Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless Headset Review
Published: 26th March 2018 | Source: Steelseries | Price: £299.99 |
It's impossible to ignore the price of the Arctis Pro, but let us do so for a little while longer.
When you're buying a premium product you always hope that the theatre of opening it up and revealing your purchase will justify the expense, even if we all secretly know that the box is a plastic ring in a gold bar world. The Arctis Pro reminds us a lot of the Arctis 7 we reviewed just under a year ago with its stiff cardboard box, carefully moulded plastic interior and all black cardboard box containing the various cables. It might be a small thing but the piano black control box is entirely covered in a very carefully cut plastic cover so that even the tiniest fingerprint doesn't appear before it's time to use it, and if you're particularly averse to fingerprints you can leave it on and use it without issue. It's also nice to note that Steelseries have provided a full set of connection cables from the simplicity of a 3.5mm double male offering up to a very nice quality optical cable. The only thing kinda missing is the DC adaptor, but as the box requires a USB connection to run, and takes its power from that USB, it's not a major issue at all. It's only really useful if you want to charge your batteries on the go, although at this price we still feel it should have been included. Darn, we said we wouldn't mention the price yet, okay moving on.
The design of the Arctis Pro also matches up to the Arctis 7 we have previously reviewed. You get something which is largely plastic, but don't be put off. Anyone with any experience at all knows that there is plastic like the type you'd get in a box of chocolates, and plastic that is robust enough to still be here long after the human race has left for another solar system. The Arctis Pro definitely falls into the category of being seriously robust. The combination of high quality plastics and clever design mean that the last thing you'll worry about is the hinges, which are usually the first thing to go on a headset. The magnetic side panels make changing the battery a simple matter, and we imagine that maybe down the road Steelseries will release alternatives if the Arctis Pro proves popular enough. On the subject of changes, the headband is kept in place with Velcro so should be easy to swap out. There aren't any official Pro alternatives yet, but the Arctis 7 is identical so some of these should work perfectly fine.
The sound quality of the Arctis 7 was outstanding and the Arctis Pro only expands upon that. 10Hz to 40kHz is becoming a popular frequency response on the higher end audio solutions and the Arctis Pro makes great use of this wider frequency range to give outstanding quality across every possible scenario. Whether you're listening to the subtlest classic piece or the heaviest bass drop, it never flinches. There is a good level of volume if you're determined to drown out the world, but turning it right down doesn't affect the audio profile. Even the surround effect eschews the regular "add lots of reverb" method so common on lesser offerings. The excellent design ensures that it fits tightly on your head, but not in a vice-like uncomfortable manner, and this helps keep all the audio "in" and really makes for a glorious listening experience whether you're just watching a film or fragging your enemies. Equally the microphone is very good with clear transmission and a total lack of hiss. That lack of hiss is true of the wireless listening too, a boon to anyone who has endured wireless headsets which sound like static when they're off.
Connectivity options are plentiful. With all the cables included for alternative sources and dedicated PS4 and PC modes built into the controller you can be sure that pretty much anything you have to hand will work with the Arctis Pro. Wireless audio is a feature on some of the high end headsets around and we've yet to meet one that will happily play audio around the entirety of our OC3D Bunker. We have a particular dead spot where two thick walls abut that is as likely to kill the sound as the sun is to arise in the morning. Therefore it's with a heavy heart that we have to warn you the sun will never rise again, as the Arctis Pro not only kept our ears filled with aural loveliness but at no point did it pause for even a blink whilst it adjusted the transmission band. We couldn't find anywhere in our office that it didn't happily play, and we managed to go a reasonable distance beyond the rated range before it finally cried enough. The wireless range might be understated but, as is so often the case, the battery life is slightly over-rated. We got around 8 hours of the claimed 10 from each battery charge. It bears repeating though that with the spare always on charge and the ease of swapping it's a matter of literal seconds to change them over and be up and running with a fresh charge.
The Steelseries Arctis Pro live up to the high standards set by the Arctis 7 and expand upon them with more fulsome wireless connectivity options and an audio profile that stretches into the heights of audiophiles. It is eye-wateringly expensive, there is no getting away from that, but given that a similar premium Sennheiser gaming offering is more expensive and not wireless, whilst the Beyerdynamic at this price sound great but look cheaper, then the Steelseries Arctis Pro might be expensive for a gaming headset, but not compared to the high end competition with similar or lesser specs. The ridiculously good wireless performance and ability to keep up and running without ever plugging the headset in only adds to its qualities.