PC & Console Peripherals

SteelSeries Arctis 5 Gaming Headset Review: Simple With Convincing Sound

In October SteelSeries presented its new Arctis series. The Arctis 3 is a pure analog headset, the Arctis 5 offers both jack and USB with some extras and the Arctis 7 is a wireless headset. All three headsets are hardly distinguishable externally. They should combine an elegant design with good sound and high wearing comfort.

I have already tested whether SteelSeries really succeeds in this with the Arctis 5. You’ll find my opinion below.

Scope of Delivery

The scope of delivery of the SteelSeries Arctis 5 is generous. In addition to the headset, a 4-pin jack adapter, a USB connection cable with ChatMix unit and a connection cable are also included. A pure jack cable can also be connected directly, but is not included.

It should also be noted that both the headband and the ear cups are interchangeable, i.e. they are not permanently attached to the headset.

Technical Data of the SteelSeries Arctis 5

Driver 40 mm
Sensitivity 98 dB(A)
Frequency range 20 Hz – 22 KHz
Impedance 32 Ω @ 1 kHz
Connection jack or USB
Microphone sensitivity 48 dB
Microphone Frequency range 100 Hz – 10 kHz
Weight 281 g
Price 119,99 €

Workmanship & Wearing Comfort

The SteelSeries Arctis series tries to impress with a simple design when compared to other gaming headsets. Our pattern is matt black, but there is also a white version. The plastic of which the Arctis 5 is made is flexible, but still quite stable. The workmanship is high quality, the plastic does not look cheap. There is absolutely nothing crackling and clattering, no matter what you do with the headset.


Of course, not everything on the headset is simple. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a gaming headset either. So there is a ring on the outside of the auricles, which is illuminated. It also includes the SteelSeries logo, which is also illuminated. The RGB lighting can be controlled via the SteelSeries Engine 3 and displays all colors.

Visually, the headset is still discreet enough to be worn outdoors and to listen to music on the go with your smartphone. However, the RGB lighting does not work via the jack.

The ear cups are rotatable and adapt to the shape of the head. The ear cushions are covered with a breathable fabric that prevents the ears from overheating even after prolonged sessions, even though they enclose the ears. Another advantage is that the ear cushions can be changed: New ear pads cost 14,99 Euro directly in the SteelSeries Shop.

The headband does not rest directly on the head, but is instead kept at a distance with an elastic headband. The headband can easily be removed or adjusted because it uses Velcro. Thus it can also be easily exchanged or washed. New headbands cost 19,99 Euro – SteelSeries offers different patterns for different tastes.

Altogether the SteelSeries Arctis 5 sits very well on its head. The weight of the headset is not too high to interfere. The contact pressure is low, but this does not mean that the headset is loose. It is still comfortable to wear even after a long time.

The controls are located on the left auricle. In addition to a mute button for the microphone, there is also a volume knob. The microphone can also be pulled out.

If the microphone is muted, the microphone lights up relatively brightly in red. If you’ve extended it, it’s immediately obvious. So you can’t forget to discourage yourself.

Those who connect the headset via USB also have the ChatMix control unit in the cable. This can be used to adjust the game chat balance, because the headset is recognized with two audio outputs.

Sound Quality

The SteelSeries Arctis 5, or the complete new Arctis series, uses the same high-quality 40mm drivers as the much more expensive Siberia 840.

This gives the headset a convincing sound, because the sound is very balanced without overdriving or distortion. The bass could be more convincing, but the Arctis 5 does the midrange and treble very well. Therefore the headset is not only suitable for gambling, but can also be used for music or movies.


If you are looking for a headset for consoles, you can use the Arctis 5 thanks to the jack adapter, but you can just as well use the cheaper Arctis 3. The SteelSeries driver doesn’t run on consoles anyway, so the Arctis 5 offers almost the same functions as the Arctis 3. The full potential of DTX Headphone X Support can only be exploited on a PC via USB.

As an alternative, the wireless Arctis 7 will also be available at the beginning of 2017. With a range of 12 meters and 15 hours battery life, the model is certainly something for some. However then very probably only on the PC.

Recording Quality

The bidirectional, extendable microphone is convincing. Compared to many other headsets it offers a very clear and realistic sound. Of course you can’t get a floor-standing microphone, but it can be heard.

The noise reduction of the SteelSeries Engine 3 also works well. Since the background noise suppression is adjusted by software, it only works on the PC. On consoles or via jack you have more background noise.

But listen to the recording quality itself:

Click here to display content from youtu.be

Connection & Software

The SteelSeries Arctis 5 can easily be connected via USB or 4-pin jack cable. Even without the installation of a driver you can start immediately. USB connected, both sound channels for the Game-Chat-Mix are also recognized directly. The knob in the cable can then be used to adjust what you want to have louder.

The problem is that in many programs you can’t select the sound output directly. In many chat programs this is possible, but many simply use the standard output device.

SteelSeries Engine 3: Arctis 5

If you install the driver through the program SteelSeries Engine 3, you can set a lot, but I miss the output setting there as well. Via the program library one can assign profiles to programs in order to let the headset light up differently or to use a different equalizer setting, but the output device cannot be adjusted via it.

So in my test for example Spotify, Deezer and Chrome were recognized as chat, although I would have much rather set them as game. Sure, they’re not games, but a conversation in Teamspeak, Discord or Skype still disturbs them.

Nevertheless, the SteelSeries Engine 3 is quite extensive, there is a lot to change on the headset. GameSense can also be used to set different lights in response to a game status. For example, the headset may glow red when the ammunition is empty. Unfortunately only three games are supported by GameSense, so the feature isn’t really usable yet. If you can even consider it useful, because who would watch the lighting of their headset during gambling?

Conclusion on the SteelSeries Arctis 5

The SteelSeries Arctis 5 offers many sophisticated features. The comfort promised by SteelSeries is also available for longer sessions. The sound is pleasant, both on your own ears and on those of the person you are talking to.

The clear highs and mid-range make the headset suitable not only for gambling, but also for enjoying music in between.

The only criticism I have to make is the not yet perfect software. I would like to see more games in GameSense and the assignment of programs to chat or game. But since the SteelSeries Arctis 5 can be used on all devices, the price of 119,99 Euro is justified in any case and I can only recommend the gaming headset.

SteelSeries Arctis 5

Sound Quality
Recording Quality
Connections & Software

Simple optics with convincing technology

The SteelSeries Arctis 5 is a convincing headset, only the SteelSeries Engine 3 software could be extended. I would like to see more supported games and a better mapping to the two output devices.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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