SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 Review
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SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1
$49.99 at Amazon
$99.99 at Amazon
$19.99 at Amazon
|$60 List||$60 List|
$59.00 at Amazon
|Bottom Line||Despite some shortcomings, this headset still delivers above average audio quality||This headset offers great audio, superior comfort, and a fantastic microphone –- the only knock against it is that it is corded||This headset is a great bargain option, holding its own with the top models while costing considerably less||If you are shopping on the tightest of budgets, then the G332 is an alright choice||Despite its affordable price, lacks comfort and features, leaving much to be desired|
|Rating Categories||SteelSeries Arctis...||Kraken V3 HyperSense||Kingston HyperX Clo...||Logitech G332||Astro Gaming A10 Gen 2|
|Ease of Use (10%)|
|Specs||SteelSeries Arctis...||Kraken V3 HyperSense||Kingston HyperX Clo...||Logitech G332||Astro Gaming A10 Gen 2|
|Measure Max Cordlength||9.1 ft||6.4 ft||10.5 ft||7.3 ft||7 ft|
|Wireless or Wired||Wired||Wired||Wired||Wired||Wired|
|How to Mute||Button||Button||Lift mic||Lift mic||Lift mic|
|Mute and Volume Control Location||Headphone||Headphone||Headphone||Headphone||Mute: Headphone
|Measured weight (cable hanging)||8.8 oz||13 oz||9.5 oz||10.9 oz||9.4 oz|
|Measured Inner Ear Cup Opening||1-3/4" X 2-1/4"||1-1/2" X 2-1/2"||1-5/8" X 2-9/16"||1-5/8" X 2-3/8"||1-3/16" X 1-3/4"|
|Ear Cup Shape||Oval||Oval||Oval||Oval||Rectangle|
|Ear Cup Fabric Type||Fabric mesh||Memory foam, leatherette, cooling mesh||Leatherette||Leatherette||Fabric mesh|
|Manufacturer Stated Platform Compatibility||PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox (Series X, S, and One), Mobile||PC, PlayStation, Switch (docked mode)||PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One (older version controllers may require an adapter)||PC, Mac, most consoles and mobile devices via 3.5 mm cable.||PC, Mac, PS5, Switch, Xbox (Series X and S)|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Steelseries Arctis Nova 1 is an affordable headset, and we found it to be pretty good in its basic functionality. It doesn't do much to set itself apart from the pack but could prove useful if you're on a budget but still need decent audio and microphone quality.
We found this headset comfortable enough to use for a few hours at a time without significant issues. The elastic connected to the headband ensures a proper fit, although it may require some adjustment to get it just right. However, considering the potential longevity concerns of elastic materials, there is a slight worry that the headset's fit could be compromised if the elastic wears out over time.
The ear cups are comfy enough, albeit a tad warm, which isn't uncommon for most headsets.
Coming in a close second to comfort, we have sound quality making up 30% of the overall rating. The Nova 1 produced a mixed bag here, but definitely has some advantages over other headsets at this price point.
We put the headset through a series of benchmark tests to assess its performance, covering aspects such as bass quality and harmonic distortion. The sound produced by the headset was well-balanced, perhaps leaning slightly towards a flat profile, but still delivered pleasing tones.
When it comes to positional audio, however, the results were less impressive. We conducted tests using scenarios like gunfire and enemy footsteps in games like CS:GO, as well as the Razer Helicopter test which simulates being circled by a helicopter without visual cues. Unfortunately, we had a tough time detecting where sounds were coming from. It may not provide the competitive edge you seek in terms of positional accuracy.
With music, the headset delivered a slightly above-average rating. The bass quality is somewhat dull, accompanied by occasional crackling at higher volumes. It still manages to produce satisfactory treble and mid tones when adjusted to the appropriate volume, though. While it may not offer an exceptional music experience, it can still provide audio enjoyment within certain parameters.
Accounting for 20% of the overall score, the microphone brings mostly positive news. The mic excels at minimizing external noise, prioritizing the user's voice above all else, thanks to its noise cancelling AI algorithm. As a result, your voice will come through with clean and slightly above average quality. While we weren't blown away by the overall quality of the voice itself, it does the job just fine.
Ease of Use
The unit comes fully equipped for plug-and-play functionality, providing everything you need right out of the box. Software is available for fine-tuning the mix to your preferences, but it's not essential to get rolling.
The mute button is positioned on the left side of the headset, which can be challenging to locate quickly. Additionally, it lacks clear feedback to indicate that it has been successfully activated.
The 3.5mm headphone jack can be removed for easier travel when you want to get mobile, which we appreciate. Overall, this headset incorporates thoughtful features, but it likely won't impress the diehard gamer.
Should You Buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1?
For its price, this headset delivers a solid performance. It's a good option for those starting out in gaming on a budget. However, if you require a competitive edge in gaming or prioritize audio quality for movies and music, we can't fully endorse it.
What Other Gaming Headsets Should You Consider?
The Kraken V3 HyperSense comes in a little higher in price, but the jump in performance was worth it in our eyes. If price is indeed a sticking point for you, check out the Kingston HyperX Cloud Stinger.