The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are wireless gaming headphones that are compatible with Xbox One consoles. These well-built, comfortable over-ears have a neutral sound profile and a long 28-hour continuous battery life. However, they struggle to block out background noise, and their audio delivery isn't very consistent across different users. However, the SteelSeries Engine companion software offers lots of gaming-oriented customization features, which is convenient.
Update 01/06/2022: Some users have reported that their unit disconnects from their console when using non-Bluetooth wireless. They have also reported that their audio sounds clicky or that it stutters. We experienced both issues with our unit, even after using two different dongles. SteelSeries released a troubleshooting guide to address these issues, but we still encountered these problems after following the instructions. If you have experienced this issue, please let us know in the discussions.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are satisfactory for neutral sound. They have a neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for lots of types of audio content, though they're lacking a bit of low-bass. You can even customize their sound using a graphic EQ and presets. However, their audio delivery isn't very consistent across different users.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are fair for commute and travel. They can be comfortably worn for long periods of time without a lot of fatigue, and their 28-hour continuous battery life can get you through long international flights. Unfortunately, their bulky design isn't very portable, and they don't really block out the sound of bus or plane engines.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are decent for sports and fitness. These headphones are comfortable and stable, but they aren't intended for use in a sports setting due to their bulky design that doesn't let your ears breathe.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are adequate for office use. These comfortable headphones have a long 28-hour continuous battery life that can easily get you through your day. They don't leak a lot of noise, either. However, they struggle to isolate against background noise typically found in an office, like chatter from nearby coworkers.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are good for wireless gaming. They're comfortable enough to wear for long gaming sessions, and they're wirelessly compatible with Xbox One, thanks to Xbox Wireless Technology. Their boom microphone lets you easily communicate with your teammates, and the SteelSeries Engine software offers lots of gaming-oriented customization options. However, some users have experienced issues regarding their units disconnecting on their own. They have also noted that the audio stutters, and there's a clicky sound present, which can be annoying while you're gaming.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are impressive for wired gaming. You can plug them into your Xbox One or PS4 controller using their 1/8" TRS connection, but they're audio-only compatible, so you can't use their microphone over a wired connection. However, they're very comfortable, and they have low latency over a wired connection.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are decent for phone calls. Their retractable boom microphone has an impressive recording quality, and your voice sounds clear and natural even if you're calling from a noisy environment. Unfortunately, they have a poor noise isolation performance, which may be distracting during your calls.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are very similar to the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless Xbox One variant as they have a green accent color on the headband. The rest of the headphones are all black. They also have a unique ski-band headband design and wide ear cups. Their boom microphone is retractable, and their headband frame is one piece of metal, unlike the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless and SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition's plastic build.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are comfortable gaming headphones that have the same design as most Arctis headsets. The ear cups are well-padded, and there’s room for most ear sizes and shapes. The padding material is also soft and porous, which allows for a bit of airflow. However, some people may find the cups a bit shallow. The headphones can also feel a bit tight, especially on larger heads, as the length of the strap limits the size adjustment options.
The control scheme of the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is good. There's plenty of buttons and wheels that are not only well-suited for gaming but also nice to use with your phone for casual listening sessions. You get access to a mic-mute button, a channel mixing wheel, and a volume wheel. Also, there’s a Bluetooth button that additionally offers limited music and call management, such as play/pause and answering/hanging up when pressed. The power button lets you cycle between EQ presets.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are passably breathable. The porous padding on the ear cups slightly helps with airflow, but you may still feel a difference in temperature when wearing them for long periods. While they won’t be suitable for most sports, they should be fine for casual gaming sessions. If you want more breathable gaming headphones, you may prefer the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air Wireless.
Just like many other gaming headphones such as the Audeze Penrose Wireless, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a bulky design. They're not very portable as they don’t fold into a more compact form. However, their cups swivel to lay flat, which makes it easier to slide them in a bag or to wear comfortably around your neck.
These headphones don’t come with a pouch or case.
