Searching for a budget gaming headset that’s manufactured by one of the best gaming peripheral brands out there? Then the SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset is worthy of your consideration. The number of features implemented here will make any gamer happy, and transform the quality of their audio experience.
SteelSeries is a brand that’s recognized by the gaming community as one of the industry leaders. Sure, there are others like Logitech and Razer, but SteelSeries competes well in the marketplace, and the Arctis 3 is another example of that.
In this SteelSeries Arctis 3 Gaming Headset review you’ll learn about the advantages of this headset to see why the cost is worth it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of gaming features SteelSeries has implemented here. Likewise, you’ll learn about the disadvantages of the gaming headset. It’s important to read about the negatives to get a balanced overview of the product.
We will start off by considering the reasons why the Arctis 3 is such a great budget gaming headset. There are a lot of products at this end of the price scale, but this one does a great job of competing.
Why the SteelSeries Arctis 3 is a great budget headset
Now we will take a look at why the SteelSeries Arctis 3 is worth the investment. Keep in mind that the headset is priced at the budget end of the scale when reading the positive points in his article. There are premium priced headsets with better features, but you have to consider what’s available here with respect to the asking price.
The ski google headband, soft ear cups and lightweight design means it’s a comfortable headset. The size of the ear cups might be a touch small for those with extra-large ears, but for the most part this gaming headset is comfortable to wear for multiple hours in a row.
As a gamer you do not want to feel uncomfortable during a stretch of gaming where you’re immersed in the action. The Arctis 3 does a great job of allowing you to forget that you’re even wearing a gaming headset while playing a game.
7.1 surround sound
The surround sound with this headset is implemented well. You’ll have a good direction sense of where the action is occurring all around you. For example, if you are playing Battlefield 1 and there is someone shooting at you from the left-hand side, then you’ll know that just from the audio feedback you’re receiving.
Surround sound is a cool feature to have and certainly it’s not the same when you’re using the monitor or TV speakers. Once you begin using a gaming headset for games you’ll feel as if going back is a big downgrade you do not want to make.
Quality sound at a budget price point
The audio drivers produce a great sound at low, mid and high tones. You’ll feel as if the recreation of the audio is so good that you have a clear idea of what sound you are hearing. For example, if you’re playing an open world game and a horse is walking in the distance you’ll be able to distinguish it from the noise of a human or other animal. This allows you to have information via audio that you cannot yet see visually.
The S1 audio drivers pack a powerful punch and contribute towards a quality sound that both newcomers to gaming headsets and veterans alike can appreciate what’s on offer.
Firstly, it has to be said that the microphone can pick up some ambient noise if the software is not used to set up the gaming headset. However, overall it is a great microphone that adds a lot of value to the gaming setup. It allows you to communicate effectively with other teammates, and you can also use it for calls. If you need a microphone to chat over video calls or make a business call, then you can do so.
Additionally, the design of the microphone has a minimalist feel to it. That’s because it is rather thin, and that reduces the amount of space it takes up. If you don’t like the microphone boom that comes with a lot of headsets, then you’ll be pleased with how this microphone has been implemented.
Compatible with all platforms
You’ll be pleased to know that this gaming headset is compatible with the main platforms you’re likely to be playing on. This includes mobile, VR, Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation and PC. Therefore, you will not need to buy a separate audio solution for each platform that you want to play games on. You’ll see that the quality of the audio has been implemented well so that it works as designed on any platform.
To summarize, the Arctis 3 is worth the budget price, and it competes well with others in this category that have the same range of features. You’ll find that this piece of equipment can lift the quality of the gaming experience to a level that cannot be matched by the audio from monitor or TV speakers.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 versus the HyperX Cloud Stinger
Related: HyperX Cloud Stinger Review
In this section we will compare the SteelSeries Arctis 3 against the HyperX Cloud Stinger. It’s a great idea to compare these two gaming headsets because they are priced in a similar price range for the budget consumer. They are two of the most popular choices and deciding between them might be hard if you don’t consider the differences.
The Arctis 3 is priced a bit higher than the HyperX model, but only by a small amount. Keep this in mind whilst taking a look at the differences between these two gaming headsets.
The design is different
From a visual design point of view the SteelSeries Arctis 3 looks more stylish and less bulky. This is of course an opinionated point of view, but the difference is noticeable. Also around the ear cup area the HyperX appears to be bulkier.
