Following our previous reviews of gaming headsets in the mid-range prices, we finish things off for now with the Arctis 3 Gaming Headset from SteelSeries.
With a price-tag of €99.99, it shouldn’t be any hassle for a gamer looking for a new headset to turn their attention to this product from the Danish gaming company.
In this review I will be comparing Arctis 3 to other models from different manufacturers in the same price-range, so it will be fair odds for all products on hand.
I’ve had experience with other gaming headsets from SteelSeries in the past. About 5 years ago I purchased the very popular Siberia V2 headset, and I’m curious to see what has changed in the time that has passed, and how well Arctis 3 will do in comparison to Sennheiser GSP 300 and HyperX Cloud Revolver, just to name a few of the other products on the market within the €100 range for serious gamers.
Compatible with PC, Mac, PlayStation, Xbox, Mobile & VR.
Neodymium Drivers 40mm Headphone. Frequency Response 20-22000 Hz. Headphone Sensitivity 98db. Headphone Impedance 32 Ohm. Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion < 3%. Headphone Volume Control: On Ear Cup. Microphone Frequency Response 100Hz - 10000Hz. Microphone Pattern Bidirectional. Microphone Sensitivity -48 db. Microphone Impedance 2200 Ohm. Microphone Noise Cancellation: Yes. Microphone Location Retractable. Microphone Mute Toggle On Ear Cup.
Connector Type Dual 3.5mm, 3-Pole Plug or Single 3.5mm, 4-Pole Plug via included adapter. Cable Length3m, 10ft. Cable Material Rubber Adapter. Single 3.5mm, 4-Pole Plug. Share Jack: Yes. Detachable Cable: Yes.
First Impressions & Build Style
After unboxing the Arctis 3, it was time to plug the headset in and see how it felt in general. The first thing I noticed was that the earpads simply didn’t have enough space for my ears. My ears would touch the inner audio-pads during use, and this became a very annoying thing following my later tests of the headset.
This is a pretty crucial thing since most gamers use their headset multiple hours every day, and thus things didn’t really start off too well for the Arctis 3.
Next step was adjustment according to individual head-size. Arctis 3 offers no possibility of adjusting the headset placement to your head, and this was a big let-down for me. Despite the Ski Goggle Headband being in place, the headset was just too small, and I don’t have a particular big head, so this was disappointing.
I was getting worried about how I would feel about the headset in general with these two first impressions.
Comfort is a very important thing to anyone who uses their equipment for a big part of their day, and some big changes would certainly had been appreciated with this product.
Arctis 3 offers volume adjustment and the ability to mute the microphone on the left earpad, which is cool, but my mind kept bugging me around the previously mentioned comfortability issues which just seemed to make it hard for Arctis 3 to give a decent first impression.
After the rough start, it was time to lay back and put on some good music to see how the audio experience were with Arctis 3.
At the beginning of my tests, I played various genres like Pop, R’n’B, Rock, Psychedelic and more. Overall the experience was satisfying at first, but as I turned up the volume, the sound started to make crackling noises, and this persisted in every type of music I played.
A headset should be able to play wonderfully even when it’s being pushed to its maximum volume limit, just like the experience were with GSP 300 from Sennheiser and Cloud Revolver from HyperX, but again Arctis 3 seemed to fall short.
I tested Arctis 3 both with and without my external sound-card, and even plugged it into my iPhone, but the audio difficulties remained, and as such I was starting to get really disappointed in this product from SteelSeries, even though I’m sad to say it.
In terms of bass, the quality was mediocre. It lacked depth and had an overall feeling of again being of low quality.
The audio tests left me feeling that components of much higher quality should have been used, and at the price of €99.99, you have to set some kind of standard, which wasn’t met.
Arctis 3 for CSGO
The battle wasn’t lost completely for Arctis 3 yet, as I was getting ready to test it for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
After a few hours of playing CSGO, there wasn’t much positive things I could bring on the table for Arctis 3. For me, the sounds by themselves were ok, but I had a constant feeling of being inside a tunnel when I was using it while gaming.
The clarity wasn’t close to being up there with its price-range competitors, and I began to feel that this was more and more a hit-and-miss by SteelSeries.
