Having covered SteelSeries headsets for a long time, it’s quite refreshing to see SteelSeries’ continued passion in rethinking their latest models. This time, these headsets are practically a complete overhaul of what SteelSeries headsets are known to look like. The new SteelSeries Arctis is SteelSeries’ dive into the budding market of gaming-focused headsets that you would want to take out of the house. This new line takes the same drivers found in their $300 flagships and houses them in new more-affordable and visually-appealing designs. Gone are the traditional air traffic controller headsets that feel right at home but maybe not so much in the streets.
Let’s dive into the new SteelSeries Arctis line build using the SteelSeries Arctis 3 as the model.
Base SteelSeries Arctis Build and Performance
|Headphone Frequency Response||20-22000 Hz|
|Headphone Impedance||32 Ohm|
|Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion||< 3%|
|Microphone Frequency Response||100Hz – 10000Hz|
|Microphone Sensitivity||-48 db|
|Microphone Impedance||2200 Ohm|
Now this is a SteelSeries headset we are talking about, so you better believe you’ll see the inclusion of a suspension headband. However, the headband with the Arctis is replaceable, allowing you customization options to bring the Arctis a little closer to your personal sense of style. That headband is also adjustable, allowing you to loosen and tighten the headband as you see fit. For the ear cups, you have a softer and quieter make, showing the SteelSeries branding on flattened oval-shaped cups. AirWeave fabric ear pads on those ear cups rest gently on the sides of your head providing passive noise isolation.
On all of the SteelSeries Arctis models, you have controls for master inbound volume, onboard mic muting, a detachable cable system, and an audio sharing jack for daisy-chaining to another headset. And last but not least, you have a SteelSeries staple in the retractable mic.
Speaking from experience, the SteelSeries Arctis feels like the lightest and most comfortable SteelSeries headset to date. At the very least, it’s the most comfortable gaming headset I personally tried all year, being featherweight while remaining secure on my head. The adjustable suspension headband is a nice touch, giving you some control over how much sink the Arctis has on your head. Whether you prefer a loose and droopy hold verses a tighter or more secure fit, the choice is yours.
A retractable mic combined with an onboard volume control and mic muting switch does more than make the SteelSeries Arctis a trusty travel companion. It also makes the Arctis a handy headset to use on both the PS4 and Xbox One. Having such basic controls on the headset itself can be a bit of an overlooked luxury when it comes controlling these functions on your console. So being able to save on onscreen menu browsing is always a plus. As long as you’re using a controller with a 3.5mm jack, you’re bound to benefit from using the Arctis. The bi-directional SteelSeries ClearCast mic worked especially well in both gaming and nongaming scenarios, thanks to its noise canceling functionality.
Best of all, the SteelSeries drivers that gamers have grown to love continue to deliver in a big way. You are treated to a clear, crisp and balanced sound with just the right amount of lean on the bass. Vocals come across nice and clear from both in-game audio and chat from your teammates. Whether it is some fancy cinematic score, your favorite music track, or an in-game explosion, you won’t be disappointed with what you hear. For SteelSeries to use the same drivers that they use their previous and pricier headsets, the Arctis does a great job showing that you shouldn’t fix what’s not broken.
Whether it is the Arctis 3, Arctis 5, or Arctis 7, you won’t be disappointed with the Arctis core base build and functionality. The SteelSeries Arctis is a great-sounding, awesome-feeling and nice looking headset that should cover any audio enjoyment scenario. We hope our hands on each of the Arctis models, so we’ll include drill downs on each model we get our hands on as they come in. Nevertheless, at the base, the SteelSeries Arctis delivers in performance, functionality and sound. These headsets are worth your attention and can be checked out here…
(Update 1/26/17: All headsets reviewed!)