The SteelSeries Arctis 7 are a great gaming headset, with a versatile design, a good sound, and an excellent mic. They also have a long-lasting battery life, and a standard audio jack so that you can use them passively like casual headphones. Unfortunately, they're a bit bulky, and the headband frame is not adjustable so they may be a little tight for some listeners. They also won't be ideal to use in loud environments because they don't block a lot of noise.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a well-built and comfortable wireless design. They have breathable and well-padded ear cups that fit well around most ears. Their headband is comfortable with a unique, snow goggle elastic band that adjusts for different head shapes and sizes. However, the fit may be a bit tighter on some heads as the headband frame doesn't extend and isn't adjustable. They're also somewhat bulky and limited by their USB transmitter if you want to use them wirelessly. On the upside, they have a standard audio jack and a retractable mic, so they're a bit more versatile to use outdoors than some of the other gaming headsets we've reviewed.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless Gaming Headset have a simple but polished design that looks good enough for gaming and casual use. They have a wide metal frame, with an elastic strap reminiscent of ski goggles, which helps adjust the fit of the headband. The mic conveniently retracts into the left ear cup, and the overall build quality of these headphones feels premium and durable. They are not the flashiest gaming headsets and they're a bit bulkier than headphones like the HyperX Cloud Flight, but the understated look will work for most, especially if you want to use them outdoors. Also, you can always purchase a more colorful headband strap directly on their website if you want your headphones to stand out a bit more.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 are comfortable gaming headphones that may feel slightly tight on some heads. The ear cups are large, spacious and coated with a breathable and soft padding material that feels nice on the skin. The headband is just a thin strip of elastic fabric threaded through the metal frame which adjusts to different head sizes. Unfortunately, the length of this fabric is limited and the metal frame doesn't expand further than its original shape so they may feel a little tight for some listeners.
The control scheme is responsive and easy-to-use. They have two dials to control the volume and microphone levels. They also have a dedicated button to completely disable the mic. It's not the most versatile of control schemes since it doesn't give you call/music, or a multi-function button that could work with mobile devices but that's not very common for gaming headphones.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a somewhat breathable design, but their over-ear, closed-back earcups will make you sweat if used while working out. They're not the most suitable headphones for sports or exercising. However, they should be fine for more casual gaming and listening sessions.
These are not the most portable headphones. They have large ear cups, a rigid headband and do not fold into a more compact format to save space. Also, they have to be within the range of their USB transmitter, if you plan on using them wirelessly, so their portability is even more limited.
The build quality of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is excellent. They're built with comfortable and sturdy materials that feel very durable. The ear cups are dense and well-made, the headband is a thin but wide metal frame that's decently flexible, and the overall build feels sturdy enough to handle multiple drops without getting damaged. Even the mic feels well made. It's malleable and conveniently retracts into the left ear cup. This makes the Arctis 7 one of the best built gaming headphones that we've tested so far.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a tight yet comfortable fit that prevents them from moving much once on your head. They're also wireless, so they won't get yanked off your ears because the audio cable got hooked on something. They're still quite bulky so they won't be ideal for more strenuous exercises, but thanks to their tight and decently stable fit, you can jog with them if you want to.
The Steelseries Arctis 7 is a good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear gaming headsets. They have a very good and deep bass, a very good mid-range, and an excellent treble. This makes them very versatile and suitable for not only gaming but most genres, from classical to rock and folk. However, their frequency response is prone to inconsistencies across users, their bass is slightly boomy, and their mid-range is a tad muddy. So although they would be very good for bass-heavy genres like EDM and Hip-hop too, there are other headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II that would be better for the fans of bass. The Arctis 7 have a better sound quality than the HyperX Cloud Alpha, but like most other headphones, they don't have an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a very good bass performance. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, indicating a deep bass. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to EDM, Hip-hop and film scores, is lacking by about 2dB, which is not much. The 4dB bump between 100Hz and 250Hz, however, will make the sound of these headphones slightly boomy.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a very good mid-range performance. The 2.4dB overemphasis in low-mid is actually the continuation of the high-bass bump. It makes mixes sound a bit cluttered and muddy, and vocals a bit thick-sounding. But the rest of the response is very good and within 1dB of our target.