These headphones have a great build quality. They have dense cups and a metal headband frame, which is sturdy yet flexible. The retractable microphone is malleable and feels well-made. They also feel more solid than the all-plastic SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are very stable headphones. They shouldn't fall off your head while you're gaming. However, these bulky headphones aren't intended for use while working out, and they may fall off during high-intensity movements. Consider the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Wireless if you're looking for gaming headphones with an even more stable fit.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a pretty neutral, well-balanced default sound profile. Vocals and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix, so they're suitable for listening to different types of audio content. However, they're lacking a bit of low-bass, which may be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy music genres like EDM. You can also customize their sound using the graphic EQ and presets available in the SteelSeries Engine software.
These headphones have a disappointing frequency response consistency. They have an inconsistent bass and treble delivery, so their audio delivery may be inconsistent depending on their fit, seal, and positioning on your head.
These headphones have good bass accuracy. The range is quite neutral, so you feel the punch and body of bass-heavy instruments. However, the low-bass is underemphasized, so you may not feel the deep thump and rumble from action-packed scenes. Their bass delivery is inconsistent, so your experience may vary.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have excellent mid accuracy. For the most part, the range is very flat and neutral, which results in present and clear vocals and lead instruments.
These headphones have an impressive treble accuracy. The range is quite balanced and neutral, so vocals, lead instruments, and sibilants like cymbals are present and detailed in the mix. However, their treble delivery can vary across users, so your experience may vary.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have very good peaks and dips performance. There's a sustained peak throughout the bass range, which adds a touch of warmth, thump, and punch to your mix. The slight dip in the low-treble can hurt the comprehensibility of vocals, while the peak in the mid-treble overemphasizes sibilants like cymbals and makes them a bit piercing.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a great imaging performance. There are some peaks in the bass range, but it's not enough to affect the tightness of the bass significantly. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit are well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, ensuring the accurate placement and localization of objects such as voices, instruments, and footsteps in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our test unit, and yours may perform differently.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have an acceptable passive soundstage performance. There's a lot of outer ear activation, but it’s not very accurate. That said, the soundstage is perceived as being relatively large as if it's coming from in front of your head. It's a bit unnatural-sounding, though, and their closed-back design makes them less open-sounding than some open-back headphones like the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a virtual soundstage feature via Windows Sonic Spatial Audio, but we don't currently test the performance of this feature.
These headphones have decent weighted harmonic distortion performance. Although there's a small peak in the high-treble, it likely won't be audible to most listeners. Overall, all frequencies fall within good limits, which should result in clear and pure audio reproduction.
These are the settings used to test the SteelSeries Arctis 9X, and our results are only valid when using these settings.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a poor noise isolation performance. They struggle to block out bass-heavy sounds like bus and plane engines. While they perform a bit better against higher-frequency noises like voices or the hum of nearby AC units, these sounds may still be audible. For gaming headphones that offer better noise isolation thanks to their ANC feature, check out the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a good leakage performance. They don't leak a lot of sound, and it shouldn't be noticeable to the people around you in an average office setting.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a retractable boom microphone. If you're looking for gaming headphones with a detachable boom mic, check out the Corsair HS75 XB WIRELESS Gaming Headset.
The boom microphone has a great recording quality. Your voice sounds full-bodied, clear, and detailed. However, the mic is noticeably bright, which could help with cutting through the game audio, but it won't sound neutral.
Update 09/09/2021: These headphones have been updated to test bench 1.5. In this update, we made changes to the way we test noise handling. We now use a subjective evaluation of our audio clips. This new method has resulted in different results than what we had reported in our previous test bench. As a result, the scoring of this box has changed and we have updated our results.
The boom microphone has a great noise handling performance. It can separate speech from moderate ambient noise such as a car passing by an open window.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X's battery performance is great. The battery offers about 28 hours of continuous playback and only takes about two hours to fully charge. You can also still receive audio while they're charging, which is convenient. However, while they can be used passively with a 1/8" audio cable, there isn't one included in the box.
