-tone and a reduction of bass so gamers can hear their enemy's every move. The earcups are comfortable and breathable, perfect for prolonged gaming sessions. The Arctis 7 also has a long connectivity range and multiple ways to route sound output.
The Arctis 7 does have downsides, and they are as follows; large heads can hit the headband metal, software needs work, poor surround sound, and loose volume wheels.
All in all, is the Arctis 7 a 'worth it' purchase for a gamer shopping for a new gaming headset? As always, it really depends on the type of gamer you are.
The Arctis 7 undoubtedly has a tonne of features that a gamer can utilize, and while these features are awesome, I would advise you to consider how many of them you are going to be actually using. If you are going to use the majority or all of the Arctis 7 features, and don't mind the lack of software or surround sound, then I believe that you would certainly enjoy the Arctis 7 if you purchased one.
However, if you aren't going to utilize all of the features of the Arctis 7, I would recommend you to other brands of headsets that are cheaper, give a better listening experience, and don't have all of the extra features. Ultimately, the decision really of purchasing an Arctis 7 comes down to the gamers situation, and if you are a competitive gamer that plays games on multiple platforms, is an avid music listener, and can take advantage of the Arctis 7's portability/features, you definitely won't be upset if you purchase one.
The Bottom Line
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 has a tonne of features, but if you aren't planning on using all of the features, there are other headsets on the market that can give you better sound for a cheaper price.