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Hardware Review

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless Review

Another top-notch headset from SteelSeries

A good headset is the spice of life as the saying goes (or something like that), and SteelSeries is one brand that has pleasured the ears of many gamers with its headset offerings. The Arctis Nova 5 is the latest addition to the SteelSeries wireless headset roster, sitting in the upper echelon of its affordable lineup with a $299 price point. As we’ve come to expect, the Arctis Nova 5 is another stellar addition to the SteelSeries family and your gaming arsenal.

Like SteelSeries’ other wireless headsets, the Arctis Nova 5 comes in three variants for PlayStation, Xbox and PC. The PC and PlayStation versions, which have a black streak on the headband for PC and a blue streak for PlayStation, are compatible with PC, PlayStation and Switch, while the Xbox model (naturally sporting a green streak) supports all four platforms. So regardless of the platforms you own, there’s an option that covers all the bases.

Connecting the headset to a device is a USB-C wireless dongle (a USB-A adaptor is included) that plugs into your chosen device. The Arctis Nova 5 also supports dual connectivity via Bluetooth, but it seems limited to taking calls on your mobile phone while in use on a console. There’s a button on the right earcup that allows for switching between the two connections. If you were hoping to use Bluetooth and 2.4Ghz connections simultaneously you’ll need the Nova 7. There’s no option for a wired connection, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but you can charge while playing if needed.

The Arctis Nova 5 continues SteelSeries’ reputation of impressive audio quality thanks to the company’s custom-designed Neodymium Magnetic Drivers that deliver an immersive audio experience. Generally, soundscapes are clear and punchy with tons of detail whether it’s a high-octane shooter or a cinematic adventure game, and it’s only when things get a little chaotic that the mix struggles. I’ve always found SteelSeries headsets to be fairly solid when it comes to listening to music, and the Arctis Nova 5 is no different. Bands like Bilmuri and Floya blessed my ears with well-balanced bass and highs, while beefier bass tracks had a solid kick to them. It’s not going to be as detailed as some high-end headphones, but for the price, the Arctis Nova 5 audio experience is great value.

One new addition the Arctis Nova 5 introduces is the smartphone companion app that allows you to change audio settings and presets via your Android or iOS phone while playing on a console. It takes away the hassle console gamers have faced previously by having to pause and leave a game to adjust their settings. The app comes preloaded with over 100 presets for all the big-name titles such as Fortnite, Call of Duty and Apex Legends, and if you don’t like any of them you can always create your own. A further boon is that users can utilise SteelSeries’ PC software Sonar to create profiles and sync them back to the companion app for use on consoles.

Generally, soundscapes are clear and punchy with tons of detail whether it’s a high-octane shooter or a cinematic adventure game

I’ve never found headset mics particularly amazing, and the Arctis Nova 5’s ClearCast microphone doesn’t change my opinion. It’s not bad by any stretch, but when you’re used to podcast mics and the like, headset mics don’t hit the same. Despite that, the mic here will provide your squad with decent audio of your voice, although it’s not immune to background noise, so expect some to filter through. I do love the retractable mic design though, and as someone who rarely uses a headset mic, it’s great to be able to tuck it away instead of flipping it up.

I’ve said it in other headset reviews and I’ll say it again, if there’s one feature that’s just as important as audio quality it’s comfort, and when it comes to comfort SteelSeries is king. The Arctis Nova 5 uses a flexible lightweight plastic chassis and a fabric headband with three sizing options and memory foam ear cups for supreme comfort. If you’re partial to a lengthy session with the squad, the Arctis Nova 5 remains comfortable over long periods and the memory foam cups don’t cook your ears. At least not in my experience.

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Battery life is another staple of any good headset and the Arctis Nova 5 doesn’t disappoint. SteelSeries says that you’ll get around 60 hours out of a full tank, and while I didn’t time my usage, I definitely got great mileage out of a charge and only had to charge it once during my few weeks of using it for review. The headset charges via a USB-C connection found on the right earcup, and a 15-minute charge will get you six hours of juice.

Final Thoughts 

Priced at $299, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 is at the top-end of the Chicago-based company’s mid-range. Providing users with solid audio quality, a hefty battery life, fantastic comfort and a companion app that enhances the console user experience, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 has all the features you’d want and it’s a great choice for anyone wanting a wireless headset without spending a small fortune.

Review unit supplied by manufacturer

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SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless Review
If You'd Arctis, We'd Recommend It, Nova Questions Asked
In true SteelSeries fashion, the Arctis Nova 5 sports a comfortable design, a juicy battery life and provides a cracking audio experience that’s well worth its mid-range price point.
The Good
Detailed audio experience
Great comfort
Juicy battery life
Companion app is a winner for console players
The Bad
No simultaneous connectivity

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless Review
If You’d Arctis, We’d Recommend It, Nova Questions Asked
In true SteelSeries fashion, the Arctis Nova 5 sports a comfortable design, a juicy battery life and provides a cracking audio experience that’s well worth its mid-range price point.
The Good
Detailed audio experience
Great comfort
Juicy battery life
Companion app is a winner for console players
The Bad
No simultaneous connectivity
Written By Zach Jackson

Despite a childhood playing survival horrors, point and clicks and beat ’em ups, these days Zach tries to convince people that Homefront: The Revolution is a good game while pining for a sequel to The Order: 1886 and a live-action Treasure Planet film. Carlton, Burnley FC & SJ Sharks fan. Get around him on Twitter @tightinthejorts

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