These headphones have great companion software called SteelSeries Engine. To use it, these headphones need to be connected via a USB cable. You won’t be able to use them wired via USB on PC. This easy-to-use software has a 10-band graphic EQ, four editable presets, and microphone level adjustment as well as sidetone control. You can also save different profiles and switch between them. Also, you can disable the Bluetooth auto-startup when the headphones are turned on. While these headphones support Xbox’s native Windows Sonic Spatial Audio, you can’t control it inside the app.
Note: Some users have reported an issue with the headphones' volume decreasing when EQ settings are applied. We did a test and can confirm that when connected via Bluetooth or USB and EQ changes are applied, the volume decreases. We aren't sure what causes this but will update if we get more information. Please comment in the discussions below if you have experienced a similar issue.
Update 09/22/2021: We've changed Multi-Device Pairing from 'No' to 'Bluetooth + Console/Non-BT Wireless' as these headphones can connect to an Xbox console and a Bluetooth device at the same time. You must first press the 'Pair' button on the Xbox console and then press and hold the headphones' power button for six seconds; this pairs the headphones to the console. Next, you press the headphones' 'Bluetooth' button to pair them with a phone. Once paired to both devices, you can hear audio from both devices simultaneously. As a result, we have updated our review, and the scoring of this box has changed.
Update 09/09/2021: We now measure negative latency values in test bench 1.5 and have extended our scoring curve accordingly. Negative latency means that your audio comes before your visuals. Previous to this test bench, we gave a score of 0ms when the value was negative. However, using test bench 1.5, we measured -8ms on iOS and 13ms on Android. These headphones still have a good latency value, though, as a good value falls between -55ms to 150ms. You also shouldn't notice a delay in audio or visuals. However, the scoring of this box has changed from 6.7 to 7.0 to reflect these changes.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have great Bluetooth connectivity. You can use them to stream music from your phone when also gaming on the Xbox One, which is convenient if you like to use your headphones for more casual use. However, they don't have multi-device or NFC pairing. They also have quite a bit of latency on PC when streaming videos. While their iOS and Android latency are a bit lower, it's worth noting that some apps and devices compensate for lag, so your real-life mileage may vary.
Update 05/25/2021: Some users have reported that their headset disconnects on its own and that the audio stutters or sounds clicky. After using the headphones for a couple of days, we noticed this issue, even when using two different dongles. The headphones were also still showing as connected, even though they had disconnected, and we would have to turn them off and on again. SteelSeries has put out a troubleshooting guide to address this issue, noting it could be caused by minor interference. However, we are unable to adjust our router or turn off other devices in order to test for interference. Instead, we followed the steps to reset the headphones and Xbox, and this didn't solve this issue for us. If you have experienced this issue, please let us know in the discussion section below. The scoring of this box hasn't changed.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have decent non-Bluetooth wireless capabilities. With their Xbox Wireless Adapter, they have a slightly higher latency than most wireless gaming headsets, but the delay shouldn't be that noticeable. If you're looking for a dedicated Xbox headset with lower non-Bluetooth latency, try the Xbox Wireless Headset or the SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless.
Although the SteelSeries Arctis 9X don’t come with a 1/8” audio cable in-the-box, they support audio over their 1/8” jack. However, you won't be able to use the microphone, even if you're using a TRRS connector.
Update 05/25/2021: Some users have reported that their headphones disconnect on their own or that their audio stutters or clicks. We have also experienced this issue, even after using two different dongles. SteelSeries has put out a troubleshooting guide to address this issue. However, it didn't solve this issue for us. If you have experienced this issue, please let us know in the discussion section below.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are fully compatible with Xbox One Wireless. You can also plug these headphones into your controller with an audio cable, but you only receive audio.
Update 06/19/2019: We've updated the Xbox One compatibility value to reflect support for both mic and audio. It uses the same proprietary wireless connection as the Xbox controllers and the Microsoft wireless adapter. Although the wireless adapter doesn't work with the Xbox One, the headphones work without it, so the score has been adjusted.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X work with the Xbox One thanks to the Xbox Wireless Technology, which is also available on some PCs, meaning a dock isn’t necessarily needed. However, since our testing PC doesn’t have this technology built-in, we purchased an Xbox Wireless Adapter to better represent the headset's performance on the Xbox One. With this adapter, you can fully use the headset on PC, but it won’t be compatible with the PS4, and obviously won’t be needed on the Xbox One.
