Steelseries. One name, countless awards in eSports. They were the first to create what we now consider common and given. The first to introduce us to gaming peripherals. A few weeks ago, Steelseries celebrated their 20 years on the gaming scene and shared with us, their history to this day. In case you have not seen it, take a look at Steelseries History. It is worth the ten minutes of your time.
The Arctis 7p is the successor to the Arctis 7, which were crowned the best wireless gaming headphones of 2018. With this titleand some upgrades for today’s consoles, the 7p is here to build on the success of their predecessor.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7p is available in two colors. Black and white. Since it was Christmas when I got them, I decided to get the white version. Then why are you writing the review in March, Mike? Because like all of humanity right now, I was on the waiting list for the Playstation 5. The Arctis 7p is a headset that Steelseries wanted to be the perfect companion for Sony’s new console. But did they succeed? I tried them with my PC, I tried them with my iPad, I tried them with my Switch and my PS5 and I am here to answer all your questions.
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Once you open the box and come face to face with the headphones, you immediately get that Playstation 5 vibe. It follows the same color theme with all-white and blue details in a minimalistic design without much fuss. Inside the box, you will also find a USB-C dongle (transmitter), a micro-USB cable, a Type-C to USB cable, a USB to analog cable for audio jack devices, and the manual.
The 7p follows the design of the other Arctis models and it is logical that there are not many differences, since the Arctis series has been loved for its sleek design and comfort. Most of the headset body is metallic, since the frame is made of steel to make it more durable and light. At the top, there is an adjustable ski strap allowing them to “hug” and lock in any type and size of head.
On the back of the right earcup, there is the volume control for the sidetone and the power button. A short parenthesis here, for anyone who does not know what sidetone is. The sidetone allows you to hear your voice when you speak into the microphone. This is a feature that is especially useful for streamers. In the left earcup, we find the mute button for the microphone, the volume control, and the three ports (share port, 3.5 audio jack, and micro-USB for charging the headphones). Truth is, I was a little disappointed that the charging port is not Type-C and so it does not support fast-charging. But we will talk about that later on.
What I liked about the volume wheels is that they do not rotate indefinitely, but have a stopping point when the volume reaches the minimum or maximum levels respectively. Also, the power button has many functions. Holding it down will turn the headphones on or off. If you press it once, you can answer a call or end a call, as well as start or pause your music. If you press twice, it will skip to the next track and three times to the previous track. Very smart and useful functions to control your music while your phone remains in your pocket. The mic mute button also has voice alerts and the microphone itself has an LED light that turns red when muted.
The way the buttons are placed on the headset, has been designed carefully so that you can distinguish them without even looking at the headphones. The two volume wheels are similar but each one of them is in a different earcup. The other buttons have different shapes and enough space between them. How many times have you tried to mute your mic while in a pinch, and instead, you turned off your headset? I generally do not like it when all the buttons are cramped in the same place. The last thing you want while playing your game is to have to take off the headphones in order to find the button you are looking for.
If I had to describe the Arctis 7p design in a few words, I would say that their design is similar to the Arctis 9 Wireless with the sleek looks, and a sweet retractable microphone. The blue details on the strap and inside the headphones, combined with the white color, make them the perfect partner for your PS5.
The 7p may look bulkier than other headphones but the truth is that is are so comfortable and so light that after a while you forget that you are wearing them.
Earcups offer a set of movements that do not burden the head, do not restrict it and allow them to hug the ears in any shape of head. The interior is made of Steelseries Airweave fabric which is very comfortable and allows the skin to breathe without blocking the heat. Trust me, no one will want to wear your headphones sitting on your sweaty ears for hours. Airwave as a material is very soft and I would put it in the same category as velvet. The biggest plus this material offers is that it helps incredibly people who wear glasses since it takes the shape of the frame unlike the leatherette most conevntional headsets use, which tends to be more rigid.
The strap on the top of the headset has a softness that leaves a pleasant feeling on the skin. Apart from being elastic and embracing all shapes of heads, it can be detached and adjusted according to the size of the head with a simple hook and loop tape. That way, your little brother can enjoy it, as well as your “giant-headed” friend. The weight of the headset is d istributed perfectly on the strap and this makes them one of the most comfortable headphones for long hours of usage.
Let’s move to the main reason you are reading this article and that is no other than the sound quality of this headset. If I had to describe it shortly, I would say that it has an accurate and perfect sound for gaming but I would hardly this is designed for audiophiles in mind.
I tested them with dozens of games, Ghost songs, movies on Netflix but also in Zoom business meetings. Let me tell you, their sound did not disappoint in any of these categories. The headset comes equipped with high-quality 40mm drivers. Overall, the sound is loud and clear, with targeted lows and sharp highs. I also noticed that there is a distinct bass boost, something that was missing from the earlier models. Anyone who is a fan of bass-heavy music will love them for this. I will not hide it that at first I was a little worried about this. Usually, loud bass and low midrange can cover some of the more discreet sounds in a game. For example, in FPS games, the sound of explosions can drown out the sound of footsteps. But this is not the case with the 7p. Hard bass AND clear sound clarity? Yes, please!
