The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless does most things right. It sounds very good, if a little too neutral for gaming purposes, has the kind of battery life that should last you through many gaming sessions, is comfortable, and comes with a number of great gaming-centric features. If only it were a tiny bit cheaper.
Solid neutral sound quality
Long battery life with very good fast charging
Plenty of customizations via the Sonar app
A little pricier than we would like
Not the most fun headset to listen to
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless: One-minute review
If you’ve seen the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless, you’ll know that this is more than just the Arctis 7 with a fresh coat of paint. It may retain its predecessor’s general design, but the ear cups and headband are both slimmed down for a sleeker, more ergonomic package. It’s no wonder that it’s 14% lighter.
There are plenty of changes beyond its aesthetics as well. It can connect to multiple sources simultaneously. It has fast charging capabilities. And, thanks to the Sonar software suite, it has the kind of sonic customization that will let you customize the sound beyond anything you could have done with the Arctis 7. It still has some of the previous model’s DNA, good and bad, including that slightly weak bass, but there’s enough to like that you might consider upgrading even if you own its predecessor.
Though it doesn’t reach the same aural heights as the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is still a stellar entry into the oversaturated world of gaming headsets – even if it costs a little more than it should.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless: Price and availability
- How much does it cost? $179 (£174, about AU$310)
- When is it available? Available now
- Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia
Interface: 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth, 3.5mm
Compatibility: Windows, Mac, PS4/5, Meta Quest 2, mobile devices
Mic: Bidirectional noise-cancelling
Surround sound: Microsoft Spatial Sound / Tempest 3D audio for PS5
Weight: 11.45oz (325g)
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless, which entered the marketplace in late August 2022, is far from the cheapest of SteelSeries’ Nova gaming headsets. That honor goes to the much more stripped-down Arctis 1, which costs $59 (£59, about AU$69). And, though it’s not the most expensive headset either, it will set you back a decent amount with a price tag of $179 (£174, about AU$310).
Along with the 7P and 7X, the console-oriented versions of the same headset, it’s a solid performer (you can certainly find worse headsets for the same price). But, considering the competition and what it offers, a price tag closer to $150 / £150 would be more appropriate.
Of course, the most expensive Nova headset, the Nova Pro Wireless, does sell for $349 (£329, about AU$649). However, it comes with such a wow factor that we would gladly pay that much for it.
- Value: 3.5 / 5
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless: Design
- Plenty of personalization available
- Clamping force is a little too light
- Compatible with most devices
Though the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is more than just a light refresh, you can still see the general outline of previous SteelSeries headsets in its design. The ear cups are oval where they meet the ear pads, and the headset still comes with replaceable ski goggle headbands and ear cup plates. It also uses similar materials, namely durable-feeling plastic for the earcups and metal for the headband (PVD-coated steel in the case of the Nova 7). That’s where most of the similarities end.
Unlike the Arctis 7, the ear cups are thinner except for the raised circular portions that house the replaceable ear cup plates. These small, circular plates act as an accent instead of covering the entire outside surface as the ones on the Arctis 7 do.
The steel headband is slimmer, as are the ski goggle headband inserts. They only need to be clipped into place on the inside, abandoning that iconic velcro-ed, wrap-around design.
Both the ear cups and ski goggle headbands are completely replaceable with several different colorways available from SteelSeries. This allows you to personalize the Nova 7 Wireless far beyond what you can do with most headsets, though you’ll have to purchase them separately.
All the controls you could want are at your fingertips. The right side houses the power and Bluetooth buttons, as well as the chat mix and USB-C port, while the left side has the mic mute, volume dial and 3.5mm audio jack. The retractable mic is also on the left ear cup and sits flush when stowed away.
Ergonomically, there’s enough swivel and height adjustability to accommodate just about any head shape. You can even swivel the ear cups flat if you want to throw the headset in a backpack. When wearing the Arctis Nova 7, however, it has one glaring issue. There isn’t enough clamping force to keep it in place during intense moments. If you move your head quickly, it slides around a bit. While it doesn't fly off, we would have preferred a little tighter fit. After all, you can loosen a headset’s clamping force but you can’t tighten it.
It’s still surprisingly comfortable to wear despite that one issue. The ski goggle headband keeps the steel band from putting pressure on your head, while the airweave memory foam ear pads are plush and keep you from feeling any fatigue even after wearing it for long periods. Having also tested the Nova Pro Wireless, though, we much prefer the soft leatherette covering its ear pads to the coarser cloth here. Considering the price, a softer fabric would have given it higher value.
Considering all the connectivity on the Nova 7 Wireless, it’s no surprise that you can hook it up to just about any system. The USB-C dongle lets you use the headset with a PC, PlayStation, or Switch, while you can use the Bluetooth capability for Mac, tablets and phones. Of course, you can also connect it to any analog device thanks to the 3.5mm connection.
