In the market to find the best Xbox One headset ready for the launch of the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S? Manufacturers are hard at work updating their accessory offerings for the new consoles, adding new features for a new era.
Among the first wave of new accessories is the SteelSeries Arctis 7X refresh, which comes with a unique USB-C dongle to circumvent the pain and misery of Bluetooth, when used with other devices. Let's take a look.
$150Bottom line: The Arctis 7X delivers in the sound department, with a lightweight, comfortable, and long-lasting wireless solution that defeats most of the competition.
- Balanced, clear audio
- Great microphone experience
- Rock-solid wireless signal
- Comfy and convenient
- 20-hour battery life
- Wireless dongle's strange shape can be inconvenient
- A tad pricey
SteelSeries 7X The good stuff
The SteelSeries Arctis 7X is one of the newer headsets launching alongside many competitors, vying for a place as the best Xbox Series X, Series S headset. And hey, it comes pretty dang close.
|Speakers||40mm, 20–20000 Hz|
|In the box||3.5mm cable, USB-A to USB-C cable, USB-A to micro-USB charge cable, headset|
Wireless for Nintendo Switch, Android, PC, and Xbox consoles
|Features||PC and Android apps for config|
Sidetone mic monitoring
|Battery life||24 hours|
The Arctis 7X is a wireless headset that does something a little unique. Its USB-C receiver is compatible with a very large range of devices, including Android phones, the Nintendo Switch, and any Windows PC. This is all without the perils and connectivity issues associated with Bluetooth. If you were looking for a wireless headset that can basically connect up with everything, this might be your best bet.
The Arctis 7X comes pre-paired with the wireless dongle, which also includes a variety of cable adapters for different devices. Naturally, the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S don't sport USB-C ports, which is why the box includes a USB-C to USB-A adapter, alongside a 3.5mm cable for good measure.
When it comes to sound, the Arctis 7X delivers. The SteelSeries audio profile is well-balanced, with good bass and distinct highs that can help identify enemy positions. The SteelSeries Engine app also lets you finetune the audio to your liking, with presets for gaming, media, music, and so on, with adjustable sidetone (mic monitoring) so you can hear yourself speak during party chats. Playing with the preset "Dynamic" was a personal favorite, and made games with noteworthy audio treatment like Battlefield V and Star Wars Battlefront II pleasantly immersive.
The headset features a retractable mic for those times you aren't using it, and on-ear controls that are easy to use and learn. The mic quality is also surprisingly good and beats out many of its competitors in this price range. The adjustable head strap gives you a large degree of control over how the headset rests on your skull, which makes for comfortable sessions, regardless of length. It's a bonus that this headset boasts some of the longest battery life out there, at over 20 hours, maximizing game time.
SteelSeries Arctis 7X The not-so-good stuff
Perhaps my biggest gripe with the SteelSeries Arctis 7X is its price. In the UK it hits £160, which, not only doesn't give it parity with the $150 price point in the U.S. but also suggests that it's significantly better than other similarly priced headsets out there. At this price, I think there are either equal, or better headsets out there for Xbox and PC, unless you plan to use the 2.4GHz receiver extensively with your smartphone.
Indeed, the 2.4GHz receiver is far superior to Bluetooth, and there just aren't many wireless headsets out there that use 2.4GHz radio, instead of Bluetooth. As more of us than ever take serious gaming on the go, thanks to an influx of higher-quality mobile experiences, having a headset that can do multiple platforms wirelessly at once, without Bluetooth is a great feature.
I do have a minor bone to pick with its shape, though. The elongated design is clearly meant for a smartphone, which is fine, but it means that it won't fit directly into a laptop or other device without using the cable, which just seems like an odd solution. When I look at my Xbox Series X, and note the cable hanging out of it just to attach the receiver makes me wonder if there couldn't have been a better solution.
Should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis 7X?
The SteelSeries Arctis 7X is designed for a very specific type of gamer who wants a solid radio signal for both their phone, and the rest of their devices. Most gaming headsets for Android tend to use Bluetooth, but to have something that takes full advantage of USB-C is a rarity. Rarer still is a headset that can be used on several devices without falling back on the awfulness that is Bluetooth. In that category, the SteelSeries Arctis 7X excels.
For gamers looking for a solid Xbox headset with great audio, rock-solid connectivity, and long battery life, there are cheaper options out there that deliver a similar experience for less. Where the Arctis 7X pulls ahead is in that platform versatility, and in that, I'd argue this headset is near unbeatable. Bluetooth be damned.
Great sound meets epic versatility
The Arctis 7X is an expensive wireless gaming option, but there's simply nothing else on the market that can offer such a stable wireless connection on both Xbox and various other devices, thanks to its unique USB-C receiver functionality.
Xbox Series X/S
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!