SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox headset review: Xbox-friendly, and a legit steal at just $100

SteelSeries has a new headset for Xbox gamers.

Steelseries Arctis 1 Xbox Cyberpunk 2077 Headset
(Image: © Windows Central)

SteelSeries makes some of the best PC gaming headsets, and the company brought lossless 2.4GHz wireless tech to the budget-friendly range with the Arctis 1 Wireless. I say "budget" lightly here since even the Arctis 1 Wireless goes for $100. Still, this headset offers good audio for the price, allowing you to really enjoy games as they were designed.

The only drawback to this headset was the lack of Xbox wireless support, so you'd have to pick another set of cups to enjoy gaming on Microsoft's console. That's now no longer an issue with the newly launched Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox. Not only that, but SteelSeries teamed up with CD Projekt RED as an official audio partner for Cyberpunk 2077, and we managed to get our mucky paws on the new themed cans.

If you can find this headset for less than $100, you should consider adding it to your gaming den. SteelSeries knocked the Arctis 1 out of the park and the Xbox Edition is perfect for Microsoft's console. You can often find some killer deals on headsets and the Arctis 1 is no exception. Keep an eye out this Black Friday to see if this headset gets discounted.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox offers awesome cross-platform audio

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

The Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox is — as the name implies — a version of the Arctis 1 Wireless that's specifically designed for use with Microsoft's console. Instead of relying on a 3.5mm connector, you can enjoy wire-free audio thanks to a special USB dongle that connects directly to the console.

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Drivers40 mm
Frequency20–20000 Hz
Sensitivity98 dBSPL
Impedance32 Ohm
Mic. Frequency100 to 6500 Hz
Mic. PatternBidirectional
Mic. Sensitivity-38 dBV/Pa

This dongle allows for the cups to be used without being tethered to the console or a controller. As well as the aforementioned dongle, the box also contains the Arctis 1 Wireless, detachable mic, 3.5mm cable, USB-A to USB-C for the dongle, and USB-A to micro USB to charge the headset itself.

As for the headset, it looks very much like a Steelseries Arctis headset, unsurprisingly. The major piece of design missing is the ski-band, which I've come to depend on for maximum comfort in long gaming sessions. SteelSeries did not include the band in the Arctis 1, but that doesn't mean it's not comfortable.

The standard design is matte black, again to fit in with the Arctis family aesthetics, but SteelSeries has some available as part of the Cyberpunk 2077 partnership with CD Projekt RED. We received a Johnny Silverhand sample to test out, and it looks awesome. The design changes are subtle, but it gives the rather dull appearance some much-needed life.

For ear padding, the Arctis 1 comes with thinner foam pads than what you'd find on more premium Arctis headsets like the Pro line. You can notice the difference when switching between the two, but it's worth noting that the Arctis Pro is considerably more pricey. Even if you plan to spend a few hours in front of the big screen, you'll be in good hands with the Arctis 1.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless can connect to Switch, PC, and Xbox using a single dongle.

The large, comfy earcups can swivel so the headset lies flat, which is handy if you're packing them into your bag, and the microphone is detachable, so you could use them outside for music via Bluetooth. The cups, hinges, and headband are all sturdy enough; even with some twist and bending attempts, the Arctis 1 refused to buckle.

Control-wise, the Arctis 1 has a power button on the right cup, while the left cup houses controls, mic mute, the 3.5mm jack, and a micro USB port. While this port is ancient by today's standards, SteelSeries opted to go with USB-C for the included dongle, and this dongle will become your new best friend.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Not only can it be connected to your smartphone, but also a Nintendo Switch, your desktop or laptop PC, and Xbox. The latter two require the use of the USB-A to USB-C cable unless your PC has USB-C ports available. Once plugged in, you're good to go to connect the Arctis 1 to your favorite platform.

As good an Xbox headset as you can get for $100.

Once the Arctis 1 is connected, the audio quality is really good for a headset in this price range. These are the same 40mm drivers you'd find in the Arctis 3, 5, and 7 headsets so the sound output is exceptional for gaming. Whether you're playing PUBG and need to hear enemy footsteps or wish to crank up the soundtrack in The Witcher 3, it all sounds excellent with the Arctis 1.

I tried the headset alongside the Arctis 7, 9X, and Pro and found very little in terms of difference, though the Arctis 1 felt a little more punchy with bass. The microphone, however, is simply OK. It's good enough for chatting away in-game and with your friends, but I wouldn't choose it for streaming or any professional-grade work.

What you may dislike about the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

There's no built-in support for Xbox Wireless, so you need to use the bundled dongle to hook up the headset to your console. This isn't an issue for most, but you shouldn't expect Arctis 9X levels of functionality here. Still, the dongle can feel slightly cumbersome when you want to frequently switch between platforms using the same headset.

A few corners were cut, including the microphone and lack of Xbox Wireless.

The microphone isn't as solid as the audio delivery, which is a shame but expected at this price range. Still, for gaming and chatting to friends, it's brilliant. The overall build is as you'd expect from SteelSeries, but compared to more expensive siblings, it's clear the Arctis 1 feels a little cheaper.

Lastly, the headset is charged using a micro USB cable. No USB-C hurts in 2020, but that's just me being pedantic. The Arctis 1 is priced to be budget-friendly to tackle the competition of lossless headsets in the sub-$100 range. What's on offer here matches, and sometimes outstretches, what competitor cans have listed as features, making it a contender for the best Xbox One headset.

So should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox?

Steelseries Arctis 1 Xbox Cyberpunk 2077 Headset

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you're a console gamer (namely Xbox and Switch), you should give the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox a try. It's not quite as good as the Arctis 9X — so if you want the absolute best SteelSeries Xbox headset right now, that'd be it — but for those on a tighter budget who don't mind using a dongle, the Arctis 1 Wireless Xbox edition is awesome.

SteelSeries managed to pack inside the same drivers you'd find in the more expensive Arctis 7, all while keeping comfort as high as possible without the killer ski-band. The microphone is a slight let down, but that's only if you want to do streaming on the side. Overall, this is an excellent value-driven headset.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.