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SteelSeries 7+ Review: Affordable and Highly Adaptable Sound

With wired or wireless connectivity, excellent sound, and comprehensive software, the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ is a comfortable and high-quality headset at a reasonable price.

SteelSeries Arctis 7+
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

This is clearly one of the best headsets you can find in its price range. It’s durable, comfortable, versatile and comes with state-of-the-art companion software.

Pros

  • +

    + Ski-goggle headband is comfortable for long wear

  • +

    + Sturdy build with wired or wireless connectivity

  • +

    + Lengthy battery life

  • +

    + Exceptional sound profile

  • +

    + Sonar directional sound software

  • +

    + Aesthetically attractive

Cons

  • -

    - Mic may move about during intense gameplay

  • -

    - No RGB lighting

  • -

    - Very similar to other models

  • -

    - Although comfortable for most, it doesn’t adjust much in terms of sizing

If you’re in the market for a good PC gaming headset with a lot of versatility, the SteelSeries 7+ should be a contender. I reviewed the SteelSeries Arctis 7P+ not too long ago, and the 7+ is very similar to the 7P+. The two models are so similar, some bloggers and media outlets even decided to review them together as a pair. Meanwhile, we’ve opted for separate reviews, as we didn’t want to delay our 7P+ review until we could get a 7+ to accompany it, but we still wanted to give proper attention to the PC peripheral.

The most notable difference between the 7+ and the 7P+ is the color scheme, as the 7P+ is white and blue to match the PlayStation 5, while the 7+ looks more like a typical PC headset given its all-black color scheme. Overall, Arctis 7+ is optimized for PC, while the Arctis 7+ is better for PS5 gamers. If you’re a multi-platform gamer, you can get away with using just one or the other, though, and it’s not necessary to purchase both, given that either model has such broad compatibility.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ is made primarily for PC gamers, but you can also use it on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and Android phones and tablets. A wired and wireless headset with 2.4 GHz lossless audio, SteelSeries Sonar, and a noise-canceling mic, this headset will easily fit into your gaming regimen regardless of your needs. When compared to other headsets in the same price category, like the Logitech G733, the 7+ holds its own as one of the best gaming headsets under $200.

Specifications

Driver Type40 mm
Microphone Impedance2200 Ohms
Frequency Response 20-20000 Hz (speakers), 100-6500 Hz (microphone)
Microphone TypeBi-directional, retractable, noise canceling
Connectivity Options3.5 mm wired, 2.4 Ghz wireless ( 40-foot range)
CablesUSB-C dongle
USB-C charging cable
3.5 mm wired adapter
USB-A to USB-C female adapter cable for wireless USB-A connectivity
WeightUnlisted, 0.93 lbs for 7P model
LightingNone
SoftwareSteelSeriesGG

Design and Comfort

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ is a durable and well-made headset. Whether it’s for a gamer who meticulously cares for their peripherals or someone who tends to be tougher on their devices during heated matches, it should hold up well over time. I have a teenage son who often accidentally breaks gaming peripherals, and the Arctis 7+ held up to his harsh treatment.

The headband frame is made of lightweight steel, and there are only two pivot points on each side, so there aren’t many weak points. Even with only two pivot points, you can still adjust the 7+’s earcups to get the perfect feel on your head. There’s one pivot point above the ear cups that allows the cups to swivel left and right, and another on the ear cups that lets you pivot the cups towards and away from the tops and bottoms of the ears. Each pivot point has ample support, so it’s quite difficult to break this headset.

