The “Arctis 3 Bluetooth” is said to be a real all-rounder. As a gaming headset it is said to be discreet enough to be worn in public. According to the manufacturer, it combines gaming suitability with everyday practicality. Now the device has been revised by SteelSeries. The 2019 edition is already available in stores and represents the current version of this multi-talent. By the way, we had already tested the non-Bluetooth version of the Arctis 3 and it convinced us back then. If you are interested you can find the Arctis 3 test of the first generation here.
We wanted to find out what had been improved, whether the headset was really suitable for everyday use and whether it met all the other requirements, and so we tested it. Among other things, this reveals why the design was chosen appropriately and why the headset is a little better in the latest version. The detailed version can be found below.
|Driver||40 mm Neodynium|
|Headphone Frequency Response||20 – 22,000 Hz|
|Headphone sensitivity||98 dB|
|Headphone impedance||32 Ohm|
|Overall harmonic distortion of headphones||< 3%|
|Microphone frequency response||100 – 10,000 Hz|
|Microphone sensitivity||-38 dB|
|Microphone impedance||2.200 Ohm|
|Cable||3.5 mm, 4-pin cable (1.2 m); 3.5 mm double jack extension cable (3 m)|
|Bluetooth profiles||A2DP, HFP, HSP|
|Battery life||Active listening time: 28 hours|
|Compatibility||PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, VR, Smartphone|
|Price||€ 79.99 *|
Design and Workmanship
Little has changed in terms of design. However, small detailed changes were made and are noticeable in a direct comparison. So the headband doesn’t seem so fancy anymore and is much more reserved. SteelSeries doesn’t want to create an eye-catching headset, but at least an optically quite ordinary model. The brand name is therefore now darker. Otherwise, the colour scheme remains the same – dark, elegant and inconspicuous.
The “Arctis 3 Bluetooth” also differs from other gaming headsets in its slim design. It’s not fat or clunky, it’s reserved in every way. The headset already has this feature before the 2019 edition. SteelSeries thus proves that it knows its own strengths and can consistently maintain them. RGB lighting is not present, underlining the simple style.
All in all, the design is simple and contemporary. We don’t find any points of criticism here. The headset does not appear too small or too large when attached. It fits optically well and is by no means disturbing. In contrast to other gaming headsets, it doesn’t immediately attract everyone’s attention, which at least at first glance actually makes it seem suitable for everyday use.
Controls can be found on both the right and left ear cups. While on the left side you will find a volume wheel and a mute button for the microphone as well as all connections (PC, jack, USB), on the right earpiece there is only the button for the Bluetooth connection.
The headset also seems to be very well processed. The body of the headset is mostly made of hard plastic and looks robust, which is of course an advantage. The head-strap is movable, the ear-mussels work well padded. They have several buttons on them that can be used to operate the headset. We are unable to identify any workmanship related weaknesses.
The head strap is held in ski goggle style. It appears to be relatively large, which makes it appear difficult on closer inspection. However, this impression is deceptive – it is surprisingly light, as is the entire headphone, and nestles quite gently to the wearer’s head. The head strap is hardly felt while wearing.
Also the auricles are light and do not press. Unlike other gaming headsets, you don’t have to reckon with a longer settling-in period. Although the auricles are felt, they never attract negative attention. Another difference is noticeable in the ear cushions: they are now more padded, as some customers complained that their ears could touch the inside of the first version of the Arctis 3. Since this has not bothered us in the past, we cannot give an assessment of this.
In addition, the ears under the mussels remain surprisingly cool and dry. The overheating, which has almost become the norm, and the unpleasant sweating during prolonged wearing phases are therefore not to be expected here. SteelSeries uses an AirWave performance fabric which, according to the company, is based on sports materials for athletes. In fact, we have to admit that the wearing comfort is improved by this special fabric. Even longer game sessions are possible without sweaty, completely overheated ears. Also the fabric stays pleasantly dry.
As far as sound is concerned, it can first be said that although the “Arctis 3 Bluetooth” is a stereo headset, 7.1 surround sound is possible with Windows Sonic. This is intended to give the wearer a better sense of space with more precise location of sounds. When it comes to gaming, this surround sound may be a decisive advantage. In the first version, the SteelSeries Engine 3 had to be used for this – this is no longer necessary.
In the test, the headset was particularly convincing due to its clear treble and deep bass. The mids sometimes appear less dynamic, but this is less important when looking at the overall audio bandwidth.
When playing, the sound is very positive. It adapts well to the circumstances of each game and is very satisfactory overall. But if you also want to use the headphones to listen to music, you will be disappointed, depending on your preference. Not every genre can be authentically reproduced.
Overall, however, the quality of the sound is satisfactory.
The microphone of the 2019 edition of the “Arctis 3 Bluetooth” performs much better. According to SteelSeries, this should offer studio quality. In fact, it convinces in our test with clear recordings and real noise suppression. Disturbing background noises are simply suppressed by the microphone, which means that the speaker is always very easy to understand.
We have nothing to criticize about the microphone. It’s really exceptionally good.
Battery, Connections and Transmission
The headset can be connected to an output device via Bluetooth or cable. In both cases, establishing the connection in the test works without any problems. In Bluetooth mode, the connection is stable. We could not detect any failures or hangers in the test. The wireless range is ten meters – in everyday life it is hardly likely to be exceeded. A 3.5mm double jack extension cable as well as a main cable and an adapter are included. On the positive side, the headset can be used both via Bluetooth and via cable at the same time. So you can simply accept a phone call during gambling.
With an active listening time of up to 28 hours, the battery also offers plenty of room for manoeuvre. In our test a battery charge lasted comfortably for several days. So the headset has no weaknesses in this area.
Result of the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth 2019 Edition Review
All in all, it is a very high-quality Bluetooth headset that is actually suitable for both gaming and everyday use. While it convinces in the area of gamings with an adaptive, high-quality sound, it unfortunately weakens in some music genres. But it comes with a premium microphone, great comfort and breathable ear cushions.
Finally, we can recommend the 2019 edition of the “Arctis 3 Bluetooth” because it convinces despite some minor weaknesses. With a price of € 79.99 * it is comparatively expensive.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth price comparison
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