Review: SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Headset for Nintendo Switch & More
SteelSeries is not yet done with console-centric headsets for 2019. After releasing a splash-making addition to their Arctis line in the form of the SteelSeries Arctis 9X for the Xbox One, they had their sights on another system. Not too long ago, they released the Arctis 1, a wired cost-friendly headset that housed the most basic of Arctis headset features in a $50 package. Now, we are checking out their latest release, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. Bringing 2.4Ghz wireless connectivity to the PS4, PC, and Android devices, the Arctis 1 Wireless also is the first 2.4Ghz wireless solution for the Nintendo Switch. Wireless audio is finally available for the Nintendo Switch, and it is so more than just another Bluetooth solution.
Let’s dive into the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless headset for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC, and Android.
Specs and Accessories
|Headphone Frequency Response||20-22000 Hz|
|Headphone Sensitivity||100 db|
|Headphone Impedance||32 Ohm|
|Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion||< 3%|
|Microphone Frequency Response||100Hz – 10000Hz|
|Microphone Sensitivity||-38 db|
Out of the box you get the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless headset, a 2.4Ghz USB-C dongle, a removable Clearcast mic, an optional 3.5mm cable, a USB-C female to USB-A male cable, and a microUSB cable for charging the headset.
Build and Comfort
Several aspects of the traditional SteelSeries Arctis headset build were scaled back for the sake of keeping the headset at a $99 price point. However, at a glance, much of the SteelSeries Arctis DNA is still there with the Arctis 1 Wireless. The headset keeps the oval shape ear cups and uses the same removable Airweave cushions for the padding. While it does not use a retractable mic, a SteelSeries staple, it is still a Clearcast mic. The mic is at least removable, allowing the headset to maintain its mobility and minimal form-factor.
The ski-goggle suspension headband also takes a back seat here, with the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless going with a padded, steel-reinforced headband. This headband approach, coupled with slightly slimmer ear cups, allows the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless to be lighter and more compact than the other models in the Arctis line.
On the right ear cup, you have the main power button, which doubles as a media controller for your mobile device. On the left ear cup, you have the slot for the removable Clearcast mic, a microUSB port for recharging the headset, a 3.5mm jack for using the Arctis 1 Wireless as a wired headset, a mic mute toggle switch, and a dial for master volume control.
From right out of the box, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is comfortable to wear, as it sports a gentle yet secure grip. This grip is perfect, despite how incredibly light this headset is. Here you have a fit that keeps you from subconsciously worrying about it sliding off during gameplay. However, it is not so tight that it would annoyingly pinch glasses frames either.
The Airweave ear cushions also help in the comfort department, as they ensure that glasses frames don’t snag or rub uncomfortably against the headset. More importantly, they offer a cool and breathable feel against the skin, while still doing a decent job at sound isolation. You can thank the leatherette skin on the inside of the Airweave cushions, which help form the kind of acoustic seal that you would want in a closed-back headset.
As for the Arctis 1 Wireless’ USB-C dongle, it looks like there was much consideration put into how much of a “lip” the dongle had. The USB-C dongle was designed to stick out just enough so that it played nicely with the thinner Nintendo Switch and mobile device cases. On the Nintendo Switch, the noticeably thick Snakebyte Tough:Case surprisingly allowed the dongle to insert fully into the system. No issues here.
Whereas on the Samsung Galaxy S10, my go-to Catalyst Impact Protection Case did not allow the dongle to connect at a point where the phone detected it. Therefore, gaming and listening on my phone with the Arctis 1 Wireless meant either using a thinner case or removing the case entirely. Do keep that in mind if this is a headset that you would plan to use with your phone.
Features and Performance
So, what kind of features are we getting with the $99 SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless?
Starting off with the most notable feature, the Arctis 1 Wireless is a 2.4Ghz wireless headset, which can connect to your Nintendo Switch or USB-C-ready mobile device via a USB-C dongle. This 2.4Ghz wireless connection offers a stronger connection and higher quality audio that Bluetooth can currently offer. What you also get with 2.4Ghz wireless is lag-free connectivity, which puts gamers at ease when playing games where reactions to sound is key.
The Arctis 1 Wireless gives you this for over 20 plus hours on a full charge. I charged the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless to 100% right before we left from NYC to Seattle to cover Pax West 2019. On a single full charge, the Arctis 1 Wireless outlasted the Nintendo Switch’s battery more than 5 times over. Continuing on that same charge, I used the headset with my Samsung Galaxy S10 for casual music listening for a couple of hours, whenever I gave myself breaks during or after the show. While the audio sources, needed recharging, the Arctis 1 Wireless just kept going and going, all the way up until the posting of this review.