In games, the sound of the 7p is impeccable, and when paired the 3D sound experience makes you feel like you are part of the game and experience it as if you were there (more on that below). Of course, all this is configurable through the Steelseries software’s equalizer to suit everyone’s sound preferences.
When it comes to soundproofing, earcups offer the coverage you need for indoor gaming. For example, if you wear headphones while playing a game and your brother is watching TV in the same room, you will not hear the slightest thing. But that’s not the case outdoors. Unfortunately, earcups can not isolate the fuss in public transport for example or during a flight. This does not mean that the Arctis 7p is not suited for casual walks on the beach or a run for example, just don’t expect Active Noice Cancelling level of soundproofing. Thanks to the USB-C dongle that comes with the headset, it is compatible with any device that has a Type-C port.
The microphone is Discord certified and uses a bidirectional design, the same used by aircraft carrier deck crews for superior noise cancellation, making your voice sound clear and natural. It is activated by pressing a button, it pulls and extends through the handset, it’s flexible and that makes it incredibly convenient.
According to Steelseries, the battery lasts up to 24 hours on a single charge. As soon as I took the headphones out of their box, I fully charged them and the battery lasted just over 26 hours with the volume ranging between 50 and 75%. Of course, the volume level can play an important role in battery life. There is also an automatic timer that turns off the headphones when not in use for better battery life.
Compared to the Arctis 7, whose battery lasted up to 16 hours, we have a significant improvement. In case you run out of battery, you can use the headset while charging or passively, with the USB cable connected. Unfortunately, it takes about 4 hours to fully charge and this is because it charges via the micro-USB port. I would prefer a Type-C port for fast-charging. But maybe Steelseries has something in mind for us in the near future. You never know.
Cables and connectivity that will cover even the most demanding users
The 7p is compatible with a number of different devices thanks to the USB-C dongle. All you have to do to use it with your computer, your Android Phone, your iPad or your Nintendo Switch, is to stick the dongle in the Type-C port and you will immediately hear Princess Zelda telling you “But courage need not be remembered… for it is never forgotten.”. The 7p however, does not support dual-wireless connectivity which means it cannot connect via Bluetooth. But on the other hand, why would you need Bluetooth when you can have a stable 2.4GHz wireless connection? Finally, with the plug and play dongle, you do not even need to pair with the devices. Once connected, the headset just works.
The only downside to the Type C Dongle is that it also blocks the USB port
But what if your device does not have a Type-C port and as we said the 7p does not support Bluetooth? Steelseries thought about that too, and for this reason, it provides in-package cables that make the headset compatible with 99% of the devices out there. From turntables to GameBoy Color, this headset can be connected to anything and will work without any issues at all. Do not forget that the 3.5mm cable gives them compatibility with the Xbox, since it can be connected directly to the Xbox controller.
The Arctis 7p and the PS5
As I mentioned at the beginning, this headset is designed with the PS5 in mind.
The 7p does not offer virtual surround sound on PC for a reason. This feature had to be sacrificed to be compatible with Sony’s Tempest 3D Audio Tech technology. This was the biggest asset of Sony Pulse 3D headphones and I say it “was”, because having the comfort and quality of 7p sound combined with 3D compatibility, makes it a one-way choice between the two.
Spider-man enjoyed Spider-Man: Miles Morales as much as I did
I cannot describe what I experienced while playing Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The sound of the game is by itself one of the best I have come across in recent years. With Tempest 3D, it gets to a whole new level. You escape for a while and feel like you are really hanging off the skyscrapers in New York, listening to the bustle around you. Even the slightest sound is distinguishable. I remember once turning my head to see who was talking to me, it took me a few seconds to realize that there were people talking next to me in the game. Great feeling (albeit a little weird until you get used to it)!
The Arctis 7p is really one of the best (if not the best) gaming headsets in its class. It’s comfortable, easy to use, and with great sound quality in games and music. Especially for games like Outriders, it really makes a difference. It has a minimalist and beautiful design that fits particularly well with the PS5. Its construction is solid made of good materials that will last for a long time. The incredible battery life and its price is more than reasonable, if one considers their compatibility with any device you can think of, making it my first choice for audio, especially for console gaming. Like I said before, all I would add is a Type-C port for fast-charging and not a micro-USB one. Maybe dual-wireless connectivity too, so I can use them with Bluetooth as well. But the price to pay is small in front of all their advantages.
The Steelseries Arctis 7p is on the market at 179.99 euros, which is a reasonable price since we are talking about high-end headphones and not just a wireless gaming headset.
We would like to thank Steelseries Greece for the review unit they provided.