So far, only three new products are available: the sophisticated Arctis 7 wireless and two simpler wired models: Arctis 5 and Arctis 3. In this review we will talk about the simplest and most affordable solution, SteelSeries Arctis 3.
The Arctis 3 model is strikingly different from everything that SteelSeries did before, and the point here is not at all the beautiful design. For the first time in the history of SteelSeries, the speakers and the headset microphone have their own names - S1 and ClearMic, respectively. They probably turned out to be so good, and the manufacturer decided to emphasize this. Also, the headset can emulate 7.1 sound, although each of its cups has one speaker.
- Headset: SteelSeries Arctis 3
- Headphone Type: 2.0
- Impedance: 32 ohms
- Cable Type: Detachable (proprietary connector)
- Headphone Frequency Response: 20 - 22,000 Hz
- Speakers Diameter: 40 mm (Neodymium Magnets)
- Cables: 220 !!! cm headphone cable with two 3-pin plugs for microphone and headphone; 10 cm 4-pin cable for connecting a headset; 80 !!! cm headphone cable
- Headset microphone frequency range: 100 - 10 000Hz (bidirectional)
- Noise Reduction: Yes
- Microphone Impedance: 2200 Ohm
- Built-in Mic Sensitivity: -48dB
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 65dB
- Compatibility: Windows, Mac, PlayStation, X-BOX VR helmets, smartphones and tablets
The headset comes in a bright and compact box with a new design. Fans of the brand will definitely not be able to pass by if they notice Arctis 3 on a store shelf.
In addition to the headphones, there are three cables in the box, an instruction manual and a set of Arctis stickers. The first of the 80 cm long cables is equipped with two proprietary connectors, one of which is connected to the headset itself, and the second to the other cable. As a result, SteelSeries Arctis 3 can be connected either with a 4-pin audio jack (total cable length 90 cm) and two 3.5 mm audio jacks for microphone and headphones, respectively (total cable length 3 meters).
SteelSeries Arctis 3
Compared to all the other SteelSeries headphones, the design of the Arctis 3 turned out to be rigorous and minimal. Although the headphones have their own charm, the designers of Stilov tried not in vain.
The cups of Arctis 3 turned out to be large; each of them has one 40-mm speaker with a neodymium magnet. On the inside of the cups there is a small indentation resembling a human ear, which will add convenience to the new headphones. Instead of standard velor, you can buy leather. However, velor lining turned out to be quite good and pleasant to work with, although if aesthetics are important, you can think of a leather version.
The reverse side of the cups is made of soft-touch Soft Touch plastic. If you want, then you can stick one of the complete stickers here - their size is just right.
All controls and connectors are located on the left cup. This is a connector for connecting the main audio cable, volume control, a retractable ClearMic microphone on a flexible leg and a mute button. It is also worth noting that SteelSeries Arctis 3 has a separate 3.5 mm audio output, for connecting a second pair of headphones, they will output audio from the headset. A nice solution that is suitable for recording sound on a recorder or other recorder.
The headset's microphone is bi-directional, and a separate page is devoted to the procedure for creating it on the SteelSeries website. A correctly positioned ClearCast microphone should only pick up the player’s voice and cut off unnecessary noise (for example, clatter of the keyboard), and thanks to the good frequency response, this one will perfectly transmit voice.
The headband of the headset may become a separate topic for discussion. It consists of two parts: hard plastic, and soft, fabric. The hard part is crowned by SteelSeries Arctis 3. It is impossible to change its size.
The second part of the headband is made like a ski goggle strap. It is made of soft, flexible fabric that can be stretched due to its structure. In order to prevent the headset from sitting tight, this part of the headband can be relaxed; for this, Velcro is used at its edges.
