SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1P Wired Headphones Review – A good pair of gaming headphones can be an expensive venture in 2023. There are plenty of options, there always seems to be a lot of ways to spend your money when it comes to accessories.
Among those options however are plenty of ways to waste your money, making buying a pair of headphones treacherous territory. Thankfully, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1P Wired Headphones aren’t the pair I’d call a waste of money.
On the cheaper end of the spectrum, they’re actually a okay buy for your buck, depending on what you’ll be using them for.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1P Wired Headphones Review – Cheerfully Cheap
Sleek and Minimalist
Out of the two colour variants available for the Nova 1P, I was happy to be sent the white one. I like the look of it and the light great accents do a lot to give it more character than just your generic black or white headphones.
The ear-cushions are soft to the touch and feel comfortable around my ears. They’re not the lightest headphones I’ve ever worn, but they’re pretty close, and easy to wear for long sessions without feeling like they’re crushing your head, with or without glasses.
It’s also cool to note (even if it is a far to expensive accessory) that you can change out the headband with different coloured options sold by SteelSeries, though I’m not sure I would pay the $20 (CAD) just to change it to a different colour.
Especially when considering a quick browse of SteelSeries accessories page shows they only sell either the grey headband this pair already came with, or two other black options on their own. If you want a new colour, you’ll need to get the more expensive “boost pack,” that comes with different ear covers the Nova 1P aren’t compatible with.
That’s not so much a knock against the Nova 1P’s as it is against SteelSeries, but unless you plan to DIY some customizing on your headphones, these are a good choice for someone who wants a simple but good design to the headphones they take with them.
Simple Is The Key Word
That is if you take them out with you at all. With the amount of people carrying around phones that don’t have headphone jacks, it’s tougher to see wired sets like these becoming someone’s daily driver inside and outside the house.
I’ve exclusively used the Nova 1P’s with either my laptop, desktop or plugged into my controller, and though I’m sure they would serve me well walking around with my phone connected to them in my pocket, I’ve misplaced the only headphone jack adapter I had for my phone.
But all of this says more about what the Nova 1P’s are intended for. There’s a volume wheel and a mute button on the left ear, with a retractable microphone that’s unobtrusive and easily extends and retracts.
It’s the perfect plug-and-play kind of headset for anyone that just needs something comfortable and better than the sound quality coming from two small earbuds.
I’m also happy with the quality of the microphone, for the headset’s price. It worked wonderfully during while jumping into Apex Legends with friends, and did a fair job at blocking out noise around you.
Though, everyone I’ve played with while using the Nova 1P’s will attest to the fact that its microphone was powerless against my dog barking at me to try and get her dinner early.
A Strong, But Not Perfect Budget Option
What’s unfortunate though is that there’s not much that can be said about the sound quality from the Nova 1P’s beyond that it’s better than a base earbud experience.
It’s definitely a comfortable headset, I’ve had no issue wearing it for long sessions with my glasses on or off. Though I often found the 40mm drivers to be quieter than expected, across multiple games, music, podcasts and devices.
There’s also still plenty of noise bleed when you do have the volume up, which makes for an awkward state of needing to raise the volume because my headset is too quiet, but knowing that I’ll be annoying those around me.
Something I’m precisely trying to not do by wearing headphones in the first place. That said, I still find myself leaning in favour of them, at the very least for the price.
They’re durable headphones that are reliable, even if you’re still just relying on them being shy of a really great experience, rather than the ‘good enough’ they really are.
Of course it’s biggest problem is that wireless headphones are generally not all that much more than their wired siblings, another aspect of the trend to do away with headphone jack’s on mobile and other devices that make the Nova 1P’s life more difficult.
Still, I think if you’re doing your best to stay under $100 for a pair of gaming headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1P’s are a comfortable and good-looking option that’ll provide a full sound, though not perhaps at the volume you’d like.
The Arctis Nova 1P Wired Headphones for PS5 and PS4 is now available.
Review pair generously provided by SteelSeries.