I was actually kind of surprised by all of this since I’ve had the SteelSeries Siberia V2 for years and thought it was a great headset for gamers that were on a budget, but somehow Arctis 3 just seemed to let me down, even in CSGO.
The one positive thing I can say is that my teammates told me the microphone was really good, but that’s only half a great thing if you feel that the sounds you yourself are hearing are not up to the standards for gaming headsets today.
Arctis 3 vs. Sennheiser GSP 300 & HyperX Cloud Revolver
Despite the HyperX Cloud Revolver having a bit steeper price-tag than both Arctis 3 and Sennheiser GSP 300, I felt it was acceptable to do a small comparison between the 3 headsets.
From design, comfort and the audio-experience overall, Arctis 3 falls off on possibly every single point that you can find. The microphone might be the exception, but the three headsets should be a lot closer to each other, especially since they follow pretty much the same price-range.
As I mentioned earlier, the comfortability issues with Arctis 3 were centered around my ears touching the audio-pads, and the lack of adjustment being available.
Sennheiser GSP 300 offers complete adjustment in order to match your head, but HyperX Cloud Revolver uses some kind of the same concept as Arctis 3. The big difference between the two products on that point is that Cloud Revolver feels much more delicate in terms of adjustment, and if better materials and build style were used on Arctis 3, I have no doubt that the same comfort could be obtained.
With a price-tag of €99.99, SteelSeries certainly aimed to make a headset that’s affordable to pretty much every gamer out there, but the lack of innovative design, quality of the audio and the other aspects I’ve covered in this review seems to make it way too expensive for what you get.
With the rough competition on the market, €100 could get you a much better headset for the money. A few good examples would be Sennheiser GSP 300, HyperX Cloud II and if you stretch your budget a little bit, HyperX Cloud Revolver.
This is the first review where I felt that the product I had in hand didn’t live up to its price or expectations.
My experience with the headset was surprising to say the least, coming from a company with a strong gaming pedigree, I would expect it to have the basics right and at least match its direct competitors. I cannot recommend SteelSeries Arctic 3 as there are far better alternatives out there that we have already reported on. We at Compass Gaming strive to make it easier for you to know which product you should get next, when looking for upgrades for your current setup.
I have no concerns that SteelSeries tried to make a product that could be tempting for gamers in the medium end of the price-scale, but good intentions only gets you so far.
Massive changes to design and audio components are needed if SteelSeries want to knock off their competitors in the gaming market, at least when we talk about Arctis 3.
Despite Arctis 3 being a let-down in most of the subjects that matters in a headset, I hope that some innovation and new ideas can bring some new headsets around that can get me just as excited as I was with the previous headsets I’ve tested.
If you’re looking for inspiration to headsets or just want to get more knowledge about them, check out rex’s article here hltv.org/?pageid=135&userid=513969&blogi..
For more information about SteelSeries Arctic 3, read more at steelseries.com/gaming-headsets/arctis-3
Want to get in touch with us? Drop a mail at email@example.com
Previous reviews by Compass Gaming
Zowie XL2540 240 hz eSport Monitor (byx)hltv.org/blog/13396-review-of-the-zowie-..
Zowie XL2540 240 hz eSport Monitor (rex) hltv.org/?pageid=135&userid=513969&blogi..
Zowie P TF-X Mousepadhltv.org/blog/13450-review-of-the-zowie-..
HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Keyboardhltv.org/blog/13592-review-of-hyperx-all..
HyperX Cloud Revolver Headsethltv.org/blog/13609-review-of-hyperx-clo..
Sennheiser GSP 300 Headset hltv.org/blog/13641-review-of-sennheiser..
Maxnomic Classic Office eSport Chair hltv.org/blog/13659-review-of-maxnomic-c..
SteelSeries Rival 700hltv.org/blog/13696-review-of-steelserie..
Corsair Harpoon RGB Gaming Mousehltv.org/blog/13699-review-corsair-harpo..
Mouse guide hltv.org/?pageid=135&userid=513969&blogi..
Zowie Mice hltv.org/?pageid=135&userid=513969&blogi..