The Steelseries Arctis 7X is an update to one of the best-loved wireless gaming headsets of all time, the Arctis 7. The original is an incredibly comfortable headsets thanks to that ski-goggle headband design and plush ear cups that envelope your ears in stellar gaming audio. Its only flaw is that it doesn’t work on Microsoft’s Xbox consoles.
And now that we have the next generation Xbox Series X/S, it’s only fitting that this OG headset got a timely update. The new $150 Arctis 7X is part of a pair that also includes the Playstation 5 specific Arctis 7P. The two headsets are identical save for the color scheme—Black and Green for Xbox, and White and Blue for Playstation.
So why have two identical headsets? Because Microsoft. Its proprietary Xbox wireless protocol doesn’t play nice with other devices unlike Playstation’s more universal implementation. But this time around, the Arctis 7X works on both Xbox and Playstation, as well as PC, Switch, and smart devices with USB Type-C.
This is possible thanks to the odd T-shaped USB Type-C dongle, which can switch between that proprietary Xbox wireless and standard 2.4Ghz wireless at a flick of a button. It works flawlessly but that odd shape can be problematic, depending on your setup. It works fine on laptops, smartphones and tablets but because it’s so wide, it can block adjacent ports on PC’s.
You do get a USB Type-C to USB Type-A converter cable to alleviate this but if you have an Xbox One or Playstation 4, you’ll most likely keep it there since they don’t have USB Type-C ports.
The physical design remains unchanged. The signature ski goggle headband and Air Weave ear cushions used across the range of Arctis headsets return—meaning the 7X is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets, period. I wear glasses and these headsets don’t hurt like others normally do.
Each ear cup has all the basic controls for the headset. On the right ear cup is the ChatMix dial for balancing in game and mic chat audio, and the power button. On the left ear cup are a headphone sharing port, mobile cable jack, headset volume dial, and a mic mute button.
In terms of audio, the new headset sounds just like it’s predecessor—for better or worse. Steelseries kept the same drivers because of positive feedback on the Arctis 7. And indeed, these have some of the cleanest game audio on any gaming headset.
The clarity and separation is pin sharp making everything stand out clearly, especially in games. Positional accuracy is excellent making it easy to pinpoint where audio cues are coming from, even in the midst of the action. This is great for competitive shooters where there’s lots of gun fire.
I still find the bass response a bit anaemic, which can make music sound cold and clinical. There are various EQ profiles in the Steelseries Engine but none improved bass enough to make my music pop. I’m not a bass head mind you but I appreciate powerful, clear bass to help you ‘feel’ the audio and not just hear it.
The mic however, is really great. It’s a Discord-certified ClearCast bidirectional microphone that retracts into the left earcup. Just pull it out of its cubbyhole when you need it and slide it back when you’re done. It sounds great, picking up my voice clearly without the usual nasaliness and I enjoyed using it for my daily work Zoom calls. I’m a bit of a hermit gamer so party chat isn’t my jam though I’m confident that it sounds great.
Battery life is another thing that remains unchanged from the 7 to the 7X. Steelseries claims 24 hours and that rang true for me. I was charging the 7X after two days of heavy use of about 13 hours daily made up of Spotify, lots of Zoom calls, and gaming on PC or Xbox. The headset also saves battery by powering down after a preset time of no audio activity.
I’m happy with the battery life and console players who only do 3-4 hours of gaming at a time will get several days of use out of them. What I’m not happy about is Micro-USB charging. It boggles my mind why Steelseries sticks with this outdated standard in 2020. It’s so irritating just plugging it in and I literally have no other accessory in my house that still use Micro-USB.
In the end, the Arctis 7X retains everything that was great about the Arctis 7 and easily replaces it on our list of best wireless headsets. It’s got stellar audio performance, a great microphone, and is supremely comfortable. But it’s the sheer versatility that makes it truly shine. Gamers can finally have that one headset for all their devices – a feat no other wireless headset can match.