Value & Conclusion
- The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is available online for $150/€160.
- Great audio performance, both for music and serious gaming
- Beautiful design and excellent build quality
- SteelSeries Engine 3 software is easy to use and filled with useful features
- ChatMix Dial, built into the right ear cup, is a fantastic addition
- Mic Sidetone setting used for microphone monitoring improves chatting experience
- Superb comfort levels - ear cushions are extremely soft, the inner elastic headband is comfortable, and the weight distribution is great
- Volume and microphone controls built into the left ear cup
- Amazing battery life
- Fantastic wireless range
- Unimpressive microphone quality (when connected to the supplied wireless dongle/sound card)
- Poor virtual 7.1 surround sound
- Blinking of the white LED on the wireless receiver when the headset is off is distracting
A lot of aspects of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 can only be described in superlatives. It's by far the best-looking headset I've ever stumbled upon. It's exceptionally well made and a big upgrade from the Arctis 5 in that regard, mainly due to a massive metal headband, instead of a plastic one. It's also wireless, with an impressive range, one I almost couldn't test properly within the confines of my home, and a battery life that surpasses the 20-hour mark.
Then there's the comfort. This is yet another aspect where the Arctis 7 runs circles around pretty much every other gaming headset out there. The search for the absolute comfort is over - SteelSeries nailed it with the Arctis 7. Don't like the cloth ear cushions, made from the material used to make running shirts? No problem, replace them with velour or leather ones. The stretchy headband isn't to your liking? You can replace it as well.
SteelSeries made sure you'll be able to adjust the Arctis 7 to your liking and feel great about yourself if you decide to take it on the go. If you do that, you'll simply use the supplied cable to connect it to your smartphone, and it will work in passive mode without draining its battery. They even added an option to use a standard 3.5-mm audio cable as yet another way to use it in wired mode.
The ChatMix Dial, basically a dial that will adjust the volume levels between the game you're playing and the voice app you're using on the fly, is built into one of the ear cups. After only a couple of hours of use, it will make you not want any other headset that doesn't have it. It's fantastically implemented, and that encourages you to use it all the time.
Last but by no means the least, the sound quality is great. Not a single aspect of the acoustic presentation was overdone. By putting a strong emphasis on precision and neutral tuning, SteelSeries achieved two things: great spatial positioning in games and the ability to tackle pretty much any music genre you can think of. What the built-in audio drivers don't give you by default, you can get by playing with the system-wide equalizer available within the SteelSeries Engine 3 software.
I have only a serious gripe - the microphone isn't good enough to be used for serious Twitch streaming and YouTube voiceovers, or similar tasks, at least not while it's wirelessly connected to the supplied sound card, which you have every right to expect to work well when paying $150 for a gaming headset. Fortunately, it's still perfectly fine for chatting with your teammates - they will hear you loud and clear.
As a complete package, this is the best wireless headset I've tried to date. If you've got the dough, get it. You'll thank me later.