SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P wireless headset review: S-tier portable audio

The new Nova 5 companion app boosts the Arctis Nova 5 series headsets with over 100 sound profiles, making for an incredible (and affordable) self-contained audio option.

Image via SteelSeries

Back in May 2024, SteelSeries released the Arctis Nova 5 series of headphones and an all-new companion app to go with them. Where the Arctis Nova Pros have been a top-tier gaming audio experience with their hot-swappable batteries, AI-powered noise cancellation, and simultaneous pc/console and Bluetooth output, they still cost a pretty penny. Recognizing this, SteelSeries upgraded a more humble headset with further features to make the Arctis Nova 5 series of headsets feel like “affordable luxury,” and that happens with the help of the free Arctis Nova companion app, making these not only versatile, but also a great set of portable headphones.

What’s in the package?

The Arctis Nova 5 series retails at a price of $129.99 USD and is a pretty simple package that includes the headset, a charging cable, and a 2.4GHz dongle with USB-C plugs. The headset also features SteelSeries’ now-iconic tuck-away cord mic, Bluetooth capabilities, and on-headset volume and mute settings. One of the few things I don’t like about this package is the dongle. The back end of it is very wide, and on my laptop where many of my USB-C ports are close together, it proved to be a little awkward to fit in without disconnecting something else.

It’s a very tidy package otherwise, and a decently performing one at that, especially when you throw in the free Nova 5 companion app, which is available on iOS and Android devices. Designed entirely with the Arctis Nova 5 series headsets in mind, this app allows users easy access to a massive suite of around 100 audio profiles built from the ground up on games like Rocket League, League of Legends, Call of Duty, and even some esports players’ personal settings. What’s even better is that any of the Arctis Nova 5 headsets can be connected to a PC where you can use the SteelSeries GG Sonar suite to alter and customize audio profiles on the headset and app as you see fit, and then take them back your platform of choice where they’ll be a permanent option in the companion app. That gives a level of value to the Arctis Nova 5 headsets that has been somewhat missing in console play without being able to buy the pricey Arctis Nova Pro and helps to bring this headset to a new level.

Personalized portability

A person using the SteelSeries Nova companion app to adjust the sound of an Arctis Nova 5 gaming headset
Source: SteelSeries

I used the Arctis Nova 5 at home on my PC and PS5 with relative ease for a few weeks before writing this review. I generally found that the stock audio was up to snuff with SteelSeries previous console headsets, if not a bit crisper and comfier on my relatively large noggin. I also found that the battery life is exemplary on this thing, and I had a chance to put that to a more extreme test. Moreover, having access to the Nova companion app meant I could change the audio profiles on my phone without having to take the headset back to my PC to adjust it. It’s a pretty big upgrade if you enjoy the fun of customization from the comfort of your living room/game room couch. The one thing I would like on a long enough timeline is for the Nova companion app to be able to operate completely free of PC in customizing your sound options.

What really won me over the most with the Arctis Nova Pro 5 is its versatility in travel. I took it on a transcontinental flight to do some work in the UK. The battery survived extremely long legs of the trip with some short plug-ins here and there. I don’t know exactly how long it takes to drain this battery because I have yet to use it uncorded long enough to do it, and I have spent hours of unplugged listening on the Arctis Nova 5 at a time.

Add to all of this that the Bluetooth was ridiculously easy to pair up to my phone (and you’ll want to anyways since that’s how you utilize the Nova companion app with it). Whether I was going on YouTube to watch videos or playing Vampire Survivors, I found the Arctis Nova 5 was a delightfully comfortable headset that served my needs to more easily past the time on an extremely long trip.

A smooth-riding mid-road

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P, 5, and 5X wireless headsets, from left to right
Source: SteelSeries

The Arctis Nova Pro feels like it will remain the crown jewel of SteelSeries’ audio offerings for a long time, but it also feels like the Arctis Nova 5 is catching up at a price that’s much easier to manage. The Nova companion app adds boundless versatility to the headset that can be customized with relative ease. The battery lasts amazingly long and the cups are comfortable as well, even for big heads. Even though the dongle is a bit unwieldy, you probably won’t have too many issues on a console, and the Bluetooth works fantastically well. All of this comes together to bring players a solid audio experience that doesn’t have to come at an eye-watering price.

This review is based on a review sample of the Arctis Nova 5p provided by the manufacturer. The Arctis Nova 5 series headsets can be purchased for $129.99 USD on and through partnered retailers.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

  • Bluetooth & 2.4GHz modes pair easily
  • Sounds pretty good stock
  • Sounds even better with Nova companion app presets
  • Ridiculously long-lasting battery
  • Fast-charging
  • Can be mostly used and customized without a PC
  • 2.4GHz dongle is an awkward fit for some setups
  • Still have to use SteelSeries Sonar on PC to create custom presets
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