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SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jul 14, 2020 at 08:34 am
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Picture
6.3
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Sound
5.7
Commute/Travel
5.7
Sports/Fitness
6.4
Office
7.3
Wireless Gaming
7.5
Wired Gaming
6.8
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are good gaming headphones that can be used both wired and wirelessly. They come with a wireless dongle that provides minimal latency to ensure a quality gaming experience without noticeable delay. They're decently comfortable, they have fairly well-balanced audio reproduction, and there's a 6-band EQ available in the companion app. Unfortunately, they feel a bit cheaply made and don't have the best consistency across different users, so your experience may vary. On the upside, they have a decent boom microphone and can last around 25 hours when using them wirelessly.

Our Verdict

6.3 Mixed Usage

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are somewhat mediocre headphones for mixed usage. These headphones are designed for gaming and not much else. They have a decent microphone, accurate audio reproduction, and most of all, a wireless design that aims to be compatible with almost all gaming platforms. However, their design doesn't isolate from ambient noise so they aren't a good option for commuting or the office. They're also not designed for sports as they wobble around with head movement.

Pros
  • Accurate audio reproduction.
  • Very good 25-hour battery life.
Cons
  • Plasticky build that feels a bit cheap.
  • Inconsistent audio delivery across users.
7.0 Neutral Sound

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are decent for neutral sound. The overall sound profile is fairly well-balanced and accurate, although they struggle to deliver a consistent audio reproduction across different users, which means that your experience may vary. On the upside, these headphones are pretty comfortable and perform well at max volume.

Pros
  • Accurate audio reproduction.
  • Very good 25-hour battery life.
Cons
  • Plasticky build that feels a bit cheap.
  • Sub-par soundstage.
  • Inconsistent audio delivery across users.
5.7 Commute/Travel

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are sub-par for commuting. While they're designed to be used for gaming, you can still use them wired, or wirelessly with a compatible Android phone with a USB-C port. However, they don't have a very good noise isolation performance and won't block out the noise from your commute. On the upside, they're decently comfortable for long periods and have very good battery life.

Pros
  • Very good 25-hour battery life.
  • USB-C dongle can be used with compatible Android devices.
Cons
  • Plasticky build that feels a bit cheap.
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Inconsistent audio delivery across users.
5.7 Sports/Fitness

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless aren't designed for sports. They're bulky and hard to bring around with you to the gym. They're also not the most stable and move around with head movement.

Pros
  • Very good 25-hour battery life.
Cons
  • Plasticky build that feels a bit cheap.
  • Unstable and wobbles with head movement.
  • Inconsistent audio delivery across users.
6.4 Office

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are just okay for the office. They're comfortable to wear for hours and their battery life should last you a few days without any issues. Unfortunately, they won't block out office environment noise like chatty coworkers very well.

Pros
  • Decent boom microphone.
  • Very good 25-hour battery life.
Cons
  • Plasticky build that feels a bit cheap.
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Inconsistent audio delivery across users.
7.3 Wireless Gaming

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are decent wireless gaming headphones. They're comfortable and have very low latency thanks to their dongle, which means you shouldn't notice any delay when playing. These are a very versatile pair of headphones and can be used on many different gaming platforms. If you play online, the microphone sounds decent, although it lacks a bit of detail. On the upside, there are good customization options with the companion software and the battery life is very good with around 25 hours of playtime.

Pros
  • Accurate audio reproduction.
  • Decent boom microphone.
  • Very good 25-hour battery life.
  • Can be used with every gaming console.
Cons
  • Plasticky build that feels a bit cheap.
  • Inconsistent audio delivery across users.
7.5 Wired Gaming

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are good wired gaming headphones. They're comfortable, have accurate audio reproduction, and have a decent overall microphone. Unfortunately, they might not perform the same on your head as they do on others, so your experience may vary. They're compatible with all gaming platforms when used wired and come with the needed cables.

Pros
  • Accurate audio reproduction.
  • Decent boom microphone.
  • Very good 25-hour battery life.
  • Can be used with every gaming console.
Cons
  • Plasticky build that feels a bit cheap.
  • Inconsistent audio delivery across users.
6.8 Phone Calls

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are somewhat decent for phone calls. The microphone is an upgrade over your cell phone's mic, although there are better options on the market. The mic does a good job of separating the background noise from your voice, but the other person on the line might find your voice to be a bit thin. On the upside, these headphones are comfortable and you can even detach the microphone for a more straightforward look whenever you aren't making calls.

