Steelseries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless review

by on July 8, 2024
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After what seems like forever searching for the perfect wireless Steam Deck headset, my journey has come to an end with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless. That may seem a lofty claim, but I have tried everything from Apple’s AirPod Pros to other brands of over-ear headphones, and nothing has come close to the comfort and ease of use the Steelseries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless offers.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t even a headset designed specifically for the Steam Deck, but the functionality and way it all works has made it perfect, to the point where if I need to take a quick call on my phone and I’m nearer the Arctis Nova 5 than I am my AirPods, I’ll use them instead.

Starting with the basics you’d want from any headset, like previous models from SteelSeries these are super comfortable. Padded, cushioned, and with a strap protecting your head from the plastic, I’ve worn them for hours on end and had no issues. Likewise, battery life is promised at “up to 60 hours” thanks to a “next-gen chipset”, and genuinely, again, I have no issues with that claim. I haven’t counted specifically, but I also have forgotten to charge the SteelSeries on numerous occasions, and given it has become my daily driver, I’d say that even if the 60 hours claim isn’t true, it’s not far off either.

Steelseries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless

Where this wireless headset sings, though, is the connectivity. There’s a small button that switches between Bluetooth and whatever you have plugged the dongle into. While there are brands that offer dual support so you can do both at the same time, that’s just about the only area where the Nova 5 doesn’t quite stack up. If you want to switch between whatever device the dongle is plugged into, and Bluetooth (such as your phone), you will have to tap a button. It’s hardly a difficult button to press, but again, others do offer this functionality, and some do it better.

The reason it’s so good here, and the reason that I say it’s perfect for the Steam Deck is down to the dongle itself. First up, it’s USB-C. This means you can plug it straight into the Steam Deck, or any good dock you’re using the Deck on. But the killer feature is the size of the dongle. Instead of a standard USB-shaped dongle, this is a tiny, slim, rectangular shape which, when plugged into the top USB-C slot on the Deck, is barely noticeable. It’s also lightweight, so adds nothing to the Deck’s weight when holding it.

But there’s more. Plugging in the USB-C dongle makes the Deck instantly transfer the audio your headset, and also allows you to play with a wireless headset that has a microphone included. When not in use the mic retracts, and is still operable, but pulling it out for online chat gives a crystal clear audio quality, and there is even the option to monitor your own audio, with a push button that can switch that on and off. I could see no extraneous battery draining when using the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless headset on the Steam Deck, so if it’s there, it’s minimal, even when spending a few hours playing Stardew Valley with a friend, or playing Multiversus online.

Steelseries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless

And look, much of the Nova 5 is visually minimal. There aren’t a huge amount of buttons and mixers on the headset. There’s a power button, pairing button, volume roller, switcher button (to go between Bluetooth and dongle), a mute button, and that’s about it. But I’ve used a great deal of headsets over many years, and while it doesn’t beat the most comfortable it does include the option to take control of a lot of the other functionality via the app. There are EQ settings and presets galore on the Arctis Nova 5 App, and these include specific presets for games like Apex legends, or EA Sports FC 24.

The App also includes the option to adjust your mic volume and sidetone so you can hear yourself just how you want to, and there’s also EQ presets for music. Like the rest of the functionality, this is all very easy to use, and once you’ve downloaded the app you can get customising pretty quickly.

Steelseries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless

Now you may note I’ve featured the Steam Deck heavily here, and that’s because the dongle really feels like an ideal fit for the console. However, the rectangular shape might cause issues with some PC settings, and the width could make the PS5 version a bit of an issue if you have lots plugged in. However, there is a USB-A to USB-C cable included in the package which can rectify this, and, although it isn’t an ideal solution, at least it exists.

With some of the better audio quality for a microphone out there, you’d expect the general sound quality to be good, too. And that’s about right: it’s good, not quite incredible. But given how many EQ presets there are, your mileage may vary. If you’re wanting to play a shooter in a competitive scene, the presets may help, though at higher volumes the headset suffers slightly. The positional audio is superb, the app is excellent, but it truly shines when it comes to versatility. It’s at a reasonable price point for a headset of this quality and functionality, too. It’s the best, and easiest to set up wireless option I’ve found for Steam Deck, and unless Valve itself puts out a wireless set of headphones, it’d take some beating. It’s not perfect, but it’s a device that has become a mainstay in my setup, and I can’t see that changing any time soon.,


Tremendous versatility
Great battery life


No Bluetooth/Dongle mix

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 isn't perfect, but it’s a device that has become a mainstay in my setup, and I can’t see that changing any time soon. It's also easily the best wireless headset I've found for Steam Deck gaming.