SteelSeries’ new headset provides over 100 game-specific audio presets

If you hate (or simply can’t be bothered) to adjust your audio profiles when setting up a new gaming headset, then you might be the target demographic for SteelSeries’ latest offering. Introduced on Tuesday, the new Arctis Nova 5 headset is supported by a dedicated companion app that features over 100 game-specific audio presets for Xbox and PlayStation 5 titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Minecraft, which SteelSeries says have been “custom-tailored to each game by audio engineers.”

Available starting today for $129.99, SteelSeries describes the Arctis Nova 5 as an “affordable luxury.” It’s a smidge pricier than the $119.99 Arctis Nova 4 wireless headset launched last year, but for that, you get the ability to change audio presets in real time without leaving a gaming session, as well as cross-platform support for Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, PC, Meta Quest, and phones or tablets that support the included USB-C dongle.

Users will need to connect their mobile device to the headset via Bluetooth to utilize the companion app’s audio presets.
Image: SteelSeries

The Nova 5 companion app requires the headset to be connected to a mobile device via Bluetooth, but that shouldn’t interfere with the ability to receive calls mid-game. The “Quick Switch Wireless” feature swaps audio output between 2.4GHz and Bluetooth 5.3 by tapping a button located on one of the earcups, allowing users to take a call via Bluetooth while their in-game audio retains a passive 2.4GHz connection.

SteelSeries says the Arctis Nova 5 can last up to 60 hours per charge and that the headset’s USB-C fast charging can provide six hours of play on a 15-minute charge. It’s powered by neodymium magnetic drivers (which are fairly common in modern headsets), while a new high-bandwidth microphone chipset provides support for 32kHz / 16-bit audio to help keep in-game communications clear. 

The microphone itself retracts into the headset when not in use, blending pretty seamlessly into the earcup. The Nova 5 also supports the same AI noise cancellation feature seen on the Nova 4 to help further reduce background noise in loud environments. Considering the Nova 5 is only an additional $10, the extra perks it provides could sway SteelSeries customers to dig around their couches for loose change to fund the upgrade.

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