Pros
  • Decent boom microphone.
  • Very good 25-hour battery life.
  • USB-C dongle can be used with compatible Android devices.
Cons
  • Plasticky build that feels a bit cheap.
  • Inconsistent audio delivery across users.
  • 6.3 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 5.7 Commute/Travel
  • 5.7 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.4 Office
  • 7.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.5 Wired Gaming
  • 6.8 Phone Calls

Check Price

Black Arctis 1 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are pretty much identical to the wired SteelSeries Arctis 1, but with a more matte finish. They don't have a very flashy gaming-oriented design, which some may like. You can also detach the microphone for a more straightforward look.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
1.3 lbs

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are decently comfortable for long gaming sessions. They clamp down a bit more than the wired version, but it's mostly to help create a better seal under the ear. The padding is fairly comfortable, while the headband distributes the weight effectively.

7.1
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

The headphones offer easy to use controls. They have a volume wheel, which stops at max/min volume, and a mic mute switch. The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless also have a power button that can act as a control button when used with an Android device. A single press plays/pauses tracks, while a double-tap skips tracks and a triple tap goes to the previous track.

5.4
Design
Portability
L 7.6 "
W 7.9 "
H 3.5 "
Volume 210 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

These headphones aren't the most portable due to their size. On the upside, you don't have to worry about a cable dangling around, and their ear cups swivel to lay flat around your neck and make it easier to slide them in a bag. However, most people won't bring these around as they're aimed to be used with your gaming setup at home.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones don't come with a case.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is very similar to the wired SteelSeries Arctis 1. However, they have a sleeker matte finish and their cable is detachable, which is easier to replace if damaged. Overall, the build is mostly made of plastic and the hinges don't feel too solid. On the upside, the headband feels decently solid and well-padded.

6.0
Design
Stability

Thanks to the clamping force of these headphones, they're a bit more stable than the wired SteelSeries Arctis 1. Nevertheless, these aren't meant for sports and fall off the head easily with movement.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless headphones
  • Detachable microphone
  • USB-C dongle
  • 1/8" TRRS cable
  • USB-A to USB-C extension cable
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • User Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.09 db
Treble Amount
-2.56 db

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless have a decently well-balanced and neutral sound profile. They have a bit of overemphasis in the bass range, which adds an extra punch that some may like. Overall, they're well-suited for a variety of content and games. However, they aren't the most consistent across different users, so your experience may vary.

5.3
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.5 dB

The frequency response consistency of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is quite poor, like most Arctis headphones. There's a lot of variation in the bass and treble ranges, which means that your experience may vary depending on positioning, fit, and seal.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.29 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
48.26 Hz
Low-Bass
-4.43 dB
Mid-Bass
1.5 dB
High-Bass
4.28 dB

The bass accuracy of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is good. The response isn't quite balanced as there's a dip in the low-bass while the high-bass is slightly overemphasis. This results in a slightly punchy and muddy bass, while the low-bass lacks thump and rumble. However, note that these results are an averaged response, and they perform quite inconsistently on different users, so your experience may vary.

8.7
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.78 dB
Low-Mid
1.57 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.05 dB
High-Mid
-1.9 dB

The mid-accuracy of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is excellent. They reproduce vocals and dialogue accurately.

7.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.3 dB
Low-Treble
-3.29 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.39 dB
High-Treble
-5.83 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless have good treble accuracy. While the response is a bit under our target curve, it's still pretty flat. It might result in slightly dulled voices and instruments, but since these headphones perform differently depending on positioning and fit, your experience may vary.

7.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.63 db
Dips
0.89 db

These headphones have a good peaks and dips performance. The overall response is pretty well-balanced, but there's a bit of a broad peak in the bass range which clutters the mix a bit. Also, the peak in mid-treble can make certain frequencies rather sharp and piercing, especially on already bright tracks.

7.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.59
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
2.08
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.56
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.7

The imaging performance of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is decent. Most of the group delay is under the audibility threshold, although some frequencies in the bass range might sound a bit loose. Our unit also has a small mismatch in amplitude and frequency, although this shouldn't be audible to most people. Note that these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

5.8
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
4.11 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.69 dB
PRTF Distance
15.64 dB
Openness
5.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.8

The passive soundstage of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is sub-par. While they show a lot of pinna interaction, it's not the most accurate and since they're closed-back headphones, the soundstage doesn't seem speaker-like and still seems to be inside the listener's head.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

These headphones don't have any virtual soundstage features.

7.6
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.346
WHD @ 100
0.134

The weighted harmonic distortion performance of these headphones is within good limits. These headphones produce clear and pure sound, even at a very high volume.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
1.6.0.0
Power
On
Connection
Wireless (Proprietary)
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom

These settings were used to test these headphones. The test results are only valid for these settings.

Isolation
4.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-12.97 dB
Bass
0.67 dB
Mid
-7.65 dB
Treble
-32.49 dB

Like most Arctis headphones, the noise isolation performance of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is bad. The porous pads let a lot of noise seep into your audio. They don't block the deep rumble of engines and won't be suitable for your commute or flights. On the upside, they do a decent job of blocking out higher frequencies such as the humming of an A/C unit.

