SteelSeries Arctis 7 review: Does it worth $120?

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 came out of our test solid. Now we’ve grabbed the successor, Arctis 7, and we are curious what SteelSeries has improved. Whether it can catch up or even surpass its predecessor, you can now find out in our SteelSeries Arctis 7 review.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 review

The lack of RGB and the velour covers, which are not to everyone’s liking, are deductions. In return, the Arctis 7 scores with good wearing comfort due to its pleasant weight and comfortable pads.

What We Like
  • Good range
  • Battery charges quickly
  • Good sound quality
  • Great microphone
  • Comprehensive software
  • DTS 2.0 support (only on the PC)
  • Very comfortable for a long time
We Don’t Like
  • High price
  • No additional ear pads
  • Mute button difficult to press
  • On the console rather weak in tone
  • Volume control placed inappropriately
  • Best sound only possible with software

The equipment is suitable with the included cables. Unfortunately, there is no alternative cover for the ear cups. The performance of the headset is excellent. Only the permanently flexible microphone worries us a bit in terms of longevity. The full sound of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 only unfolds with the software, which is annoying for console users. The microphone is clear and distinct with solid quality. Unfortunately, no good pop protection is integrated, but the ambient noise cancellation is very good.

8.4Expert Score
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Rating

Seen as a complete package, the Arctis 7 or Arctis Pro can be recommended. However, the high price results in a deduction for the price performance.

Design & Comfort
8.5
Material & Performance
8
Headphone sound
8
Microphone sound
9
Price performance
8.5

Features & Performance

As usual, we start with a summary of the most important key features. SteelSeries presents the following with the Arctis 7:

SteelSeries Arctis 7 Gaming Headset: Important features at a glance

Speaker driver:  40 mm, Frequency range:  20 Hz – 22 kHz, Impedance: 32 ohms, Sensitivity: 98 dB SPL/mW, Microphone polar pattern: bidirectional, Microphone type: ClearCast microphone, Battery life: around 20h, Media control: mute switch, volume control, Connection: Bluetooth, range 12m, Dimensions: 23.2 x 10.1 x 22 cm, Total weight : 376g, Price: From $120, Guarantee : 2 years.

Material & Performance

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 looks almost plain when we free it from the box. As with its predecessor, the Arctis 3, no surprises await us here. Matt plastic, padded ear cups, and a solid build. SteelSeries leaves nothing to chance here and sticks to the usual good quality.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 Material & Performance

The rotary switches for the volume, the switches, and ports are neatly incorporated and hardly give any reason for criticism. What worries us a bit, though: The microphone boom is not fixed. You can extend it, which runs inside the ear cup. Hopefully, there will be no cable breakage there in the future because the arm is not replaceable.

The design is neat to look at, though, as the matte plastic and clean finish make an excellent overall impression. The headband is (as with the predecessor) not covered with a pad. You take here again the adjustable strap. This is a proven principle for SteelSeries, as the entire Arctis series is built like this. The controls for sound and microphone are well placed on the ear cups, which is not unusual for wireless models.

Arctis 7 options

Steelseries include the receiver, a 3.5 mm jack cable, and a micro-USB charging cable. A driver’s CD or a case are not included. However, one could have expected that for this price.

Design & Wearing Comfort

Design

The Arctis 7 comes without any optical finesse on your table. We don’t have any RGB effects or decorative elements here. With the matte plastic and simple build, SteelSeries delivers an almost understated headset. If you compare it to the Corsair VOID PRO RGB, for example, you might think SteelSeries wants to shine with features in the purely technical area.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 Design

The microphone is visible when the headset is retracted, but it is not noticeable and blends in well with the overall look. When we extend it, an LED strip appears on it. This shows us whether our microphone is currently muted or actively recording.

Looking for budget gaming headset? Here you can see HyperX Cloud Stinger Review: Best budget headset under $50?

Wearing Comfort

The wearing comfort of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 hardly differs from the Arctis 3. Due to the fancy padding on the headband, which is adjusted via Velcro, the ear cups also contribute a good part to the wearing comfort. Pleasantly padded and covered with fabric, they are comfortable. Unfortunately, Steelseries does not allow us to replace these covers here. They can be removed, but putting them on is a bit fiddly due to the thin frame.

Arctis 7 are clearly structured

Usually, manufacturers in this price range include a replacement pair, usually made of synthetic leather. However, SteelSeries does not have this with the Arctis 7. If you still want another pair, you can order them from Steelseries. This way, we can also get other materials for the ear cups at a price of $14.99. It is a pity that a product in this price range does without them.

As usual for a closed headset, the noise reduction from the outside is very good. The padding is also very comfortable and does not become uncomfortable even during longer sessions. We were initially skeptical as to whether the high weight might not be too pressing. But it was not noticeably more uncomfortable than its predecessor.

The microphone is on a flexible arm to slide it into the desired position. This is great, since fixed microphones often come too close or far away from the mouth in other headsets.

The SteelSeries Soundengine 3 software

The software is a bit hidden. Since SteelSeries does without a driver CD, we download it via the homepage. After installing and restarting the PC, we can also start testing it.

The headset is automatically recognized and offers us various settings.

