The barrier to entry for SteelSeries’ flagship wireless gaming headset, the Nova Pro Wireless, is quite high at $350. That price will likely be worth it to some people, but if you’re cool with getting just a fraction of that headset’s features in a $179.99 package, the Nova 7 Wireless has your name on it. It’s missing swappable batteries, active noise cancellation, and the handy wireless base station for making quick adjustments. But it keeps some of the Nova Pro Wireless’ most important features, like the simultaneous multisource audio coming in from Bluetooth and its 2.4GHz USB-C audio transmitter.
Along with some even more affordable wired headsets that SteelSeries is announcing today, the Nova 7 riffs on the Pro’s refreshed design, which make its gaming headsets look more like slickly designed regular headphones. Each has an elastic band for head support, extendable side arms, and ear pads that seem comfy.
Focusing on the Nova 7 Wireless, each ear cup hosts plenty of buttons, dials, and more. On the left, there’s a volume dial, a mute button, and a 3.5mm port for connecting the included audio cable. That’s also where you’ll find the retractable microphone. Over on the right, there’s a USB-C charging port, a dial to adjust the mixing of chat and game audio, one button to pair and control Bluetooth devices with, and a power button.
With the included USB-C to USB-A adapter, the Nova 7 Wireless is compatible with a wide range of platforms, ranging from Sony PlayStation and Xbox consoles to Nintendo Switch, PC, macOS, Oculus Quest 2, Android, and USB-C -based iPads. SteelSeries is releasing PlayStation and Xbox-focused versions (the Nova 7P and Nova 7X, respectively) that are identical in design, features, and price, save for either having a blue or green elastic band for head support. The standard Nova 7 Wireless has a black elastic band.
SteelSeries touts that the Nova 7 Wireless can last up to 38 hours per charge and says a 15-minute charge can give it six hours of play. To unlock its full range of features, you’ll need to install the SteelSeries GG PC software, where you can adjust sidetone (how much of your voice or other ambient noises you can hear through the headset’s speakers) and things like spatial audio or “ Parametric EQ,” which SteelSeries says is its equalizer setting that claims to let you hear more crucial game sounds that can let you get the advantage in games.
Moving down to the next cheapest headset option, the $99.99 Nova 3 has many of the same physical features of the Nova 7 Wireless (plus something new, adding RGB backlighting on the ear cups), though it’s wired and can only plug into devices that have a USB-C or a 3.5mm port (it includes two cables, one for either port). The $59.99 Nova 1 changes the USB-C jack into a 3.5mm jack to plug into controllers and any other device that supports it.
I’ll be testing these models as soon as I can to see if they’ll earn a spot in our buying guide for the best gaming headset. That guide has been in need of a shake-up for a while, and based on its features and price, the Nova 7 Wireless could be a contender for a midrange headset that ticks a lot of boxes.