(Pocket-lint) - There's a certain mysterious alchemy to making a truly great gaming headset. You don't just need sound quality and a good design, with countless intangibles and tiny details that also matter hugely as you use a given headset for more and more time.
SteelSeries has long had the fundamentals nailed down, with superb sound in headsets that are ridiculously comfortable, but a few of its more recent console headsets have been showing their age. There's a more-than-welcome update in the form of the Arctis 7 Plus and 7P Plus, though, which makes it our favourite PlayStation 5 headset to date. Here's why:
- Available in white or black
- Ski goggle headband
SteelSeries has a long-standing design language when it comes to its headsets, and it hasn't seen fit to get rid of that for the Arctis 7P Plus. This is very much in line with how all of its other headphones look.
That means you get a flat panel on the outside (in this case the headset is white to match the PS5 that it's so squarely aimed at). The look isn't exactly street-style worthy, but then these are very much gaming headphones, so who minds?
In that field, this headset is among the nicer-looking ones we've tried. But what's more important is that it retains what makes SteelSeries such a favourite of ours: the comfort levels. The combination of soft earpads with the ski goggle headband-style design makes for a really lovely fit.
The weight of the headset is partly held by that band, making the earcups feel lighter than they are, leading to no issues whatsoever when wearing for hours at a time. Plus, the steel brace that it hangs around is durable in a way that many plastic competitors can't match.
On top of that, a retractable microphone means that you don't have anything in your eyeline when you fancy playing some single-player games. A sensible array of controls on each earcup also makes things nice and easy while you're adjusting on the fly.
- 40mm drivers; 20-20,000Hz frequency response
- Bidirectional ClearCast microphone
This is yet another great entry from SteelSeries from a design standpoint, with the real changes coming under the hood. However, there's also not much change to report when it comes to sound quality. The original Arctis 7P was one of our favourite headsets for a console in the first place, and sounding excellent was a big part of that.
Once again SteelSeries has let a sleeping dog lie, which means you can rely on the Arctis 7P Plus to sound excellent in pretty much every scenario, whether you're playing a raucous shooter and need to pinpoint an enemy, or want to luxuriate in the sounds of a deep fantasy role-player.
It's got enough delicacy to help you listen for tiny details, but also a supply of warmth and depth that can blow you away if you crank it up to high volumes.
Most of all, though, it's the balance that we appreciate. Nothing gets lost in the sound mix because nothing is overpoweringly loud, which makes for a really satisfying sonic experience as you play.
That's matched by a really excellent microphone, which will read you loud and clear, delivering some of the best clarity we've found in a console headset. You get a dedicated dial on one earcup to control sidetone, too, although we found that leaving it on the minimum setting was completely fine.
As issues go, you can file this under "incredibly minor" but we'd also have swapped that sidetone dial so that it was on the earcup the microphone extends out of, for some clarity, but it doesn't take long to get used to.
- 30-hour battery life
- USB Type-C charging
Look, USB Type C isn't new, so it feels a little weird to be celebrating its arrival on a tech product in late 2021, but the fact is that for many of SteelSeries headsets from the past two years there was only one obvious flaw - using Micro-USB.
The Arctis 7P Plus fixes that problem - and the change is extraordinarily welcome. We were keeping a Micro-USB cable around purely for our Arctis 9, given its status as our default headset, and the 7P Plus' adoption means we can finally do without it.
It means you can charge your headset with the same cable you use for your DualSense controller, or your Android phone, your laptop, or any number of other devices, and it also makes for a charging port that's way less likely to get bent out of shape over time.
The only other big change to the headset's feature-set is another really great one, too. Its battery life has got a substantial boost up to 30 hours - a number that we've found to be pretty accurate in our testing. Just 15 minutes of charging will get you three hours' playback, too, so you shouldn't get caught short too often.
The headset will actually connect to your PS5 or PS4 using a small dongle that's unobtrusive, and comes with an adapter in case you don't have a USB Type-C port free. You can also daisy-chain in another headset using a 3.5mm jack on one earcup.
We suspected we'd like the Arctis 7P Plus, based on our experience with the previous generation of the headset, and it hasn't disappointed. It's our new default recommendation for a high-quality headset that works wtih Sony's consoles.
With a design that simply keeps on giving, great sound that brings games to life, and a charging and battery life setup that finally matches the rest of the package, this is a really superb headset that deserves to be widely used.
Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset
The official product for PS5 owners has its positives - not to mention that it's far cheaper - but we find the SteelSeries just more comfortable and class-leading in every way.