The Arctis 3 is SteelSeries’ entry model in their new range of gaming headsets. It features a subtle and sleek design as well as virtual 7.1 surround sound, and a microphone claimed to be one of the best in any gaming headset.
The design of the Arctis 3 is unquestionably the best part of it (that is until you hear it, but we’ll get to that later). It features a build made up by mostly matte-plastic, but it definitely feels quality and well made. The ear cups have the ability to swivel inwards towards your chest, which is great as this allows you to casually rest it on your neck when you’re not gaming. One of the things i’m always hesitant about when considering a new headset is whether or not it’ll have a good fit. SteelSeries engineered a pretty interesting way of adjusting fit on the Arctis 3, and the entire Arctis line. A ski google-style strap rests on your head, thereby supporting the weight of the headset in a surprisingly comfortable manner. It’s one of the most comfortable headsets i’ve ever worn, period. The ear cups are constructed of a breathable mesh cushion which feels great and doesn’t put too much pressure on the sides of your head. Furthermore they don’t really become very hot when you’re wearing them, unlike a lot of headsets i’ve used in the past. This is awesome because it means you won’t get uncomfortable and have to take breaks from wearing it during long gaming sessions.
The microphone on the Arctis 3 is what SteelSeries claims to be one of the best on any gaming headset currently on the market. In terms of functionality, you’re able to retract it fully into the headset with just the end hanging slightly outside, however this actually adds to the aesthetic of the headset and makes it stand out. The arm of the microphone is fully adjustable, so you can put it in a position that works best for you which is great. The left ear cup is also home to a volume rocker and microphone mute button. I’m definitely a huge fan of this because not all voice chat softwares such as Skype can offer key binds to mute your microphone, meaning if you’re in a game you’ve got to tab out and navigate to the mute button on Skype. The Arctis 3 makes it super easy to bypass this, you skip all the hassle and just press a button on your headset in 3 seconds and you’re done. Wonderful!
An important thing to mention here is that if you’re actually wanting to take advantage of the 7.1 virtual surround sound, you’re going to need to create an account on SteelSeries website and enter your product key to activate said benefits. Admittedly this is a bit of a pain, but hey, it means SteelSeries can offer you better support now that your product is registered and you can take full advantage of your headset! Another thing you should keep in mind is the proprietary connector SteelSeries uses for the cable meaning if you lose it you’re gonna have to get one from them!
On to audio quality, which I suppose is technically the most important part. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the audio quality from the Arctis 3. There’s excellent bass without sort of overdoing it like i’ve found with many other headsets. But oh my god is it excellent for first person shooters. As an avid CS:GO player myself, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to have excellent sound quality and precise surround sound. Pinpointing players footsteps is an essential part of the game, and boy does the Arctis 3 deliver. It manages to almost completely isolate any sound from the outside, meaning you can hear every single footstep and reload that your enemies make. This is perfect for gamers who are serious about their gameplay, and whats more there is minimal sound leakage from the headset.
Through tests largely involving too many hours of voice chatting on Teamspeak 3 with friends there’s a clear consensus that the microphone sounds crystal clear, and also is pretty darn good at ignoring random background noises so that only your voice is transmitted. This is great and means that your friends won’t hear your noisy neighbors dog barking in the background every five minutes.
So, should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis 3? It really depends on what you’re looking for, what features matter to you and what your budget is. If you’re looking for a high quality headset with a great mic and comfortable fit, and you’re willing to drop £80 on it then the Arctis 3 is definitely for you. It’s an overall solid gaming headset with more perks then drawbacks, and even better is the brand that backs it, SteelSeries. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to use this headset for the past few months and I certainly love it to bits.