The SteelSeries 9X are good wireless gaming headphones that set themselves apart by being specifically designed for the Xbox One. They use Xbox Wireless Technology to connect to this console, just like you would with an Xbox controller. However, these headphones won’t be as versatile as other models as they're not compatible with PS4 consoles or with PCs that don't have an adapter. They work with PCs that use Xbox Wireless Technology, though. See our recommendations for the best gaming headsets for Xbox One, the best gaming headsets for PS4, and the best wireless gaming headsets.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9x Wireless and the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 are both very good wireless gaming headphones for the Xbox One, but the Astro perform better overall. The Astro are more comfortable as they have a more ergonomic headband design, and they deliver sound much more consistently than the SteelSeries. They also have a better-performing microphone and come with a full-featured charging dock. However, the SteelSeries connect more conveniently via Xbox Wireless and support Bluetooth so you can mix in audio from your mobile device while gaming. The SteelSeries battery also lasts longer, and they charge much more quickly.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are slightly more versatile than the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Wireless. The SteelSeries have a more comfortable fit, an easier-to-use control scheme, and a more neutral default sound profile, not to mention superior microphone noise handling. They also have longer battery life, take less time to charge, and have lower non-Bluetooth wireless latency. The Turtle Beach have a more stable fit.
The Razer Kaira Pro Wireless for Xbox and SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless each have their own strengths, so which you prefer comes down to your own needs and preferences. The Razer block out a little more ambient noise, have superior mic recording quality, and lower Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth wireless latency. The SteelSeries can be used for passive audio playback with their included 1/8" TRS cable, have a better-balanced default sound profile, and last longer off of a single charge.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless are better-suited for PC and PS4 gaming while the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better for gaming on the Xbox One. Although you can EQ both headphones using SteelSeries Engine software, the Pro have a nice dual-battery system that lets you charge one battery while using the other one. Both are Bluetooth-compatible too, but the Pro also have full mic and audio support when used wired on all consoles. However, if you mainly game on Xbox One, the 9X will still offer better value as they support Xbox One Wireless, unlike the Pro.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better gaming headphones for Xbox consoles than the Xbox Wireless Headset. The SteelSeries are better-built, more stable, and have a more neutral default sound profile. Their boom mic also delivers better overall performance, they have a longer continuous battery life, and lower non-Bluetooth latency.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better overall gaming headphones than the Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless, especially if you game exclusively on the Xbox One. The SteelSeries have better controls, they're more stable, and they leak less audio. Their boom microphone also performs better and their continuous battery life is much higher than the Razer's 5.3 hours. They support Bluetooth as well as Xbox Wireless too, which is nice if you like to chat with your friends using your mobile device while you game.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are much better wireless gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Wireless. While they both can mix audio from a Bluetooth source, the SteelSeries have a better microphone, their battery lasts over twice as long, and they feel much better-built.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless are similarly performing gaming headphones, and depending on your usage, you may prefer one over the other. Both are comfortable and well-built, but the 9X support Bluetooth. However, the 7X have a dongle that allows you to use them wirelessly on PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless perform similarly overall but suit different audiences. The 9X are Xbox One-compatible and use essentially the same connection as Xbox One controllers to seamlessly connect to Xbox One consoles and PCs that have Xbox One Wireless Technology without the need for a dongle. The 9 use a USB dongle that allows them to wirelessly connect to PC, PS4, and PS5 systems, but not Xbox One consoles.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better headphones for gaming than the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS. LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset. The SteelSeries have a longer continuous battery life and better onboard controls, including channel mixing and EQ cycling. They're also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can listen to music on your phone while connected to your Xbox console. You can also use them to receive audio from PCs and Playstation consoles via wired connection. On the other hand, the Logitech offer full compatibility with PCs and Playstation consoles using their wireless USB dongle.