It’s highly unlikely that you are a gaming enthusiast and haven’t heard of Arctis headphones. From high-res audio, powerful mic to lossless streaming- they offer it all. On top of it, have you looked at them? These headphones look straight out of some sci-fi movie.
To be honest, there aren’t many heaven and hell differences between Steelseries headphones. Yet each of them varies only in some aspects. To make sure you are getting the right value for money, it’s really important to go through the review of each.
So here we go:
Arctis 3 vs
Arctis 5- Battle Royale
Sound and Gaming Experience
Arctis 3 is a complete gaming headset, beating Arctis 5 and 7 by a great margin in terms of popularity. The primary reason for that seems to be the affordable price tag. Feature-wise, there aren’t tons of bells and whistles.
It uses both analog and Bluetooth 4.1 to cater to your basic gaming needs. It’s comfortable, has a fairly decent sound, a powerful mic and the best of all, I could switch between game immersion and music settings in a jiffy.
USB audio devices can process audio much better than the regular 3.5 mm jack by minimizing audio interference from other nearby devices. 7.1 is basically an 8-channel surround audio system and a 3.5 mm analog hole has only 4 channels. So even though Arctis 3 advertises that their S1 speakers produce 7.1 surround sound, it’s not entirely true.
I know a thing or two about game engine audio processing and my knowledge tells me that it’s just not possible to achieve 7.1 with a 3.5 mm jack. However, this doesn’t mean Arctis 3 isn’t worth its salt. It sounds just as good as any other high-quality gaming headset.
I played Half Life 1 and Overwatch on both PS4 and PC. The wired audio on both devices had enough juice to create an immersive gaming environment. Then I connected my Huwaei P20 Pro via Bluetooth to play PUBG. I noticed a noticeable drop in the bass and mids, they both sounded a bit flat. This is maybe because of the poor audio compression.
By shelling out a couple of bucks more, you can buy Arctis 5 which, in addition to a 3.5 mm jack adapter, also features a USB adapter. I downloaded the DTS Headphone X Surround Sound software on my PC, chose the DTS 7.1 surround sound preset and played Overwatch. Boy! I’ve to say the surround sound took the gaming experience to the next level.
The detailing of sound, smooth sub-bass, and clean upper midrange are incredible. The credit for this also goes to the angular drivers that help with directional noises. Then I switched to the default sound mode for GTA-V. I could hear the dialogues clearly and the overall experience was thoroughly enjoyable.
Other Considerations: Design & Comfort, Mic & Music
Unless you are crazy about 7.1 surround sound and the ChatMix feature, the Arctis 3 offers pretty much the same gaming experience and performance as Arctis 5. The choice is entirely up to your preference.
Design and Comfort: Both Arctis 3 and 5 look nearly the same. Both have ample padding on the earcups and doesn’t cause fatigue after prolonged gameplay. Both can be easily adjusted to fit large heads as well.
Mic: Again, pretty much the same. However, Arctis 5 offers a significant feature call ChatMix. If you use Skype during gameplay, you can alternatively mute the chat, mute the in-game audio or balance the sound of both. However, I could hear a slight digital noise on both when the noise cancelation was off.
Music: Arctis 3 offers a gorgeous stereo sound while listening to music. You can also tinker with the EQ settings on the SteelSeries Engine 3 Software. Arctis 5 too delivers a balanced, natural sound complemented by powerful bass. However, adjust the EQ settings of a USB headset like Arctis 5 is much easier.
Arctis 3 vs 5 vs 7
Now, the choice gets more difficult. Neither Arctis 3 nor 5 have wireless features unlike Arctis 7. But Arctis 7 combines both 3.5 mm jack and USB connector. You can also take advantage of its wireless functionality while listening to music or playing games on your phone. You can use the SteelSeries Engine software to enjoy DTS 7.1 surround sound and other presets.
However, my main concern is that these features will work only on PC. If you are more of a PS4 or Xbox 1 user like me, I don’t see the point of spending so much on Arctis 7. I can get the same performance, functionality, and comfort from Arctis 5 as well. And if you like to keep things simple, Arctis 3 won’t disappoint either.
Arctis 3 vs Arctis 5 vs Arctis 7 vs Arctis Bluetooth vs Arctis Pro
If you are an online multiplayer or single-player game addict, I feel you will benefit more from Arctis Bluetooth than any other headset of this series. I played PUBG on my phone and the Witcher 3 on my PS4.
I absolutely adore the fact that I could find my enemies just by hearing their dim voices. For this alone, take my money Arctis Bluetooth. I also loved the fact that you can connect to your phone via 3.5 mm jack while gaming PC via Bluetooth.
The Arctis Pro features DTS Headphone X: 2.0 to deliver hi-res audio. It simply increases the depth of the sound field for 3D audio effect. Now the thing is, after the 2019 update, Arctis 5 and 7 have also been upgraded to DTS Headphone X: 2.0.
Even the older version owner can upgrade to V2.0 via the SteelSeries software. If you are excited about using GameDAC wired on your console for better sound, sorry to disappoint you. The wired version will only sound louder, not “better”. Arctis Pro helps hearing noises from the enemy base and their footsteps. Magnificent. But so does Arctis 5, 7 and Bluetooth. Even Arctis 3 forms an incredible game audio environment for its price.
However, when it comes to aesthetics, comfort, and versatility, Arctis Pro completely justifies the “pro” tag. Once you turn on Bass Boost EQ, Holy Guacamole! For a true audiophile, the sound clarity, bass, sharp treble, and crystal clear midrange will make for an unmatchable audio experience, a quality none of the other SteelSeries headsets can beat.
Best SteelSeries Headset Based on Different User Preference:
Arctis 3: If you are on a budget yet want a comfortable and functional headset with a stunning stereo sound, it’s worth the investment.
Arctis 5: Since it has a USB connector, you can easily finetune the audio settings, enjoy 7.1 surround sound and ChatMix for a wholesome experience.
Arctis 7: A wireless headphone tailor-made for hardcore gamers. It also uses GameDAC that creates a 3D audio effect.
Arctis Bluetooth: An excellent choice if you prefer consoles like Nintendo, PS4 or Xbox over PC most of the time.
Arctis Pro: The ultimate headset for true audiophiles.
Also Read: Best Headset For Call Center
So that was it. I tried my best to explain how each headset will cater to a particular game setup/audio preference. About the other factors like aesthetics, comfort and overall functionality, all the SteelSeries headphones are more or less the same. So the decision really comes down to how crazy your game setups are, what devices you use and how Hi-Fi you want the sound to be.
Last update on 2020-04-01 at 14:00 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API