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ASTRO A40 vs SteelSeries Arctis 7 (2021): Which Gaming Headset Should You Get?

A gaming headset allows you to fully immerse yourself in any game you play, so it’s understandable if you want to buy one. However, there are a lot of duds out there and if you want to get the best one for your money, then you should go with some of the more well-known models. The ASTRO A40 and the SteelSeries Arctis 7 fit the bill when it comes to highly regarded gaming headsets and both are very popular with gamers across several platforms. Which one should you get? To help you with that, here’s a comparison of the two gaming headsets.

ASTRO A40 vs SteelSeries Arctis 7 Comparison Chart

ModelASTRO A40SteelSeries Arctis 7
 Amazon product
PriceAmazon product
Form Open BackClosed Back
ConnectionWiredWireless
Wired
Weight0.82 lbs0.77 lbs
Dimensions7.2 x 7.5 x 4 inches7.6 x 7 x 2.7 inches
MicrophoneRemovable micRetractable mic
SoftwareAstro Command Center SoftwareSteelSeries Engine 3 Software
Battery LifeN/A24 hours
CompatibilityPC, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and Mobile PhonesWireless – PC, Playstation and Nintendo Switch
Wired – Xbox and Mobile Phones
Add-onsASTRO MixAmp
Mod Kit
N/A

Design

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 has a more minimalistic design approach than the more “gamer” ASTRO A40.

A look at the ASTRO A40 (left) and the SteelSeries Arctis 7 (right).

The ASTRO A40 is made with mostly plastic but it also comes with aluminum struts that connect the earcups to the headband. These vertical struts come with plenty of notches so that you can adjust the fit precisely to your liking. As for the earcups, they come with memory foam pads that are covered with a soft and breathable cloth. The ASTRO A40 is a wired open-back gaming headset.

In contrast, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 has an aluminum frame with some plastic parts. The adjusting mechanism comes in the form of an elastic headband that you can tweak by adjusting the velcro straps on both sides. As for the earcups, they come with airweave cushions that feel soft and are breathable as well. This helps prevent sweating as the Arctis 7 is a closed back wireless headphone. The earcups are foldable as well, which makes it easier to store or pack if you are travelling.

When it comes to comfort, both headsets can be worn for extended periods without resulting in fatigue and discomfort. The ASTRO A40 weighs 0.82 lbs while the SteelSeries Arctis 7 weighs 0.77 lbs—both are not that heavy. The clamping force on both headsets are not that strong either, just right. You won’t feel pressure even with prolonged use.

Design-wise, the ASTRO A40 has a more “gamer vibe” to it. You can customize it via mod kits that you can purchase separately. These mod kits have designs based on different video game franchises and they include speaker tags, headband pads, a replacement mic and synthetic leather pads. The SteelSeries Arctis 7, on the other hand, has a more minimalistic approach with its design. It doesn’t feature any gamer aesthetic, save for some branding and the slightly protruding microphone when retracted.

Features

You’ll be able to customize the ASTRO A40 with an optional Mod Kit.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 comes in either black or white.

Both brands come with their own software to unlock the full potential of their headsets. For the SteelSeries Arctis 7, you’ll need to install the SteelSeries Engine 3 software to fully customize and tweak how your headset sounds and performs. The SteelSeries Engine 3 also works with other SteelSeries peripherals, so you can sync them with your headset if you have them.

Within the Engine 3, you’ll be able to choose between stereo or surround, set the dynamic range, tweak EQ, control mic volume and save presets. The interface is simple and everything is accessible on the main page.

As for the ASTRO A40, you’ll need the ASTRO Command Center software. Just like with the Engine 3, you’ll have access to various settings within this control panel. You can customize EQ settings, adjust mic volume, separate game and chat audio and many more.

In addition to the ASTRO Command Center, you can also purchase the optional MixAmp with the A40. The MixAmp can be used in conjunction with the Astro Command Center on PC, and it also allows you to use the A40 on consoles without losing any functions, such as surround sound. This is a nice add-on, but it’s a bit expensive.

Sound

Both headsets sound very good and they come with decent mics.

The ASTRO A40 TR has a Playstation (left) and Xbox (right) version.

Both of these gaming headsets support 7.1 surround sound for gaming and they both work well in that regard. Directional audio is excellent as enemy footsteps, gunfire and all the sound cues are distinguishable and easy enough to place. You can feel immersed in any game you play with both headsets.

When listening to music, the open-back ASTRO A40 and the closed-back SteelSeries Arctis 7 have very different sound signatures. With the ASTRO A40, you’ll have less powerful low-end and slightly emphasized mids and highs. Noise isolation is pretty much non-existent though, so if you have other people in the room with you, they’ll be able to hear what you are listening to.

On the SteelSeries Arctis 7, the low-end is a bit emphasized but not overly done. The mids and highs are clear as well. Since this is an open-back headset, passive noise isolation is excellent as well.

The mics that come with both headsets are fine. They are not as good as dedicated microphones, but they’re more than enough for gaming use. You will be heard clearly since both implement some measure of noise cancellation. On the ASTRO A40, the mic is removable, while on the SteelSeries Arctis 7, the mic is retractable.

Connectivity and Compatibility

The ASTRO A40 offers better console compatibility.

The ASTRO A40 (left) with the Xbox Series X and the SteelSeries Arctis 7 (right) with the PS4.

Since the ASTRO A40 is a wired gaming headset, it will be compatible with almost any device that has a 3.5mm port. For PCs with separate headphone and microphone ports, it already includes a splitter so you don’t need to worry about compatibility.

On Playstation and Xbox consoles, you only need to plug the headset to the 3.5mm port on the controller to make it work. For Switch owners, you can use the headset whether your Switch is docked or in handheld mode. Do take note that on consoles, you won’t be able to get surround sound unless you also buy the ASTRO MixAmp.

As for the SteelSeries Arctis 7, it will connect wirelessly to a PC, Playstation consoles and the Nintendo Switch (docked mode) since all of these support USB audio. However, if you are gaming on an Xbox console, you’ll be limited to a wired connection. On PC, you’ll be able to fully enjoy surround sound, but on consoles, you are limited to stereo only.

The battery life on the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is 24 hours.

Verdict

If you only game on a PC, you can’t go wrong with either the ASTRO A40 or the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, if you also play on consoles, then the ASTRO A40 is the more flexible option.

Amazon product

If you are a PC gamer only, then the choice is very simple. You can either go with the SteelSeries Arctis 7 if you want a wireless headset or you can buy the ASTRO A40 if you prefer a wired connection. Both are great sounding headsets and they are feature-packed to ensure that you will have a great time while gaming.

If you also play on consoles, then you should definitely go with the ASTRO A40. You will still be able to enjoy surround sound with it, but you do have to buy their MixAmp to do so. Even though it’s a bit expensive, at least you have the option, unlike with the SteelSeries Arctis 7, which is limited to stereo mode on all consoles.

FAQs

📌 Which is better: SteelSeries or ASTRO?

In our comparison of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 and the ASTRO A40, we concluded that both gaming headsets are fine. Choosing one will come down to whether you want a wired or wireless headset.

📌 Is the Arctis 7 any good?

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is a very good gaming headset for the money. It offers a wired or wireless connection for gaming on PCs and consoles.

📌 Is the ASTRO A40 worth it?

Yes, it is an affordable gaming headset that is definitely worth your money. The sound quality is very good and it is compatible with various gaming platforms.

📌 Does the ASTRO A40 have a wireless mode?

No, it is a wired gaming headset that doesn’t have any sort of wireless mode.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.