Steelseries Arctis 9X Review: Mission Accomplished
The Arctis 9X for the Xbox One is the next in a line of successful gaming headsets that SteelSeries claims is the "most-awarded headset line in history". With over 50 awards across the board, it's hard to argue that the underlying hardware pedigree is well established, especially when you consider how we've previously reviewed the Arctis 7 and Arctis Pro headsets.
With a tidy set of main feature areas, the 9X is one of the few officially compatible Xbox One headsets in the company's line. The Arctis 3 Bluetooth is technically compatible alongside a few others, but the 9X comes from a direct partnership with Microsoft, all with the goal of bringing the best sound experience to the Xbox One.
I can say that goal was accomplished.
The 9X includes 40mm drivers capable of 20-22,000 Hz response and a retractable ClearCast noise-canceling microphone which tucks into the left earcup.
Like other headsets in the Arctis line, the 9X sports an all-black finish from top to bottom. The cans feature a matte finish on the outside of each premium, padded earcup, with a more brushed finish encircling them and moving around the headband.
The more noticeable change here is the green-wire design found on the cloth across the headband. The color is the same as the official Xbox green.
Overall, its core design is comparable to the Arctis 7 in almost every way, and it doesn't particularly stand out from the average headset in the line.
While the 9X might not have everything found in the Pro, it does have a few unique features. Notably, the microphone is well worth attention since it's one of the best out there in our experience. It's clear and precise, and it doesn't sound like you're talking through a tin can.
On top of that, the 9X features built-in EQ, a nice feature that can easily go overlooked, especially in a headset made for console. The 9X provides four presets that mostly cover the gamut of what many users will expect. However, in a twist not often found on console-centric headsets, you can tweak the presets with the SteelSeries engine if you have a PC.
The headset also features a dual wireless connection for Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth, which we'll talk more about below.
Of course, it also features SteelSeries' infamously comfortable ski goggle fabric across the headband, making it (once again) one of the most comfortable headsets on the market.
Adding to an already excellent foundation is a top-notch Xbox-compatible wireless setup with notable bells and whistles.
SteelSeries didn't just slap wireless onto a headset and call it a day. The Arctis 9X supports a dual wireless connection, which means you can connect to the Xbox One and to your Bluetooth phone at the same time. This allows you yo pipe audio in from the phone if you need to take a call or want to listen to your favorite playlist.
In addition, the headset allows an audio-only wired connection for when gaming sessions outpace the headset's 20-hour battery life.
The headset can also be used on PC if you have one lying around. In my testing, it didn't require any additional hardware on Windows 10, but SteelSeries claims a device is required for low latency connections.
Overall, sound with the 9X is great. You'll find something comparable to what's available in the Arctis 7 or even the Arctis Pro. These cans pack a lot of punch in the high- and mid-tiers, and they provide clear tones that are easily differentiated from each other.
- Easily connects to Xbox One and PC
- Provides dual wireless connection
- Great sound
- High price point might deter some gamers
- Doesn't support all platforms
Overall, the Arctis 9X is one of the best headsets SteelSeries has made. You can't go wrong with it, especially if you're an Xbox player.
Here are the headset's full specs:
|Headphone Sensitivity||98 dBSPL|
|Headphone Impedance||32 Ohm|
|Microphone Frequency Response||100-10,000Hz|
|Microphone Sensitivity||-38 dBV/Pa|
|Microphone Impedance||2,200 Ohm|
|Connection Type(s)||Wireless, Bluetooth|
|Battery Life||20 hours|
|Bluetooth Profiles||A2DP, HFP, HSP|
[Note: An Arctis 9X review unit was provided by SteelSeries for the purpose of this review.]