The HyperX look more like a budget end gaming headset, whereas the Arctis 3 can be confused for a premium priced product. If you like the look of the electronics that you buy, then this might be an important point for you to consider.
Nature of the microphone
The HyperX Cloud Stinger has a typical microphone boom, which is different from the microphone on the Arctis 3. It’s hidden in the framework of the gaming headset, and therefore it is not in the way. However, the bidirectional nature of the microphone can lead to ambient noise being a problem. Whereas, the noise cancelling aspect of the HyperX is a lot better.
Noise cancellation is an important feature if you play games online and need to have a clear line of communication. Without proper noise cancelation you might find repeating yourself several times before the recipient of the audio has understood what you have said.
Surround sound vs stereo
The HyperX Cloud Stinger has an audio setup, whereas the SteelSeries Arctis 3 provides surround sound. Therefore, in this area it has an advantage and provides an important gaming feature. Surround sound allows you to clearly figure out the direction of an object in a game that’s making a noise.
There is also a competitive advantage to be had with surround sound. In an online setting when an enemy player is trying to get the jump on you the direction they are coming from can be figured out and evasive action taken.
However, you should be aware that the design of the games themselves creates a surround sound feel to a certain extent. Therefore, HyperX Cloud Stinger can provide some surround sound audio, but it is limited by what the game offers.
Comfort of each headset
In addition to the audio the comfort has to be great for a gaming headset. That’s because gaming for many hours at a time can only be done in comfort. If you begin to get annoyed with the fit of the headset then your gaming experience is going to suffer.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger has HyperX signature memory foam which allows the ear pads to be very comfortable. The feel of the ear pads on the head will be very soft, and also the ear cups are big enough to fit your entire ears.
On the other hand, the Arctis 3 has an ear cup size that might not fit those with large ears, which can potentially lead to discomfort during long hours of play. Therefore, you need to consider this ergonomic mist-step before buying the Arctis 3.
So which gaming headset is better?
As you’ve seen in this section both gaming headsets have their positives and negatives. The Arctis 3 has a better-looking design, 7.1 surround sound and a hidden microphone, whereas the HyperX Cloud Stinger doesn’t. However, the Hyper X does provide great ear pads which will be comfortable for almost any gamer out there.
Regarding all the other features both headsets have equal execution and for that reason there is no need to mention them. After all, you’ll be making your decision based on the differences between these two. To summarize, they are both excellent gaming headset at the budget end of the scale.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 Gaming Headset Review
Steel Series as a company does an excellent job of meeting the needs of the demanding gamer. They have already released quality products such as mice, mouse pads and keyboards. The gaming headset they have released are also worthy of consideration.
In this review we will go into detail regarding the attractiveness of the SteelSeries Arctis 3, and also some of the negatives. We hope that by the end of this review you’ll be informed enough to make a smart buying decision. In the end it’s important to select a product that makes sense for your specific needs.
Keep in mind that this is a budget product, and therefore should not be compared to premium price product like the Arctis 7 or Sennheiser GAME ONE. Therefore, we can be a bit more lenient when it comes to the drawbacks. However, the performance must still be excellent with regards to improving the gaming performance.
- Compatible with all gaming platforms
- ClearCast mic delivers studio-quality voice clarity and background noise cancellation
- S1 speaker drivers engineered to produce detailed and balanced soundscape
- Ultra-low distortion for your games, music, movies and more
- Fabric AirWeave ear cushions
- Ski goggle suspension headband for lasting comfort
- Retractable microphone
When you first look at the Arctis 3 you might not think that it is a gaming headset, because there is a lack of flashy features. However, don’t be fooled by the appearance, the headset is made for gaming.
The S1 speaker drivers provide crystal clear audio capable of reproducing all sounds in high detail. You will not be disappointed with the clarity of the audio as you’re able to notice the sounds you might have missed before. It’s great enough not just for gaming, but also when enjoying the latest movies and music.
From an ergonomic standpoint the attention to detail is impressive. The airweave ear cushions are designed to keep your ears cool and dry. When gaming for multiple hours a gaming headset can take its toll, but here the design is in your favor. Additionally, there is a ski google suspension band. This allows the fit to be adjusted to your specific head. It’s a great way of customizing the fit with an off the shelf product.
For an immersive experience 7.1 surround sound is offered, which is a must-have feature. For games where it is implemented well the difference is huge. You’ll have a great sense of what is happening in the world around you.
