New wireless SteelSeries headset makes audio settings a breeze

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 launch
Image: supplied.

Adding to its popular range of gaming headsets, SteelSeries has launched the Arctis Nova 5, a wireless model the brand labels “affordable luxury”.

Sitting at the top of the SteelSeries tree is the Arctis Nova Pro, the wireless version of which costs more than $700 at full price. Comparatively, the Arctis Nova 5 comes in at a more affordable $299. It slots in between the existing Nova 3 and Nova 7 headsets as one of the cheapest wireless models in the Nova range.

So, how does it compare to the top-of-the-line model? The Nova 5 supports both Bluetooth 5.3 and 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, the latter via an included dongle. Available in PC, PlayStation, and Xbox-specific versions, the headset works as a multiplatform device – although due to proprietary wireless technology quirks, only the Xbox version works with Microsoft’s console.

One of the earcups has a quick switch button, letting you swap between 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections on the fly. Get a phone call while gaming on a console or PC? Pressing the button lets you take the call, and then easily swap back when you’re done. Or you can use Bluetooth to listen to a handheld device like a Nintendo Switch.

Although the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 doesn’t have the swappable batteries of the Nova Pro, it does include a battery advertised to last up to 60 hours between charges. No active noise cancelling – another feature reserved for the Pro model – likely contributes to this healthy battery life.

A novel approach to app customisation

Wide platform compatibility forms just half of the Arctis Nova 5 equation. Alongside the headset, SteelSeries has launched a companion app – with a twist.

When connected to your phone, the headset supports more than 100 game-specific equalisation presets. Ranging from competitive online games like Fortnite, to the award-winning RPG Baldur’s Gate 3, the custom game profiles were designed by audio engineers, game developers, and esports players.

Instead of fussing around with individual settings, the list of premade EQ presets let you choose according to the game you’re playing. If a game isn’t supported, or you want a more generic EQ setting, you can pick from the likes of Flat or Bass Boost. There are also various music and movie-specific presets to choose from.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 app
Image: Supplied.

At a hardware level, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 uses Neodymium magnetic drivers to produce its sound. SteelSeries also claims the headset’s “new high-bandwidth chipset” provides a big boost to microphone clarity. The retractable mic supports 32KHz and 16-bit audio said to be twice as clear as previous-gen technology.

It’s quite a light headset too, hitting the scales at 260 grams. Another difference from the most premium Arctis model is the Nova 5’s fabric memory foam ear cushions. Conversely, the top-end version comes with vegan leather.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 release date and price

In Australia, all versions of the wireless SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 headsets cost $299. It’s available to order now directly from SteelSeries and major tech retailers.

SteelSeries has a reputation for producing high-quality gaming peripherals, with the Nova 5 offering a mid-range option. It makes versatile wireless gaming headsets more affordable, along with a streamlined approach to audio mixing.

We’ve got our hands on the latest headset and will publish a full review soon.

Read more gaming tech news on GadgetGuy