The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are wired gaming headphones designed with PCs in mind. They're at the lowest end of the Arctis Nova lineup and are worth checking out if you're looking for something more wallet-friendly. They're a step up from the SteelSeries Arctis 1, with improved build quality and attention to comfort, but offer marginal performance gains overall. They also come in PlayStation and Xbox variants, but the difference between these models is mostly cosmetic, as only the PC variant comes with a Y-splitter.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are decent for neutral sound. These headphones have a warm sound profile out of the box that delivers extra boom to mixes. While vocals and lead instruments sound present, a dip in the treble range veils their details. Sibilants like cymbals are also slightly dull and lispy. These headphones are prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery too. If you have thick hair or wear glasses, you may especially notice a drop in bass.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 aren't designed for commute and travel. They're gaming headphones, so they're bulky, lack a carrying case, and don't block out any of the low rumble of bus engines. If that's not an issue for you, they have a comfortable fit and are well-built.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 aren't suitable for sports and fitness. These bulky over-ears are designed for gaming, and their wired design means that you can accidentally snag them on something, which can pull them off of your head. Moderate physical movement can also cause the headphones to fall off your head. On the upside, they have a comfortable fit and are well-built.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are mediocre for office use. They're gaming headphones and have a gamer-centric design, but if that doesn't bother you, they have a comfortable fit suitable for long days at the office. They also have a boom mic, which is great for online meetings as it can capture your voice very well. Unfortunately, they struggle to reduce noise like office chit-chat and lack dedicated call and music-related controls.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are wired-only headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are decent for wired gaming. These comfortable and well-built headphones have a warm sound profile that delivers extra boom to audio, which can help emphasize sound effects like footsteps. Since they use a 1/8" TRRS cable, you can connect them to any console with this jack. They have a boom mic, which does a great job of capturing your voice clearly, even in moderately noisy environments. Since they have a closed-back design, their soundstage doesn't feel very immersive, and they're prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery, so you may need to readjust their fit each time you use them to get a more consistent sound.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are alright for phone calls. While they're designed for gaming, you can still make calls with them, thanks to their boom mic. It offers great performance, ensuring you're heard clearly, even in moderately noisy environments. That said, the headphones aren't designed for blocking background noise and struggle to reduce sounds like ambient chatter.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 come in two color variants: 'Black' and 'White'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see our model's label here. Keep in mind that this model is designed primarily for PCs. The Nova 1P are designed for PlayStation, while the Nova 1X are for Xbox. However, the difference between all three models is largely cosmetic, but only the Nova 1 comes with a Y-splitter for PCs. As a result, we expect all variants to perform similarly.
If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are the budget-end headphones of the 'Arctis Nova' lineup. They're based upon the SteelSeries Arctis 1, but the manufacturer has significantly improved their design, especially when it comes to build quality and comfort. While their passive soundstage isn't as immersive as that of the Astro A10 Gen 2 or Logitech G433, they still offer a well-rounded performance that's worth considering if you're shopping with your eye on your wallet.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 are the next step up from the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1. While both headphones are wired and have the same build quality and comfort, the Nova 3 have customizable RGB lighting on the ear cups, which some users may prefer. They can also access features like Spatial Audio, a parametric EQ and presets, and even an adjustable mic level via their companion software. They also support a wired USB connection.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are more versatile gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1. The Arctis 1 are wireless gaming headphones with low wireless latency, and can you can even use them wired, thanks to their included analog cable. They're also more customizable as they support SteelSeries Engine. The Arctis Nova 1 are more comfortable and better built. Their microphone also offers better overall performance.
The Astro A10 Gen 2 and the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are budget-friendly wired gaming headphones with slight differences in performance. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Astro headphones have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their passive soundstage feels larger and more immersive. However, the SteelSeries headphones' mic has a better overall performance.
The Logitech G433 are better headphones for gaming, especially on PCs, than the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1. While both headphones are comfortable, the Logitech have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, a better soundstage to help immerse you in your audio, and better overall microphone performance. They also have companion software, which offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize their sound to your liking, and you can use them analog or wired USB. However, the SteelSeries are better built.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 have a very similar design to other headphones in the 'Arctis Nova' lineup, like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. Unlike the SteelSeries Arctis 1, they have the manufacturer's ski-band headband design. This model comes in two colors: 'Black' and 'White'. However, if you pick up the Nova 1P, it'll have a black headband strap with blue accents, while the Nova 1X has a black headband strap with green accents.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 have a comfortable fit. They feel lightweight, and the ear cups don't clamp too tightly on your head. Their ski-band headband is also adjustable and can distribute the weight of the headphones well on your head. However, the ski-band design may not be for everyone as they have a limited range of extension, so if you have a large head, you may have a hard time getting a good seal.