Another notable feature is the SteelSeries Engine Software. This allows you to fine-tune the audio experience to your liking. For those of you that know exactly how you like your audio can mess around with the settings to get it how you want it.
To summarize, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 is an impressive offering at an attractive price point. If you’re in a market for a sleek looking visual design with comfort and great audio execution, then you should give this model some consideration. There is so much value here that it even competes well with more expensive model in the marketplace.
Pros of SteelSeries Arctis 3
To finally figure out if the Arctis 3 is the gaming headset for you the advantages must be considered. You’ll see that there are plenty of positive points here that can completely transform your gaming experience from an audio point of view.
7.1 Surround sound
When it comes to gaming headsets the quality of the surround sound must be executed well. It has the potential to transform the gaming experience that cannot be felt from a speaker system. Unless you have a state of the art surround sound system in your home. However, for PC players that typically is not practical.
The surround sound here is only compatible with the PC platform. However, when playing games like the Witcher 3, Battlefield 1 and Assassins Creed Origins the surround sound is a big factor. When something is approaching that’s not visible on screen you’ll have a good idea of what the direction is. This leads to improved gameplay and also, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the threats that are out there.
To be able to play games for many hours at a time it is required that you’re comfortable. Otherwise you’ll have to take breaks and that is going to reduce the immersion factor of gaming. The designers of the Arctis 3 have taken this into account and have created plenty of ergonomic features to get excited about.
First all of all the size of the ear cups are large enough to fit your ears in their entirety. Additionally, the headband has a ski google type design, which means it fits the head of the wearer nicely. After a few minutes of gaming you’ll get immersed into the action and forget that you’re wearing a gaming headset at all.
High quality speakers
For a budget headset the S1 speaker drivers are impressive. You’ll be hard pressed to find better speaker drivers at this price point. The audio is crisp, clear and recreates the audio as intended. You’ll hear new sounds you might have missed before if you have never used a gaming headset in the past.
The audio quality is excellent enough to be used for other purposes like music and watching movies. The balanced soundscape improves upon the audio experience regardless of what purpose you’re using them for.
Crystal clear microphone
The quality of the microphone is excellent, even though it is not in the typical form. It’s rather thin, which means it doesn’t take up extra space. This is an excellent feature which contributes to the elegant design of the gaming headset.
The microphone also has a noise cancelling feature, which greatly reduces the ambient noise interfering with the clarity of the audio. This allows communication during online play to be crystal clear and you won’t have to repeat yourself constantly.
Having a working microphone on the headset is great as you can use it for other uses other than gaming. For instance, if you need to make a video call for business or to connect with friends then you can do so. If you already have a microphone on your laptop, then it still helps having a back up to fall back on.
Disadvantages of the SteelSeries Arctis 3
This is a budget gaming headset and therefore it isn’t perfect. There are some disadvantages that must be highlighted so that you can see for yourself why this might not be the gaming headset for you. Pay attention to each disadvantage mentioned so that it doesn’t become a deal breaker for you after you have bought it.
There are cheaper alternatives
This gaming headset does come at a budget price point, but it is not in the cheapest price bracket. There are cheaper options that you can pick up which have the same features and with a similar level of implementation and execution.
On the other hand, the Arctis 5 gaming headset is only a bit more expensive, yet provides more value. Therefore, if you have the extra money upgrading to the SteelSeries Arctis 5 might be a great idea.
However, the value to performance ratio of this gaming headset is still great and is worth the purchase. This is especially true if the different features implemented here and the design is exactly what you’re looking for.
The software is clumsy but required
The software isn’t the easiest to use and can be a bit annoying for the average user. It’s a hassle that shouldn’t be there, but you have to put up with it because, for example, the noise cancellation feature of the microphone must be fine-tuned in order for it to be effective. It’s not a deal breaker but something to consider before pulling the trigger on the purchase.
Not the biggest cups
The size of the ear cups are comfortable for most, but if you have bigger than average ears then they might be a bit fiddly. That’s because the ear cups are not the biggest out there. This is only a disadvantage if you can’t fit your ears neatly inside.
Some online stores give us a small commission if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.
Latest posts by Martynas Pupkevicius (see all)
- 9 Best PS4 External Hard Drives and 6 Best PS4 Internal Hard Drives - January 16, 2019
- Top 22 Best Racing Wheels for PC and Console Gaming - July 1, 2018
- Sennheiser GAME ZERO Gaming Headset Review - June 27, 2018