SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless Review: The Alpha And Omega For Gaming Heaphones?

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by Tom Roeder on February 28, 2019 in Audio & Media, Peripherals

Choosing headphones is a personal experience. With the exception of your mouse and keyboard, headphones are a peripheral you will physically touch, or wear, more than any other part of your gaming PC. But in this age of wireless being king, has it really improved? Is it ready for prime time online gaming? Spoiler alert: this ain’t your father’s Bluetooth headset.

Usage And Final Thoughts


Getting the headphones paired was very quick and easy, via Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz.  I was able to connect the Pro Wireless easily without consulting any of the documentation that was included.  If you have ever used a pair of Bluetooth headphones before, you won’t have any trouble getting started.

Judging audio fidelity is always a little tricky, as everyone has their own tastes and expectations.  Some people are bass-heads, while some are looking for unaltered reference headphones. I consider my tastes more well-rounded, as I have vast range when it comes to musical taste.

When it comes to audio fidelity on the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, I give them very high marks for sound – they really do sound great.  The Pro Wireless have a very balanced tone, leaning neither on the bass or highs, a very nice symmetry across the spectrum, really superb.

Wearing the headphones leaves a little to be desired.  The headphones are nice and light, and the earcups are very soft, covered with that great Airweave material, but my fellow large-headed guys take note:  they don’t have a great range for larger sizes.

I have a pretty good-sized head, and I was able to adjust the strap out as far as it would go and make them work, but I still would like to have had more room for adjustment.  Don’t get me wrong, they do fit, but I would like to have some more room.

I’ve worn loads of headphones in almost every style of headband, and I don’t recall ever feeling like I didn’t get enough adjustment like I do on the Arctis Pro Wireless.  Not a deal breaker, but something worth considering if you are among us cranially gifted. One other thing worth mentioning, these don’t fold up much at all, so if you intend to travel with them, keep in mind they don’t have a small footprint.

This headset comes with two wireless options – Bluetooth 4.1 and and 2.4 GHz through the transmitter base station.  The performance between the two yielded no discernible (to me) difference in audio fidelity, but I did notice a slightly faster and more reliable connection when using the 2.4 GHz via the transmitter base station.  Range was also a bit better through the 2.4 GHz transmitter base station. I was able to move all around my house without a single drop, something that is not possible for me using Bluetooth 4.1. There doesn’t seem to be a notable difference between Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz for battery-life, but based on other wireless peripherals we’ve tested, the 2.4GHz mode will likely drain the battery a bit quicker.

Battery life is spec’d at 20 hours total – 10 hours per battery.  My testing found this to be the case when listening at moderate sound levels.  The ability to have a spare battery standing by at a moment’s notice is really nice.  One thing I did notice is there is no hot swap. If you pop out the battery, the headphones go down; there is no power reserve which would enable you to remain up during a swap.  This isn’t a deal-breaker, but the technology is definitely here, so maybe in the next revision?

The connectivity of these headphones is unlike anything I have ever seen.  The options you have are absolutely amazing, I am truly impressed. On the box of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, it advertises PC and PS4, but with the connectivity options being what they are, you could connect these headphones to just about anything on the planet.

With the mic boom extended, you get a visual indicator that you are muted, a red LED in the mic, which is truly fantastic.  I thought I wouldn’t care for the light, but it quickly earned its way into my heart, and you can’t even see it once the boom is retracted.  To unmute, there is a long flat button on the left can. This button is very sensitive, however; just touching it will toggle it. I would like to see a stiffer button or one that doesn’t register until a near full press is registered.

Also on the left side of the headphones is the volume wheel.  The placement of these controls leaves something to be desired, you really have to learn to adjust your grip when taking these headphones off your head.  It is too easy to bump the mute button, or the volume wheel when taking these off. I would much rather see these buttons relocated to the side of the can, where your hands don’t usually go when putting on or taking off headphones.

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless - Promo Shot

The Arctis Pro Wireless has companion software you can download, which offers configuration options such as toggling the 7.1 Surround, equalizer settings, and profiles you can create and auto assign to games you have installed.  The UI is clean and intuitive, simple and easy to use.

In closing, I really do like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless.  I know that I gave some definite criticisms, but at this price point of $329 USD, I had to be thorough and make sure you were aware of even the slightest things that I didn’t care for, even if they are things that may not bother you personally.

I think that this Arctis headset offers a lot of value in how customizable they are with the companion software, the audio fidelity, and the connectivity.  The connectivity makes these probably the most versatile headphones I have ever reviewed.

Pros

  • They sound great – really, really great.
  • The boom mic is retractable so it won’t get in the way.
  • The boom mic sounds fantastic and does a great job with background noise.
  • Setup is very easy.

Cons

  • They’re expensive ($329).
  • People with larger heads may not find them as comfortable.
  • No hot-swap on the battery (not a major con really).