Finding the best Xbox One headset that also works as one of the best PC headsets for gaming is a seemingly hard task for the platform agnostic, especially in a crowded sector of the best Xbox One accessories. When you add in the best Nintendo Switch headset and the best PS4 headset, you'll be hard pushed to find a gaming headset that works with all of your systems.

SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless Gaming Headset
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X stands out in a market that is dominated by platform exclusivity. I wouldn't blame you for dismissing it because it was made for the Xbox One. You could imagine it's targeted to a single device, with everything else taking a back seat to Microsoft's eighth-generation console based on the marketing hyperbole alone. In actuality, the Arctis 9X is quite similar to the Arctis 3 Bluetooth that came before it, with a few notable enhancements to warrant the $199.99 price tag.

To be honest, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X's major selling point is its support for Microsoft's proprietary Xbox Wireless protocol. SteelSeries has no doubt created a headset that works well with the Xbox One, having worked directly with the Xbox inventor to develop its own Xbox Wireless chip based on Microsoft's radio. However, for PC gamers, it's a blessing in disguise.

If you like playing games wirelessly with the fantastic Xbox One controller, you've probably already purchased an Xbox Wireless adaptor for your computer, thus the Arctis 9X might as well be PC-compatible right out of the box. Furthermore, it supports Bluetooth, so you may play games from the comfort of one of the finest gaming laptops. For a less-than-ideal but still-practical approach on PS4, simply plug the headset into your controller.

Arctis 9X by SteelSeries - Design

Granted, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X's appearance screams Xbox One, as much as I love its multi-platform approach to functionality. While not completely unsightly, the green, polygonal pattern on the otherwise black headband would be significantly more appealing to wear in public if it didn't stick out as a gamer's headset.

I don't mind the edgy style while I'm at home, lounging back on the sofa playing Borderlands 2 in a t-shirt and sweatpants. I'd rather wear unobtrusive headgear when I'm on the train, casually mouthing along to Pinegrove's Skylight for the umpteenth time. I mean, I could just remove the band, but it would lose my ability to alter the fit on my own. It's a lose-lose situation. Why can't SteelSeries produce a headset like my fantastic Sony WH1000-XM3s that tightens without a strap? But I'm getting ahead of myself.

What I admire about the Arctis 9X's design is how comfortable the earcups are. The so-called "AirWeave" ear cushions are inspired by sweat-resistant, breathable nylon sportswear, and are designed to allow airflow, preventing clammier ears from becoming hot and sticky during an extremely hard Apex Legends play.

I've never had ear sweat, so I can't comment on how well the cloth ear cushions live up to SteelSeries' lofty claims. Nonetheless, the Arctis 9X exceeds expectations in terms of comfort. Apart from the green lines carved on the exterior of the headband, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X tucks a few pleasant surprises inside its cosy earcups, while being almost identical to the $149.99 SteelSeries Arctis 7 designed for PC.

All of the action takes occur along the right can. At the top, a mic mute button is accompanied by a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button, a power button, a micro-USB charging port, and a 3.5mm socket, while the bottom has a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button, a power button, a micro-USB charging port, and a 3.5mm connector. The mic isn't very impressive, but it gets the job done. My only gripe is that it is retractable rather than detachable. 

I don't want a headset that looks like a gaming headset when I'm out and about if SteelSeries wants to produce one for all of my devices. A hardwired ChatMix dial is located on the backside of the left earcup and is used to balance conversation and gaming audio in real time. You know, without having to go through the trouble of downloading and installing the SteelSeries Engine.

Features of the SteelSeries Arctis 9X

Now for the meat of the storey. On paper, the Arctis 9X is a lot to manage because it features Bluetooth, Xbox Wireless, and wired capability. Switching between devices is difficult enough with a Bluetooth-only headset. SteelSeries invests substantially in its unequalled adaptability to help reduce predicted trouble areas. It not only supports Bluetooth and Xbox Wireless communication protocols, but it also allows you to utilise both simultaneously.

