In today’s review, we are taking a look at the Arctis 7 wireless gaming headphones from SteelSeries. The Arctis series of headphones are considered by many to be some of the best gaming headphones on the market.
The Arctis 7 sits towards the top of the lineup and offers 2.4GHz lossless audio and more than 24 hours of battery life. You also get virtual surround sound provided by DTS:X and a 3.5mm wired connection as well.
SteelSeries Arctis 7 headphones have been around for quite a while now, though. Among the ever-growing gaming headphone market, how do they still stand up to the competition in 2021?
Let’s find out in our in-depth SteelSeries Arctis 7 Review…
The specific Arctis 7 that we have in front of us today is the black and white model released in 2019. In 2019 SteelSeries did a slight update to their Arctis 7 headphones and changed the headband, ear cushion thickness, and adjusted the frequency response a bit.
When you take the 2019 Arctis 7 headphones out of the box, they sit in a molded plastic case. You will find a USB wireless transmitter, charging cable, and a 3.5mm auxiliary cable and adapter tucked away in the center of the box as well.
At first glance…
You immediately notice that these headphones are primarily crafted from plastic. Coming in at only 375 grams, these are some of the best lightweight gaming headphones around.
On each side of the headset, you have round black earcups. They rotate 90 degrees allowing you to lay the headphones flat on a table. Looking at the left earcup, you will notice a mic poking out. This boom mic slides in and out from the earcup. Although it is flexible, it still holds its shape well.
Now, running along the top of the headset, you will notice the signature Arctis series headband. This headband might remind you of a pair of ski goggles. It is crafted from aluminum and features an adjustable elastic band covering both sides of it.
One thing SteelSeries prides itself on is just how comfortable the Arctis 7 headphones are. The way they designed the headband allows people of all head shapes and sizes to wear these headphones.
The aluminum headband enclosure is sort of springy. It flexes without putting too much pressure on any specific part of your head. You can adjust it further by loosening or tightening the elastic band surrounding the aluminum headband enclosure.
When you put these headphones on, your head actually rests on the elastic band. Since elastic stretches, it should conform to your head shape automatically. The result is some of the most comfortable wireless gaming headphones on the market.
Keeping cool in the heat of battle…
The earcups also rest gently against your ears. Inside each ear cup, you will find thick foam padding. Covering the foam padding is a black fabric meant to aid in breathability and keep the headphones cool over long gaming sessions. It works well, but we would not recommend taking these to the gym.
Overall, these headphones are extremely comfortable and stable, thanks to their lightweight, soft ear cushions and elastic headband.
Replacement options if needed…
If you take these headphones off and rest them around your neck, you need to be careful not to stretch the elastic band too much. This could cause it to lose its elasticity and not fit your head correctly anymore.
Fortunately, SteelSeries sells replacement elastic headbands. They also have made the earcups removable and replaceable as well.
Setup and Controls
The Arctis 7 headphones we bought already had a bit of charge in the battery. So, we plugged them into a 3.5mm jack, and they worked right away after a tap the power button.
To use them wirelessly, you will need to plug the included USB transmitter into your computer. The headphones should automatically be paired to the transmitter. If not, simply hold down the pairing button on the right earcup until it starts blinking rapidly. They should then repair automatically.
All the adjustments you need…
You will then need to download the SteelSeries Engine software from their website. This allows you to get the most out of these headphones. With the SteelSeries Engine software, you can adjust the virtual surround sound, microphone, enhance dialogue, and fine-tune equalizer settings.
Within the software, a bunch of preset equalizer settings like immersion, flat, music, and entertainment can be found. There is a 6-band equalizer as well to further adjust your sound profile to your liking.
Compare and contrast…
As you fine-tune your settings, you will notice a button called “Live Preview” on the bottom of the screen. This button allows you to test out any settings changes as you make them. So when you are ready to start a game, you know everything is set up just how you want it to be.
You can also make further adjustments to the headphones without using the software, thanks to the headphones’ integrated controls. Just above the power/pairing button that we mentioned, you will notice a small wheel. This wheel allows you to change the balance between chat and game audio.
