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Steelseries Arctis 3 Bluetooth - Dual Audio with Bluetooth, the Killer Feature

By Kasey Gilder on November 14, 2017 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Steelseries Arctis 3 Bluetooth - Dual Audio with Bluetooth, the Killer Feature

Steelseries has released the next headset in their very popular Arctis line. This latest release adds Bluetooth connectivity to create a headset that you can use for all your gaming as well as daily use. Exactly like the other headsets in the line, it features their Ski Goggle Headband and AirWeave Fabric for the ear cups. The microphone is exact to its brothers and features the same element as well as the acoustic noise cancellation.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $129.99
  • Headphone Drivers: Neodymium 40mm
  • Headphone Frequency Response: 20-22000 Hz
  • Headphone Sensitivity: 98db
  • Headphone Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion: <3%
  • Microphone Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10000Hz
  • Microphone Pattern: Bidirectional
  • Microphone Sensitivity: -48 db
  • Microphone Impedance: 2200 Ohm
  • Surround Sound: 7.1 Virtual Surround on Windows PC
  • Additional Features: Can connect to two different sources via analog and bluetooth

You read that last bullet right. The very first thought that came into my mind was: “Wait, you can have two sources at once?!” This was the first thing I put to the test. I plugged the headset into my Nintendo Switch and connected the Bluetooth to my phone and opened discord. It was great to hear all of the audio from Super Mario Odyssey and be able to talk with the crew. The audio was perfectly blended and you couldn’t tell that there was two different sources, except for when I getting texts and e-mails and the talking dimmed down for the notifications. This ended up being a welcome feature as I knew when someone was trying to get ahold of me. Normally with the headset on I don’t hear my phone go off.

The comfort factor is amazing. Just like the other Arctis headsets, it sits very nicely on your head, doesn’t push on your ears, sits comfortably over your ears, and doesn’t weigh a lot. I wore them for 4 hours continuously and they were never a problem. Various ends are included for whatever your analog connection is.

When it comes to sound quality, it's right up there with the competition. No real frequencies stand out as being too much or too little. Voices come through and aren't muddled in with music or game audio, as long as you don't have the game up too loud. As far as the Surround Sound goes, it is Windows exclusive. That means that you will not get 7.1 on mobile, console, or Bluetooth. It is handled through the SteelSeries Engine.


Image credit: Slashgear

With it being an analog connection, all the processing is on your CPU. Depending on your system, your experience can be different from someone else. The spatial audio isn't as nicely defined as I would like. With the main focus of this headset being portability and multi-purpose, I don't see the emphasis being on 7.1, but more on a much better stereo experience.

It should be noted that the surround sound limitations aren’t down to the speakers themselves. This is a problem with the virtual audio driver, which means that there can be updates to the software/driver to fine tune that experience.

The battery has yet to die. They’ve gone through over twelve hours of use, four of which were in gaming succession. SteelSeries says that the battery is made to last for 28 hours of active listening time.

When it comes to the microphone, it works and sounds just like the others. The mic retracts into itself for easy storage on the go or just to get it away from you when you’re just using it to listen to music. The mic features “True Acoustic Noise Cancellation”. It is designed in such a way that it rejects background noise very well. If you remember back to the Siberia headset days, the microphone was just on the end in a cylindrical end cap. Now, it looks more like a paddle. The element itself is on the inside of it while it is now thicker and taller so it rejects noise that isn’t coming directly from the element side. At the same time, it focuses the incoming voice to give it a fuller tone.

With this being analog and Bluetooth connection, there is no RGB like the Arctis 5; RGB on a dual connection device like this would definitely cut down on battery life. Currently, it is available in black only. To set yours apart from your friends, you can order a separate band and switch it with the black and white one that it comes with it. Hopefully, in the future, they will made this in white and some of the other cool color options like they have for the Arctis 5.

My Final Thoughts

If you’re in the market for a pair of headphones and a new headset, this is a great place to start. It’s priced at a point that gives higher than average audio quality, allows you to hardwire connect into all major consoles and computers, gives you the wireless bluetooth connectivity for music listening, phone conversations, or tapping into your favorite VoIP program while you’re playing games.

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Great mic quality
  • Good drivers for playback
  • Able to connect to two different sources at the same time, and use both sources
  • Various analog end adapters
  • Compatible with all major consoles and computers

Cons

  • No carrying bag to store in your backpack while traveling

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.