Finding a headset with absolutely every feature that you need feels like a near impossible task these days, with certain products having some features, but sacrificing on audio quality or battery life or visa versa. The brand new SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless gaming headset has pretty much every feature you can think of, and some that you won’t have known that you needed until now.
The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless comes in a wireless and a wired variant, and then there’s two versions of each: an Xbox specific version and a standard version. If you’ve got both a PS5/PS4 as well as an Xbox Series X, you’ll want the Xbox branded version as only this model can be used with both the Xbox and PlayStation at once, whilst the standard one can be connected to the PS5/PS4/Switch/PC, but not an Xbox. It’s very hard to find a headset that works with literally any and every console in your cabinet, let alone one that lets you connect two at once and easily go between the two, but this does it and does it well.
Firstly, I want to talk about the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless which is the most feature rich gaming headset that I’ve used, and in particular, if you’ve got an Xbox Series X and a PS5, the ability to connect the two and switch on the fly via the included DAC is a gamechanger. It’s worth noticing that there’s two USB-C ports, once that specifically allows you to connect an Xbox console and the other which allows connection of a PS5/PS4/Switch/PC. If you don’t own an Xbox, but want to connect at least two of the other platforms mentioned, you should stick with the non-Xbox version as that allows you to connect any two at once (but no Xbox). There’s also line in for connecting the headset to improve audio quality again, and line out to connect an external set of speakers to, so that you can control them with a DAC.
The DAC also acts as a battery charger for your backup battery. If you’ve had a SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, you’d be familiar with SteelSeries’ infinite battery system. Unlike other headsets, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless includes two physical batteries, so that you can always be charging a backup battery in the DAC for endless battery life. Each battery lasts roughly 22 hours, and the headset battery can also be charged in the headset with a USB-C port cleverly hidden under the other ear plate.
The other huge new addition to this headset, which hasn’t been in any other gaming headset that I’ve used is Active Noise Cancelling. If you’ve used a high-end Bose or Sony headset, you would know that ANC is a huge positive for these headsets, and thankfully, you get the whole shebang on this headset. You can go between noise cancelling on, off and even transparency which lets you let in sound from the outside world, that is amplified using the microphones in the headsets. The noise cancelling is strengthened by four microphones on and around the headset that allow the outside noises to be cancelled out.
In terms of how much it blocks out, it’s probably ever so slightly behind the Bose QuietComfort, but it was more than good enough with music playing or gunshots blaring from your preferred console. I was able to be in the office with 10-12 people around as well as music blaring through the office speakers and completely drown this out with my own music. Similarly, I have two sausage dogs whose bark often interrupt my sessions, but the ANC did a great job of removing the bass from their bark, so it was barely an issue. Another very minor gripe is that I wish that switching between each of the modes were a little bit clearer, but once you get used to the audio cues, you’re good to go, and obviously the DAC shows you what you have turned off and on and you’re able to make adjustments easily enough if you’ve got that near you too.
I’ll be honest in saying that I’m not the biggest audiophile, but as far as audio quality goes, I can’t recall another gaming headset that has provided such good bass and clarity when it comes to listening to music and gaming audio. Paired with ANC and the SteelSeries GG software that we’ll talk about a bit later, it’s an experience that’s hard to fault, and one that I imagine anyone will be happy with.
Another feature that has been more common on recent SteelSeries headsets is Bluetooth, and that’s here too. Being able to play your PS5 or Xbox Series X, with your mobile connected, so that you can take calls, or watch a quick TikTok whilst waiting for your party to join is a genuine gamechanger and a feature that I could never live without.
The design of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless takes things beyond what we’ve seen in a SteelSeries headset before as well. As with previous models, you’re able to adjust the tension on the band between three different sizes (this is done by holes rather than velcro now) and the actual earcups are finally height adjustable now, with you having free range of the height of both sides of your headset.
The design of most gaming headsets mean that you’d know want to wear them on a work Zoom call let alone out of the house, but SteelSeries have known that if someone is spending $600 and above on a headset, then you’ll want to use it in all aspects of life, especially due to the fact that you have noise cancelling and such. This is why they’ve made the decision to make this headset all black, and even the Xbox version forgoes the inclusion of any green elements, opting to go for a sleek black. Whilst it’s still a bit bulkier than other non-gaming headsets, it’s still probably the nicest premium gaming headset that I can think of. The boom microphone also retracts perfectly back into the headset, giving the illusion that this is a lifestyle headset first, and a gaming headset second, from the design point of view.
As far as connectivity goes, this headset really shines when connected to an Xbox Series X/S or PC. Don’t get me wrong, they work fine when connected to a PS5, but PlayStation has still restricted any headset other than its own from using a chatmix dial, where connecting on Xbox brings it straight up on the DAC and allows you to adjust the chatmix by pressing in the volume dial.
PC is where this headset really goes to another level, particularly when they’re wired, which makes the audio quality even better. A new piece of software called Sonar which is built into SteelSeries GG really takes the audio game to the next level. Not only do you get 360 degree spatial audio (similar to that of PS5 3D audio), but there’s also a number of EQ presets for a number of AAA games that really change the way that you hear things, with more seemingly on the way. Using GG, you’re also able to enable AI Noise cancelling which takes away the background noise of keyboard clocks and such.
All-in-all, outside of a few very minor picky issues with this headset, I can’t think of another headset that does anywhere near as much as it does, and extremely well at that. The fact that it is compatible with PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox, PC, has two batteries that both give you 22 hours of game time, has Active Noise Cancelling that almost rivals the best, Bluetooth compatibility as well as really good sound to boot makes it extremely compelling. The only barrier of entry is the $650 price point for the wireless version (or $513 using code DUKE here), but I feel really, really confident in saying that this will be the last headset that you will need for some time.
THE ARCTIS NOVA PRO (WIRED VERSION)
I also got to spend some time with the Arctis Nova Pro Xbox Edition which is the wired version of this headset. It has the exact same drivers, meaning it has fantastic sound, and also has a smaller DAC with many of the same features. Because it’s wired, obviously there’s no batteries or Bluetooth and there’s also no Active Noise Cancelling, so if you’re a PC user, or have a PS5/Xbox Series X at your desk, I’d recommend it, but honestly for the extra $100-200, I’d recommend just optiong for the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless if the budget allows ($389 for Arctis Nova Pro using code DUKE).
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is the most versatile and feature packed gaming headset on the market. Not only is the sound superb, but it incorporate high-end features such as Active Noise Cancelling and dual batteries to take the experience to the next level.
Much Improved Design
Dual Battery Means You'll Never Run Out Of Battery
Active Noise Cancelling Is Nice To Have
Sound Is Fantastic Especially When Paired With Software
Active Noise Cancellation Implementation Could Be Improved