I Don't Think I Need a Wireless Switch Headset

By Mike Fahey on at

Bundled with a first-of-its-kind USB-C 2.4GHz dongle that fits nicely in the bottom of the Switch, SteelSeries’ £99 Arctis 1 Wireless gaming headset is the first truly wireless headset for Nintendo’s latest console. It’s very nice. I just don’t see myself using it a lot, at least not on the Switch.

The Arctis 1 Wirelessly works spectacularly well with the Switch. SteelSeries’ Arctis line has a lovely, mellow soundscape that’s never too harsh or heavy on any end of the spectrum. The SteelSeries Engine software lets users further customise their audio experience, fine-tuning equaliser settings and mic volume. They’re light and comfortable. This particular model comes with a detachable ClearCast mic with noise cancelling that sounds quite nice in my noisy living room. It claims a 20-hour battery life, and so far it’s held close to those claims. All-in-all it’s an excellent mid-range gaming headset.

Handy on-ear controls are handy and on-ear.

It works well in the Switch. Plugin the dongle, hit power on the headset, and crisp, clear audio is piped into your ears. They sound great. The mic does a fine job of transmitting my voice in the handful of games that support direct voice chat and don’t require Nintendo’s mobile phone app. And when I want to play in handheld mode with a power cable attached, so I can charge and play at the same time, I am shit out of luck.

When the battery on my Switch begins to die, the wireless headset must go bye-bye. There is no pass-through on the Arctis 1 Wireless’ USB dongle, so it’s either wireless sound or power. I can, however, plug a wired headset into the Switch in portable mode and never run into that problem. Seeing as I never play the Switch in portable mode from across a room, a short headset cable does not bother me.

SteelSeries includes a number of cables with the Arctis 1 Wireless. For the Switch in docked mode there’s a USB-A wire that terminates in a USB-C socket the dongle can be plugged into, so it’s possible to use the headset in docked mode. There are a bunch of headsets out there that plug into USB-A for wireless, so the Arctis 1 isn’t special in that regard. No, the main drawn for Switch owners is plugging that dongle into the bottom of the console. It’s just not really that much of a draw in the long run.

It might not be perfect for the Switch, but the Arctis 1 Wireless is still a damn fine wireless gaming headset. I’ve been using it on my laptop, its dongle fitting neatly into the USB-C socket. It’s the same functionality as using the headset on the Switch, only now I can tweak with the SteelSeries Engine software whenever I please. With the included 3.5 mm cable I can plug the headset directly into my Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller (the PS4 also sorts the USB-A dongle cable if the need arises).

The Arctis 1 Wireless is a pretty versatile gaming headset. I might not use the first truly-wireless Switch headset for the Switch, but use it I certainly will.