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SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 wired headset: Surround-sound gaming on a budget

For $59, you can get a top-quality headset with only a few minor drawbacks.
Written by Rebecca Isaacs, Staff Writer
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 wired headset
Rebecca Isaacs/ZDNet

After testing out the SteelSeries Nova Pro wireless headset, I decided to try out the company's budget-friendly headset, the Arctis Nova 1 wired headset. Featuring a simple, RGB-less design and basic buttons, this no-frills headset not only met my expectations, but exceeded them.

For over a week, I tested the Arctis Nova 1 headset across streaming and gaming, and this budget-friendly headset packs a punch. It offers users the SteelSeries signature comfortable, ergonomic ComfortMax design with Airweave Memory mesh earpads and an adjustable stretchy comfort band. When I put them on, my head didn't feel pinched, even while wearing my glasses. I sat through hours of Far Cry: Primal without experiencing any aches and pains.

The design also features a retractable noise-canceling mic and mute button, too. I could easily pull the mic out for use when needed, but safely store it away from cats that will happily chew my tech equipment. I could also mute the mic with the handy button built-in beside the volume wheel.

The flagship model, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, allows users to adjust bass, treble, and many more audio and microphone features in a desktop application called Sonar. The new Arctis Nova 1 headset doesn't allow users access to Sonar, and therefore doesn't allow any adjustability some users may crave besides volume. As a plug-and-play device, it still provides 360-degree spatial audio for when your gaming requires it. I found the high fidelity volume a little too quiet, even with the volume turned up, and that will make or break this headset for some gamers who want loud explosions. I prefer to keep what's left of my hearing intact, so this didn't bother me. Plus, with the adjustable volume wheel on the side and the built-in professional-grade EQ, I still experienced crisp audio during my gaming, giving me the immersive experience I wanted.

At $59, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 wired headset just launched today, and based on my experience, the price is a steal for the budget gamers who want surround sound. If you want a great gaming headset but don't want to spend three figures on it, you can order it right now through the SteelSeries website. The headset comes in two colors: black and white.

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