SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 – Fair Price, Amazing Tech

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 - Fair Price, Amazing Tech

SteelSeries. A brand that has become a sure bet when it comes to gaming gear that is of high quality and pushes tech forward. From the amazing (and expensive) Arctis Nova Pro headset to their range of top-shelf mechanical keyboards, to the pitch-perfect SteelSeries Alias Microphone, SteelSeries seem to be able to define a goal in production and nail it every single time. So when it came time to fill the gap between the cheap and the luxurious, it was no surprise to me when SteelSeries once again kicked a winner. Say hello to the Arctis Nova 


As always, whenever I review a piece of hardware I like to use it for a good long period before coming to a conclusion, It is easy to miss little annoyances and problems if you don’t. With that in mind, I have been using this set as my main headset for the last four weeks and there really aren’t any apparent weaknesses that come to mind. Firstly I want to get this boring bit of info out of the road. It may not seem it, but this is the perfect headset for work. Why? Well, connecting to both my phone through Bluetooth and the computer through the supplied dongle simultaneously is such a godsend for work-from-home. In the morning I would simply turn these bad boys on and leave them on all day. My phone could ring, I could be in a Teams meeting, listening to music or even watching a training video and the the Nova 5 would automatically and seamlessly switch between the active audio source. I know this isn’t an exclusive feature to the Nova 5, but it is the most elegant way I have seen it implemented. 

That of course, means nothing if the headset isn’t comfortable. Thankfully comfort is not a thing the Nova 5 needs to worry about. Soft, breathable fabric ear cups and a headband that doesn’t press too hard on the old noggin’ mean that long-term wear won’t become a problem. The Nova 5 is fully adjustable and fits my gigantic head well. With that in mind, I worry for those who are blessed with a smaller hat size, but I suspect that shouldn’t be a problem with the ways the band and sides can be adjusted. The comfort levels aren’t quite up to the same level as the Nova Pro, but then this headset is about half the price so that is understandable. Just know that this is a very comfy headset that may mess up your hairdo, but won’t irritate. 


Now let’s talk about gaming, it is after all a gaming headset. The sound quality is top-notch, with everything from delicate bird tweets to bombastic action scenes coming through crystal clear. There was no sign of distortion at loud volumes and no confusion between the channels. It does everything you could ask of it, better than you need it to. To make things even better, SteelSeries has developed a new app that links with the headset, allowing players to switch equaliser settings on the fly while in game. There are over a hundred presets already built into the app and the ability to save your own custom ones. This is something that was previously really only available to PC players and it can make a massive difference to your experience. I noticed it immediately when switching between something moody like Alan Wake 2, to something more kinetic like Horizon: Forbidden West. 

Players can also use the excellent Sonar software suite on their PC to really get into the nitty gritty of sound settings if they so choose. I have been using this suite for a long time now and while it does take a little learning to get set up correctly, It does make a massive difference to your sound experience on your PC. It also works with any sound device, not just SteelSeries products so I strongly recommend people give it a good look if they like to mix up their audio devices and get sick of Windows being terrible at it. 


The built-in Mic is also of high quality. A built-in is never going to be better than a standalone microphone, but this is about as good as it can be. Perfectly acceptable for in-game chat, Zoom Meetings, Discord catchups and Skype calls. It won’t replace a Yeti, AT or EPOS mic in your Podcasting/Streaming setup, but for everyday use, it is bang on. When not in use the mic slides nicely into the earcup so as not to be a nuisance, something I appreciate. Usually, these sorts of features can drain the battery in a big way, but that isn’t the case here. The box says 60+ hours of use on one full charge and while I can’t say for sure if that is the case, I can say the headset easily lasted a full work week without needing charging and when charging was required, it was super fast. That’s a lot of juice. 

The Nova 5’s handy dongle means that switching between devices is super simple too. I found myself using the headset on everything from my ROG Ally to my PS5 and all it takes is plugging a dongle into a USB-C slot. As easy as that. The Nova 5 X is the only edition that supports the Xbox due to the way that system handles audio so you will need to keep that in mind if you a looking for something that covers all systems, but all variations will work on PC, Switch (through Bluetooth), Playstation and mobile. This is a must, simply because if you are going to spend a reasonable chunk of money on a headset, you want it to be as versatile as possible.  


Speaking of price, this is perhaps a bit of a sticking point. The Nova 5 retails for just under $300 AUD which is no small amount. At the same time, I feel like you are getting a lot of bang for your buck and it is under half the price of the Arctis Nova Pro. I feel the value for money is there, but as always that is a personal choice. You will be able to get a headset for cheaper that will do the job for sure, but if you are looking for something more than just acceptable then I honestly feel the Nova 5 is your best bet. Its price point, while not insignificant is more than fair and honestly I think it outperforms quite a few other headsets in higher price brackets. 

Once again, SteelSeries has delivered and it is safe to say, in my eyes at least, they are now the most reliable producer of gaming peripherals in the market. Every new product seems to be a winner and the Nova 5 is no exception. It offers premium audio quality at a less-than-premium price, it pushes tech forward with its intuitive companion app and it meets and exceeds all sound expectations. Honestly what more could you want from a headset? The Nova Pro is still my favourite headset of all time, (at double the price of the Nova 5, it bloody well should be) but the Nova 5 is comfortably second on the list and as it has a much more attractive entry point, I can see this being a huge hit for SteelSeries. If you are looking for a new set of cans and have a few hundred in your budget, don’t look past these bad boys. You won’t find better. 

Thanks to SteelSeries Australia for supplying the Arctis Nova 5 Headset for review. Full system specs are available on the SteelSeries website:

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