The SteelSeries Arctis 7 was one of the best wireless gaming headsets of 2018, and after couple years, SteelSeries decided it’s due for an update. The SteelSeries Arctis 7P aims to be the same kind of great switch-hitter as its predecessor, with a new generation of consoles in mind.
This new gaming headset brings together features of its predecessor, and other Arctis headsets, but is it enough to stand out?
Editor’s note: this SteelSeries Arctis 7P review was updated on January 13, 2021 to include an expanded alternate recommendations section.
Who is the SteelSeries Arctis 7P for?
- PlayStation gamers looking for something built for the PlayStation 5.
- Multi-platform gamers who need something that works almost everywhere
- At-home workers who need something with a mic they can comfortably wear all day.
What is the SteelSeries Arctis 7P like?
If you’ve used almost any Arctis headset before, a lot of this review will seem familiar. The SteelSeries Arctis 7P features a near identical build to its predecessor. The headset sports a largely metal construction, with an aluminum frame and a suspension band modeled after a ski goggle headband. The hinges are made of plastic, and slightly flimsy plastic at that, but they offer a decent range of motion.
Much like the Arctis 7 and Arctis Pro, the SteelSeries Arctis 7P is a very comfortable wireless gaming headset. The suspension band balances the weight very well, and the ear pads are covered in SteelSeries’ Airweave fabric, which is very comfortable and keeps heat build-up to a minimum. Airweave isn’t as soft as something like velour, but if you’re a gamer with glasses, this is still a big improvement over most leatherette options. The headband doesn’t offer a ton of tension, but it establishes a fine seal easily enough.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7P works basically everywhere.
This is a wireless gaming headset that connects to your PC or console of choice with a 2.4 GHz USB RF dongle. Like the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless, the Arctis 7P now features a USB-C dongle. This means that on top of the same PlayStation and PC compatibility of its predecessor, the headset now supports wireless audio on the Nintendo Switch when docked and undocked. The Arctis 7P also comes with a detachable 3.5mm cord, so you can connect to an Xbox One controller, too.
Using the headset is just as convenient, as the array of onboard controls is intelligently designed and laid out. On the back edge of the right headphone, there’s a dial for adjusting sidetone/monitor volume, and the headset’s power button. On the left headphone there’s a mic mute button, headset volume dial, and the various ports for charging and connection—it’s also where the attached microphone sits when it retracts.
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The layout of the controls makes it easy to accurately hit the intended buttons. The volume dials are the same size, but they’re on different headphones, so it’s harder to get them confused, and buttons have very different shapes. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but a lot of gaming headsets just cram everything together on the same headset for users to fumble around with until they find the outcome they’re looking for—design like this can cut down on a lot of frustration while in game.
SteelSeries Engine is also compatible with the Arctis 7P, and like most gaming headset apps, it’s just okay. However, this headset doesn’t support virtual surround sound (more on that in a bit) so Engine really just adds options for minor tweaks to the experience, like custom EQ settings, mic volume, and power saver adjustments. Basically, you don’t even need to install it to get the full experience.
How is the battery?
SteelSeries claims the headset can last up to 24 hours on a single charge, and in our test we found the headset lasted 27 hours 19 minutes at a consistent output of ~75dB. If you’re in the habit of listening to things at a quieter volume, it should fare even better. This performance is significantly more impressive than the SteelSeries Arctis 7 which has a battery life of 16 and a half hours, even after SteelSeries released a patch meant to bump that up to 24 hours. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but even in 2018, it wasn’t terribly impressive.
Gaming with the SteelSeries Arctis 7P
The SteelSeries Arctis 7P offers a very good gaming experience: the very comfortable build makes this a great gaming headset for long sessions—even all-day stints should be plenty comfortable. In a hectic game like Hades, the headset managed to keep more lowkey soundtrack from getting lost in the rather hectic crush of in-game sound effects. There is, however, a slight caveat.
While it works on PC, this isn’t necessarily a PC-oriented gaming headset. The SteelSeries Arctis 7P is designed primarily for the PlayStation 5, which has its own built-in spatial audio system (according to SteelSeries, that’s why surround sound is otherwise missing here). Cool as that sounds, at time of writing, the PlayStation 5 is just under a month away from release, so we can’t yet assess how well the headset works with it. Just know it works pretty much everywhere else, and offers a great stereo gaming experience—you might miss the surround sound in games like Valorant or Fortnite, but otherwise you’ll be fine.
