Perhaps you would not want to use gaming headphones as an everyday accessory: most of them are bulky, uncomfortable, with a ridiculous design and a crooked sound. Nevertheless, as in any rule, there are exceptions – for example, SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth. The novelty received a laconic design, which is not typical for gaming peripherals, as well as wireless interfaces with the ability to simultaneously connect two devices. Will she be able to please not only gamers, but also music lovers?
Specifications SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth:
- Type of radiators: 40-mm speakers, neodymium magnets
- Frequency range: 20 – 22000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 98 dB
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- The coefficient of nonlinear distortion: <3%
- Microphone: retractable, bi-directional
- Microphone range: 100 Hz – 10,000 Hz
- Microphone sensitivity: -48 dB
- Microphone impedance: 2200 Ω
- Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP, HFP, HSP)
- Weight: 316 g
Packing and equipment
Arctis 3 Bluetooth are delivered in a large box of thick, dense cardboard – the chances that they will suffer during transportation are minimal.
The headset is packed in a plastic casing. Below it is another section with wires: main cable, 3.5 mm extension cable, branched double jack for PC and micro-USB.
Appearance and construction
Design Arctris 3 Bluetooth has little to do with bright and deliberately aggressive gaming solutions. He is calm, one might even say utilitarian. The gamer’s nature is indicated only by the ornament of the headband and the SteelSeries logo. But even they are made in strict colors, which, together with the black color of the case makes the ears as universal as possible – they are not ashamed to go out into the street.
The case is made of plastic, the cups and the inside of the headband have a soft-touch coating. Everything is done perfectly, does not creak and does not play.
The headband itself is unregulated, and for an easy fit, an elastic pad is provided.
Cups thanks to the hinges rotate 90 degrees, but fold them inward will not work.
The ear pads are “upholstered” with a special AirWeave cloth – it does not interfere with the air circulation near the ears and allows you to sit for hours on headphones without any discomfort.
On the left are a retractable microphone, proprietary and 3.5 mm inputs for wired connection, as well as a micro-USB connector for charging. Next to them is a volume wheel and a microphone mute button.
On the right side is a combined button for turning on and synchronizing via Bluetooth. It also controls the music (one press performs a start / pause, two switches the composition). On the side there is a stub, where the switch in the older Arctis 7 model is located between the sounds of the game and the chat – it is not needed for a novelty, it supports the simultaneous connection of two sound sources.
Ergonomics and noise insulation
Despite considerable weight, the headphones are almost not felt on the head. For this, thanks to the fabric earbuds providing ventilation, and the tension headband, which reduces pressure on the head.
Noise insulation is sufficient to use the device outdoors. Sounds of cars and construction work are heard to the ears, but do not force to increase the volume of music. The situation is changing in the transport, where the tissue ear cups let outside noise. Also, the headset is not friendly with the rims of glasses, weaker isolating the ears of their carriers.
Communication and connection
The device has a Bluetooth module 4.1. There is support for HSP / HFP profiles for hands-free and A2DP for multimedia. But the codec aptX is not supported.
For the first pairing, it is necessary to hold the power button until two beeps sound: the first notifies you about the activation, the second about the activation of Bluetooth. Afterwards, the connection will be established automatically when the headset is turned on.
The connection is stable, if there is not more than 10 meters between devices. At the same time, interior partitions reduce the transmission distance, but they do not prevent the use of the headset when the source is in the next room. On the street and in transport, it works stably, without catching noise and interference.
The wired connection is via the proprietary or 3.5 mm inputs on the left-hand cup. Included are a four-pin headset cable and a Y-shaped cable with two mini-jacks (headphones + microphone) for the PC motherboard.
One of the features of the model was the ability to simultaneously connect two devices, one by wire, the other by Bluetooth. You can sit at the computer in the headphones and simultaneously receive calls from the smartphone. Or keep in touch with friends via Skype or Discord during your PUBG races. Gamers such an opportunity is exactly useful.
