SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review

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SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review (106)

Contents (maximize to view)

9.1Expert Score
Very Good

Feature-packed, versatile connectivity, and worth the price

Design and Build Quality
8.5
Connectivity
9
Comfort and Ergonomics
9
Performance and Microphone
9
Software
8.5
Battery
10
Price
10
Positive
  • Versatile connectivity with dual-wireless functionality
  • Extensive cross-platform compatibility
  • Good battery life
  • Good microphone performance
  • Desktop app offers tons of room for customization
  • Good price
Negatives
  • Some features are limited to the desktop app
  • Build quality might not be on par with more premium options
  • No option for a wired connection

Introduction

In the world of gaming peripherals, SteelSeries has consistently been at the forefront of innovation. Their latest offering, the Arctis Nova 5, represents a significant step forward in the realm of gaming headsets. This new addition to the Arctis Nova line aims to redefine what gamers can expect from their audio experience.

The Arctis Nova 5 is a carefully crafted piece of technology designed with three primary goals in mind: to enhance audio quality for console gaming, to offer a premium wireless experience at an accessible price point, and to allow for extended gaming sessions. With a price tag of PHP 7,765.00 SteelSeries positions the Arctis Nova 5 as an “affordable luxury” option in the competitive gaming headset market.

What’s in the Box

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Box Contents

While the provided information doesn’t specify the exact contents of the package, we can make educated guesses based on industry standards and SteelSeries’ previous offerings. The Arctis Nova 5 package likely includes:

  1. The Arctis Nova 5 headset
  2. A USB-C wireless dongle for cross-platform connectivity
  3. A USB-C charging cable
  4. A USB-C to USB-A adapter cable
  5. Product information guide
  6. Stickers

Design and Build Quality

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Box (7)

SteelSeries has always been known for its sleek and functional designs, and the Arctis Nova 5 appears to continue this tradition. While the build is mostly plastic, most likely to save weight and increase comfort, the headset doesn’t feel cheap at all.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Box (14)

One notable design feature is the retractable microphone, which seamlessly blends into the earcup when not in use. This design choice not only enhances the headset’s aesthetics but also makes it more versatile for on-the-go use. There’s an indicator light for when the mic is muted, which can easily be noticed while you’re wearing the headset.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Box (18)

There’s also a volume rocker, a dedicated button to mute/unmute the microphone, a power button, and a switch to change from 2.4GHz to Bluetooth mode, and vice-versa.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Box (21)

The overall design philosophy seems to focus on a clean, minimalist aesthetic that would look equally at home in a professional gaming setup or a more casual environment. This versatility in design is a strong point for the Arctis Nova 5, as it caters to a wide range of users and use cases.

Connectivity

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review (32)

The Arctis Nova 5 shines in terms of connectivity options. It features a dedicated button allowing users to easily switch between high-speed 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth 5.3 connections with the tap of a button. This dual-wireless functionality is a standout feature, enabling gamers to stay connected to their gaming audio while also maintaining the ability to take calls or listen to music from a mobile device.

In case of a call, the headset will automatically switch to the smartphone connected via Bluetooth and will revert back to 2.4GHz when the call is over. It’s a very convenient feature to have.

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The inclusion of a compact USB-C dongle further adds to the headset’s versatility, enabling cross-platform gaming support. The Arctis Nova 5 is compatible with Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, Meta Quest, and various handheld devices and smartphones that support USB-C. This wide range of compatibility is a significant advantage, especially for gamers who play across multiple platforms.

In terms of range, it’s about 5 meters with a wall in between before I started having cuts in the signal. You can, however, extend the range via the SteelSeries GG app, at the cost of reduced microphone performance.

Comfort and Ergonomics

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SteelSeries has a reputation for creating comfortable headsets suitable for long gaming sessions. The Arctis Nova 5 likely continues this trend with well-padded ear cups and an adjustable headband. Clamping force is just right for my taste. Just enough to keep the headset secure on my head.