The treble is excellent. The response is mostly flat and quite consistent, even up to 18KHz. The narrow 5dB dip around 5KHz will have a small and negligible negative effect on detail and articulation of vocals and lead instruments.
The frequency response consistency of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is sub-par. Their bass delivery is quite consistent across our human subjects, with the exception of the one who wears glasses. The maximum deviation at 20Hz is about 9dB. So if you have a lot of hair between the headphones and you ear, or have glasses that are not flush to your temple, then you may experience a noticeable drop in bass. In the treble range, we measured more than 6dB of deviation in response at 2KHz, which is not good and noticeable.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have great imaging. Their weighted group delay is 0.32, which is very good. The GD graph, however, shows that its group delay crosses over into the audibility threshold at around 50Hz, but it is not enough to affect the tightness of the bass significantly. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched, ensuring accurate placement and localization of objects (voice, instruments, footsteps...) in the stereo image.
The soundstage is mediocre. Although the SteelSeries 7 show a lot of pinna activation, which suggests a relatively large soundstage. The shape of its PRTF doesn't follow our reference's very accurately. This could mean that, the soundstage, although large, may be perceived to be a bit unnatural and inside-the-head. Also, since they have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage may not feel as open as that of open-back headphones.
Very good harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is quite low, regardless of the level and frequency. The only remarkable note is the very small rise in THD at 100Hz at 100dB SPL.
The Steelseries Arctis 7 headphones have breathable pads which make them a bit more comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions. Unfortunately, this also means that they do not block a lot of noise. They create a good seal around your ears that prevent some high-frequency sounds from seeping into your audio but it won't be enough if there's a lot rumbling bass in your environment, like a subwoofer at a competition. On the upside, the good seal stops a decent amount of leakage so at moderate volumes they won't be distracting to those around you.
The isolation performance is sub-par. This gaming headset don't have active noise cancelling and do not isolate in the bass range, meaning they will let in the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieve an isolation of about 7dB, which is inadequate. In the treble range, however, they reduce ambient noise by more than 33dB, which is good for reducing sharp sounds such as S and Ts.
The leakage performance is average. The significant portion of their leakage sits between 400Hz and 2KHz which is a relatively broad range and mostly concentrated in the mid-range. This means that their leakage will sound fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds, but not as loud and full as open-back headphones'. Also, since the overall level of the leakage is not very loud, it shouldn't be a concern unless you plat loud music in a quiet place like a library.
The performance of the microphone is very good. Speech recorded or transmitted with this mic in a quiet environment will sound full and easily comprehensible, but slightly bright and lacking in airiness. In noisy environments, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 are able to reject ambient noise to a great degree, making them ideal for use in very loud places like a subway station or a gaming competition.
Good recording quality. LFE is extended down to 85dB, which is very good. This means voice recorded with the Arctis 7 will sound full. However, HFE is limited to 6.7KHz, resulting in a recorded speech that sounds relatively detailed and easily comprehensible, but lacking in airiness and brilliance. Also, the bump from 2KHz to 6KHz makes the sound of this microphone noticeably bright.
The microphone of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 has excellent noise handling. It achieves a speech-to-noise ratio of 41dB, which is remarkable, and indicating they can separate speech from noise even in the most demanding environments, like a gaming competition.
The Steelseries Arctis 7 have a long-lasting battery life with a lot of power saving features and a great customizable app for Windows and Mac OS. They lasted up to 24 hours on a single charge and will automatically switch off when inactive. You can also use them passively while they're charging which makes them quite versatile and rarely out of power. Additionally, the SteelSeries Engine offers a lot of customization options in an easy-to-use software that makes the headphones convenient and highly personalizable.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a long battery life and good power saving options. They lasted about 24 hours on a single charge and took about 3.5 hours to charge fully. They also automatically switch off after being idle for more than 10 minutes and you can use them while they're charging so you will rarely run out of battery if you're at home and close to a power source. Furthermore, they can be used completely passively with the audio jack if ever the battery dies, which is great if you also plan on using the Arctis 7 as casual headphones.
