The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless headset serves up some solid value for money

SteelSeries has become quite revered for its newer Nova lineup of gaming headsets, with their top-tier Arctis Nova Pro Wireless option still sitting atop the gaming headset mountain. Even so, something like the Arctis Nova 1 headset is still one of the best entry-level headsets you can get, for its comfort and sound quality.

The Arctis Nova 5 Wireless sits somewhere in the middle of their range and for A$299 does a bunch of things well. It’s super comfortable around the ears and on the head, and provides a whopping 60 hours of battery life. While the sound quality leaves a little more to be desired at certain times, the 100+ game audio presets available via the companion app make this an incredibly versatile offering for all types of gamers.

It’s also worth noting here that we are reviewing the Arctis Nova 5P Wireless, intended for use on PlayStation, PC, Nintendo Switch and Mobile. An Arctis Nova 5X Wireless is also available for Xbox platforms.


The Arctis Nova 5 generally feels great around the ears and head, thanks to the plush mesh padding on the earcups. It’s a very similar design to the Arctis Nova 1 and Arctis Nova 3 headsets, although these do feel a little softer around the ears, and slightly heavier due to the 40mm Neodymium Magnetic Drivers, which help to deliver higher-quality sound.

The earcups are easily adjustable and move slightly within the hinge for comfier fits on both smaller and larger heads. I do wish the earcups were a little bigger as they just nip the top of my ears, but I’ll also be the first to admit that I don’t have the smallest ears to begin with. The adjustable upper elastic headband sits below the standard plastic headband and is responsible for comfort over longer periods of time. I personally recommend adjusting this to one of the higher settings for a larger fit, as the earcups themselves don’t come down an awful lot for added adjustment.

Thankfully, the Arctis Nova 5’s design lends itself to easy-to-find buttons that are easy to understand in the process. On the right, you’ll find both power and quick-switch mode buttons, along with a USB-C port for charging and connectivity. On the left-hand side, you’ll find the volume control wheel, microphone mute button and retractable microphone, the latter of which I now find invaluable when gaming on my own.

The low profile of the headset makes it a decent option to wear outside of the home as a Bluetooth headset for music. At the same time, I would argue it loses some of its value here, as there are plenty of every day, dedicated over-ear headphones that would come with handy features like noise cancelling, for a similar price. But their sleek design and comfortable fit make this a solid choice for any head size, even if the design itself doesn’t really reach as far as to provide anything new or exclusive.

The Arctis Nova 5 also comes with a 2.4 GHz USB-C receiver to connect wirelessly to your console of choice, but it’s not without its flaws. For one thing, the receiver actually sits over the USB-A port on the PS5. The only way you can really get around this is to use the included USB-A to USB-C cable, but it then adds a cable to the front of your console which either hangs awkwardly or needs to be tucked away. Even then, you’ll lose that front USB-A port, should you want to charge the controller at the same time.

Functionality & Sound

The general sound quality is great on the Arctis Nova 5. It’s definitely better when gaming, and I tried my best to put this headset through its paces across a number of different games and genres. For your standard action or first-person shooter romp, it’s great. The mids tend to fire out the best and the soundstage is clear and consistent. I personally feel as though the 40mm Neodymium Magnetic Drivers provide a clear sound stage, but it’s still lacking in the bass department.

The bass itself can certainly be heard, but it feels like it gets cast aside so the mids and highs can shine. Some presets via the dedicated SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 companion app can help with this, but it’s definitely trying to boost the mids and highs, which is fine for most games. Things can get a little lost and muddy should the sound stage get a little chaotic, but it generally holds up well.

The Arctis Nova 5 also provides the SteelSeries Sonar Virtual Surround Sound for Windows and is also fully compatible with other platforms and sound software like Tempest 3D Audio for the PS5, and Microsoft Spatial Sound on the Xbox and PC. While this is becoming an increasingly common feature in some midrange headsets, it’s a welcome addition nonetheless.

When listing to music, you’ll want to jump onto an EQ which boosts bass in some form, which does make a difference, should you want to use this for everyday use as well as gaming. At the end of the day, the sound quality is still super clear and worth investing in, should your budget suit. Above all, the Arctis Nova 5 Wireless provides a whopping 60 hours of battery life, which is honestly super impressive. With no extra additions like noise cancellation, I can’t see much really draining this to the point where 60 hours wouldn’t be accurate. I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks now and I’ve barely had to even consider recharging it.

The microphone also includes ClearCast 2.X software for customisation and ClearCast AI Noise Cancellation to block out background noise when chatting online with friends. SteelSeries has succeeded with this in other headsets and it’s no different here. Microphone quality is super clear, and while it won’t block out the crunching of chips completely, does enough to block out everyday background noise.


The SteelSeries Nova 5 companion app is your one-stop shop to help customise the EQ and microphone settings for your headset. The app even provides over 100 preset EQs for various games like Call of Duty and Fortnite, which help boost certain layers of sound within games like footsteps or gunshots.

Most EQ settings might feel rather minimal, but there’s plenty to choose from, supporting almost every modern game available, some officially endorsed by developers and publishers.

The app is incredibly easy to navigate and allows you to adjust the master volume, sidetone volume and even the Mute LED brightness. You can also choose two EQ settings, one of which is bound to your 2.4 GHz connection, and the other to your Bluetooth connection, which will automatically change as you switch between the two modes.

Once the headset is paired up, you won’t even need to stay in Bluetooth mode to make adjustments through your mobile device on the fly.

Verdict & Value

Overall, the Arctis Nova 5 Wireless headset provides some incredible battery life, solid comfort and decent sound quality for most users. While the highs and mids can get lost in chaotic sessions, and the bass takes a back seat at times, there’s certainly still a clear soundstage to enjoy. I only wish that the included 2.4 GHz dongle wouldn’t cover the USB-A port on my PS5.

The Arctis Nova 5 is also super comfortable for longer sessions, and while the earcups could be a little bigger and a little more adjustable, that elastic headband helps them feel nice and light over the head. If you can justify the more premium price tag of A$299, there’s plenty to love about the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 Wireless.


Highlights: Solid build quality; Comfortable for longer sessions; Retractable microphone design; Easy to use companion app; Plenty of EQ presets to choose from; Incredible 60-hour battery life
Lowlights: 2.4 GHz USB-C dongle covers USB-A port on PS5; Lacks bass at times
Manufacturer: SteelSeries
Price: A$299
Available: 2nd of June

Review based on unit supplied by SteelSeries and is available for pre-order via their official website and at participating hardware retailers.

Matthew Arcari

Matthew Arcari is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. You can find him on Twitter at @sirchunkee, or at the Dagobah System, chilling with Luke and Yoda.