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SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review – the total package

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Nov
04
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We’ve well and truly entered an age of audio bliss in gaming and the SteelSeries Acrtis Nova Pro Wireless headset is as good as it gets. This headset is for anyone who is after an unparalleled level of audio control and quality without any compromise.

SteelSeries is no stranger to quality headsets, and I can distinctly remember my first encounter with the brand back during the release of Diablo 3 when I bought one of the limited-edition V2 wired headsets. Many of the qualities I adored about that headset have only been improved upon and culminate in the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless being easily among the best gaming headsets I’ve ever used.

Pros

  • Wireless base station is more than just a gimmick
  • Crystal clear microphone
  • Light and comfortable without feeling cheap
  • Audio cancellation technology is very intuitive

Cons

  • GG software can be quite intrusive and confusing 
Drivers 40mm Neodymium
Connectivity 2.4GHz Wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, Wired
Frequency Response 10-40,000Hz (Wired) 10-22,000Hz (Wireless)
Weight 336g
Battery Life Up to 20 hours, two batteries included
Available in Black w/Booster pack available at $34.99

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Features

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless comes packed with features, and all of them benefitted me in some way, there’s no filler here. Like many gaming headsets, dual wireless is featured and works like a dream. You can connect via the 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth 5.0 and there’s no clunky channel switching as the streams can operate simultaneously. 

360-degree audio is present, and it offers a clear advantage in games like CS2 where the direction of sound is crucial. It’s a feature that is commonplace in premium headsets now, and I feel we take it for granted, as it can be implemented poorly. However, it’s very well optimized in the Nova Pro Wireless. 

Battery life on the Nova Pro Wireless is great, with just over 20 hours per charge, but SteelSeries included two batteries that can be hot-swapped for convenience. Better still, the wireless base station is also the battery charger so this helps reduce the need for an awkward separate unit or additional cables being needed. This isn’t a unique feature on the market, but one that makes spending a little more on a headset completely justified. 

SteelSeries’ GG software, unfortunately, is a little overbearing and is perhaps the only minor downside to owning the Nova Pro Wireless. If you want control over your audio, you must have it installed and running. The issue here is that GG isn’t just for audio, it has a ton of other uses such as capturing in-game moments and exploring the latest giveaways. This is simply too much bloat considering I just want to be able to easily access my audio settings and tinker. Many aspects of GG can be ignored or turned off, but it’s the principle behind the software that didn’t sit well with me. 

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless 

Design

I will always back SteelSeries for their headset design, purely because as someone who struggles to find any gaming headset truly comfortable, be it due to size or weight, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is miles ahead of the competition on both fronts. Comfort is king with gaming headsets, and while some offer stern competition, like the Turtle Beach Stealth Pro, the head-to-head matchup falls in favor of the Pro Wireless for its significantly lighter feel. At 336g, the Nova Pro Wireless is considerably lighter than many of its competitors, but it avoids feeling cheap in the process, which is a lot harder to achieve than I initially appreciated.

SteelSeries continues to impress with its headbands, and the Nova Pro Wireless utilizes a ComfortMAX system which focuses on four factors; height adjustment, a flexible tension band, pivoting hangers, and rotating earcups. I get a little fed up with reading buzzwords and flashy taglines on product boxes, especially when the product itself fails to deliver on big promises, but there’s no such issue here. Every aspect of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless design is inch-perfect and creates a gaming headset I feel was made just for me. This is most evident when taking the headset off after using it. There’s no moment of relief, no tension suddenly lifted, it’s the ultimate sign that a headset is getting comfort right. 

Aesthetically, the Nova Pro Wireless isn’t overly chunky, it doesn’t have any loud and misplaced patterns, and it looks like a premium headset should. If you’re not entirely sold on the design or just want to add some color, SteelSeries sells booster packs that help you customize your headset. Each one comes with two replacement earcup plates and a fabric headband. It’s a small change but I quite enjoyed having a little freedom to personalize how my headset looked.

an image of the Nova Pro Wireless' removable battery storage

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless 

Performance

It should come as no surprise given how I’ve waxed lyrical about the Nova Pro Wireless so far that its performance also delivers. However, rather than starting with the audio quality, I first want to highlight the wireless base station. This little device is not only a big reason behind the stunning audio quality, but it can offer added perks if you are playing a compatible game. 

When trying out the Nova Pro Wireless in CS2, I noticed that the base station would report on my performance between rounds and even let me know which round was starting, and how many rounds my team had won to that point. The base station also acts as a quick way to tweak volume, chat/game mix, or EQ, to save having to blindly fondle the earcups for the right control. It’s a level of control that would be incredible for anyone playing on one monitor as you wouldn’t need to keep switching between programs to make adjustments. 

AI active noise cancellation is a big part of the Nova Pro Wireless, as rather than it being a simple feature you turn on and off, the headset is always monitoring your surroundings to create an ideal balance. When you’re gaming, it’s stronger, blocking out any potential interference, but if you’re simply browsing the web, it’s weaker, allowing you to interact with your surroundings easily. This also extends to the microphone, to ensure you’re never too loud or distorted when communicating with others. If you would rather set your noise cancellation, transparency mode allows for this, handing back control through multiple levels to suit your needs. 

Having tried out a variety of games to get an idea of the quality the Nova Pro Wireless offers, I can safely say that there are no weaknesses to be found in pure audio quality. It’s easy to take game audio for granted. Still, SteelSeries is well aware of how important it is, and their high-fidelity  40mm drivers bring an endless quality that becomes so apparent when switching between multiple premium gaming headsets. 

Sound-sensitive games are a joy, but even just listening to music is also elevated with the Nova Pro Wireless. I was expecting a noticeable drop-off in quality between the 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections, but this was non-existent despite the frequency differences between wireless and wired. The best summary of my time with the Nova Pro Wireless is no matter what I threw at it, or how I tried to expose a weakness, it stood strong.

an image showing the customization of the Nova Pro Wireless

Should you buy the

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless?

Yes. Simply put, you’ll find it hard to come by a better gaming headset than the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. Premium comes at a price, and the Nova Pro Wireless will set you back $349.99 / £329.99, but you’ll get every penny of this cost back as added value to your gaming, and then some, for years to come. 

If the price is a blocker, we would suggest the Razer Blackshark V2 Pro, which is a marginally cheaper option at around $199 but puts a greater focus on its high-band microphone, and less so on the audio quality or customization. 

Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is an incredible gaming headset. It gives you everything you could need and then still finds room for more useful features and hard-to-beat performance. 

I’ve tried for over a month to find a fault with the Nova Pro Wireless, and it’s been a fruitless expedition. It passes every test you could put a headset through and it’s passed with flying colors. Rarely would I even state that a price north of $300 is worth it for a gaming headset, but the Nova Pro Wireless justifies its price down to the last penny, even if you have to deal with bloated audio customization software.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless

A top of class gaming headset in every way, the Nova Pro Wireless would take some beating. With the exception of bloated software, SteelSeries have created quite the beast that succeeds in offering comfort, style, and most importantly, quality.

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