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SteelSeries Arctis 1 vs 7 (2020): Which Headset Is Best For Your Gaming Needs?

If you’ve been gaming long enough, you would know how much of a difference a gaming headset can make. A really good one turns a simple game into an immersive experience without giving you any feeling of discomfort on the sides of your head. Aside from great sound performance and ease of use, an excellent gaming headset also provides seamless connectivity and is compatible with almost anything. SteelSeries headsets, particularly the Arctis 1 and the Arctis 7, are famous in the world of gaming but which one really ticks off all the boxes?

The Arctis 1 and the Arctis 7 are pretty similar when it comes to looks, microphone quality, and connectivity. One of them, however, is able to outshine the other in the realms of sound performance, comfort, and battery life. So which one should really take the spot on your ears? Take a look at our in-depth comparison of the two Arctis models so that you can pick out the headset that best suits your gaming needs and budget.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 vs Arctis 7 Comparison Chart

ModelArctis 1Arctis 7
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wired Gaming Headset – Detachable ClearCast Microphone – Lightweight...SteelSeries Arctis 7 - Lossless Wireless Gaming Headset with DTS Headphone:X v2.0 Surround - For PC...
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
Headband SteelElastic
Swiveling ear cupsYesYes
CompatibilityPC, Mac, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, MobilePC, Mac, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Mobile
Neodymium Drivers NoYes
Headphone Frequency Response 20 – 20000 Hz20 – 20000 Hz
Microphone Frequency Response 100 – 10000 Hz100 – 10000 Hz
Surround SoundNoYes
Battery Life20 hours24 hours
Weight272g354g

Design and Comfort

While they’re similar in design, the Arctis 7 is more comfortable to wear and easier to adjust than the Arctis 1.

The Arctis 1 (left) has a steel headband with extendable arms while the Arctis 7 (right) has an elastic headband with an adjustable velcro strap. 

At first glance, it may seem like the Arctis 1 and the Arctis 7 aren’t all that different when it comes to looks, having the same simple and subtle matte black plastic design. If you were to wear either of them out in public, you wouldn’t have to be afraid of catching too much attention. They also have the same swiveling ear cups which allow for greater comfort and portability. Give them a closer look, however, and you’ll realize that there’s one major distinction between the two and it might just be the tie-breaker you’ve been looking for.

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The Arctis 1 has a steel headband with extendable arms, meaning that if you wanted to adjust the fit, you’d have to fiddle around with the headset quite a bit. The Arctis 7, however, does away with this inconvenience by employing an elastic headband instead of a metal one. Not only does this make them more comfortable to wear, but you’d also have a much easier time conforming them to the size and shape of your head. All you have to do is adjust the velcro strap on the side and you’re good to go. So if we were to pick a winner in the design and comfort department, the Arctis 7 would have to take the cake.

Gaming and Music Performance

The Arctis 7 fares better when it comes to performance given that they have DTI 7.1 surround sound.

With the Arctis 7, you can activate surround sound, customize equalization settings, and create sound profiles for each game.

One thing you need to remember about the Arctis 1 is that they fall under the budget headset category. While you can count on them to deliver clear-cut sounds while you’re gaming, you can’t expect them to have too much depth or vibrancy. This means that if you’re a competitive gamer and you need to hear every single sound or else you might end up losing, you should probably pass up on this model. But for the casual gamers out there, the Arctis 1 should be loud and clear enough for everyday use.

As for music performance, they deliver satisfactory sound although they lack crispiness in the higher frequencies. They don’t have noise cancellation either so expect the ambient noise around you to come through while you’re listening to your jams.

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Compared to the Arctis1, the Arctis 7 produces better quality sound given that you can toggle between stereo audio and DTI 7.1 surround sound. You do, however, need the help of additional software to use the latter. Through the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, you can tinker around with surround sound and equalization settings as well as create sound profiles for each game. This way, you get to control exactly how you want your sound experience to be like while you’re playing. You can, for example, make footsteps sound louder and more urgent, amping up the intensity of the game. If you can’t be bothered with the software, however, the stereo audio in itself is able to make battle cries and death screams sound pretty good.

When it comes to music performance, the Arctis 7 offers up a nice balance between the lows, mids, and highs. Would they impress an audiophile though? Probably not. But they’re good enough for everyday use.

Additional Features

The Arctis 1 and the Arctis 7 are on par with each other when it comes to microphone quality and connectivity.

Both the Arctis 1 and the Arctis 7 make use of a USB dongle for wireless connectivity. 

While the Arctis 7 dishes out better sound performance than the Arctis 1, they’re on par with each other in terms of microphone quality. Both models don’t have much to boast of when it comes to this department, leaving a whole lot more room for improvement. While they can record your voice with good enough clarity, the biggest problem they have is not being able to block out background noise. This means that you should probably be wary if you’re in a room full of noisy people or if you’re chowing down on food because chances are your teammates can hear all of it.

As for connectivity, both the Arctis 1 and Arctis 7 use a USB-C dongle to enable wireless connectivity, compatible with the Nintendo Switch, PC, and most smartphones. They come with an adapter as well, which lets you plug your dongle into USB-A ports, allowing for compatibility with the Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in docked mode. SteelSeries promises a 40-foot range so you shouldn’t have to worry about losing connection while you’re walking around the room. If you prefer a wired connection, however, you can always use the given 3.5mm cord but note that you won’t be able to make use of some of the software’s features.

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Battery

The battery life on both models is impressive but the Arctis 7 beats the Arctis 1 by a couple of hours. 

The Arctis 1 boasts of 20 hours of battery life while the Arctis 7 boasts of 24. 

If you’re scared of your headset going kaput in the middle of a heated game, you don’t have to worry too much because the battery life on both models is pretty impressive. SteelSeries claims that the Arctis 1 can last up to 20 hours at a time without needing a charge while the Arctis 7 can go 15 hours. They did, however, release a firmware update recently that’s said to improve the latter’s battery life, bumping it up to 24 hours. In that case, the Arctis 7 beats the Arctis 1 by 4 hours, which is quite long in gaming time. Do note that these times can change depending on how loud your volume is.

Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is the more cost-effective option but the Arctis 7 proves to be worth the investment given their more advanced features. 

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is the simple and affordable gaming headset that accomplishes everything that’s expected from them. They have a sleekness to them that’s rare in gaming headphones, they deliver sound that’s loud and clear, they’re compatible with all the gaming systems out there, and their battery life won’t let you down. On their own, you can definitely say they’re great. It’s just that compared to the Arctis 7, they could do with some improvements here and there.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 may be double the price of the Arctis 1 but the heftier price tag proves to be worth it for a couple of reasons. The Arctis 7 wins when it comes to comfort, thanks to their elastic headband that easily conforms to the size and shape of your head. It also has the edge when it comes to sound performance, able to deliver surround sound audio. The Arctis 7 further triumphs when it comes to battery life, allowing you a whopping 24 hours worth of gaming without recharging.

 

Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Denise Jose
Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.