At first glance, this design of the headband seems terrible and even worthless - it was necessary to think of using Velcro in the 21st century! Probably, one of the SteelSeries designers was too keen on skiing and decided to transfer his passion to a new headset. But these impressions were scattered after a few minutes of using Artcis 3. After adjusting the size of the headband, SteelSeries Arctis 3 would not want to shoot at all. The headset will sit perfectly on your head, and most importantly, its weight will hardly be felt. SteelSeries Arctis 3 will not put pressure on the ears, will be able to adapt to any shape of the head thanks to its unique headband. Also, soft ear cushions will not interfere with your glasses or VR helmet.
SoftwareDespite the fact that SteelSeries Arctis 3 is a simple analog headset that connects to a PC using a 3.5 mm audio jack and not a USB port, it can be controlled through the SteelSeries Engine utility. After registering the headset on the manufacturer’s website, the SteelSeries Engine application will be able to take control of the audio driver and make changes to its operation and change the sound.
As a result, you can turn on the 7.1 surround sound effect, play with the equalizer settings, amplify the bass and tune the microphone. Here you can turn on soft noise reduction, set the threshold for its operation, as well as slightly change the dynamic range.
TestingHeadset testing took place in two stages. First, we checked how she handles music and films, and then moved on to games.
For the first test, we selected two albums, this is the neoclassical Tubular Beats from Mike Oldfield and the latest Metallica album - Hardwired ... To Self-Destruct. These two tests SteelSeries Arctis 3 passed perfectly, the company's engineers tried not in vain. All musical instruments were clearly distinguishable in the tracks from Tubular Beats, and there were no problems with the new thrash metal album Metallica. Headphones did an excellent job of conveying bass well and not turning cymbal sounds into something incomprehensible. SteelSeries Arctis 3 is perfect for listening to music, the S1 speakers do an excellent job with the entire stated spectrum of reproduced frequencies, without skewing up or down.
After excellent results in the music test, SteelSeries Arctis 3 expectedly performed well while watching the video. In this headset, you can safely watch any movie. Headphones did an excellent job with the voices of the actors and the musical background. The explosions were especially successful, although this is quite logical for gaming devices.
Now let's move on to the games. In the horror Alien: Isolation, the headset also showed excellent results. With its help, one could hear in advance the Aliens crawling through the ventilation, have time to get scared, and also (if not to be scared too much :)) to hide in the nearest closet. We also got excellent results in online games, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Titanfall. In CS: GO, the steps of the opponents were perfectly distinguishable, and Titanfall was able to please with juicy explosions and shooting sounds. As for voice transmission, here we did not find almost any complaints. The microphone is high-quality, the voice is transmitted clearly and cleanly, and you can only find fault with its noise. Since it turned out to be soft, it does not always manage to cope with its function. For example, he will not be able to completely suppress loud extraneous sounds.
Separately, it is worth mentioning the virtual mode 7.1, which must first be activated in the SteelSeries Engine utility. Of course, miracles did not happen in this test - two-channel headphones will not sound as voluminous as a full-fledged 7.1 headset. However, SteeSeries programmers clearly did not want to put up with this fact, so the virtual surround sound of the headset turned out to be good for its class. Of course, with real headphones, in the cups of which several speakers are hidden, SteelSeries Arctis 3 is difficult to compete, but for the average user, such virtual surround sound will be quite enough.
ConclusionSteelSeries Arctis 3 turned out to be a great gaming headset. She copes with her main tasks perfectly: the S1 speakers and the ClearCast microphone are really worth the flattering words that showered them with the manufacturer. SteelSeries Arctis 3 does an excellent job of playing music, movies and, of course, it is ideal for games. The price of SteelSeries Arctis 3 was not very high, if you compare the headset with top-end gaming solutions. At the time of this writing, Arctis 3 can be purchased in Moscow online stores for about 6,000 - 6,500 rubles.
Therefore, if you are looking for a headset in which you can spend hours watching your favorite game, then you can safely start to take a closer look at SteelSeries Arctis 3. It is lightweight, does not put pressure on your head or ears, and at the same time is suitable for any type of game. It is also compatible with PlayStation and X-BOX consoles, can work with VR helmets and will not interfere with ordinary glasses.
Final rating: 7 out of 10.