The Arctis 3 is another in a long line of headsets from peripheral manufacturer Steelseries, with the company releasing a series of updated headsets designed to suit a range of budgets. The A3 has actually been out for over a year, but towards the end of 2017 the company released a new model, this one with built-in Bluetooth functionality.
The first thing we want to mention is the headband. At first sight, we didn't at all like the fabric band that sits underneath a more solid, plastic one. Now, though, having had it balanced on the ol' noggin for the best part of two months, we have to say that we absolutely love it. The Arctis 3 is just about the most comfortable headset we've ever worn, and it felt just as snug as our old fave, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro (and the A3 is lighter). If you're after a headset to wear during extended gameplay sessions and comfort is your first priority, slide the Arctis 3 right to the top of your list of potential candidates.
The level of comfort is added to by the earcups, which are foam with a fabric covering. Each cup can rotate 90 degrees, and is large enough to cover the whole ear, and while it does get warm over time, they're effortless to wear over long periods of time (and who's going to complain about being too warm in this kind of weather - maybe we'll feel differently in the summer). They look great too, and not overtly "gamey", so you could totally get away with wearing a pair of these on the train without looking like a dickhead.
The mic is stored in the left-hand cup and is easy to extend out and then move as desired. The mic quality itself is pretty decent too, making this a headset that offers good sound quality for those playing competitively. In fact, when testing the mic we drew compliments thanks to the clarity of our voice, and the Clearcast mic certainly does the business to the extent that streamers might want to consider getting one too.
Indeed, sound quality extends beyond the mic to the headset itself, and we enjoyed the crisp quality of the audio when playing a range of games, from the blistering soundscape offered by Call of Duty: WWII through to games altogether more melodious, such as Fe. Given the pricing of the headset, decent sound quality is to be expected, but Steelseries doesn't disappoint in this key area. It might not offer the richest, warmest audio we've ever heard, but its quality certainly matches the price point.
The Arctis 3 itself is a modestly priced mid-tier headset, but the more recently released Bluetooth model we tested is significantly more expensive. While the option to link to a device via Bluetooth isn't to be sniffed at, you're going to have to weigh up the hefty price hike and decide whether it's worth it. One feature that might sell it to you, however, is the fact that Switch players can connect to the console via the cable, while using the Bluetooth connection to link you to the chat app. There aren't a huge wealth of games that take advantage of the app as yet, but that's hardly the fault of Steelseries.
The headset is also functional across a range of devices, easily syncing to your mobile phone, and you can use the cables provided to connect to a PC, PS4, and Xbox One. If you've got more than one console, in particular a Switch, the versatility of the Arctis 3 makes it a contender.
The headset's comfortable, durable design is complemented by decent audio in and out. The price rise for Bluetooth functionality might be a little steep, but the headset itself is well built and it ticks all the right boxes. Yes, it could be easier to setup and use, but the Arctis 3 is still a decent headset well worth checking out, especially if you're after something to work across more than one platform.