SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4X Wireless Headset – Review

The Arctis Nova 4X wireless headphones are comfortable, reliable, and consistent.
Arctis Nova 4X Wireless headset SteelSeries

After a few weeks of relentlessly flogging the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4X Wireless Headset for eight hours a day, I can safely say this is one of the more reliable headsets I’ve come across, at this price point.

As a longtime subscriber to the “listen to music at all times to avoid a single thought” philosophy, I made sure to put them through their paces across a variety of soundscapes, in meetings, both outdoors and indoors, and even as part of my nighttime calming ritual.

The verdict is simple: This set will get the job done, and most importantly, it’ll play Chappell Roan like a dream.

Functionality

Set-up with my assorted devices was fairly straightforward – the headset is compatible with Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Switch and mobile, though it will require a little more finagling to make it work with a Mac – which, unfortunately, is my primary device for writing. It’s not the end of the world, just an extra step to make it vibe.

The dongle’s shape and size does make it a bit difficult to wield, however, given the width can block out some of the other ports if you don’t use a USB-C to USB-A extender (which, fortunately, comes included for this very reason).

When it comes to sound, the quality was consistent over long periods of time, with clear and crisp sound whether the Arctis Nova 4X wireless headset had been freshly charged, or if it was at the end of the admittedly lengthy battery cycle.

With a 35 hour battery claim from SteelSeries, I can’t complain at all about how well it stacked up. I got through nearly four full days of eight-hour use before needing to charge, and the 15 minute fast-charging capability meant I was able to get back nearly a full day within a super short time period.

>Arctis Nova 4X Wireless headset SteelSeries
Image: GamesHub

I experimented across a variety of sound. The headphones performed admirably well with regular music, game soundtracks and diegetic sounds (even when I was playing through situations with heavy gunfire or lots of background noise). The only gripe I had was that the bass wasn’t quite as meaty as I’d have hoped – but unless you’re into very bass-heavy music, it probably won’t bother you.

In meetings, I found the retractable noise-cancelling microphone to be reasonably effective, and received no complaints from fellow meeting attendees. For official business, I’d still likely opt to stick with my podcast mic, but for casual use, I can definitely see myself sticking it out with the in-built mic.

Design and comfort

When I’ve had enough of my tunes, I sometimes wear my headphones around the house without any sound playing at all – overstimulation is a nightmare, so it’s nice to dampen the sounds of the world, even just a little.

This means that, on top of the sound fidelity and clarity, I need my headphones to sit comfortably for extended periods of time. As sleek and aesthetically smooth as they are, the look of a set will always come second to the feel.

Fortunately, the Arctis Nova 4X wireless headphones are very wearable, with the adjustable headband providing a reasonable buffer between the plastic and your skull (kind of like a ski google strap). The Airweave ear cups are sizeable and cushiony without being too overwhelming, and although it takes a minute to get used to the controls, they’re reasonably straightforward to use while wearing the headset.

At only 262g, the super lightweight set faded into the background of my awareness while wearing it, which for me is a big positive. If you’re someone who gets precious about your hair, it can be a bit of a flattener, but on the whole, it’s very comfortable and easily worn. As Ned Flanders says, it “feels like I’m wearing nothing at all.”

Feeling sharp

I recognise that this is a niche problem but fair warning: if you wear earrings, be mindful of how sharp they are. Jewellery is not top of the list when it comes to headphone considerations, but I did notice that if I wore earrings that were remotely pointy while using the Arctis Nova 4X wireless headphones, they had a tendency to snag on the inside of the cans.

>Arctis Nova 4X wireless headset SteelSeries
Image: GamesHub

It’s worth noting that the offending earrings were only small, so although the snags didn’t generally result in pain, they definitely caused pricks in the fabric to emerge. Aesthetically, this will only be a bother to you, as nobody will be able to see the damage, but it’s still something to consider if you have a staple pair of earrings you wear daily.

You might think this is a problem that’s unlikely to be replicated, but in actuality, it’s something we’ve encountered in the past. GamesHub’s Leah J. Williams mentioned the same issue with her PlayStation Pulse Elite Wireless Headset in her review. Watch out for those earrings, folks!

Final verdict

Retailing at around AUD $250, these headphones are definitely a much more affordable option compared to some of the other SteelSeries lineup. For what you get, the headset is pretty reasonably priced.

Between the strength of its battery life and the crispness of the sound over hours of play, SteelSeries‘ Arctis Nova 4X wireless headphones hold up to the quality we’ve come to expect. It’s adaptable, hard-working, and will prove a reliable companion for both work and play.

Four stars: ★★★★

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4X Wireless Headphones
Release Year: 
2024
Price: AUD $249.00 RRP

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4X Wireless Multi-Platform Gaming Headset
$119.99
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05/18/2024 08:06 am GMT

Steph Panecasio is the Managing Editor of GamesHub. An award-winning culture and games journalist with an interest in all things spooky, she knows a lot about death but not enough about keeping her plants alive. Find her on all platforms as @StephPanecasio for ramblings about Lord of the Rings and her current WIP novel.