If you’re looking to buy the new Xbox Series X, you should also upgrade your headset with the SteelSeries Arctis 7X. For just $149, the Arctis 7X offers a comfortable fit, a long battery life, and the ability to configure the EQ settings, making your headset sound even better with the customizations you prefer. Bonus: It can also be paired with most systems (apart from the PS5).
However, the audio doesn’t sound good right out of the box so you'll need to do some tuning. Plus, the microphone is pretty sensitive.
But if you can look past all of that, the SteelSeries Arctis 7X is one of the best gaming headsets around.
SteelSeries Arctis 7X design
Can you tell by the name of the headset what it might be made out of? If you guessed steel, you’d be correct. The Arctis 7X headset has a steel band wrapped in a black and green elastic, making it match the Xbox’s aesthetic. The band, which features the SteelSeries logo in black rubber, features velcro so you can adjust the band to make it tighter or looser. On the underside of the headset is a dark gray rubber cushion attached to the metal.
The ear cups are matte black and feature a black glossy SteelSeries logo in the bottom-center. It’s a nice little pop on the matte surface. To top it off, each cup’s cushion is detailed with black hexagonal stitching.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7X features a decent amount of ports and controls. On the left ear cup, there’s a mute button, a volume dial, a micro-USB charging port, a 3.5mm audio jack and a retractable, flexible microphone. The right side has the power button and a sidetone rocker that controls the volume of the game vs. game chat.
SteelSeries Arctis 7X comfort
As someone who may have one too many earrings, I can confidently tell you that the padded ear cups are extremely comfortable. A normal set of headphones would put too much pressure on my ears and brush against my earrings, making the experience uncomfortable and frustrating. The SteelSeries Arctis 7X does the exact opposite, sitting snugly over my ears with minimal pressure.
The elastic band makes for a comfortable experience, as it puts little pressure on the top of my head instead of tightly squeezing down. The elastic band is a loop, so the metal above comes nowhere near your head; rather, the elastic on the top portion of the headband to form a tight and secure fit. The elastic band also has velcro so you can tighten or loosen the band to fit your head.
Let’s not forget, the SteelSeries Arctis 7X acts wirelessly for specific consoles. You don’t have to worry about an annoying wire when you want to play on Nintendo Switch, PC, Android devices or with a Google Stadia controller. But, if your headset starts to die, you can plug it in while playing.
SteelSeries Arctis 7X gaming performance
My initial round of gaming with the SteelSeries Arctis 7X was quite disappointing.
I also played Human Fall Flat and noticed that the music in the background overshadowed much of the gameplay sounds, such as the pats and taps from walking and grabbing things. Even when the narrator spoke, I could barely hear what he was saying because of the lyrics. I had to rely on the subtitles, which took away from the game.
Playing a round in Apex Legends proved to be quite enjoyable though, with the audio coming through clear. After playing a few rounds, I learned that there didn’t seem to be a good left-to-right ratio. When I listened to people walk near me or shoot nearby, the headset picked up one side better than the other. Also, the gunshots and explosions muddled all of the other sounds in the game while I was shooting or being shot at.
However, my second round of gaming was different after I tuned the headphones in the SteelSeries Engine 3 app (more on that later). Long story short, the flat setting created the audio above, but switching to a preset like Immersion not only fixed the sound difference between the left and right side, but the audio sounded deeper and more clear.
SteelSeries Arctis 7X music performance
I had a similar experience when listening to music; my first go-around was mediocre, but some tuning made the audio sound great.
I love a deep bass response in my headsets — for that thumping feeling you get in your chest. The SteelSeries Arctis 7X's low-end is decent, yet unfulfilling. Despite its muffled bass, the vocals and instrumentals are beautifully translated. Another pro is that I couldn't hear anything besides what I’m listening to (which can be a bad thing when you’re singing and don’t realize how loud you’re being).
While listening to “Snowman” by Sia, I couldn’t help but shiver at the intro with the piano playing vividly, and when the cello hit me with a deep rhythm, the headset made me feel like I was in a personal concert. However, unlike some more premium headsets, the Arctis 7X couldn't capture the deepest pitches from the cello (you know, the ones that make your headset practically vibrate). Despite that, Sia’s beautiful voice was so clear and intense, and the instrumentals and vocals seem to be quite balanced, making it a very enjoyable listen.
Contrasting with the previous song, “Sign of the Time” by Harry Styles had some overlapping between the instrumentals and the vocals. The beginning started melodic, as the piano and soft vocals breathed through the headphones. Then in the middle, the beat dropped and things started picking up. However, the banging of the drums overpowered everything else in the song, making it hard to enjoy certain portions.
There appears to be a consistent difference between when bass instruments play in a song and when the drums pick up. In “Moby Dick” by Jakey, the song is completely reliant on the deep bass sound that erupts periodically. Similar to Sia’s song, the bass plays wonderfully side-by-side with the vocals. However, I’ve noticed a muffled effect with the bass that takes all of the enjoyment out of the music.
SteelSeries Arctis 7X microphone
The Arctis 7X’s retractable ClearCast bidirectional microphone made my voice sound clear and crisp, but I can’t say much about the noise-cancelling aspect, as everything in the background was picked up through the microphone.
The microphone picked up my voice well, from high and loud pitches to low and soft tones, and made it so each vocal cue was audible and well-balanced.
However, the lack of noise-cancelling is disappointing, especially for the price. While typing on my laptop, which already has a pretty silent keyboard, I could still hear the little tapping of the keys. I could also hear my fiance from across the house laughing in his office.
SteelSeries Arctis 7X features
Don’t let the color scheme of the Arctis 7X fool you, though it’s black and green to match with the Xbox, it can pair with almost every device. By using the 2.4Ghz USB Type-C wireless receiver, you can use the headset wirelessly with the Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PC, Android devices and a Google Stadia controller.
I can’t argue with the battery life either, as SteelSeries advertises 24 hours of endurance, and the headset seemed to survive during my day-to-day activities. The only downside to it is that you can’t see the battery life on the headset to tell if it's dying.
By using the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, you can customize the equalization profiles, inactivity timeouts, and even configure the mic options for the Arctis 7X. After testing both the gaming and music portion with the default settings, I decided to have some fun to see if it improved at all, and let me tell you, it did wonders. When changing the Equalizer settings to music, it became much more enjoyable, fixing nearly every problem I encountered. I tested the immersion setting for Apex Legends and again, it seemed to have fixed a lot of the problems I had.
The headset also has an onboard mute button, and you can tell it’s muted with an LED light built into the tip of the microphone. Better yet, the mic is retractable and flexible, allowing the user to move the mic to any position they prefer.
The SteelSeries also comes with a whole array of wires, including a female USB Type-C to male USB Type-A adapter, a USB Type-A to micro-USB cable for charging and the Share Port cable, which is a proprietary audio jack that feeds into a male 3.5mm audio port.
For $149, the SteelSeries Arctis 7X looks quite charming thanks to its great EQ software, a comfortable design and its adaptability with many devices. However, it’s not perfect out of the box, and you can’t connect it to the PS5 wirelessly.
If you’re looking for a PS5 wireless solution, look no further than the SteelSeries Arctis 7P, which offers some of the same great features except tailored to the PS5.
But overall, if you want a comfortable headset that also has great battery life, and you don’t mind modifying the sound to fit your needs, then the SteelSeries Arctis 7X may be the headset for you.