Share your audio…
Over on the left earcup just above the micro-USB charging port, you have an audio sharing jack. This allows someone else to plug their headphones into yours with a 3.5mm cable so they can listen in as you play a game or watch a movie.
Above that, you have a slot to insert the included auxiliary adapter. Finally, we come to a wheel that controls the main volume and a small button that allows you to mute and unmute the microphone.
SteelSeries has made controlling the Arctis 7 fairly simple, with everything easy to reach and manipulate. They are some of the best easy to use wireless gaming headphones currently out there.
Whenever we are testing out gaming headphones that have virtual surround sound, we load up our favorite first-person shooter to start with. If you are not familiar with virtual surround sound, it is a bit of software trickery that leads you to believe you are listening to sound from multiple sources.
The integrated 40mm speaker driver in each earcup uses DTS:X 2.0 sound drivers for virtual surround sound. When you are playing a game like Fortnite that supports 7.1-channel audio, the Arctis 7 sounds amazing.
Highs are clear and crisp, and the mids are nice and punchy without being overpowering. They also produce quite a lot of bass, but it does not sound distorted or muddy.
You will hear shots flying by you and people’s footsteps as they try to sneak up on you. The Arctis 7 headphones truly add another level of immersion when it comes to gaming.
Clear lines on communication…
When it comes to chatting with your friends, the retractable boom mic is also rather exceptional. It handles ambient noise extremely well, so you come across nice and clear to your gaming partners.
We noticed a tiny amount of latency when using the headphones wirelessly, but it does not affect gameplay. If you choose to use the Arctis 7 via the long 3.5mm cable, latency is not an issue at all.
Not just for PC use…
You can also hook them up to your PlayStation 4 or even the brand new PlayStation 5. If you are an Xbox One or Xbox Series X owner, you can also use these headphones with your console. However, you will be limited to connecting them directly to your controller with the 3.5mm aux cable.
No matter what you connect up to, these are among the best sounding wireless headphones on the market. They are just as good for listening to movies and music as they are for gaming purposes.
These headphones can last for over 24 hours on a full charge. There is a small LED on the headset that will change colors as your battery level drops. It will light up green when you have over 50% charge left and turns yellow when it drops below 50%. When it gets below 10%, it will start flashing red.
You can also open up the SteelSeries Engine software and check your battery life there as well. A small bar should be visible representing your battery, but it does not provide exact percentages.
To charge the Arctis 7, you need to use the included micro-USB to USB-A cable. And it takes roughly two hours to charge the battery from empty to full.
This will vary somewhat depending on whether you are charging them through a USB port on your computer or via a dedicated USB adapter. It is also worth noting that you can still use the headphones while they are charging.
As with all rechargeable batteries, you notice the battery life of the Arctis 7 changes over time. It is also a shame that it does not use a quicker USB-C connection instead of the dated micro-USB connection.
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Review – Pros and Cons
- 24+ hour battery life.
- 2.4GHz lossless audio.
- Extremely comfortable.
- Excellent microphone.
- Elastic headband durability.
Looking for Something Else?
We continue to expand our catalog of reviews of quality audio equipment and musical gear. So, check out our in-depth Skullcandy Indy True Wireless Review, our Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Reviews, our Monolith M1060 Headphone Review, our Sony MDR-7506 Review, and our AKG K240 Studio Review for some amazing headphones you can buy in 2021.
Also, check out our comprehensive reviews of the Best Wireless Workout Headphones, the Best Waterproof Headphones for Swimming, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Keyboard Amps, and the Best Karaoke Microphones currently on the market.
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Review – Final Thoughts
If you are looking for a well-priced wireless gaming headset, the Arctis 7s from SteelSeries are hard to beat. They are very comfortable and will fit pretty much anyone, thanks to their unique ski goggle-type headband. Battery life is also among the best available, coming in at just over 24 hours.
From gaming to music and movies, sound quality is outstanding. Thanks to DTS:X virtual surround sound, you get a true sense of immersion as well. Let us save you the time and effort of looking any further for your next set of gaming headphones. Try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. You can thank us later.
Until next time, it’s game on.