The ski-goggle-style band also makes it possible to adjust the size without creating another weak point while still promoting optimal comfort. While some headband-style headsets slide up and down to adjust sizing, ski-goggle bands use an elastic band to create more or less tension against the head. The elastic band moves, but the steel frame itself stays in place, making the headset last longer because there are fewer weak points on the frame.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The buttons and controls are ideally positioned on the 7+ for easy access during gaming. The volume button is on the back of the left ear cup, and the mute button is right above that dial. On the right ear cup, there’s a chat mix dial to control chat/vocal volume against game volume. The retractable, bi-directional microphone pulls out of the left ear cup. The microphone is easy to grab and pull out when you’re in the middle of gaming, but since the microphone wire is flexible, it can be a bit difficult to put back into place when in the middle of heavy gameplay.

The elastic ski-goggle suspension band also sits so gently against my head that I can’t even feel it. Plus, the ear cups are tight enough to provide some passive noise cancellation, but they don’t cause any sort of aching or uncomfortable feeling.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The 7+ is one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve ever worn, and it’s one of the few headsets I can wear all day long without getting soreness somewhere on my head, ears or temple. If a gaming headset is uncomfortable (think pressing too hard on the ears, digging into the side of the head, not fitting properly), it can completely ruin the experience. Even if the headset sounds great, few people will want to wear a headset that causes pain or discomfort. I’m happy to report that the 7+ does not fall in that category.

Audio Performance

The Arctis 7+ boasts exceptional sound, with 40 mm neodymium drivers, a frequency response of 20 to 20,000 Hz to cover a range of lows, mids and highs, plus a high sensitivity rating of 98dB (meaning the headphones can get relatively loud with little power). Audio is vivid and clean, and when in-game, I can easily hear far-in-the-background noises like raindrops and footsteps and up-close sounds like speech and gunfire. I can even hear the direction from which a sound is approaching, given the clear audio and Sonar feature (more on that later).

Music never overpowered speech in-game, and the sound profile truly enhanced the gaming experience. In Call of Duty: Cold War on PC, I could easily hear where weapon fire was coming from, which helped me determine a shooter’s actual in-game location.

For music, the benchmark test songs I frequently use when evaluating headphones and headsets are “Titanium” by David Guetta featuring Sia, “Comedown” by Bush, and “Chains” by Nick Jonas. I choose these tracks because they have a variety of low, mid, and high tones. The Arctis 7+ sounded vivid and clean when playing each of these tracks. I could hear the lyrics, bass and mids, and nothing was overpowering. I was also able to use the equalizer to adjust the bass and treble up or down and make each track sound its best. However, one negative with the 7+ is that I consistently noticed a slight hiss sound when I played each music track on full blast. I had to lower the volume slightly to get the hiss sound to diminish.

Overall, I was rather impressed with the sound quality on the SteelSeries Arctis 7+, though, even more so than I was with the 7P+ a few months ago. This is likely due to recent software updates to the 7+ and SteelSeriesGG software that improved the sound landscape of this series, as I noticed when I added the Arctis 7+ to SteelSeriesGG, it prompted me to update the software. I also found the headset’s audio was clearer and louder on the default settings.

Microphone

The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ is a neat-looking headset, but the retractable microphone is a hit or miss feature that some people will like better than others. As mentioned before, pulling the mic out feels natural, but putting the mic back into place can be awkward because the wire is flexible and doesn’t always go back into place quickly and intuitively.

In terms of the mic’s audio performance, the 7+’s microphone has noise cancellation, a frequency response of 100 to 6500 Hz and a sensitivity rating of -38 dBV/Pa. When you game with friends or speak to someone on a Zoom call, they’ll have no problem hearing you clearly even when there’s background noise. The person on the other end of the mic won’t be able to hear keyboard clicks, quiet talking, or other subtle background noises. Given the sound quality on this mic, you could absolutely use this headset for work meetings. This can effectively serve as a multipurpose device—a headset for gaming, a headset for work, and headphones for music or streaming. I just wish it were easier to push back into the headset.

Software

The SteelSeriesGG software is quite comprehensive for a headset software suite, allowing you to adjust everything from equalizer settings to audio outputs. The equalizer has presets (like flat, bass boost, smiley or focus) or you can set your own custom settings, which I found especially useful when listening to music.

