Thankfully, I was gifted the Arctis 9X headset and I have to say that it’s one of THE best headsets I’ve had the pleasure to use, EVER. When you first setup your Steelseries, you need to hook it up to your PC to make sure that it has all its firmware updated and ready to go. Then, it is just a matter of syncing it to your Xbox Series X or preferred Xbox console!
When connecting to your Xbox of choice, it’s just a matter of holding down the sync button on the headset, then the sync button on your console. There is no messy dongle or settings to jump about with. When you are ready to play, just turn on your headset and controller and off you go.
The design of the Arctis 9X, it may not be the prettiest headset out there, but it does feel premium and is very comfortable to wear, even after those long stints of playing your favourite game. The steel headband has a woven fabric with green etchings across it around the top and underneath that allows you to adjust it to your liking.
This fabric also sits softly on your head while the steel headband floats above it as it were. The earcups are soft and made of a Airweave fabric to your your ears cool during those long gaming sessions. They have little movement in them, and you can only turn them inwards, but it makes it easier to store them as they can be placed flat on your table or desk. On the sides of the earcups you have some buttons that allow you to adjust the volume, sync up with your Xbox, PC or mobile device and the on/off button. There is also a Micro-USB slot where you can plug it in to charge or for firmware updates.
After you have updated the headset via PC, you can then sync it by holding down the power button for 6 seconds. On the Xbox, it will pop up with an alert saying “Headset Assigned” to show that it was successful. Once you have sync’d it with your Xbox, you can power the headset on and off by holding down the power button for 3 seconds. This is indicated on the headset’s LED light above the power button, and it will flash green (this can change depending on the battery level, RED for low, YELLOW for mid and GREEN for full) to show that you have turned it off/on. The button above the power button is your Bluetooth button and you will hold this down for 6 seconds (the LED flashes BLUE) also to link up to your mobile device or PC.
The buttons above the power and Bluetooth buttons are for muting your mic and the overall volume of your headset. When you press the mute button, it pops out slightly and your mic will show a red LED indicating that your mic is muted, which is a nice touch. On the left side of your headset, you will have a Chat-Mix dial which allows you to mix your game volume or chat volume is louder, while quieten the other. On the left side is where the mic is situated and is retractable. You can pull this in or out and position it to your liking. Chatting to people via the mic is clear and natural and there is no distortion or interference as you use it, thanks to the headsets bidirectional design.
So, while the Steelseries Arctis 9X looks amazing and the comfort level is top notch, it’s the sound and features it can offer that makes a great headset. With the Arctis 9X you get quite a lot compared to others that I’ve had. What is a huge plus for me is the connectivity that it offers you, it allows you to connect simultaneously to your Xbox console wirelessly and to your PC or mobile device via Bluetooth. This means that you can play games on your console while listening to music on your mobile device or even take a call on your phone while still gaming and still be able to hear your in-game audio. You can also chat to your friends via Discord on PC while you game on your console, which opens up a lot for Xbox gamers. Especially when you want to start recording or streaming your gameplay while capturing your party chats (albeit via Discord).
Another great feature of the Steelseries Arctis 9X is the battery and the longevity you get from it. I was amazed to find that I got about 18+ hrs use out of it before I had to charge it again and this was with heavy use with game chat, Discord, listening to music etc… and to fully recharge your headset, only takes about 3 hrs tops!
When gaming the sound coming from the earcups are exceptional, with cars, explosions, soundtracks, and chat. Being able to hear footsteps behind you in Call of Duty, or DayZ, to gun battles in Battlefield and The Division 2. Hearing rivers flow beside you in Horizon Zero Dawn to the hypnotic sounds of Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Everything around you come to life as the rich sounds hits your eardrums like a melody of chaos and tranquillity all at the same time. It’s nothing short of breath-taking as you journey across one of your favourite games. To add to this, the Arctis 9X also allows you to have pre-sets that can be changed by tapping the power button to choose between 4 different ones. It also supports both Windows Sonic Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos, so you are spoilt for choice on how you want your games to sound.