SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P review: Mid-range master

Rosalie Newcombe
Image of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P gaming headset.

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P is a lightweight gaming headset that forgoes gimmicks to offer up one of the best value gaming headsets I’ve ever used.

SteelSeries is widely known for producing some of the best headsets you can pick up, especially where its revamped Arctis Nova line is considered. However, things can get pretty expensive, especially if you’re after premium options like the Nova Pro Wireless.

The brand-new SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 series is an “affordable luxury” alternative to the Nova 7 and Pro Wireless. For this review, I went hands-on with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P, aimed towards connectivity with the PlayStation 5

Through my multiple hours with the affordable headphones, I set out to discover if the Nova 5P still contains the quality you’d want from a SteelSeries headset, or if its affordability has come with unwanted compromises.

Key specs

  • Connectivity: Wireless Quick-switch 2.4 GHz & Bluetooth 5.3
  • Driver type: Neodymium Magnetic Speaker Drivers
  • Frequency response: 20-22000 Hz
  • Weight: 1.61 lbs
  • Battery: Up to 60 hours
  • Compatibility: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Switch, Android, iOS, Mea Quest
  • Features: ClearCast retractable microphone, Nova 5 App compatibility, quick-switch 2..4 GHz to Bluetooth connection
  • Price: $129.99
Reasonable priceNo RGB or customizable lighting
LightweightNo additional colorways
Easy to switch between 2.4 GHz & Bluetooth 5.3
60 hour battery
Over 100+ game and music presets


Image of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P gaming headset.

The Arctis Nova 5P isn’t draped in RGB or kitty ear accessories. Instead, SteelSeries has ignored any gimmicks for simplicity. The headset features a plain all-black over-ear design, a matte ABS plastic finish, and all-black foam ear cushions on the earcups.

The only spots of color can be found on the earcups or elastic headband support. Each ear cup features a metallic SteelSeries logo, with the elastic headband having an almost 80s arcade floor design, featuring blue swirls on a black background.

This added headband makes the Nova 5P feel like a lightweight cloud when sitting on your head. The headset is easily one of the lightest I’ve ever had the pleasure of using, weighing in at only 1.61 lbs. 
Each SteelSeries branded earcup is attached to the main headband through dual hinges, allowing for safe and easy storage when you aren’t mid-way through a tense gaming session. With the earcups turned in, the faint blue outlines of ‘L’ and ‘R’ lettering are visible. This makes for a nice subtle alternative to the often unsightly indicators of which ear cup is which, on other brands’ headsets.

Image of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P gaming headset.

The ClearCast microphone is this headset’s secret weapon. Tucked away on the left ear cup, the mic almost blends in with the rest of the headset. It’s retractable, only needing a light pull to get it in and out of the headset.


Image of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P gaming headset.

The headset comes with a padded carrying case, a USB-C Wireless Dongle for 2.4 GHz connectivity, a USB-C to USB-A adapter cable, a charging cable, and even a small pack of branded stickers. If you’re worried about losing anything, the included small zipped pouch is perfect for keeping your new dongle safe.

USB Wireless

Connecting to the PlayStation 5 is super simple. Holding down the button above the power button will switch the headset from 2.4 GHz to Bluetooth pairing mode. The USB wireless dongle fits snuggly in the front-facing type-C port on the PS5, and from then on, your Sony console will automatically discover the SteelSeries headset so you can enjoy a stable connection. 

SteelSeries Nova 5 mobile app

Image of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P gaming headset.

Dedicated apps for tech aren’t revolutionary, yet SteelSeries’s focus on its Nova 5 Mobile App is exactly what makes the experience of using the Arctis Nova 5P so accessible. For this review, I was given access to the Android BETA version of the app, so some features may vary with the full release.

The app pairs with your headset via Bluetooth. Once connected, the app updates to display an image of your headset, along with what connection type is currently set up. Here, you can also get a glimpse of how much battery you have left. Although I rarely, if ever found myself going for the charger, having the battery percentage on show at all times was incredibly reassuring.

Arguably the best addition to the app is its audio presets. A small drop-down menu on the app splash screen reveals 100+ in total, for games from Baldur’s Gate 3 to Dead by Daylight. Being a fan of asymmetrical online horror games, I tested the feature during some Dead by Daylight matches.

With the Dead by Daylight preset equipped, and the volume dial turned to max, my already fear-inducing survivor matches had an added layer of terror. The preset brought nuance to the game’s sound design, making the terror radius of the game’s iconic killers sound clearer than ever. This added clarity also meant I never missed a single generator audio cue.

Just to ensure this added quality wasn’t the default settings, I flicked through other presets. In the end, the Dead by Daylight app preset made such a huge difference, that I now can’t imagine playing my favorite online horror game in any other way. 

With other headsets, finding the sweet spot for certain games means getting up and connecting to a desktop PC. With the Arctis Nova 5P, a whole range of presets are available right from my phone, which is already always by my side when gaming on the PlayStation 5


With the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P headset connected to my PS5, I was surprised at how much room the audio had to breathe. As a more affordable gaming headset, the full depth of the high and low ends you’d expect from a more Pro line aren’t there, but that’s not to say that games, and music, don’t sound incredible on these lightweight headphones.

Audio quality

The neodymium magnetic speaker drivers, paired along with the many pre-sets, make any audio sound bright and crisp. While I could hear every audio cue while playing Dead by Daylight online, albums like ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ by Bombay Bicycle Club sounded just as in-depth as my high-end PC speakers.

 Every tone of the lead vocals sounded heavenly, especially through the ‘Bright’ or ‘Clear Vocal’ presets on the Nova 5 app. With the retractable microphone easily hidden away, the Nova 5P gaming headset became even more ideal for both gaming and listening to music.

Microphone quality

Image of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P gaming headset.

No gaming headset mic is going to be perfect. If you want the most optimum mic quality I’d always recommend a condenser mic setup through an audio PA system. But the ‘ClearCast’ mic of the Arctis Nova 5P headset gets the job done.

The 32KHz/16Bit audio-supported mic allows you to sound crystal clear in over-the-top gaming sessions, or even during important work meetings. Typically, I’m fairly picky about the mics I use at my desk, as I have a technical audio background, but the Nova 5P mic was so reliable that I often preferred it over my current desktop mic.

Should you buy it?

As part of the new “affordable luxury” Nova 5 Series line of headsets, the Nova 5P will set you back $129.99. While not a budget headset, its price point is incredibly reasonable for the balance of build and audio quality, along with the top-notch streamlined setup process.

With other gaming headsets, of which I own a fair few as a tech reviewer, I can spend far too long fidgeting with all the various buttons and dials. With the Nova 5P, everything is hassle-free, from setup on PS5 or PC, and it does almost every job damn well.

Verdict: 5/5

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5P gaming headset’s lightweight nature, the incredibly simple setup process, and its accompanying 5 app are all fantastic. I’ve even started using it in my personal gaming setup, and I don’t think I can use lesser gaming headsets ever again.

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