As you explore the different presets, you’ll find some are ideal for FPS games, while others are best for open-world games, etc. For instance, the smiley preset emphasizes in-game action noises like steps, fire, and approaching sounds, so it’s a good preset for battle royale games or FPS games, while bass boost is a good option to use when listening to music. You can also adjust the power options (changing the auto-off time), adjust the mic volume settings and preview what the microphone sounds like to make sure it’s what you want.

What really makes the 7+ is the Sonar feature, which completely takes gaming to the next level by allowing for directional sound, 7.1 virtual surround sound, and audio output control. There are Sonar presets for specific games too, like Rainbow Six Siege, COD Warzone, and Apex Legends. You can configure your chat presets for broadcasting, clarity, balance, and more. Designed specifically for in-game audio, I think SteelSeries Sonar sounds more realistic than other sound technologies like Dolby Atmos for gaming. For music or streaming, I prefer Atmos. However, this SteelSeries headset still sounds pleasant for music and streaming, enough so that it can serve as an all-purpose headset, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out in any one area. The Sonar feature truly makes it possible for you to fine-tune your mic and speaker just the way you want it. Plus, since it’s an early access feature, it might even gain additional features and perks with time.

Wireless Experience

The wireless connectivity on the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ is reliable and clear overall. You can connect just about any device that has a USB-C port. The 2.4 Ghz wireless allows for lossless, low-latency audio, with a range of around 40 feet. The Arctis 7+ does not have Bluetooth though.

The advertised 40-foot range is pretty accurate for the most part, but I did notice that when I went out into my garage (a room with thick walls), the range shortened significantly to around 20 feet. However, the 40-foot range maintained for the most part as long as I didn’t have any obstructions in the way. I tested the wireless range on a number of devices (a Samsung Android phone, an Amazon tablet, a gaming PC and a PlayStation 5). I had one computer that didn’t have a USB-C port, but the package included a USB-A to USB-C female adapter, which allowed me to wirelessly connect via a USB-A port. There’s also an included cable that allows you to have a wired connection via 3.5 mm.

SteelSeries advertises the battery lasts around 30 hours before needing a charge, and I found this to be accurate during testing. USB-C fast charging even allows for an extremely quick charge, where you get a few hours of battery from a quick 10 or 15-minute charge.

Bottom Line

The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ is an ideal all-purpose headset for PC gamers. Because it works so well across plenty of use cases, including chatting and listening to music, it’s also a good option for anyone who plays on console and PC, or for those who use the same headset for work and PC gaming.

Provided it fits your head well, this is one of the most comfortable headsets you’ll find, with excellent sound both in-game and while listening to music. I wish there were a few more sizing adjustment options, but few headsets offer as many perks as the 7+ for an affordable, $170 price point.

Erika Rawes
Erika Rawes

Erika Rawes is a freelance reviewer for Tom's Hardware US. She reviews gaming chairs, headsets, mice, and other gaming peripherals.

  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    No RGB? That's a personal massive pro.

    This is a great headset, that looks good enough to use on a professional setting too.

    I wonder if it sounds good enough without messing with it on all operating systems as well.
    Reply
  • cjmcgee
    Did they fix the side tone barely working? I have a 7X and there is basically no side tone unless you max out the volume on the device, and even then it barely works. The sound quality is amazing, but the lack of side tone means I end up always using it with one cup off.
    Reply
  • Gamji007
    Warn do not buy! major flaw in the design of all SteelSeries models cheap plastic. I bought 2 of them and in less than a year it still breaks in the same place. https://ibb.co/yNPpzG2
    Reply
  • PiranhaTech
    I bought a SteelSeries Arctis 1 for mostly cell phone usage, I occasionally use it, and it's been comfortable. Sound quality is pretty good for $40-50 headphones. It's analog though, so hard to tell how well this translates to the digital headphones
    Reply