Of course, if want to use this headset during 6-hour flights, as I did, you will want to keep that 3.5mm cable handy. Since I had to use portable batteries to keep the Nintendo Switch alive, that meant taking up the only USB port that the system had. So, if you are looking to do some long-winded gaming on-the-go, you will need to be ready to use the Arctis 1 Wireless in wired mode when you have the Nintendo Switch on life support. Of course, that’s nothing more than a compliment for the headset’s versatility and lifespan, which outlasts its portable audio sources on the longest of trips.
On PC and on the PS4, the USB-C dongle connects to the included USB-C to USB-A adapter, giving you a 100% ready-to-go, plug-and-play headset with wireless audio and chat. You can also use this adapter to connect the headset’s dongle to the Nintendo Switch’s docking station, for when you want to game on a connected TV. Of course, the headset can be used on any platform that supports a 3.5mm input. Thus, you are free to use the headset with the included wire on an Xbox One or Playstation 4 controller that has a 3.5mm jack.
Outside of how quick and easy it is to use this headset on PC, PS4, and the Nintendo Switch, I was also particularly impressed with how it worked on mobile. Once I connected the USB-C dongle to my Samsung Galaxy S10, the power button immediately worked as a media controller for my music. Single-press for Play and Pause, double-press for Forward-Track, and triple-press for Back-Track. Having these basic functions working from the get-go on mobile just further solidifies the Arctis 1 Wireless as an excellent travel companion. Not to mention, the Arctis 1 Wireless and the Stratus Duo made for an excellent pair on mobile!
The headset’s controls were simple enough to get accustomed to with practically no learning curve whatsoever. The volume dial has hard stops, so it is clear when you reach the minimum and maximum volumes while adjusting. Mic mute is a simple switch that is pretty self-explanatory. All-in-all, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is as simple a headset to use as you would expect a $99 headset to be.
SteelSeries’ Clearcast mic continues to shine with any SteelSeries headset it is implemented in. That was no different with the Arctis 1 Wireless as the Clearcast mic delivered sharp, focused, and clear chat audio to others in gameplay or on calls.
It is important to note, that while the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is ready to chat on all compatible clients, not all of the platforms are ready for the headset when using the wireless USB-C dongle. In particular, Samsung Galaxy phones do not allow for mic use when connected to the headset via USB-C. Although, you are free to use the included 3.5mm cable with Samsung devices to chat, if you wish.
Also, the only game that we know of on the Nintendo Switch which allows in-game chat is Fortnite, wired or wireless. At least this shows that the Arctis 1 Wireless is ready to transmit chat on any client or platform that is willing to play ball.
Last but certainly not least, the audio presentation on the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless continues to impress. With the Nintendo Switch, ground rumblings and explosions felt particularly highlighted with the headset’s drivers. Then voice and mid-range came across quite clearly, with high-range sounds like footsteps being not too far behind. When using the headset on the Samsung Galaxy S10, music-listening felt just as enjoyable. Much like the presentation with gaming, the drivers seemed to lean on lows and mids, with highs taking not-too-much of a back seat. Meaning, bass and vocals sounded great while percussions and drums sounds felt just a pinch soft. Overall, the audio presentation was still as enjoyable as it was with any of the Arctis headsets outside of the Arctis Pro line.
I felt that SteelSeries’ biggest splash of the year was going to be SteelSeries Arctis 9X, regardless of what else they put out this year. It became my easy-to-sell go-to for anyone looking for a solid wireless Xbox One audio solution. Then, here comes the Arctis 1 Wireless, a headset that steps in as the go-to for wireless audio on the Nintendo Switch. It is not just Bluetooth. It is the only solid 2.4Ghz audio solution for the Nintendo Switch, designed for use at home or on the go. It comes with all of the cables and pieces you need to cover portable audio entertainment on any platform with a USB-C port or 3.5mm jack. Best of all, it does so with quality audio, both in and out, for a VERY approachable $99.
If you’re looking for a proper and stable wireless audio solution for your Nintendo Switch on-the-go, then the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless should be the first headset you check out. It even covers your PS4, PC, and mobile audio needs as well, all while sitting at a very friendly price point. Check out the now globally-available SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless headset for yourself at SteelSeries.com.
† SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless headset review unit provided by SteelSeries PR.