The ability to use the headset for extended periods without discomfort is crucial for serious gamers, and it appears that SteelSeries has addressed this need in their design. The Arctis Nova 5 is flexible enough to be able to withstand some bending, and even allows the earcups to tilt and swivel.

Performance, Microphone

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review (91)

The Arctis Nova 5 features custom-designed Neodymium Magnetic Drivers, which deliver a well-balanced sound when using the Flat EQ setting. There’s just enough bass to keep things lively, vocals come across with good clarity and texture, and the treble is just sparkly enough to give that sweet emphasis on the “s” sounds.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review (14)

The microphone, dubbed ClearCast 2.X, features a high-bandwidth chipset supporting 32KHz/16Bit audio, promising twice the clarity of previous models. PC users can also take advantage of SteelSeries’ Sonar AI-Powered Noise Cancellation, along with various configurations to choose from.

Using the SteelSeries GG app on PC, you can have the AI decide for you, or you can also manually adjust the settings, depending on your preference.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review (1)

When using the headset with a smartphone for gaming, there’s no noticeable delay in audio when shooting weapons, or for dialogues in videos. Thanks to the companion app, you can still customize the audio profile based on what you’re playing.

Software

For gaming, the Arctis Nova 5 can be used with either the SteelSeries GG app which is available for desktop users, or the Nova 5 Companion App, which can be downloaded via Google Play and the App Store. This app provides access to over 100 game-specific audio presets for specific games, custom-tailored by audio engineers, esports professionals, and game developers.

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The ability to switch between these presets on the fly, without leaving the game, is a nice feature to have. It allows users to optimize their audio experience for specific titles, potentially providing a competitive edge in games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Minecraft. Some of the presets can also be used for music as well. I personally use the Fortnite preset as my default for both gaming, music, and video streaming.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review SteelSeries GG (1)

For PC users, SteelSeries GG gives access to the Sonar Audio Software Suite. This pro-grade parametric EQ allows for even more detailed audio customization, enabling users to adjust individual frequencies to their liking.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review SteelSeries GG (5)

Sonar also offers controls for game audio, team chat, and microphone settings, offering a comprehensive audio management solution.

A downside to using the companion app on mobile, is that you don’t have to access to the more advanced features on the desktop app. Hopefully, SteelSeries can add at least some of these features, such as being able to create a custom EQ setting, to the app for more convenience.

Battery Life

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Review (114)

Battery life is often a concern with wireless headsets, but the Arctis Nova 5 addresses this with flying colors. SteelSeries claims 60+ hours of uptime, which translates to about 8 hours of use per day for an entire week on a single charge.

Using the headset continuously for 24 hours for a mix of video streaming, gaming, and music, switching from 2.4GHz to Bluetooth from time to time, and at around 70 to 80% volume, the battery level went from full to around 50%. That’s actually impressive, considering my old headset cannot even last more than 5 to 6 hours.

Furthermore, the Arctis Nova 5 supports fast charging via USB-C. A quick 15-minute charge can provide an additional 6 hours of use, which is extremely convenient for users who might have forgotten to charge their headset before a gaming session.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5: Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 represents a compelling package in the mid-range gaming headset market. It successfully combines premium features with an accessible price point, living up to its “affordable luxury” positioning.

The headset’s strengths lie in its versatile connectivity options, impressive audio customization through the Companion App, and long battery life. The cross-platform compatibility and dual-wireless functionality make it an excellent choice for gamers who play across multiple devices or those who want a headset that can seamlessly transition between gaming and everyday use. The audio quality should satisfy both gaming and media consumption scenarios.

The microphone is another highlight, with high-quality voice capture that should be more than adequate for team communication and even content creation.

It’s worth noting that while the Arctis Nova 5 offers many premium features, it may not match the absolute top-tier headsets in terms of audio fidelity or build quality. Despite this, the Arctis Nova 5 offers exceptional value, offering a good balance of performance, features, and affordability, making it an attractive option for a wide range of gamers.

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 is priced at PHP 7,765.

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Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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