SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless is a versatile headset designed for PC, PlayStation, Switch and other mobile devices.

As with its fellow SteelSeries headsets, the Arctis Nova 5 Wireless is a fine-looking device.  It’s light, but still feels very robust and should be able to handle a reasonable amount of punishment.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

The Arctis Nova 5 Wireless fits tight, but not so tight that it will squeeze your head. There’s an adjustable elastic band instead of a cushioned headband. There are also adjustable arms for an extremely comfortable fit.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

The foam earcups, which can be removed/replaced, fit nicely over my ears, fully encapsulating them. The cups have a little bit of vertical rotation, so they’ll fit well even if you have extended the arms to fit your noggin. They also have a 90-degree horizontal rotation so you can rest them around your neck if you want to go for that off-duty DJ look.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

The left earcup has a volume dial and a mic mute button. The flexible hidden microphone is also in the left earcup. The mic features noise-cancelling technology via the SteelSeries Sonar app, which also has preset mic EQ settings and individual frequency adjustments for the best sound pickup. The mic picks up your voice crisp and clear, perfect for in-game chat as well as video and telephone calls.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

The right earcup has the USB Type-C port for the included Type-C to Type-A charge cable.  The power button doubles as a media multifunction button for play/pause and skip/previous as well as increasing and decreasing call volume. The quick-switch button toggles audio out between Bluetooth and the 2.5Ghz dongle inputs as well as answering, ending and ignoring calls.

The headset supports Bluetooth v5.3, but there’s also a USB Type-C 2.4GHz dongle in the box. This gives the headset a faster and more reliable plug-and-play connection to your devices. If you have older devices with no Type-C slot, there’s a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter cable included.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

You can insert the dongle into your host device and the headset will automatically pair. I tested the dongle with my desktop PC, a ROG Ally portable gaming PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5 and my old Huawei phone, all with instant connection and no issues. Sadly, there’s no Xbox Series X|S support. Microsoft’s consoles lack Bluetooth and peripheral manufacturers must pay a premium for third-party device licencing.

Whilst the dongle is great and the best way to connect to the headset, Bluetooth comes in handy if you need that USB port for charging. The dongle worked without a hitch on the ROG Ally, but when I needed to connect the handheld gaming PC to charge via its one USB Type-C port, it was easy to switch the headset to Bluetooth and continue gaming without disturbing anyone.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

Regarding charging, a USB Type-C to Type-A cable for charging the headset is included in the box. SteelSeries states that the headset has sixty hours of battery life. Whilst I didn’t time it, I never needed to charge the headset after its initial charge during my testing.

The headset supports both the Nova 5 mobile app and the SteelSeries GG desktop software. Both help to get the best out of the device.

By downloading the Nova 5 app to your phone and connecting the headset via Bluetooth, you can select preset EQ settings for a huge selection of games. With the headset connected to my ROG Ally via the USB dongle, I could start Red Dead Redemption 2 and change the EQ settings to the special RDR2 EQ profile on the fly, via my phone, which was also connected to the Nova 5  via Bluetooth.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

Upon plugging the dongle into your PC, you get an automatic prompt to install the SteelSeries GG software. GG it’s a bit of a pushy overachiever. It wants to be your gaming hub, when all you want it to do is make your keyboard light up fancy and adjust your headset EQ settings. You can ignore what you don’t want, but it may still hijack your default audio device settings. As well as the game EQ profiles, GG is used to update your headset and dongle’s firmware if required.

But how does the headset sound? Well, it sounds great. I had the fortune to review Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga, a game the developer insists you play with a headset for the best experience. The Arctis Nova 5 excelled in delivering the game’s haunting and unnerving binaural audio.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

Using the headset with a return to Red Dead Redemption 2 on the ROG Ally was great. Not only could I play the game in bed without disturbing the household, but I could also hear every tweet of the birds and distant thunderclaps, as well as the general soundtrack of the unlawful antics of Arthur Morgan, all crisper than ever. The custom EQ settings bring out the best in your game’s audio.

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless is a great headset. It feels solid, it’s well-made and comfortable to wear. The audio output is crisp and clear and the mic picks up your voice well. The 2.4 GHz dongle makes connection a breeze. All-in-all it’s a headset very much worth considering.

 

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