SteelSeries Soundengine 3 software

Here we can activate the 7.1 support, bass amplification, adjust our equalizer as desired, or make more in-depth compression or microphone monitoring options. In addition, different profiles can be selected here, which you should simply play around with a bit.

We recommend that you spend about 10-15 minutes with the software so that you can make your individual sound settings. This is the only way to get the most out of the Arctis 7!

Important: The settings are transmitted to the headset with a short delay of about 2 to 3 seconds due to the wireless transmission. SteelSeries also provides us with short explanations here. Each area is marked with a question mark. This briefly gives you an overview of what you can do with this setting. This is exemplary, and other manufacturers should adopt it.

Headphone Sound & Gaming performance

40 mm neodymium magnet speakers drive the sound. These are supported S1 drivers, which are also installed in the Arctis Pro Wireless variant.

The speakers are the next area we’ll test. We watched a movie, listened to various music tracks, and used Discord, TeamSpeak, and Skype.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 Sound Performance Gaming

We played Counter-Strike, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, and Audiosurf. We focused on the DTS 7.1 mode. This is the unique selling point compared to the Arctis 3.

The virtual DTS emulation worked flawlessly. The sound is generated in a realistic 360-degree environment and gives us a clean environment.

Especially in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, the headset thrilled us. It doesn’t matter if we battle with Heinrich or roam through the villages and forests. We always have the feeling of being “in the middle of it.” The sword strokes, the powerful impact of sword on shield, the shouts of the people, or the chirping of the birds in the light wind in a forest.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 Gaming Performance

Even locating enemies, as is essential in Counter-Strike, was no problem. Every step was virtually audible and could be quickly assigned directionally. However, the voice quality was also important to us here. The transmissions from TeamSpeak and Discord were clearly separated from the game sound and cleanly understandable.

Audiosurf went into a completely different area. Here we have combined music and playing sound. Wherever we are on the next topic. How does the Arctis 7 perform when listening to music?

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 while listening to music.

For this, we ran a wide-ranging music list. Everything was there, from rock, hip hop, techno, or even synth-wave. Thus, we could rely on a good mixture between vocals, deep and powerful sounds, or even clear tones.

But there, the first damper reached us. The sound was pleasing. Only after some adjustment work with the “SteelSeries Engine 3” did we get good results here. However, we will get over this since we can set several profiles there.

However, we are not surprised that a gaming headset is expandable here and would also like to be adjusted separately. After all, pure audio for music is not the primary goal of a headset in this segment.

However, the overall sound could convince us here as well. Clear trebles, rumbling basses. A well-sorted frequency image stands out for your ears and makes your listening experience of its own.

Console performance and sound conclusion

Unfortunately, the performance on the console was clearly weaker. And that has a simple background:

On the PC, we have the possibility to optimize the headset through the Soundengine 3. You don’t have this advantage on the console or mobile. Since the settings are not stored on the headset but regulated by the software, the plus point for the consoles is missing here.

Thus, you have to see two things here:

  1. The sound image on the console was fine. Clear separation of the levels. Clean trebles and pleasant basses were present here. The tracking and chat were also lovely to hear and distinguish. But it seemed meager overall.
  2. At first, the same sound picture on the PC as on the console. Only after installation and adjustment via Engine 3 did the full potential of the headphones reach us.

Steelseries Arctis 7 Microphone Review

Let’s take a closer look at the microphone. The microphone works solidly and is sensitive. However, the sound of the microphone suffers a bit, which is not due to the wireless transmission. As usual in this field, simple microphones are installed, which have a clear recording but lack the advantages of a membrane microphone. Thus, it partly sounds a bit flatter than a high-quality microphone.

Steelseries Arctis 7 Microphone Review

However, implementing the voice and filtering of sharp or muffled sounds works very well.

If you want to hear what the SteelSeries Arctis 7 microphone sounds like, then listen to the following sound sample:

The position of the microphone in front of your mouth is important. The microphone doesn’t have any pop protection, which results in unpleasant background noise during hissing or P sounds. However, the performance and quality are solid. You have an extra switch on the left shell to mute the mic.

An interesting addition for the console freaks among you: If you want to control the game sound and the voice chat, you have a slider on the right ear cup. This way, you can regulate the balance between game and chat.

The microphone’s bidirectional alignment also shields the surroundings well. It suppressed noise from the keyboard or the car passing by with an open window.

Conclusion of the Steelseries Arctis 7 Review

We had a bit of a hard time evaluating the SteelSeries Arctis 7. After all, we naturally expect a lot with an MSRP of $118. But we can clearly say: Yes, the predecessor has been surpassed. But at what price?

The Artis 7’s look and feel are convincing in their simple design, just like the predecessor. This is a plus point, especially for gamers who don’t want to have the most colorful and flashy headphones on their PC.

The microphone is perfect for the price range: recording and covering work, and the configuration is also problem-free.

However, we have to admit about the sound: Without some tuning in the Soundengine 3, the sound of the headphones only makes a satisfactory impression. After a few settings, however, it is convincing. On the console or cell phone, the sound is only “okay.”

If you don’t only want to use the headset on the console, the Arctic 7 can be recommended without hesitation. The sound and microphone performance on the PC is very solid. The thing is super comfortable and also wireless. If you don’t mind the steep price, you should buy it.

Hope this review on SteelSeries Arctis 7 help you to decide whether its meet your need or not.

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