With the Arctis headsets, SteelSeries not only goes a new way with the design of its headsets. New technology is also installed and the own benchmark is set very high. How is the established gaming peripheral manufacturer doing with its Arctis 3 in our test? You will learn everything in the following text.
Packaging and Workmanship
When I spend 100 Euros on a headset, I expect a good packaging. And I can say that the box already speaks for itself. The typical product image is on the front and the product information on the back. As this is a limited edition, the cardboard is also adapted to the colour of the headset. This is already a highlight due to different accents. Inside we find the headset, tightly packed and without cable ties or cords. The packaging has been thought through. It’s fun to unpack the headset.
The first impression already looks a lot and there is not much left of the previous design of the SteelSeries headsets. The headset is very simple, but the design of the ear cups and the headband are convincing. If someone has the SteelSeries headset on their head, it is immediately obvious that it is an Arctis headset. Unlike other headsets, the bracket is not directly on the head, but only the headband. This tape is also used to set the size. This technology means there is no pressure on the head, even when the headset is tightly adjusted. This also creates a very pleasant wearing comfort.
The cover of the auricles is also very beneficial for the wearing comfort. The Siberia headsets had always worked with imitation leather. The Arctis range relies on “AirWeave” fabric. This cover ensures that the ears remain cool and sweat-free even during long gaming sessions. The same cover is also used in the Corsair Void Pro and has already convinced me there.
Although the Acrtis 3 is mostly made of plastic, it feels very valuable. The headband is very rigid and the joints have no play. The headset is very solidly built, but still very easy to hold.
Software and Features
With the SteelSeries Arctis 3 it doesn’t matter on which platform you play. It can be connected to both the computer and a console or mobile phone. The cable for the headset is connected via microUSB. To connect the Arctis 3 to the desired device, an “adapter” is required. For connection to a smartphone, notebook or controller of an Xbox One or PS4, a 4-pin jack adapter is included. A further adapter is included for connection to the PC via two 3-pin jack connections. These two are connected to the cable again via microUSB. The cable length varies greatly. At the PC we of course want a long cable and with a length of 3 meters we get that too. For the connection of devices which are normally closer to the face, a cable length of 2 meters is available.
Of course, Arctis 3 can also be managed and set up in the SteelSeries Engine 3. But before you can enjoy all the features and the virtual 7.1 sound, you need to register and enter an unlock code that comes with the headset. Once you have logged into the software with your login details, the headset will automatically appear in your equipment list. SteelSeries has to go this way because the headset is not connected via USB. Important: If you want to sell the headset, you can simply pass on the code!
In the software, first select the port you used to connect the Arctis 3. In the settings you can create different profiles, so it is possible to choose your own settings depending on the game. With the equalizer you can individualize the sound, activate or deactivate the 7.1 sound and set the noise gate or the compression for the microphone.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 offers virtual surround sound, but is actually just a stereo headset. For music lovers, the Arctis 3 is nothing, eye-catching basses are a thing of the past and that’s a good thing. The 40mm neodymium drivers provide a great sound with very well defined mids, which are especially important to locate enemies and noise correctly. The virtual 7.1 sound amplifies the whole thing, even if the sound then sounds a bit artificial and tinny. I like the simulated surround sound very much.
The microphone also produces an excellent sound. According to SteelSeries, the ClearCast microphone is the best in the gaming world. The bi-directional microphone ensures that background noise is perfectly neutralized. Unfortunately, the shielding of the auricles is not perfect. If the headset is set louder and you put an opponent under constant fire or drive in a vehicle that is loud, everything is transmitted via the microphone. It seems as if the volume is transferred one to one to the microphone. Some fine-tuning is necessary so that the microphone delivers what it is supposed to.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 is an all-round solid headset. It offers an outstanding workmanship and a very good sound. Unfortunately, the ear cups are not perfectly shielded, so the headset loses some points. But the clear midrange, the perfect fit through the headband and the good air circulation through the mesh fabric of the auricles give you a great headset. A little fine-tuning then provides the finishing touch!