SteelSeries are one of the best known gaming brands, with regular appearances in our best gaming headsets guide. As the name suggests, the Nova Pro is a high-end model designed for the most demanding gamers – especially those of us who are also pretty demanding music listeners. The Nova Pro come with some genuinely clever features, superb sound quality and excellent cross-platform compatibility.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless gaming headset: price and compatibility
It’s important to note that there are different versions for different platforms: one for PC and PlayStation, and one for PC and Xbox. That’s because the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X handle audio a little differently to the PS5.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro: key features
Where other Arctis headphones make do with a USB dongle, the Nova Pro have their own wireless base station. It reminded us of a little hi-res audio player, and has two USB-C ports so you can connect it to two different devices simultaneously – your PC and your Xbox, for example. Where other models use on-headphone controls for features such as game chat/game audio balance, it all happens on the base station. It’s simple to use: a clickable scroll wheel and an OLED display make it easy to adjust EQ and other settings. On PC and Mac you can also use the SteelSeries GG software to further customise your settings and EQ.
The Nova Pro Wireless can run two kinds of audio simultaneously: game audio over wireless and Bluetooth audio too. The latter is limited to the SBC codec, however, so it’s not as high quality as many Bluetooth wireless headphones with codecs such as LDAC (Sony) or aptX HD/Adaptive.
According to SteelSeries you can expect between 18 and 22 hours between charges, which is less than the Arctis Nova 7, but noise cancelling does have a detrimental effect on battery life so that isn’t a huge surprise. However, as the package also includes a second, hot-swappable battery, you’re effectively looking at over 40 hours before you’ll need to find a charger.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro: design and comfort
The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless look suitably expensive, and despite the use of metal on the outside of the ear cups they don’t feel unpleasantly heavy. There’s a faux-leather covering on the pads that looks nice but gets rather hot after a while, and there’s the trademark retractable microphone that hides away when you don’t need it.
On the left headphone you’ll find the volume, mute and power button; that latter button is also the toggle for noise cancelling. On the right headphone there’s the Bluetooth pairing button.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro: sound quality
Elegant isn’t a word you’d normally associate with gaming headphones, but the sound quality here is considerably more subtle and nuanced than rival headsets: these are headphones we’d happily use to listen to music for long periods thanks to their airy sound, impressively wide sound stage and effective active noise cancellation. Low-end sounds were clear rather than overpowering and both sung vocals and spoken dialogue were impressively clear and lively.
Your own dialogue will be impressive too. The microphone here has been optimised for voice and it sounds very clear, with a boost to the higher frequencies that helps your voice cut through background sounds.
There was a noticeable difference between these and the Nova 7 Wireless we also reviewed; these headphones sounded more vivid and more musical than their siblings in a variety of musical genres.
We noticed big differences in in-game audio too. In Returnal the weaponry was less dominant and the Pros delivered a wider, more detailed soundstage that made it easier to locate unseen enemies, and in Tetris Effect the brighter high end made the overall sound feel more airy and a little spacey, which is quite appropriate for that title. Hiding from incoming armed patrols in the remastered Last of Us Part 1 was particularly impressive, enabling you to locate your enemies long before you could see them or vice-versa.
The noise cancelling isn’t up there with the very best noise cancelling headphones such as the Sony WH-1000XM5, but it’s more than enough for removing the sound of appliances and even people so you can concentrate on your game.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro: verdict
There’s no doubt that the Arctis Nova 7 are among the most expensive wireless gaming headphones around. But this is a premium package with some clever thinking behind it, such as the inclusion of a second hot-swappable battery and the base station that connects to two devices at once and gives you easy access to features such as the adjustable EQ.
The sound quality is superb, and unlike many gaming headsets that applies to music too: thanks to the impressively detailed and restrained sound profile and the inclusion of active noise cancelling, these are headphones you’d happily listen to on the commute or on the sofa when it’s time to turn off the console. That alone makes them well worth considering, especially if you’d rather not have separate headphones for gaming and music.