Arctis 3 (Headphones)
SteelSeries has a slew of gamer specific headphones on the market. The new Arctis line wants to change things up by focusing less on flash and more on delivering solid sound at a decent price point. I had the chance to try out the new Arctis headset and feel like they succeeded. Come inside for my full review!
There's a plethora of various gaming headsets on the market today. As eSports become bigger, and having the coolest gear becomes just as important as WHAT you're playing, there are plenty of headphones to choose from. In an effort to stand out from the crowd, companies have gone to great lengths to make their headsets stand out from the rest...And the results aren’t always that great.
Take a quick look around at any “gaming headphones” online and you’ll see a plethora of flashy and quirky looking options. Many of these are bulky and goofy, playing off an overblown sci-fi aesthetic that so many have come to associate with a gamer look. While some are plenty cool, the gaudier ones come off more like bulky toys.
Those may be just fine for your gaming at home, but they may not exactly be the kind of things you want to take with you to events, or just to wear around in public. SteelSeries’ new Arctis line of headphones seeks to tackle this problem head-on and provide quality gaming sound without all the gimmicky looks. The Arctis series comes in three models to choose from, 3, 5, and 7. I was given the Arctis 3 to test out, so that’s what I’m basing this review off of, but much should remain the same across the board.
SteelSeries has a great track record of producing headphones for gamers with excellent sound quality, and going with one of their options is never a bad choice. Hell, just check out my review for their Siberia 800 set and you’ll see what I mean. Despite coming in at a significantly lower price, the Arctis continues to deliver on quality surround-sound in your games.
I played the majority of Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4) with the Arctis headset and the gameplay felt significantly enhanced because of it. They allow for great audio dynamic range, filling the background with effects that truly give life to the areas you’re exploring, while giving dialog and important sounds priority. The microphone (which I used to record a couple things) is also solid and doesn’t come off tinny or mechanical.
All in all, from a technical standpoint, the Arctis headphones are impressive and deliver on great sound quality, much as you’ve come to expect from the SteelSeries line. Unlike the Siberia 800, which is wireless, comes with a component box that has to be set-up with whatever you’re using it with, the Arctis is completely plug-in-play. There’s no lengthy set-up, or big changes you have to make if you want to swap between devices. All you have to do is make sure you have the right cord, and simply plug it in.
While it lacks many of the options in the bigger Siberia model, many will find the Arctis’ ease of use highly attractive. The driving factor behind the Arctis design, however, has more to do with combating the gaudy and flashy design styles of other gaming headphones. Rather than going over the top, it keeps things simple coming in either solid black or white.
It’s plain without being boring, offering flair in the form of a light ring on the outside of the headphones that change colors as you play, and an adjustable “ski goggle” band on the inside. As I said, Arctis manages to be unassuming without being bland. It eliminates the over-the-top design angles of other headsets, making it ideal for a variety of uses. If you want to just listen to music our plug into your gaming handheld while out and about, these won’t draw any weird looks from others.
The band is patterned for some extra flair, but can be adjusted to fit better on your head. Speaking of which, these headphones are pretty damn comfortable. The large, over the ear, cups are super comfy, while the strap keeps it snug and in place. The thing doesn’t shift about while you’re playing, so you won’t have to constantly fiddle with it. Even with my glasses on it was comfortable to wear for longer periods of time without pressing in too hard on the frames. As such, they should be easy to wear for just about everyone.
Great Sound, Simple Design, Excellent Price
While SteelSeries is marketing the Arctis headsets as “built for gamers”, the reality is that these headphones are excellent for just about anyone who needs a quality pair of headphones. They look great, super easy to use, and come in at an excellent price point that’s hard to argue with. If you need a multi-use headset without a lot of fuss or breaking the bank, Arctis makes for an easy recommendation.