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are fairly similar headphones, but the 7 2019 Edition may be a better option for most, since the 9X are designed specifically for Xbox One. When used wirelessly, the 7 2019 Edition support voice chat when used wired. However, they have high non-Bluetooth wireless latency. On the other hand, the Arctis 9X are also Bluetooth-compatible, meaning you can use them on-the-go with your phone. Other than that, the build of both headsets is pretty much identical and they're equally comfortable.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Corsair VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless XT if you're an Xbox gamer. The SteelSeries support Xbox Wireless and have lower non-Bluetooth wireless latency. They're also more comfortable, have a longer continuous battery life, and have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer. However, the Corsair can be used wirelessly with PlayStation consoles and their boom mic has a better recording quality.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless have different strengths and depending on your needs, you may prefer one over the other. While both are comfortable and well-built, the Arctis 9X are more versatile since they support Bluetooth and have a more balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. They also support Xbox Wireless. However, the Arctis 7P are more designed for strictly gaming and offer full audio and mic support via analog on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Their non-Bluetooth wireless can also be used on PCs and PS4/PS5s.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better performing gaming headphones, but the Plantronics RIG 800LX Wireless are more versatile since they can be used with PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The SteelSeries are designed for the Xbox One only. The Plantronics also have better wireless latency. On the other hand, the SteelSeries have a nice companion app with customization options, they are also Bluetooth compatible, and they don’t require a transmitter to work. Their microphone recording quality is noticeably better, and their overall build feels more solid. If you only play on Xbox One, the SteelSeries are the better option, but if you need a versatile headset, the Plantronics might be a better alternative.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal. The SteelSeries have a more stable fit and a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. Also, their microphone performs better, and they have longer continuous battery life. However, the Bang & Olufsen offers better noise isolation and lower latency over Xbox Wireless. Also, they come with cables that you can plug into your PlayStation or Xbox controllers for full audio and microphone compatibility, although you have to turn the headphones on to use the TRRS cable. In comparison, the SteelSeries' analog cable only offers audio support.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better wireless gaming headphones than the Corsair HS75 XB WIRELESS Gaming Headset. The SteelSeries have a more stable fit and a better-balanced sound profile. They also leak less noise. However, the Corsair's boom microphone is detachable, unlike the SteelSeries. Both headphones use Xbox Wireless technology to connect to your Xbox One.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and the Beats Solo Pro Wireless are designed for different purposes. The SteelSeries are wireless gaming headphones. They're more comfortable, have a virtual soundstage feature, and a significantly better overall boom mic performance. They also have a longer continuous battery life, a customizable sound profile thanks to their companion software, and they support non-Bluetooth wireless for a lower latency connection. Conversely, the Beats are casual use headphones. They have an ANC system that's able to block out more ambient noise, and they have an H1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless. The SteelSeries are better-built and have a more stable fit. Their boom microphone has a better recording quality and noise handling performance, making it easier to communicate with your teammates. They also have a longer continuous battery life, and their companion software gives you a lot more customization options.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and Astro A50 Gen 3 Wireless 2017 are both good gaming headphones, but for different reasons. The SteelSeries have a better microphone recording quality, and their battery life is also noticeably longer. With the SteelSeries, you can stream music from a Bluetooth source at the same time as playing games. They can also be used passively with a 1/8” audio cable, while the Astro don’t have the appropriate jack. On the other hand, the Astro are more comfortable and have lower wireless latency. They also deliver sound more consistently across users than the SteelSeries.
While the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017 and the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are similarly performing wired gaming headphones, the SteelSeries are particularly suited for those who game exclusively on the Xbox One. The Astro are slightly more comfortable and have a MixAmp that some may enjoy for making adjustments to their audio. They're more versatile since they can easily be plugged into most consoles and receive both audio and microphone support. The SteelSeries, on the other hand, have a virtual surround feature, leak less sound, and can be used wirelessly. They also have a 28-hour battery life that can also be used passively when you're out of battery.