While listening to Tower of Power's "So Very Hard to Go" in my off-brand Toyota Prius in Watch Dogs 2, I received a call from my mother on my real-life phone. I wouldn't have been able to answer the phone call without first turning off and then re-pairing my headset to my phone if it hadn't been for the SteelSeries Arctis 9X. However, because the Arctis 9X can connect to both my phone and my Xbox or PC at the same time, picking up the phone was as simple as picking up the phone. There aren't any strings (or cables) attached.

Its seamless integration of Bluetooth and Xbox Wireless is a major thing, and it performed flawlessly in my personal tests. I never had any issues with connectivity or interference. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for folks who enjoy playing games yet excel at multitasking. It's never been simpler to listen to music or podcasts on your phone while fighting demons in Devil May Cry 5. Even more, the Arctis 9X is compatible with Windows Sonic for rich virtualized surround sound on Xbox One and PC.

As previously stated, the Arctis 9X is compatible with SteelSeries Engine 3, a handy tool for Windows and macOS that allows you to customise anything from the company's Rival series mouse to its Apex range of mechanical gaming keyboards. The Arctis 9X is useful for creating EQs, and it comes with four presets out of the box: Flat, Bass Boost, Smiley, and Performance. You may also build your own for a more personalised phonic experience.

You may also adjust the overall mic and sidetone level in SteelSeries Engine 3, as well as enable or deactivate automatic Bluetooth startup when the headset is turned on. A 'Configurations' option on the left allows you to build unique profiles that open automatically with specific games. For example, I may use SteelSeries Engine 3 to reduce the bass and sub-bass frequencies every time I start a competitive multiplayer game like Overwatch. In GTA V, on the other hand, I can turn up the bass to 11 in order to provide a visceral rendition of Kendrick Lamar's "A.D.H.D."

SteelSeries Arctis 9X - High-End Gaming

You've heard one SteelSeries Arctis headset if you've heard all of them. The 9X is no different. The sound is loud and frequently explosive, thanks to the same 40mm speaker drivers as the Arcis 3, 5, and 7. It's also modest and moderate. In reality, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X's drivers produce a wide variety of frequencies, ranging from 20 to 22,000Hz.

Though it should sound worse in principle than rival Xbox One headsets like the Razer Thresher Ultimate, which has 50mm speakers with a frequency response of 12 to 28,000Hz, SteelSeries engineers have fine-tuned it to sound better. And it does, in my opinion. I'm not sure if it's due of the open design or because of the small layer of nylon material that sits between your ear and the speakers (my guess is a combination of both).

What I do know is that, in a world of mediocre-sounding gaming headsets, the SteelSeries 9X is, hands down, the greatest Xbox One headset I've ever used. Even the battery life, which the manufacturer claims lasts 20 hours on a single charge, comes close to living up to the expectations. I went days without charging it, connecting it to my Shield TV through Bluetooth and playing many hours of Watch Dogs 2 every night.

Should you buy it in the end?

I've been using Razer headphones with my Xbox One for years, oblivious to the fact that SteelSeries offers a far superior quality. However, given that the Arctis 9X didn't exist until recently, it's possible that I wasn't actually missing anything until now. Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth were worlds apart prior to the release of the 9X. They couldn't work together since their functions were mutually incompatible. Now it's all coming together in one of the most truly inventive gaming headsets I've ever seen. The SteelSeries Arctis 9X may be expensive, but it's definitely worth the investment.

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X is more than an Xbox headset, with its elegant appearance and unrestrained comfort and performance. It's the first of its kind in terms of multiplatform peripherals. Any critiques I have are minimal, to the point of being unnoticeable. SteelSeries should be on your radar if you haven't previously. Otherwise, you'll be losing out on high-resolution audio that's equally at home on your Xbox One as it is on your smartphone or PC.