Both SteelSeries Arctis 7 and Arctis 9X are on our best headset list for wireless gaming, and both come with high-quality features. One might be better for you, depending on your budget and your specific needs, but it will come down to some distinct differences. Price, aesthetics, audio options, mic, frequency response range are just a few of the differences between the two headsets. They may seem subtle enough, but they make a big enough difference when you come down to it.
The Arctis SteelSeries 7
With good reason, this wireless headset is among our choices. The Arctis SteelSeries 7 has a great list of quality features. Aside from its signature ski goggle headband, which makes the headset super comfortable to wear, it has a battery life of up to 24 hours, volume and mix controls on the earcup back, and a retractable microphone. If you have a tiny head, the headband ‘s plastic top might stick up awkwardly, but otherwise, it’s a gaming headset you could wear in public without embarrassment.
Audio-wise, the Arctis 7 comes with 40 mm neodymium drivers and a frequency response range of 20Hz-20,000Hz, which is quite standard for quality headsets these days. Whether playing or listening to music, this headset has an “amazingly flat response that gives it clarity and versatility, and no distortion whatsoever.” The bass is never muddy. The treble never gets harsh. The Arctis 7 is likewise compatible with 7.1 virtual surround sound. Unlike some other headsets that require a soundcard, all you need is SteelSeries software, and you’re good to go. Stereo is usually best for gaming, but if you want to sit back and watch a movie on your Mac, then surround sound is excellent.
The only downside to that headset is the microphone. At times it can be too quiet, even with audio levels adjusted. Positioning it close to your mouth is a natural remedy, but this isn’t the world’s most comfortable thing. It’s noise-canceling, however, and the amplifier has that going for it.
Arctis SteelSeries 9X
Take the Arctis 7, glam it up a bit, and you’ve got the SteelSeries Arctis 9X. It not only works across multiple platforms (PC and Xbox), it also supports both Bluetooth and 3.5 mm. You may need to purchase an Xbox wireless adapter, but if you’re purely a PC-only type of person and have native Bluetooth functionality on your motherboard, then you just have to think about the cost of the headset itself.
The Arctis 9X has the same ski goggle headband and 40 mm neodymium speakers, but an expanded frequency response range of 20Hz-22,000Hz for a little extra oomph. (It goes without saying that the Arctis 9X has the same excellent sound quality.) The battery life is only up to 20 hours, but this wireless headset takes home a great microphone, to be exact a retractable bidirectional ClearCast microphone. The Arctis 7 Mic upgrade is a welcome one.
This headset, however, has no virtual 7.1 surround sound but supports only Windows Sonic. To get a bit more out of this headset, you could use Dolby Atmos on your Mac. You’ll need to buy the software, but there’s a free trial going on. Other than that, the green, crisscrossing lines of the headband makes the Arctis 9X look loud, which removes the otherwise anti-stereotypical gamer aesthetic from SteelSeries.
Which one should you buy?
The Arctis 9X SteelSeries is about $70-75 higher than the Arctis 7, mainly due to the multi-platform support and better micro quality. Apart from a slightly extended frequency response range, you get the same quality of sound and comfort with either headset. And there are 20 or more hours to battery life on each.
Nevertheless, if sound choices are more relevant to you than because of its 7.1 virtual surround sound capabilities, the Arctis 7 should be your first choice. Unless you’re going by looking alone, you probably won’t find the headband of the Arctis 9X appealing, making the Arctis 7 a better option as well.
If mic quality is at the top of your list of priorities for wireless headsets (aside from audio), then the Arctis 9X would be the two’s best choice. Even if you were playing on both the PC and Xbox, that would be the only headset you would need.
Last update on 2020-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API