These over-ears have sub-par controls. There are only two controls: a volume wheel with min and max stops and a clicky microphone mute button. On the upside, the controls are pretty easy to learn.
These headphones aren't designed with portability in mind. In their default position, they're bulky. Even though the ear cups can swivel to lay flat, they can't fold into a more compact shape. However, it won't be a problem if you're planning to leave them at your desk or table.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are decently stable. If you're wearing them while gaming on the couch or at your desk, they don't move around too much. However, if you like to bop your head or move more vigorously, the headphones can fall off.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 have a warm sound profile. They have a touch of extra high-bass to add warmth to mixes, which can help emphasize sound effects like footsteps when you're playing games like Fortnite. However, they have a large dip in their low-treble, which hurts the detail of vocals and instruments.
Like most SteelSeries headphones with the ski-band design, they're very prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery and are sensitive to fit, positioning, and seal. If you have thick hair or wear glasses, you may especially notice a drop in bass. As a result, you'll likely have to adjust the headphones on your head each time you use them to ensure a more consistent sound.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1's bass accuracy is excellent. They lack a little bit of thump and rumble, but they have extra high-bass to help balance out their bass. As a result, gameplay has extra warmth and boom without muddying dialogue and instruments.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 have excellent mid accuracy. The response is fairly even, although a dip in the mid-mid nudges dialogue and instruments to the back of the mix. However, these sounds still seem present and clear in mixes.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 have poor treble accuracy. A large dip in the low-treble hurts the clarity of dialogue and instruments. That said, the response isn't so bad for the mid-treble, and sibilants like cymbals lose a touch of brightness.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1's peaks and dips performance is mediocre. A peak in the high-bass adds extra warmth and boom to mixes, while a dip between the low to mid-mid thins out and nudges vocals and instruments to the back of the mix. Another peak across the high-mid makes vocals and instruments sound harsh, but a dip in the low-treble hurts their details. A steep peak in the mid-treble makes sibilants like hi-hats piercing and painful.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1's imaging performance is great. SteelSeries' more affordable gaming headphones, like the SteelSeries Arctis Prime and SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless, tend to have small issues in driver mismatch, which is unfortunately normal at this price point. However, imaging varies between units and can indicate quality control and ergonomics. Overall, our unit's L/R drivers are well-matched, which is important for the accurate localization of objects like footsteps in the stereo image.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1's passive soundstage performance is sub-par. They're closed-back headphones, so their soundstage doesn't seem very spacious or open. Although it's wide, the soundstage also struggles to feel out-of-head and natural.
These headphones are fully compatible with Microsoft Spatial Sound on PCs as well as Tempest 3D Audio on PS5s. You can also use them with Dolby Atmos, but you'll need to purchase a license separately.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1's weighted harmonic distortion performance is decent. There's a peak in the low-treble at both moderate and high listening levels. It can be hard to hear with real-life content, though, and most other frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in fairly clean and pure audio reproduction.
These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 have a poor noise isolation performance. Although they're closed-back headphones, they won't block out sounds like car engines from an open window or ambient chatter. They can significantly cut down the hum of computer fans, though.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1's leakage performance is decent. Leakage is mostly concentrated in the mid to treble range and sounds somewhat thin. However, if you like to game at high volumes, it's unlikely that you'll bother others around you.
The mic's recording quality is excellent. Your voice sounds natural, bright, and clear. You won't have any trouble being heard clearly by your teammates and enemies alike.
There's white noise present in our recording. It's the noise made from our testing rig's mouth speaker, which is picked up by this headphones' mic. The recording quality score isn't affected by this noise, though.
The mic's noise handling performance is decent. The mic can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise well, so you're heard clearly, even in moderate environments.
These headphones come with a 1/8" TRRS cable as well as a Y-splitter so you can connect them to PCs.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 are fully compatible with PCs when using their analog connection.
You can connect the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 to your PlayStation console by plugging in their 1/8" TRRS cable directly into your controller's AUX port. This connection ensures full audio and mic compatibility.
These headphones are fully compatible with Xbox consoles via their 1/8" TRRS cable.