The SteelSeries engine is a pretty complete app that offers a lot of options for the Arctis 7. It provides a great parametric equalizer with presets and a compressor, DTS surround sound, live preview as well as volume control for the mic. You can save your configuration under the config tab so you can quickly switch between your different settings. It lacks some of the fancier auto-calibration features that some headsets have within their app support, but it's efficient, easy-to-use, and all the controls are under a single page, so you don't have to navigate between multiple tabs.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a good wireless range and low latency for gaming and watching movies. They perform as well as Bluetooth headphones indoors and in direct-line-of-sight but the 20ms latency means there will rarely be any sync issues when using them to game or watch videos wirelessly. They also come with an audio cable that's compatible with most consoles and a dock with a lot of inputs and even a line out for more connections options. They have a lot more connectivity options than the Astro A20 but no optical input.
These headphones do not have Bluetooth connectivity. If you want a gaming headset that also supports Bluetooth, check out the Turtle Beach Elite 800.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a proprietary audio cable that isn't OS specific and is compatible with most consoles.
The base/dock is a small dongle transmitter with a couple unique inputs and a line out. It's also compatible with the PS4 and PC but only provides audio for Xbox One. It also does not have dock charging which would have a been a great addition.
The SteelSeries 7 headphones have a good wireless range. They reached up to 36ft when the USB transmitter was obstructed by walls and in another room and up to 125ft in direct-line-of-sight. They will rarely drop any audio if you're gaming directly in front of your TV and perform about as well as most typical Bluetooth headphones.
They have only about 28ms of latency which is great for gaming and watching movies.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 are one of highest rated gaming headsets that we've tested so far. They come with a great dongle that has a bit more inputs than typical gaming headsets and you can use them wired with mobile devices. They have a great metal build quality that feels durable, a good well-balanced sound and a comfortable design. Unfortunately, since the headband isn't adjustable they might be a bit tight on some heads. Also, no dock charging.
The Astro A50 are one of the better gaming headsets that we've reviewed provided you get the dock for the right console. They have a bit more input options than the SteelSeries Arctis 7 thanks to their great dock. They sound a bit better and are also very comfortable but their build quality does not feel as durable, especially for their price. The convenient dock of the A50 and great features make them an excellent alternative. However, if you're on a tighter budget and also want to use your gaming headphones outdoors, the SteelSeries are a better option.
The Turtle Beach Elite 800 have a lot more connection options. They're Bluetooth headphones that come with a base/dock with multiple inputs and can be used wired. They're a decent headset for gaming and casual use. Unfortunately, they have a poor control scheme that's a bit confusing and subject to a lot of accidental inputs. Their build quality also doesn't feel as durable as the SteelSeries and they're quite a bit pricier. If you need a headset for gaming and casual use that has Bluetooth, then they're a decent option. However, in most cases, they perform a bit worse than the Arctis.
The HyperX Cloud II is a wired gaming headset with a durable yet casual looking design that you can use outdoors. They're more comfortable and wired so they have negligible latency when gaming but, unfortunately, won't be as convenient as some of the wireless headsets we've tested. They have a slightly better mic than the SteelSeries Arctis 7 but for most use cases, the SteelSeries are the better headphone. However, they're a bit more expensive.
The Sennheiser Game One is one of the few open headphones for gaming. They have a comfortable and well-padded design that's reminiscent of Sennheiser HD 598 series. They also have an excellent boom mic and a great frequency response that's made better by the open sound. If you need a headphone for gaming and listening to a lot of music, then they're a decent wired headset with low latency and a good sound quality. However, they are not as convenient as the SteelSeries Arctis 7 due to their lack of connection options.