SteelSeries Arctis 3 Gaming Headset Review: Nothing But Easy

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Steve Anderson
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SteelSeries Arctis 3 Gaming Headset Review: Nothing But Easy

I have had some noteworthy times with headphones before, but this time, I may have had the easiest time I've ever had with a headset mike thanks to the SteelSeries Arctis 3, one of which the folks at the Max Borges Agency sent out for review.

You'll have a few options for getting hands on these; they're currently on hand at Best Buy locations and will follow to others. No matter where you look for these, be sure to check these out if you're looking for an excellent gaming mic, headphones, or headset mic in general.

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset works on three different levels: it's a headset mic, a set of headphones, and a gaming mic all at once by bringing the two together in one place. It boasts 7.1 channel surround sound, using the SteelSeries Premium Audio Drivers that are normally only found in higher-end models to produce the best in clarity. Also included is the Arctis ClearCast Mic, a microphone that offers background noise cancellation, high-end sound clarity and a bi-directional design that helps make sure every word goes out. The Ski Goggle band provides top-notch weight distribution, and the AirWeave Air Cushions on the earphones are specifically designed to be comfortable, since the fabric used therein is based on clothing for athletes. The Arctis 3 works with Mac and PC, as well as PS4, Xbox One, and even mobile and VR devices thanks to a connector system that's partially detachable and comes with a set of other connectors.

Hooking the Arctis 3 to my laptop, using the included dual-prong connector that allowed a simultaneous connection to the headphone and microphone jacks, proved to be one of the smoothest experiences I've had with a mic set in some time. The first connection, it ran through a very simple setup procedure internally and before long, I was using it with the voice recorder without incident. That alone made this a huge plus, but it only got better putting the headphones on.

The earpieces proved almost frighteningly comfortable, and fit my admittedly larger than normal ears precisely, almost as if someone had taken a plaster mold of them and designed them entirely for my head. I was shocked. Since the earpiece fit over my entire ear, the end result was a kind of noise-cancellation effect. These weren't noise-cancellation headphones, but I still got that effect. The sound of typing on a keyboard, maybe three feet from my ears give or take, was almost completely muffled by these headphones. I wore the headphones for several hours and felt very little discomfort, needing only to move the earpieces every so often to allow a little more air to my ears. With the Ski Goggle band atop the headphones, it's not a headphone arch digging into your skull. Rather, that band is taking a lot of the weight off directly, and giving you a much more comfortable overall experience.

That was when my next surprise hit. That ClearCast Mic system is actually built into the headphone itself, and can retract and extend as needed. So if you just want headphones without the mic option, you've got them right here. As headphones, they're spectacular; starting with the Kongos' "Come With Me Now" proved a wonderfully smooth if a bit bass-heavy experience, and following it up with Candy Dulfer's "Too Close" gave the kind of delightful mellow I expect out of smooth jazz. And just to round it out, there's even an earphone-mounted volume control switch that's in easy reach and is highly responsive. Works terrific, though admittedly, you'll need to get used to the directions to figure out what's going to be louder and what softer.

As if all of this weren't enough to recommend it, the price tag will only seal the deal. A pair of these will go for $79.99, and that's amazing given the sheer quality of these headphones. I have not yet had an experience like this from a microphone or a headset. Fantastic sound, great voice transmission, and a comfortable experience all add up to make a situation that's overall excellent, and represents very possibly the best experience I've ever had with a set of headphones.

Pros: Versatility, top-notch quality, ultra-comfortable, and priced reasonably

Cons: The volume knob will take some getting used to. That's really about it.

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