One of the benefits of having that wide range of connectivity is the ability to connect to multiple devices at once, and SteelSeries has made that a feature here. Its multi-device, multi-platform support lets you connect to a wireless source and Bluetooth source simultaneously, so you can take that important call in the middle of a battle without having to grab your phone.
Since it has that simultaneous connectivity, SteelSeries has decided to include separate buttons for power and Bluetooth. If you’re connected to a Bluetooth source and use the power button to power off, the headset will still receive that Bluetooth signal. You have to press that Bluetooth button to power it off.
If you’re hoping to use this for anything else, it also comes with a 3.5mm port for wired connectivity. In essence, you can connect the Nova 7 Wireless to just about anything, though if you want wireless connectivity to an Xbox, you need to get the Nova 7x instead.
- Design: 4 / 5
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless: Performance
- Very good, if a bit too neutral, sound quality
- Plenty of battery life including fast charging
- Good sounding mic
There are headphones and headsets that sound more fun with boosted lows and highs, and then there are ones with a more neutral sound. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless sits firmly in the latter camp. The mids are just right, and the low-ends are present enough for you to feel them, even though they’re quieter than we like. Meanwhile, the high-end is detailed if slightly veiled.
You can hear everything clearly and as intended. It won’t compare to the cleaner, punchier sound of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless. But, it gives pretty accurate audio that’s immersive once your ears adjust to the more neutral sound.
Along with audio quality, mic quality is a crucial consideration with headsets. The boom mic sounds loud, clear, and very present, with only a tiny bit of compression on the voice. Essentially, it sounds very good. It does pick up background noise but not at a volume that’s distracting or will affect how well others hear your voice. And, there is some AI noise cancellation available via the software.
When testing, we used the mic without retracting it from the earcup. Of course, the mic quality suffered a bit, but our voice still came through clearly, just not as loud, a bit more compressed, and like it’s farther away. The mic also picks up much more background noise this way.
Battery life is also an important factor. Luckily, it’s pretty stellar here. While you won’t be able to hot-swap batteries, as on the Pro Wireless, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless does give you 38 hours of battery life. That’s about five days of gaming if you put in eight hours a day. It also offers fast charging via its USB-C. With just 15 minutes of charge, you get an extra six hours of use.
We’re impressed with some of the software-related features that come with the Arctis, notably the new Sonar Audio Software Suite. It’s an add-on to the SteelSeries GG Engine and provides a ton more control. You can adjust mic volume, game volume, chat volume, chat mix, and much more. You can also turn on the ClearCast AI noise cancellation here.
Most importantly, it gives you access to a parametric EQ. This means you can not only adjust the boost or cut of individual EQ bands but also change which frequencies you’re adjusting, as well as add more bands to play with. This is much deeper and more customizable than the usual five-band EQ that most headsets give you. Just be aware that these customizations are only available when you’re plugged into a PC and using the app.
- Performance: 4 / 5
Should I buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless?
Buy it if...
You want good neutral sound quality
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless gives you good audio quality without any unnatural sounding frequencies for an accurate representation of any game you play.
You want a headset to last as long as your gaming sessions
With memory foam padding and 38-hour battery life, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 will get you through long gaming sessions without you tearing it off in discomfort or to charge.
You like customization
There’s a lot of fine-tuning available, such as a parametric EQ to adjust the sound quality to your liking, and a number of other software adjustments.
Don't buy it if...
You’re on a budget
While you can spend much more on a headset, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is far from a budget headset. There are cheaper options out there that can get you most of what it offers.
You like fun-sounding headsets
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless sounds good, but it doesn’t have that thumping bass or high-end presence that more fun-sounding headsets have.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless: Report card
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless
This full-featured premium gaming headset comes with practically everything. You can even use it as a pair of headphones when commuting or traveling.
Read our full SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review
Corsair HS55 Wireless Core
The affordable Corsair HS55 Wireless Core comes with on-the-fly EQ preset control, lightweight design, wireless connectivity with a 50ft signal range, and decent 24-hour battery life.
Read our full Corsair HS55 Wireless Core review
Razer Barracuda X
This multi-platform gaming headset comes with the same features as the HS55 Wireless, as well as the same price tag.
Read our full Razer Barracuda X review
|Value||While the Nova 7 Wireless is a very solid headset, and better than much of the competition, we think it should be just slightly cheaper.||3.5 / 5|
|Design||It’s a versatile and sleek headset. It’s also lighter than its predecessor.||4 / 5|
|Performance||It sounds good with a good quality mic, excellent battery life and some great software customization.||4 / 5|
|Total||While a bit on the pricey side, it’s a great all-around headset that will impress most.||4 / 5|
- First reviewed September 2022
How we test
We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.
Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.