With the SteelSeries Engine application, you can set the sound and microphone parameters.
By the way, about the microphone: it very well captures the voice and suppresses background noise. Whether you are answering calls or communicating within the game – the interlocutors always hear clearly what is said. When the microphone is not needed, it can be removed into the case. So the patient is even less like other gaming headsets with their “sticks”.
For sound reproduction in Arctis 3 Bluetooth, a pair of dynamic radiators with a membrane diameter of 40 mm corresponds. Their frequency range is 20-22000 Hz, and the coefficient of nonlinear distortion does not exceed 3%.
The sound was evaluated with a smartphone HTC One E8 (via Bluetooth), a Hi-Fi player QLS QA360 and a PC with a basic audio solution Realtek. Sometimes on pickup was a smartphone LG V20.
In wireless mode, it all depends on the audio headset built into the headset, and this is not bad with headphones. They produce a balanced sound with a very musical mid and restrained edges. The low and high frequencies are slightly squeezed, which is typical when transmitting audio via Bluetooth.
The situation changes with the Hi-Fi player as a source – power poured into the headphones pulls out the edges of the range, makes them more legible and decorated. Suddenly it turns out that the frequency response of the headphones is surprisingly flat, without significant peaks and dips on the entire range. There is only a small unevenness in the middle area, but it was made explicitly deliberately to increase the “scene”.
The device produces a rather dense bass, without making it an excessive accent. It may not be enough for the lowest frequencies, closely matched to the lower threshold of audibility, but most will find the number and depth of low frequencies sufficient. Another feature was the slowness and “imposing” of attacks – each blow leaves a plume of attenuation. This gives the lower levels and extra massiveness, and is well suited for both movies and games with shootings and explosions. In music, this “mass” is perceived as a background, which can become too noticeable in compositions with fast drum parts.
The middle is open and singing, with excellent workings out of voices and basic instruments. Nevertheless, it has a specific color, as if its lower half is selected, and the upper one is a little failed. This tuning AFC made the sound warm and legible, but as if slightly remote. In short, the headphones well convey a sense of space and at the same time do not strain excessive emotionality.
Really surprised by high frequencies. Of course, in these headphones they are simplified and can not boast of an abundance of small details. But here they are deprived of ringing, flowing and cutting ears of peaks. The blows to the plates are quite clear and do not merge into a uniform rustle, although they lose in intelligibility on the complex and fast metal. In general, with relatively low detail, HF is not annoyed by frank problems – and this is the best thing to expect from headphones of this type.
As it turned out, Arctis 3 Bluetooth is quite versatile and suitable for most music genres, except the most complex and fastest. But what about their main area of application – games?
In the horror of Alien: Isolation, these headphones are necessary – they are easier to listen to the location of the xenomorph. Well, it adds points to the atmosphere, yet the game has an amazing soundtrack.
Far Cry 3 – a vivid example of an unrestrained shooter. Shots and explosions in Arctis 3 Bluetooth squeak, as well as downhole soundtrack.
The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim fell in love with many not only for the amazing setting and quests, but also for the music. Her headphones are transmitted in all its glory.
The manufacturer’s claimed battery life is 28 hours in wireless mode. During a one-week test, the headphones played music from the smartphone every day for 2-3 hours each day, and they were never discharged. I had to arrange an “emergency run”, leaving them to play before disconnecting – so the headset worked for seven more hours. So the official data correspond to reality. The full charge of the battery from the USB takes about four hours, which is slightly in view of how rarely the device should be plugged into an outlet.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth – gaming headphones, adapted for real life. Not pretentious, comfortable, and can be used as a Bluetooth headset. In addition, the novelty received a good sound, which you do not expect to hear from a device of this format. So it will satisfy the needs of both gamers and music lovers.
- restrained design;
- comfortable landing;
- wide connectivity;
- flat, volumetric sound, both in games and in music;
- the ability to output sound from two devices at the same time;
- decent autonomy
- The wearer may not have enough noise insulation.