Steelseries Arctis 7 + / 7P + Review: Dongles and Software Rule

Steelseries Arctis 7 + / 7P + Review: Dongles and Software Rule


The new Arctis 7+ and 7P + are so similar that it only makes sense to review them together. These headsets are an iterative improvement over the Arctis 7, which earned an honorable mention in our roundup of the best wireless gaming headsets. Now, with better battery life, a handy USB-C dongle, and the new Sonar software, the 7 + / 7P + might just deserve an upgrade in our recs.

Both the Arctis 7+ and 7P + retail for $ 170, which is roughly in line with the price point for the previous Arctis 7 (although you can often find the latter for less now). If you already have the last generation of this headset, you probably won’t feel the need to upgrade. But if you’re in the market for a new pair of gaming headphones, these will probably be on your radar in a way their predecessor wasn’t.

One Headset, Two Names

Both the Arctis 7+ and 7P + have stylish plastic ear cups, with comfortable (if rather thin) foam cushioning and a steel headband with a comfortable elastic interior strap. They charge via USB-C, which is a welcome change from micro-USB charging on their predecessor. The volume dial is on the left ear cup, and they pair wirelessly using a compact USB-C dongle. The 7P + is aimed mostly at PlayStation users, but both headphones pair with PC, PS4 / PS5, as well as the Nintendo Switch and most Android phones.

The primary difference between the two is the dial on the right ear cup. On the 7+, it controls ChatMix, allowing you to balance how much you hear the game audio versus team chat. On the 7P +, this dial instead controls sidetone, which is how much you hear your own microphone input.

Photograph: SteelSeries

Sidetone helps you be aware of how loud you are, to avoid shouting. But I’m not sure it’s worthwhile to have a dedicated dial for it. The 7+ still offers decent sidetone feedback; you just can’t adjust how loud it is in your own ears. In my opinion, the ChatMix dial is more useful, but it’s subjective enough that you should probably decide for yourself.

The other minor difference is that the 7P + comes in both black and white options, while the 7+ only comes in black. That’s about it. From a hardware perspective, the headsets are otherwise virtually identical. Both support Sony’s Tempest 3D audio, and both are compatible with 7.1 virtual surround sound, using SteelSeries’ Sonar software.

Both variants are surprisingly comfortable to wear for long periods of time, which was a little surprising to me given how thin the ear cup padding felt. The elastic strap along the top helped distribute the weight a bit and made long sessions easy to get through. Given that the 7 + / 7P + boast a 30-hour battery life — up from 24 hours on its predecessor — which is consistent with what I experienced, the long-term comfort was welcome.

The retractable microphone on each headset is stylish and tucks away neatly. A physical mute button can silence the mic, and a red LED on the mic indicates when it’s muted, even when retracted. In my audio tests, the mic wasn’t particularly clear or high quality, but it’s serviceable enough for team chat, which is all it really needs to do.

Tons of Tweaking

For PC users, the biggest change is SteelSeries’ new Sonar software. This shows up as a new tab in the SteelSeries GG application. It allows you to adjust input / playback levels for game audio, team chat, and your own microphone separately. You can adjust the equalizer settings and save presets for all three audio sources in separate sub-tabs within the Sonar app.

The SteelSeries application creates three different virtual sound devices at the system level, which is both convenient and annoyingly cluttered. Prior to testing these headphones, I had two audio devices on my Windows 11 machine: my basic desktop speakers and the Logitech Pro X that I use as my daily driver. Switching between these two devices was relatively easy.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.