Best Gaming Headphones: SteelSeries Arctis Gaming Headsets

There's an abundance of great gaming gear currently on the market. However, when you narrow your criteria down to great mobile-compatible gaming gear, your options fall off dramatically. As someone who has been gaming for about four decades and who takes his gaming rather seriously, I can attest to the importance of gear that does the job it was intended to do, and does it well. Enter SteelSeries and its line of mobile-friendly, pro-level gaming accessories.

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If you aren't already familiar with SteelSeries, that's okay. The company has made a name for itself making gaming-specific gear, and it hasn't ignored the fact that mobile gaming is now the most profitable sector of the video game industry. SteelSeries produces everything from super-affordable, entry-level headphones, to wireless game controllers for iDevices and the Apple TV, to high-end, top-of-the line headphones for the hardcore gamer who needs pristine audio quality and high comfort levels for those extended hours of play.

SteelSeries' latest innovative wireless gaming headphones are its Arctis series, which includes the $79.99 Arctis 3, the $99.99 Arctis 5, and the premium $149.99 Arctis 7, which are also the model to get if you want a lag-free wireless connectivity option. All three headphone models are compatible with mobile, PC, and console gaming platforms.

Best Gaming Headphones: SteelSeries Arctis. [Review]

Although the Arctis 3 is the most affordable pair of the series and would be my recommendation if you intend to only play on mobile, for an extra $20 you get the luxury of having SteelSeries' customizable RBG lights built into the ear cup design. They are very cool looking, what with the way they create circular halos around each ear cup; and they are ideal for adding that unique, individual flair, although the colorful light effects only work when you are using the headset in conjunction with a laptop or desktop.

The sound that the Arctis deliver is fairly impressive, with their 40 mm neodymium, proprietary S1 stereo drivers. Even the entry-level Arctis 3s put out audio worthy of any gaming audiophile, with 7.1 Surround-Sound capability and crisp, clearly defined acoustic range. Even at very high volumes, I was unable to detect much in the way of sonic distortion.

The Arctis also have a built-in, retractable ClearCast microphone, which features advanced bidirectional technology for optimum audio pick-up as well as automatic noise cancelation. In terms of gaming, a high-performance mic is a huge plus and a significant leg-up against the competition; however, having such an outstanding microphone is also a fantastic asset for regular phone calls, FaceTime chats, and basically any other mobile communication platform you can think of.

Perhaps one of my favorite features of the Arctis wireless gaming headphones are their comfort. They are lightweight, with a well thought out ergonomic design. The breathable ear cushions are plush and full and make the Arctis line perfectly suited for the extended hours of use that any serious gamer already knows is par for the course when practicing a demanding game. Additionally, the flexibility of the ear cups to swivel and swing means that you will always be able to find a comfortable wearing position for these headphones, even if you end up wearing them DJ style, with one ear cup on your ear, the other positioned in the back of your head, just behind the ear.

The Arctis headphones for gaming, like most SteelSeries gear I've come across, are ruggedly built, and sturdy enough to handle years of regular use. The icing on the cake would be the custom colored, elastic material which serves as the adjustable headbands for the Arctis. These are sold separately and add even more personal flair options. These straps are currently available in almost 20 color choices and priced at $14.99.

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Durable and rugged.
  • Excellent audio quality.
  • A microphone that is considered one of the best in the gaming sector.
  • Customizable options including built-in RBG lights and swappable headbands.
  • Available at 3 affordable price points, making them ideal for every level of gamer, audiophile or casual user.
  • Ear cup cushions are also available in leather and velour options as alternatives to the included Airweave, ultra-breathable cushions.
  • For those using the Arctis on a PC, the customization options are extensive as illustrated by the image below.

Cons

  • Unfortunately, at this time, SteelSeries hasn't devised a way for the headphones to light up when used in conjunction with mobile devices. I'd imagine that's because the lights would be a power drain on mobile devices. Nonetheless, I hope SteelSeries is considering ways in which they might make this possible, considering what an awesome feature it is. An internal headphone battery perhaps?

Final Verdict

While the Arctis are geared more towards the gaming community, they are by no means exclusively gaming headphones. Not by a long shot. Without reservation I would recommend the Arctis to anyone looking for an exceptional pair of audiophile grade, over-ear headphones. Especially anyone who appreciates the ability to add some customization and personal flair to their audio accessories.

Best Gaming Headphones: SteelSeries Arctis. [Review]

 

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As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech