SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless Review

By Pointus Blankus on 30th October 2018

At first, I shivered at the thought of a wireless gaming headset costing approximately £300. After all, nobody really needs a headset that costs just as much as the games console that it runs on. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is quite possibly the most expensive headset that can be purchased for the PS4 (and PC). Whilst its competitors may not charge such hefty prices, it took me less than an hour to recognize just why the Arctis Pro Wireless is one of the most expensive gaming peripherals that you can buy for Sony’s console.

I have owned an incredible number of gaming headsets, both wired and wireless. I typically game on wireless headsets, and since the launch of the PS4, have been using a competitor product (Astro A50s). At one point, I didn’t believe that anything could even match up to what I was using. Quite simply, the Arctis Pro Wireless takes the throne as the best gaming headset that money can buy. I now genuinely believe that the only headset that can beat the Arctis Pro Wireless is an upgraded version that would also be made by SteelSeries.

SteelSeries has been in the business of high quality gaming headsets since before I even started gaming. They have been in the space of gaming peripherals before eSports even became relevant on consoles. Gamers who are serious about shooters such as Rainbow Six: Siege and Call of Duty will know how important audio quality is. In fact, the more precisely you can hear your surroundings, the more the chances are of you being able to win a duel. There are many gaming peripherals in the market all of which contribute to eSports gaming. SCUF controllers are a prime example of this. However, the biggest difference maker is a top quality headset, and the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless ticks every single box for gamers who love their FPS titles without the hassle of cables and without compromising on sound quality. I can confirm that the Arctis Pro Wireless actually sounds better than most wired gaming headsets that I have tested. This is largely due to the integrated Hi-Res Certified audio – although this usually sounds like marketing jargon, it’s the real deal with the Arctis.

One of my favourite features about the Arctis Pro Wireless is its looks. Quite frankly, I am self-conscious enough to ensure that I don’t go out in public wearing headsets that clearly look like gaming ones. Whether this might be due to the funky designs or the million flashing lights; most headsets just don’t look ‘normal’ enough for you to be able to wear them in public if you just want to listen to music without looking like a complete fool. The Arctis Pro Wireless however, is the slickest headset that currently exists on the market. Of course, looks are subjective – whilst I believe this to be the best looking headset, others might just like the headsets that are neon-coloured or have ear-cups that can cover an entire hand!

The Arctis Pro Wireless headset contains well-crafted oval ear-cups. The breathable cushions ensure that you can wear this headset for extended gaming sessions without any aches or pains, even if you wear glasses. Due to the breathable nature of the cups, you also won’t have a giant sweat patch around your ears when you take the headset off (unless you’re playing FIFA, but that’s nothing to do with the headset!). The headband also contains a thick cushion that can be stretched quite a considerable amount – this ensures that even by accident you won’t end up snapping your headset in half. On the side of each can is the SteelSeries logo that is subtly embossed – thankfully it doesn’t light up pointlessly in a variety of colours.

I absolutely love the overall gunmetal-grey nature of the headset. This is the only colour that the headset comes in, but I have no issues with that whatsoever as it is my favourite colour for any gaming peripheral. If Batman ever decided to become a hardcore gamer, he’d definitely use one of these to go with his image. The headset also folds enough for it to be put away safely without taking up too much space. There are other headsets in the market that might fold more compactly, but this folds enough to satisfy any gamers’ storage needs.

SteelSeries has also done an incredible job with its control mechanics on the headset. It’s very easy for companies to make headsets with great comfort and sound, only to miss out on the user experience because they have placed the buttons in places that are very awkward to get to. With the Arctis Pro Wireless, SteelSeries’ experience really shines. The power and mute buttons are large enough to be easily accessible. The buttons are also not too close, meaning you won’t accidentally press the wrong button. As with any headset, it takes some time getting used to the layout, but within an hour, I knew exactly where every button was. The volume controls are also well positioned and can be easily adjusted by sliding your finger on the dial.

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless also comes with a wireless transmitter. Almost every wireless headset comes with one, however the Arctis Pro Wireless’ transmitter actually has a clear OLED screen! This allows you to easily view key information about the sound and battery, and you can adjust the sound too if needed be.

The best feature about the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is its ability to let gamers very quickly change the battery. This is honestly a game-changer. There are companies who are charging extortionate amounts of money for their wireless gaming headsets, yet haven’t introduced the idea of replaceable batteries. The Arctis Pro Wireless comes prepackaged with two rechargeable batteries, so you don’t even need to buy a second one. In addition, the wireless transmitter actually houses a slot for the spare battery. This genius idea means that your second battery is always getting charged whilst you’re using the first one. The transmitter’s screen will even tell you the charge status of the battery. Each battery lasts a whopping ten hours, and each battery takes only an hour to charge fully. My biggest problem with my previous headset was that it used to run out of battery mid-game. I’d often have to either put it in wired mode, or stop my gaming session whilst it charged. This is no longer a problem with the Arctis Pro Wireless. The side of the headset has a magnetic cap, which means you can very easily take it off, remove the existing battery and swap it out with the new one. It is so easy that you can do all of that without even having to take the headset off your head. There are other headsets in the market with better battery lives, but none of them contain the aforementioned functionality. Whilst using the Arctis Pro Wireless, I have been in situations where my battery is about to run out during a ranked game of Rainbow Six: Siege. However, swapping the batteries is so quick that I can do it between rounds, whilst still being able to choose an operator for the next round.

Setting up the Arctis Pro Wireless is a non-issue. On the PS4, it took me approximately 5 minutes to set it up. To get the best possible wireless experience, it’s important to connect the optical cable (for sound) and the USB (for power) to the transmitter. This will also allow you to voice-chat with people in your party entirely wirelessly. If you’re willing to sacrifice chat on your PS4 (a lot of gamers just want to listen to the sound on the PS4, but then chat on PC), you can connect the USB to the PC instead. This allows you to chat with friends on the PC whilst still hearing the audio from your PS4.

For the price tag that SteelSeries has stamped on the Arctis Pro Wireless, it has to be the best sounding wireless headset on the market. Thankfully, it not only beats every wireless headset that I have tested (including the A50s), but it also beats most wired headsets. There is an extreme amount of fidelity in the sound. Explosions are emphasized with just the right amount of bass. Footsteps are heard in exactly the right direction, including north and south. The integrated sound drivers are capable of going up to 40,000Hz. To put it simply, this headset can output sound with no audible distortion. I didn’t think that I could ‘sound-whore’ any better than before, but the Arctis Pro Wireless’ surround sound capabilities are exceptional and allow me to hear the likes of Vigil or Caveira sneaking up on me better than any other headset could.

The microphone is perhaps a little too sensitive. Whilst my friends could hear me crystal-clear, the microphone does pick up a lot of background noise and there is no way to tune this. Perhaps this can be fixed through some sort of software update, but the Arctis Pro Wireless’ microphone doesn’t do the best job in isolating sound. This isn’t a major problem for most gamers as they do game alone. However, if there is any background noise (a fan, a doorbell, an angry mum etc.), these will potentially be picked up by the microphone.

Another issue I have with the headset is the fact that it isn’t compatible with Xbox One’s voice chat functionality. Microsoft imposes that companies use their proprietary wireless technology to integrate with the Xbox, and therefore as things stand, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless only works for PS4 and PC with all of its features. Fortunately for me, I am primarily a PS4 gamer. Also, whilst there are gamers who play on both consoles, most eSports gamers will only dedicate themselves to one console.

If you currently own an Xbox, this headset is not for you. However, as a PS4 gamer, if you’re looking to invest in a high quality wireless headset, whilst I don’t usually suggest that it is worth spending close to £300 for such a peripheral, this is an exception. The Arctis Pro Wireless’ unique features (Hi-Res certified audio, rechargeable and replaceable batteries, a screen on the transmitter etc.) makes it the best wireless gaming headset in the department of looks, functionality, comfort and sound quality. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is an amalgamation of everything that the company has learned during its time in the gaming headset space. I wouldn’t be willing to go back to my previous headset knowing that there is something better out there. With the launch of Black Ops 4 and games like Battlefield right around the corner, there has never been a better time to invest in a high-quality gaming headset. If you’re willing to spend the money, rest assured knowing that the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is the best gaming headset that money can buy for the PS4 and PC.

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