The Arctis line of gaming headsets from SteelSeries has been praised by critics and gamers alike for its excellent sound, comfortable fit, and high build quality. Not one to rest on its laurels, SteelSeries has recently come out with its latest entry in the Arctis series, the Arctis Pro. Touting greater audio fidelity and higher-end components, the Arctis Pro is looking to continue its critical domination in this crowded market.
You can pick up the SteelSeries Arctis Pro headset for $179.99. Let’s see how it stacks up.
Design and Comfort
SteelSeries prides itself on making luxurious peripherals, and the Arctis Pro has received the same love and attention. The gunmetal steel headband and aluminum alloy hangers are as sleek as they are durable, and tie together to give the Arctis Pro a classy, sophisticated look.
The Arctis Pro’s earcups aren’t adjustable like some of the headphones you might be familiar with. Instead, it uses a suspended headband to automatically adjust to the size and shape of your head. Over the years, I’ve grown to like the suspended headband style, as they tend to provide a snug fit, though the downside is they can be too tight and cause serious ear strain.
In this case, thanks to the excellent headband (which SteelSeries claims is similar to headbands found in ski goggles) the Arctis Pro fits just right, giving a snug fit while allowing plenty of breath-ability. I love that SteelSeries didn’t add any plastic or metal here, as I’ve had other suspension headphones painfully dig into my skull. The earcups are large enough to fit around even my big ears, and the generous amounts of foam padding cushion nicely without smashing them against the side of my head.
I wouldn’t call the Arctis Pro light as a feather, it isn’t heavy or oppressive by any means. I have to give serious props to SteelSeries - I could wear these things for hours without feeling pain, even with my glasses on.
When you do inevitably take the Arctis Pro off, you’ll notice that SteelSeries has added swiveled earcups so you can comfortably rest the headset around your neck.
For fans of RGB lighting, there’s a lighting ring around the earcups, which is great if you’re looking to impress your buddies or co-workers. If you own other SteelSeries gear, you can sync up all the lighting effects with their Prism sync software.
If you think of the RGB lighting on the Arctis Pro as a cool bonus if you’re a SteelSeries fanboy, rather than a core feature, you won’t be disappointed. But if you're looking for the brightest, flashiest headset lighting on the block, this isn't it.
Multi-platform gamers will be happy to hear that the Arctis Pro works on a variety of systems, including PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Be advised though, that surround sound or ChatMix won’t work on PS4 – so if you primarily game on that system, you might want to look elsewhere. If you’re doing most of your gaming on the other platforms and occasionally on your PS4 game, you’ll be good to go.
The Arctis Pro is powered by 40mm Neodymium drivers, giving it hi-res output with a frequency range of up to 40,000 kHz. Don’t be fooled by the huge number - this is twice the average limit of the human ear, so the perceived gain in quality will quite literally fall on deaf ears.
The Arctis Pro also has DTS Headphone:X v2.0 surround sound capabilities, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your games. This was by far my favorite part of the Arctis Pro, as the surround sound reproduction really sucked me into fighting games and first person shooters. Everything felt incredibly alive, with tremendous presence and overall depth of sound. Even games like Hearthstone felt like fuller, richer experiences. While the sound quality is phenomenal in-game, for music and movies it’s a different story. Surround sound reproduction just doesn’t work as well when you’re listening to music. While it’s a far from bad, the staging feels a little flat, and I didn’t get that rich bass I was looking for. There is an Arctis Pro package that comes with an external DAC, that should in theory boost the overall sound quality. I can’t comment because my review model didn’t come with it, but if you are looking to listen to lossless music, it’s probably worth picking up.
If you plug in the Arctis Pro via USB you’ll have access to ChatMix, a volume wheel that can adjust the sound mix of ingame sounds and voice chat. It’s a pretty handy feature for those who find their voice chat volume to be far too low. Speaking of voice chat, the microphone on the Arctis Pro is pretty good, but not fantastic. Everything is clear and audible, but you can hear a bit of background noise, especially if you have a noisier mechanical switch keyboard. You don’t get that natural sound you’ll find on some other headsets, but it’s serviceable, and only extremely picky gamers will care.