How does the SteelSeries Arctis 7P sound?
The SteelSeries Arctis 7P sounds very accurate for a gaming headset. It’s hardly a pair of studio monitor headphones, with a notable boost in bass notes around 100Hz and slightly de-emphasized sound between 2000Hz and 5000Hz. However, many would consider this a fairly consumer-friendly frequency response, and it should prove very capable in casual listening scenarios.
In music, frequency response like this is great for bass-heavy EDM tracks, but you might find that songs that rely a lot on subtler strings and vocal parts might not sound a nice as they should. The brash chorus of Here for the Beer by The Sloppy Boys sounds great, but the quieter rhythm guitar that underscores a lot of the slower parts of the song are a little hard to hear with the SteelSeries Arctis 7P.
If you like bass, you'll enjoy music through this headset.
In game, audio output like this probably won’t cause too many problems. The slight boost in bass and drop in the mids might make the rumble of explosions and gunfire cover the sounds of footsteps in a game like Fortnite a little, but not so much that it’d actually affect the game.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7P offers pretty standard isolation for a gaming headset. It can’t compete with anything that uses active noise cancelling, but at home it shouldn’t have any issues with the whirr of a fridge or a roommate watching TV. The USB-C dongle means this is actually compatible with mobile devices, but with isolation like this, the Arctis 7P is hard a headset to take out and about.
How is the microphone?
The SteelSeries Arctis 7P sports a pretty standard microphone for a gaming headset. There’s a big drop in bass and mid range sound, likely to avoid the proximity effect, when a mic held too close amplifies bass notes and makes voices sound unnaturally loud and inaccurate. The bottom line is this is a pretty clear microphone that people with especially deep voices will likely sound a little distorted while using. Listen for yourself:
Should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis 7P?
If you’re getting ready for a PlayStation 5 day one purchase, definitely consider buying the SteelSeries Arctis 7P. Otherwise, it’s still worth it, but not the only option.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7P is a solid gaming headset. It’s straightforward to use, comfortable, and it sounds great. The headset works on basically every platform… including one that isn’t even out yet. It has fantastic battery life, and it’s pretty reasonably priced. If you’re in the market for something designed with the future of gaming in mind, this should be an easy buy.
Regardless, if you like the sound of a wireless stereo headset that handles all the fundamentals well for a reasonable price, you’ll be hard pressed to find one better than the SteelSeries Arctis 7P.
What should you get instead of the SteelSeries Arctis 7P?
However, if the PlayStation 5 isn’t quite on your radar yet, there are other options. The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless offers all the same functionality, more accurate audio, and comparable battery life for $30 less—in fairness it’s not as comfortable, though. If you’re a PC-focused gamer and having access to virtual surround sound is important to you, wireless gaming headsets like the HyperX Cloud Flight S, Roccat Elo 7.1 Air, or even the older SteelSeries Arctis 7 might scratch your itches a little better.
If you have money to burn and want something with excellent build quality, as well as a great Xbox-oriented feature set with cross-platform functionality, consider the LucidSound LS50X. It’s a bit more affordable than the also-pricey Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset, offers wireless gaming, and includes similar features like Bluetooth connectivity. However, pretty much every wireless gaming headset is compatible with PlayStation, both the new generation and old generation systems have no trouble with USB wireless connections, so you can spend as much or as little as you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
The SteelSeries Arct 7P doesn't work with the Xbox Series S/X. However, SteelSeries sells the Arctis 7X, which is virtually the same gaming headset, only Xbox-compatible.
If you have a TV that supports audio output over USB, it should work. Most TVs don't support that, though, so it's unlikely.
Yes, the SteelSeries Arctis 7p will support the PlayStation 5 spatial audio features, as will pretty much every other SteelSeries Arctis headset.
In theory SteelSeries could update its software to bring surround sound to PC with the Arctis 7P, but it's very unlikely. The company has never added features that way, nor have any of gaming headset companies.