SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 is just what you need in a gaming headset

Posted on May 17, 2024

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 is the newest addition to the popular Arctis Nova series, bringing innovative features and impressive specs at a mid-range price of $299 AUD. Designed for gamers who want high performance without breaking the bank, this headset offers a lot of value. We’ve been provided a unit to review and share our thoughts thanks to the SteelSeries team.

Designed for just what you need

The Arctis Nova 5 is all about comfort and durability. Weighing just 260g, it has a stretchy headband and breathable memory foam ear cushions, making it comfortable for long gaming sessions. The sturdy ABS plastic build keeps it light but strong. The design includes easy-to-use on-ear controls for volume and mode switching. I even used these on two 10+ hour flights, connecting to my phone and Nintendo Switch to enjoy crisp audio and comfortable gameplay (as much as you can while on a flight that long). However, the ear muffs can’t be adjusted sideways, which might be a problem if they don’t sit perfectly on your ears.

The headset has an inbuilt ClearCast Gen2.X microphone, which can be nicely stored away when not in use. Clear communication is vital in multiplayer gaming, and the Arctis Nova 5 excels with this mic, supporting high-quality audio to make sure your voice is clear. It retracts into the earcup when not in use, keeping the headset looking sleek.

The Arctis Nova 5 offers both 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth connections. The Quick Switch feature lets you switch easily between console and mobile audio, so if you have an incoming call while gaming you’ll have no issues. The headset promises a battery life of up to 50 hours on 2.4GHz and 60 hours on Bluetooth. In our testing, it falls a little shorter than this but still an amazing output for such a long-time of use. Plus, a fast charge gives you hours of playtime from just 15 minutes of charging.

Audio tailored for gaming

The powerful neodymium drivers deliver rich bass and detailed sound for a headset of this calibre. It supports Windows Spatial Sound and Sony 3D Tempest Audio, helping you pinpoint where sounds are coming from, which is great for your first-person shooters and other competitive games. Still, some might find that the maximum volume isn’t as loud as they’d like, possibly lacking that extra punch for a truly immersive experience.

A highlight of the Arctis Nova 5 is its game-specific audio presets. With over 100 custom EQ profiles, you can optimise sound for games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and competitive racers. Apparently, these have been collaborated on by audio experts, esports pros, and game developers, ensuring each game sounds its best. You can switch presets on the fly without leaving your game, making it super convenient.

A selling point for these cans is the companion app. It lets you adjust audio settings on the fly while gaming. Connect the headset to your console via USB-C and to your phone via Bluetooth to make real-time adjustments without leaving your game. This customisation is a big advantage. Note that the Nova 5 doesn’t have a ChatMix/Sidetone dial on the headset; these adjustments are made through the software, unlike higher models like the Nova 7.

The Nova 5 is mid-range, so it isn’t a complete package. It doesn’t have the dual-simultaneous wireless connection of the Nova 7 or the hi-res audio and ANC of the Nova Pro Wireless, but it makes up for this with a wide range of audio presets and excellent battery life. We’ve used a lot of different headsets at Checkpoint Gaming, but if you don’t need the top-tier features, the Nova 5 provides excellent performance and value.

You can find out where to get your own SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 here.