The SteelSeries Arctis 7 has been one of our favorite gaming headsets ever since it debuted in 2016, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Now, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 has won the first annual Tom’s Guide Award for the best gaming headset, and it’s easy to explain why.
With flawless wireless performance, excellent sound quality and plenty of customization options, it’s hard to imagine a better gaming headset. The device isn’t even that expensive, meaning that anyone with $150 at his or her disposal can enjoy this comfortable, versatile peripheral.
For those of you who haven’t read our SteelSeries Arctis 7 review, it’s easy to explain what makes the headset so good. The first big point in its favor is its elastic “ski goggles” headband. Unlike most gaming headsets, which rely on a rigid steel or brittle plastic headband, the Arctis 7 has a flexible elastic band that automatically adjusts to your head each time you put it on. There are no tedious notches to deal with, or numbers to memorize. Each time you wear the Arctis 7, it automatically finds the perfect fit so that you don’t have to.
The gaming sound is also phenomenal, highlighting noises like foosteps and gunshots without sacrificing dialogue or music. Whether you need excellent directional sound for first-person shooters or something more immersive for long, involved RPGs, there’s a sound setting to suit your needs. And if there isn’t, you can make one yourself. The SteelSeries Engine software lets you set up profiles for individual games, tweak soundscape options and toggle surround sound.
The Arctis 7 is also compatible with almost every system on the market. Wirelessly, it works with PC and PS4; with an included 3.5 mm audio cable, you can also use it with the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. Thanks to volume, chat and mic controls on the earcup, you can control your whole audio experience without having to dive into convoluted console menus. There’s even a retractable mic, so you never have to worry about misplacing your audio input.
Of course, the Arctis 7 isn’t the only game in town. The Turtle Beach Elite Alas Aero is also a supremely comfortable wireless mic that excels on PC and PS4, while the perennially popular Astro A40 now lets you customize your own headset, with more than 90,000 possible combinations. These headsets are both excellent, but nothing compares to the Arctis 7’s novel headband, which gives you a perfect fit every time you put it on.
While the Arctis 7 isn’t a new headset, there’s a reason it’s been at the top of our list for four years. It’s long overdue for a Tom’s Guide Award.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.