SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless – quality at a premium price

With a long name to match its long list of benefits, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless brings high-quality audio with some caveats.

Our Verdict

As a PS5 or Xbox-only player, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless may let you down. However, for those who need a versatile gaming headset that offers incredible audio, a superb microphone, and some great software, this is a must-have for your setup.

Reasons to buy
  • Great set of features
  • The audio quality is superb
  • Premium feel and build
Reasons to avoid
  • Customization is lacking for console-only players
  • ANC could be better

When it comes to setting up your entertainment hub or getting your console staged in the perfect spot on your desk, the last thing most players think about is a decent headset. Sure, you can get away with a budget headset, but after my SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review is finished, you’ll be wondering why you never jumped on a higher-quality headset before.

SteelSeries’ Arctis 1 was released back in 2019, and since then the line of headset has only improved with each new product, culminating in the latest (and most expensive headset), the Arctis Nova Pro. As someone who regularly uses SteelSeries products (typing this out on an Apex Pro right now), the products the company makes are of great quality, but this was my first true experience with an Arctis headset.

Over the past month, I’ve been using the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless every day, with a mixture of the best PS5 games, as well as playing some of the best FPS games right now. While some minor issues could deter some users from picking this pricey headset, it’s nothing short of an exceptional piece of equipment.

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Specs & Features

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless specs:

Drivers 40mm
Frequency range 10Hz – 48KHz
Weight 339g
Battery life Around 20 hours (per battery)
Features & Connectivity Included base station, 2.4GHz connection, Bluetooth, hot-swappable batteries, Sonar software

The key feature of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, aside from its brilliant connectivity allowing it to be used as a pair of Bluetooth headphones for gaming or listening to music on your phone, is the fact that the headset comes with two batteries. While each battery lasts roughly 20 hours, nothing major, the included base station charges the second battery as you play games, meaning you can swap them on the fly without having to wait for your headset to charge again.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review: Battery slot in the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless headset

As for the aforementioned base station, it delivers a range of options to help you switch between your devices, a 10-band equalizer, volume management, chat-game mix, and more. The dial is used to change the volume, as well as select different settings and navigate menus, which can be a bit fiddly on a small OLED screen but it’s easy to get used to.

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless also features Active Noise Cancellation, or ANC. Despite the somewhat decent approach at ANC found here, it’s somewhat disappointing compared to other headphones or earbuds, especially those solely for music or other Bluetooth use cases, like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro 2, which come at a cheaper price.

Design

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless comes in only one color, that being black, but offers a premium feel and quality to its build, with the metal headband meeting the sturdy plastic earcups, with additional plastic and rubber to support the headband for consistent use. There’s an unusual feeling compared to most headsets with an adjustable strap that sits just below the headband, keeping it comfortable on your head for long periods of gaming. As for the earcups themselves, you’re able to extend or retract them for the perfect fit, with the faux leather material hiding some comfortable memory foam padding.

Most of the controls for the headset reside on the left earcup and can take some getting used to. There’s a very tactile mute/unmute button for the retractable and stealthy boom microphone, alongside a power button, and a scroll wheel for volume control. As for the right earcup, there’s only the Bluetooth button, with the magnetic panel hiding the battery inside for ease of swapping out.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review: controls on the left earcup of the SteelSeries Nova Pro Wireless headset

The left magnetic panel does include a USB-C port for charging the headset, but I’ve never needed to use it simply because the extremely useful base station keeps the batteries charged on rotation. Even swapping out the batteries at a moment’s notice is done excellently well, keeping some power in the headset for a short duration so the audio doesn’t suddenly cut out.

As for the base station itself, it offers a small OLED screen with indicators for the battery life of both batteries, the current USB connection, volume, frequency, and audio levels for each side of the headset. It can be adjusted via the settings within the base station, which is navigated by using the volume dial by pressing it down for a couple of seconds, bringing up a set of options to adjust.

Performance

I used the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless in a variety of games, from FPS games like Call of Duty MW3, to hit PS5 exclusives like God of War Ragnarok and Spider-Man 2. The Nova Pro Wireless’ frequency range of 10Hz to 48KHz offers decent bass, however the treble falls somewhat flat comparatively.

That being said, compared to my other experience with headphones, and not being a pure audiophile myself, I was very happy with the performance of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, whether I was surviving shots against an enemy’s assault rifle, taking in the lands of Valisthea, or listening to the ethereal soundscapes of Quadeca’s latest album.

Surprisingly, the microphone is also very adequate. There can be some issues when the microphone is retracted, with a low hiss or weaker quality voice from my testing, but my voice sounded fairly clear and decently loud when the microphone was extended. However, I can’t say my experience with the ANC was as good as the overall quality of the product.

I didn’t come to expect the overall ANC to be great, considering that it is primarily a gaming headset. But when no audio is playing, you can still somewhat hear your surroundings. That being said, the audio from games or media drowns out the background noise, but low sounds like engines or fans can be heard, even slightly, behind the Active Noise Cancellation.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review: SteelSeries GG App with Sonar software enabled

As a PC and PS5 player, switching between both platforms was as easy as the press of two buttons, changing the connection within seconds. There’s a slight delay in the PS5 picking up on the headset, but that’s a weakness of the console rather than the headset itself, one that doesn’t matter.

The only major issue that PS5 players may stumble upon is the fact that, while some EQ presets are available via the base station, you’ll likely get the best use out of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless if you’re able to use the Sonar engine in the SteelSeries GG app on PC. Sonar allows you to finetune your experience with the headset, from adjusting the equalizer further to enabling features like spatial sound. The PS5 presets are fine, but nothing ridiculously special or heavily customizable like the app offers.

That means that, if you’re only a PS5 player, I’d probably recommend one of the cheaper SteelSeries headsets, like the SteelSeries Arctis 7P, which doesn’t have features like hot-swappable batteries or ANC but delivers an exceptional audio experience still.

Should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless?

  • Yes: if you own a PC and a PS5/Xbox
  • Yes: if you want a gaming headset that also offers great Bluetooth functionality
  • Yes: if you don’t mind paying the asking price
  • No: if you only own a PS5 or Xbox

With a steep asking price and a host of customization options found in the PC and Mac-only SteelSeries GG app, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is best for those who want a headset for PS5/Xbox, PC, and as a headset for mobile devices. If you’re a console-only gamer, you’ll get more value out of a different headset.

Alternatives

If the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless isn’t for you, check out these alternatives.

Sony PS5 Pulse 3D: Why settle for a third-party choice when Sony’s brilliant Pulse 3D headset delivers an exceptional 3D audio experience for PS5 players? The sound customization and choppy microphone may disappoint, but the audio is spectacular.

Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is a brilliant accessory for those with a multi-platform setup, especially with a PC involved. While the disappointing ANC and lack of sound customization for PS5 players may disappoint some of you, the exceptional audio, brilliant microphone, and premium build quality make up for the Nova Pro Wireless’ shortcomings.