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SteelSeries Arctis 9X review: A comfortable Xbox and PC headset with amazing audio

Windows Central Recommended Award

SteelSeries produces some killer PC accessories, including some of the best headsets we've tested. The company took what made the Arctis Pro catalog of headsets so good and worked in some Bluetooth and wireless magic for Xbox connectivity to create the Arctis 9X.

Just how good is this latest pair of cups? We've yet to be disappointed with an Arctis headset, and the Arctis 9X is another great example of gaming audio done right.

You'll love how the SteelSeries Arctis 9X sounds

SteelSeries Arctis 9X

The Arctis 9X is a solid-looking headset, following in the footsteps of the Arctis series of gaming headsets. You'll know it's an Arctis headset as soon as you unbox the device. The same "ski-band" is used for padding with soft cup covers to make it one of the most comfortable headsets you'll likely try.

The bundled band also has some green accents so you know it's a headset for Xbox consoles. If you've used an Arctis headset before, you'll be familiar with the on-cup control layout. You have power, Bluetooth, and mute buttons at the ready, as well as volume control and the two ports. The left cup houses just the chat mixer, which allows you to switch the focus between in-game and chat volume channels.

CategorySpecs
WirelessXbox Wireless
Bluetooth 4.1
Battery20 hours
Frequency20Hz to 20KHz
Ports3.5mm
Micro USB

The most important factors for any gaming headset are sound quality and comfort. SteelSeries nailed both with the Arctis Pro line, and the company hasn't failed with the 9X, sporting capable drivers and the same design for ultimate comfort. It sounds great and feels awesome.

The Arctis 9X wasn't designed with only for consoles, as SteelSeries added support for Windows Sonic, though for use with Windows 10 you'll be relying on the Micro USB port or an Xbox Wireless PC adapter (opens in new tab) for cable-free connectivity.

SteelSeries is proud of the wireless connectivity for Xbox consoles, working with Microsoft to build it from the ground up. The included 3.5mm jack allows for the sharing of audio output, handy for those times when you're playing couch co-op and wish to keep the noise low.

SteelSeries pulls it off yet again with the excellent Arctis 9X.

The Arctis 9X features not only wireless but also Bluetooth. This makes it possible for you to enjoy music from another device (notably a smartphone) while gaming on a console. The four built-in EQ presets can be cycled through, depending on what genre of game you're playing by hitting the power button.

SteelSeries Engine support allows you to configure these and more on the Arctis 9X using a Windows 10 PC. For battery life, you're looking at around 20 hours, but you can expect to game for 18 or so hours before you need to charge the headset back up — that's still way longer than most gaming sessions.

You'll dislike the Xbox Wireless for PC

SteelSeries Arctis 9X

Since the Arctis 9X was designed for Xbox but can be used with Windows 10 PC, you'll need an adapter to use the headset wirelessly on PC. This is an optional accessory, which you'll likely need to purchase since the included USB cable is meant for charging and isn't quite long enough for frequent use.

Should you play more games on PC, it may be worth considering the Arctis Pro headsets instead. The Arctis Pro is an exceptional headset, available in both wired and wireless versions. If SteelSeries could make an Arctis that can hook up to an Xbox or PC using solid wireless capabilities, we'd have a real winner.

Should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis 9X?

SteelSeries Arctis 9X

SteelSeries Arctis Pro (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Xbox gamers should buy the SteelSeries Arctis 9X. If you're both a PC and Xbox One gamer, you'll want to at least consider the SteelSeries Arctis 9X. It's a fantastic headset with excellent audio and incredible levels of comfort, but what makes it truly shine is the ease of use and compatibility with both Microsoft's console and Windows.

If you don't play too many Xbox games, however, this may not be the headset for you. The Arctis 9X is available now for $200 directly from SteelSeries.

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

14 Comments
  • So im confused. Does this headset support both xbox wireless audio (like the most recent lucidsound headset) & bluetooth 4.1?
  • I believe so.
  • If it has bluetooth why would we need an adapter to use it wirelessly on a PC... Do PCs not support Bluetooth 4.1?
  • You don't need an adapter to use it on PC. But the codec it uses (can't remember which one specifically atm) pales in comparison to the WiFi Direct connection utilized by the Xbox and the adapter for PC. Basically it will sound much better with the adapter than over Bluetooth.
  • Ahh makes sense. I was just looking for something to use on mobile & xbox really so just wanted to be sure.
  • I'd like to see a comparison between this and the LucidSound LS35X.
  • Me too... I got the LS35X and I like them, but the random cut outs are annoying, even with the firmware update. I got mine after that release, so I do know if they improved, but I can't stand it as it is, so if it were worse I wouldnt be able to take it. The head band is also uncomfortable to wear for a while, though the cooling gel rocks. I wonder how the fabric cups compare.
  • I'll be doing that soon
  • Wow, 2019 and still rocking Micro USB. Bold move. I would definitely avoid this.
  • It's a freaking headphone. But yes, you have a slight point.
  • lol the USB is for charging only, not data. NO reason to include USB-C.
  • I own the Arctis 3 wired headset, I use it with my Xbox One X mostly and sometimes with other devices. This headset has become my favorite headset out of all that I have ever owned. I was using an Astro A40 as my main headset, now that one has been moved to the bedroom with the Xbox one. I have never owned a headset that is this comfortable and it sounds great as well. The material that is used for the ear cushions should become the new standard for all headsets in my opinion. I use the wired versions of headsets because I like not having to worry about charging yet another device. I do not know if the Arctis 9x sound quality is comparable or the same as the Arctis 3, but if it is then I might be willing to give wireless a try.
  • How does the LS35X compare?
  • Does the mix of XB wireless and Bluetooth give the expanded range that the LS35X doesn't have? **Edit** Doesn't look like it, the LS35X shows 30 feet of range and these show 20, yet even after the firmware update mine cut out sometimes after 10 or so like my old XB1 controllers.