Wireless headphones have had a slower adoption rate amongst gamers for a few reasons, including audio lag and battery life. SteelSeries’ new Arctis Nova Pro Wireless addresses some of those pain points, and adds a few other useful features too, including a boom mic that can be completely retracted into the headphones when not needed.
Bluetooth is a mostly passable solution for streaming wireless audio, with a minimal drain on battery life and some sacrifices to audio quality. But it can also introduce a slight lag between the audio source and the headphones, which isn’t a problem when you’re just listening to tunes streamed from a smartphone in your pocket, but can be problematic when gaming. Not hearing what’s on screen until a second after it happens can be deadly in-game.
SteelSeries’ solution is to use both a 2.4GHz wireless signal to an included base station that physically connects to a console or gaming PC, which offers minimal lag, as well as Bluetooth for using the headphones with other devices like smartphones (when lag isn’t a critical issue). The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless also includes a feature called “Quantum 2.0 Wireless,” which allows both a 2.4GHz and Bluetooth audio stream to be heard at the same time, mixed through the base station, so that gamers can hear what they’re playing while still talking on the phone, or listening to a podcast like Gadgettes.
And while we’ve seen a handful of gaming-focused wireless headphones that can be worn elsewhere thanks to a removable boom mic, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless instead allows the microphone and its extended arm to be completely retracted into the left ear cup, so it’s always at the ready and never goes missing.
The headphones also include active noise cancellation using a four microphone system with an added transparency mode for instead boosting ambient sounds without needing to take the headphones off. The aforementioned microphone has its own noise cancelling tech too, to reduce the sounds of distracting noises like mechanical keyboards and roaring PC fans.
To boost battery life, which often takes a hit when features like ANC are turned on, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless also features something called the “Infinity Power System” which promises exactly that: infinite battery life through a pair of batteries that can be hot-swapped. While one is powering the headphones, the other one can be charged and stand ready to be swapped in as needed.
Choosing the right pair of SteelSeries’ new Arctis Nova Pro cans could get a bit confusing, as both wired and wireless versions are available, and each of those are available in two additional versions compatible with either the Xbox or the PlayStation + PCs. But they’re all available now, with the wired version priced at $US250 ($347), and the wireless model costing $US100 ($139) more at $US350 ($486). The wired version still comes with a base station, which has a DAC for greater audio quality and control.