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.

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WirelessXbox Wireless
Bluetooth 4.1
Battery20 hours
Frequency20Hz to 20KHz
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 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
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.