SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 review: great but pricey.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 review: great but pricey.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4: The Budget Hero in the Gaming Headset World

Move over, high-grade headsets! The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 is here to steal the spotlight. Priced at $119.99, this headset packs a punch that will make its competitors tremble. As an avid gamer, I was thrilled to get my hands on both the Nova 4 and the Nova 4 X models, and I put them through two weeks of rigorous testing. Let’s find out what this budget-friendly headset brings to the table.

Key Specs

Specs Details
Price $119.99
Connection 2.4GHz
Drivers 40mm Nova Acoustic System
Frequency response 20Hz – 22kHz
Microphone ClearCast Gen 2 retractable
ANC None
Controls Power, mic mute, volume
Battery 36 hours
Weight 262g
Compatibility PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, PS4, Android (Xbox variant available)

Design and Comfort: A Plastic Marvel

Don’t let the plastic construction fool you; the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 is a solidly built headset. It’s clear that attention to detail was not overlooked. The matte, rubbery plastic surface on the sides of each cup adds grip and keeps fingerprints at bay. The ski-goggle headband design, with a grippy rubber texture underneath, ensures a secure fit without sacrificing comfort. The generous padding and breathable mesh fabric of the earcups provide a snug and pinch-free experience, even during long gaming sessions.

Despite its plastic build, the Arctis Nova 4 can handle rough treatment. The flexible headband, full arch socket, and sturdy headband adjustment system make it durable and portable. Plus, the sleek all-black design, accented by green patterns on the Xbox variant, gives it a stylish look.

Features: No Bluetooth, No Problem

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 keeps things lean and mean when it comes to features. One notable omission is Bluetooth connectivity, which might disappoint some users seeking dual-connectivity and mobile compatibility. However, if you primarily play on PC, PS5, or Xbox Series X, this won’t be a major issue. It’s worth mentioning that the headset doesn’t match up to the Nintendo Switch compatibility offered by the Razer Barracuda X at a slightly lower price. But fear not, the Arctis Nova 4 compensates with other impressive features.

One standout feature is the use of the same 40mm Nova Acoustic System drivers found in more expensive models. These drivers deliver breathtaking audio quality throughout the SteelSeries headset lineup. The PC model offers power and volume controls on the left cup, while the Xbox version includes chat mix controls on the right cup. The retractable microphone is a convenient addition, and the on-board controls strike the perfect balance between functionality and simplicity.

Performance: Immerse Yourself in Audio Bliss

The audio quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 is a cut above other headsets in its price range. While it may not match the more energetic sound profile of the Razer Barracuda X, the Nova 4 offers a richer and more detailed audio experience compared to its budget counterparts. The bass, although slightly less powerful, is incredibly nuanced, creating an immersive soundscape that brings games to life. The Nova 4 also excels in the higher ranges, providing crystal-clear audio and impressive directional cues.

On the downside, the microphone is not a standout feature. It produces moderate pops and flattened audio quality. While it may not be ideal for streaming, it’s perfectly suitable for casual chat sessions. The directional audio quality of the Nova 4 is commendable, offering precise sound positioning in less chaotic games. However, in fast-paced titles like Doom Eternal, it falls slightly behind, causing muddled cues and reduced accuracy.

Should You Buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4?

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 is an impressive headset that offers exceptional comfort and audio quality. Priced at $119.99, it’s a great value for the money. However, it faces tough competition from the Razer Barracuda X, which offers Bluetooth connectivity, gesture controls, and a longer battery life at a lower price point. The Barracuda X also provides a more bass-heavy sound profile, making it the preferred choice for bass enthusiasts. That said, the Nova 4’s superior directional audio makes it a solid option for competitive gamers.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 vs The Competition

Specs SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 Razer Barracuda X SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7
Price $119.99 $99.99 $179.99
Connection 2.4GHz 2.4GHz / Bluetooth / Wired 2.4GHz / Bluetooth
Drivers 40mm Nova Acoustic System 40mm Razer TriForce 40mm Nova Acoustic System
Frequency response 20Hz – 22kHz 20Hz – 20kHz 20Hz – 22kHz
Microphone ClearCast Gen 2 retractable Razer Hyperclear Cardioid detachable ClearCast Gen 2 retractable
ANC None None None
Controls Power, mic mute, volume Power, mic mute, volume, gesture playback Power, mic mute, volume, chat mix, Bluetooth, pairing
Battery 36 hours 50 hours 38 hours
Weight 262g 250g 325g
Compatibility PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Android PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, mobile PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Android

Verdict: Game On!

In conclusion, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 is a solid choice for gamers on a budget. Its excellent comfort, impressive audio quality, and thoughtful design make it a worthy contender in the gaming headset market. Although it falls short in some areas compared to the Razer Barracuda X, the Nova 4’s directional audio quality sets it apart. If you’re seeking an immersive gaming experience without breaking the bank, the Arctis Nova 4 is a safe bet.

How We Tested the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4

During the two-week testing period, I extensively used the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 in both the PC and Xbox variants. I played various games such as Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Doom Eternal, CS:GO, and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury to evaluate its performance across different platforms. For more insights into our gaming headset testing process, check out the comprehensive GameTopic+ Hardware Policy. Don’t forget to explore our recommendations for wireless gaming headsets and the best headsets for PS5. And for those still rocking the previous generation, we’ve got you covered with the best Xbox One headsets available.