SteelSeries Arctis 3 Gaming Headset Review BannerThe SteelSeries Arctis 3 console edition gaming headset offers excellent value with premium features. The SteelSeries brand is synonymous with comfort, quality, and great sound. The Arctis 3 Console Edition continues this tradition with a slew of excellent gamer-centric design touches. The headset delivers crystal clear audio across a wide selection of home consoles. They even offer compatibility with older and newer hardware like the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X.

The headphones have been built with competitive gaming in-mind, delivering excellent performance housed in a sleek design. The Arctis 3s will provide you with hours of comfort, outstanding sound clarity, and an advantage on the virtual battlefield. It offers all this, without breaking your budget. I’ve put the headset through its paces with some of the hottest games of this holiday season, let’s find out if it delivers.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 Nintendo SwitchArctis 3 compatibility

The Arctis 3 connects via a 3.5mm jack which makes it compatible with just about all game consoles and a multitude of other devices.

Even if you are gaming on an older generation of consoles, the headset is backward and forward compatible with Xbox and PlayStation hardware.

The same goes for the Nintendo Switch family of consoles, the Arctis 3 works great with the entire range. In terms of laptops, mobile devices and beyond the Arctis 3’s are also compatible. I often found myself reaching for them as my default headphones for listening to music. They sound great and are ultra-comfortable thanks to great hardware design.

SteelSeries Arctis 3Hardware design

The Arctis 3s feature a sleek lightweight design, that is heavy on gaming audio features. The headset isn’t bulky, affording hours of marathon gaming, while keeping your head cool and comfortable under pressure. Let’s take a closer look at the different elements that really set the Arctis 3s apart from the competition:

SteelSeries Arctis 3 CushionArctis 3’s patented “AirWeave” ear cushions

The over ear “AirWeave” headphone cushions, coupled with the headband offer an excellent fit with no fuss. The material really “breathes” while you play. Even after hours of gaming my ears and head still felt cool. The weight distribution of the headset is carried across the entire elastic “ski goggle band” contained within a plastic frame. When you slide the headset on, it feels like it’s been custom tailored to your head. The band also has two Velcro tab that can be loosened or tightened for a better fit.

The only drawback with this design is that the earcup doesn’t completely seal around your head, I personally found that this didn’t distract from the great audio. Another plus to the looser, lightweight earcups is that they are also great for gamers with glasses. I often wear glasses and I found that the earcups didn’t put any additional pressure on my head.

SteelSeries Arctis On-Ear ControlsErgonomic on-ear controls

Another great feature is the on-ear volume and mute controls featured on the back left of the ear cup. This grants quick access to pump the volume or mute your mic without fumbling around looking for a dial. During intense gaming moments I could reach to the back of the earcup and flick the volume up and not miss a beat. This is a fantastic, well-thought-out feature that more gaming headsets need to incorporate. I find that other headsets that have the controls incorporated into their wires, it’s harder to find in darker settings.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 Mic ArmBrilliant microphone arm design

One of my favorite features on SteelSeries headsets are the retractable microphones. The mic arm on the Arctis 3 can be pushed back into the earcup when not in use. It’s a smart design that turns the gaming headset into high quality headphones. Other headphone manufacturers allow you to completely detach the mic arm, but it can often get misplaced or damaged. The Arctis 3 design lets you easily “stow and go” always keeping the components in one sleek, complete unit.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 Mic Zoom InArctis 3’s mic

The “ClearCast” bidirectional microphone really steals the show as it offers great vocal output in-game, streaming, in chat rooms and on phone calls. The “Discord-certified” mic features advanced background noise cancellation abilities that deliver clear vocals. SteelSeries uses “the same design used by aircraft carrier deck crews”, ensuring noise cancelation that keeps your voice sounding clear and natural. In my testing the design delivered excellent voice clarity and background noise cancellation.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 HaloArctis 3 gaming audio performance

I was able to play test the Arctis 3’s with some of the year’s biggest first person shooter titles in Call of Duty: Vanguard, Halo Infinite (Multiplayer) and Deathloop. The headset performed extremely well giving me great directional audio and added excellent bass to explosions. It really upped my immersion in the game and added more depth to the audio details. The richness of the sound helped to increase my directional awareness. I was able to rely so heavily on auditory cues via the headset that I was using the in-game radar less. The better sound meant I was able to pinpoint enemy movement with the sound of footsteps and weapon reloads alone.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 Final OverviewFinal thoughts on the Arctis 3 gaming headset

The Arctis 3 is an excellent headset offering comfort, functional design, and excellent value. It’s easily one of the best mics in gaming at this price point. It would be ideal to see some of the incredible PC audio customization features extended to console gamers, but the default out of the box audio is superb. When you consider the total package the Arctis 3 is a phenomenal audio solution for gaming. I highly recommend jumping into your next adventure or multiplayer fray with the Arctis 3s. They deliver an edge in sound and comfort.

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Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things tech related since the start of the digital era. He shares his passion for technology in his day job as a teacher and via multiple media platforms. As a long-time veteran of the video game and tech industry, he's covered interactive entertainment and esports on the web, in video series, podcasts, and on international television. You can follow Matthew's tech-venture filled lifestyle on twitter, instagram @dapper_tux.