Hardcore PC avid gamers are properly acquainted with Danish producer SteelSeries: it makes mice, keyboards and gaming headsets which can be perennially standard with the e-sports brigade. 

The newest addition to its line-up is the Arctis 7, a mid-priced $149 (£159.99 / AU$259) wi-fi headset that boasts DTS Headphone: X surround-sound and a few very neat design touches certainly.

Design

The Arctis 7 makes a fantastic first impression: bodily, it oozes class. It’s surprisingly mild, and comes with what SteelSeries describes as a ski-goggle band (which it isn’t, because it sits on prime of your head slightly going across the again of it), with  natty Dazzle Ships-style camouflage print. 

That design each gives an enormous quantity of adjustability for avid gamers with unusually giant or small heads and ensures that the Arctis 7 is prime of the category within the consolation stakes. It’s a headset you can fortunately put on all day.

When it comes to end, the Arctis 7 is equally unimpeachable. The backs of its earcups are coated with pretty, tactile rubber, its headband is steel padded by rubber, there aren’t any low cost plastics to be seen and customarily it has the feel and appear of a really high-end headset. 

The microphone neatly retreats into the left earcup when not in use. Ergonomically, it’s spot-on, with separate dials for quantity and chat stage that are simple to find.

Issues stop to be fairly so rosy, nevertheless, once you come to set it up. The guide is so terse as to be positively unhelpful, requiring frequent recourse to the net. And the Arctis 7 quickly betrays its PC-centric background. It comes with a small, disc-shaped wi-fi (2.4GHz, slightly than Bluetooth, so it doesn’t endure from drop-outs) transmitter that connects to a PC or console through USB. 

The dearth of an optical cable implies that for those who hook it as much as a PlayStation four, you received’t get any surround-sound, and the identical applies to the Xbox One – besides there’s no have to plug its transmitter in, as it should solely work as a wired headset, related to an Xbox One controller.

One massive feather in its cap is that it’ll work as a completely wi-fi headset (though once more with out surround-sound) with a Nintendo Change in its docked mode. Though that requires a Three.5mm-to-Three.5mm cable, connecting the Change’s audio-out with line-in on the transmitter, which isn’t equipped with the headset. The guide gave no inkling that that was a chance, however a spot of web-trawling enlightened us.

The one point out of any software program or firmware settings within the guide pertained to setting the Arctis 7 up to be used with a PC, which slightly offers the sport away – it’s very a lot a PC headset which may also be hooked as much as consoles. Putting in it on a PC brings a bit of software program which operates as a graphic equaliser – on any of the consoles, it’s not possible to change its equalisation.

Efficiency

Not that you’d essentially need to, because the Arctis 7 has a really clear, impartial sound – one that ought to please the audiophiles. 

It has a very sturdy, crystal-clear mid-range, together with a properly balanced and really exact treble. 

That stated, its bass is a bit weaker. Should you’re in search of a headset that gives a cinema-type sound, with a relentless, excitement-ramping bass rumble, you’ll need to look elsewhere, as you’ll discover its bass slightly weedy. 

Nevertheless, it’s a perfect-sounding headset for those who’re probably to make use of it for listening to audio, significantly from a hi-fi setup. It’s best to be capable to get it working wirelessly through the transmitter’s audio-in connector.

The Arctis 7’s built-in microphone sports activities some spectacular expertise which renders it unusually crystal-clear and eliminates the tinniness that its friends typically introduce to your voice. As a result of it’s flexible, you possibly can place it proper up near your mouth, so it performs properly once you use it in noisy locations.

Even on the PC, although, the DTS Headphone:X sound implementation wasn’t the very best we’ve come throughout. It makes use of software program slightly than , and is a bit on or off, missing directional nuance. 

This might put you at an obstacle for those who’re within the higher echelon of first-person shooter devotees, however for those who don’t have any aspirations to be an expert Name of Responsibility participant or the like, it shouldn’t pose an excessive amount of of an issue. In any case, the Arctis 7 merely received’t be capable to convey any type of surround-sound on any of the consoles.

One style of sport which it’s eminently suited to is Massively Multiplayer On-line video games (MMOs). Anybody who performs these will place consolation on the prime of their record of priorities, and the Arctis 7 actually scores properly within the consolation stakes. MMOs additionally are likely to eschew surround-sound – and the overwhelming majority of them are finest performed on the PC.

One other facet of the Arctis 7 which is able to endear it to MMO-lovers is its battery life. It was initially rated at 15 hours, however SteelSeries not too long ago unleashed a firmware replace which, it claims, extends that battery life to a staggering 24 hours. We didn’t fairly get that, however did eke about 20 hours out of it, which is among the many finest on the market—particularly for a headset which is mild and comfy. Recharging is carried out through a USB cable slightly than a cradle, however that turns into much less of a difficulty when you must recharge it occasionally.

Verdict

On the consoles, it’s much less simple to advocate the Arctis 7, as a result of primarily to its lack of surround-sound. The necessity to wire any headset to an Xbox One controller negates spending additional on a wi-fi headset, anyway. However the reality it really works in correct wi-fi mode with the Change is spectacular (when you do your analysis and work out learn how to get it going), though we did discover that it sounded disappointingly quiet on the Change, which has no audio-out quantity management.

Nevertheless, for those who’re a PC gamer with a selected penchant for MMOs, or motion video games that don’t require pinpoint surround-sound, and are in search of a headset with a superbly impartial sound which is superbly made, the Arctis 7 is pretty much as good as something on the market. 

As gaming headsets go, it’s removed from essentially the most mass-appeal one on sale, so for those who’re pondering of shopping for one for another person, be sure to discover out what kinds of video games they like, and whether or not they play on the PC or on consoles.

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