7.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
36.45 dB

The leakage level of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is good. They don't leak out too much noise and are about as noisy as an average office. This means you shouldn't bother the people around you too much if you raise your volume a bit.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
Yes

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless have a malleable boom microphone that can be fully detached to give the headphones a more casual look.

6.9
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
546.0 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.54 dB
HFE
6544.63 Hz
Weighted THD
0.207
Gain
19.02 dB

The boom microphone has decent recording quality. It sounds clear and easy to understand, although voices sound a bit thin and bright.

7.6
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
24.91 dB

The noise handling performance of the mic is good. It's able to separate background noise from your voice well, which is very useful if you play games in a noisy environment.

Active Features
8.4
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
25.1 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
25.1 hrs
Charge Time
3.8 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Auto-Off Timer
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

These headphones have very good battery performance. We measured just about 25 hours of battery life, which is nice considering that SteelSeries advertises 20 hours. They can also be used passively with a wired connection, though you can't use the charging cable and use them at the same time. Unfortunately, they take around 4 hours to fully charge, which is quite long.

7.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name SteelSeries Engine
iOS No
Android No
macOS Yes
Windows Yes
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control Adjustable Level
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The SteelSeries Engine app has a good amount of customization options, although not as many as with other SteelSeries headphones. It has a 6-band EQ instead of a 10-band EQ, like what you get with higher-end models like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC. The app also allows for sidetone, or mic monitoring, enabling you to hear your own voice through the headphones.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

These headphones aren't Bluetooth compatible.

8.4
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
89 ft
Non-BT Latency
34 ms

These headphones connect via their USB-C dongle and have good enough range and latency for you to play PC games without noticing a delay. Also, the dongle can be used with an Android phone that has a USB-C port. With our Android phone, we measured 80 feet of range and 49ms of latency.

9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.0 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones can be used wired with a typical 1/8" TRRS cable, which is included in the box. Unfortunately, they don't support audio via their micro-USB charging cable.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
Audio + Microphone

You can use these headphones via analog by plugging them in your computer or PS4 controller. You also get full support when using the USB-C dongle. Some people might have to use the USB-A adapter if their device doesn't have a USB-C port.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No

You can use this headset wired to your Xbox One controller with a typical 1/8" TRRS cable. You'll need to get the Xbox variant if you want to use it wirelessly with this console.

3.4
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Wireless USB Dongle
USB Input
Yes
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
USB-C

This headset has a USB-C dongle that can be used on PCs and Android phones that have the appropriate jack. It also comes with a USB-A cable that acts as both an adapter and an extender.

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

There are different models of this headset depending on which console you play on. We reviewed the PC/PS4 model. However, we expect our review to be valid for all of them, other than for the wireless compatibility tests.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless might seem very similar to other Arctis headphones in the same lineup, but they're quite versatile thanks to their wireless USB-C dongle. They can be used with a lot of different gaming platforms and are still set at an affordable price, which is nice. However, they do feel a bit cheaply built and don't feel like very premium headphones. For more options, check out recommendations for the best SteelSeries headsets, the best gaming headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.

Corsair HS70 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Corsair HS70 Wireless are slightly better wireless gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. They're more comfortable and noticeably better-built than the SteelSeries. Also, they perform a lot more consistently across different users. On the other hand, the SteelSeries have lower wireless latency and better customization options in their software.

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless performs very similarly to the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. Both headphones have similar sound profiles, but the Turtle Beach packs a bit more bass and performs a bit more consistently across different users. Unfortunately, its app is pretty bare-bones and doesn't allow for much customization. The SteelSeries also feels a bit better made, although it still feels plasticky. Both headphones have a decent microphone, though the Arctis' one performs better in noisy environments.

HyperX Cloud Flight
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless and the HyperX Cloud Flight are two good decent wireless gaming headphones, but for different reasons. If you care about accurate audio reproduction and customization, go for the SteelSeries, but if you prefer a more comfortable option that has a very good microphone, then the HyperX are the better option.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless are slightly better headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. The biggest difference between these two is that the 7 2019 Edition are much better built than the 1. They're also a bit more comfortable, and they have a much better performing microphone. On the other hand, the 1 have lower latency when used wireless, but unfortunately, they don't allow for channel mixing.

SteelSeries Arctis 1
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are very similar in design to the wired SteelSeries Arctis 1. However, the wireless model is compatible with the Engine software, which allows for more customization options. Also, the wireless model has slightly better audio accuracy, but the wired model's microphone sounds a lot better.

+ Show more

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Price

Black Arctis 1 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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