The SteelSeries Arctis 1 are decent gaming headphones that have good audio quality and a great sounding microphone. However, they are the entry-level model of the Arctis lineup from SteelSeries, and it shows when it comes to their build quality. The Arctis 1 feel plasticky and fairly fragile, and don't support the SteelSeries Engine for customization options. On the upside, they are very lightweight, and thanks to their 1/8” TRRS connector they offer audio and microphone support on pretty much all gaming platforms. They can be a good option for people who are looking for a straightforward and versatile headset.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 are one of the cheapest-feeling gaming headphones in the Arctis lineup. They have a low-end plastic build that doesn’t feel very durable. On the upside, they feel quite comfortable, lightweight, and have a straightforward but useful control scheme for gamers. Overall, the Arctis 1 is an entry-level gaming headset from SteelSeries, which shows in their cheap plasticky build, but they're still a versatile option for casual use thanks to their 1/8" connector that can be used on all gaming platforms and phones. Their mic is also detachable, making them more outdoor-friendly.
The Arctis 1 look similar to the rest of the Arctis lineup, but in a much cheaper look and a slightly different design for the headband. The headset is made of thin plastic that feels fragile. The headband’s design resembles more straightforward headphones and doesn’t have styled joints and yolks like the other Arctis headsets. The padding of the ear cups is made from a mesh-like fabric just like the rest of the lineup. They also have a detachable boom mic that can give them a more outdoor-friendly style.
The Arctis 1 are fairly comfortable gaming headphones. The padding is quite similar to the other Arctis headsets but feels a bit less cushiony. They feel quite light on the head, but like most gaming headphones, they are rather bulky. Unfortunately, the cups are on the shallow side and your ears might touch the drivers, which can get fatiguing after a while. On the upside, the headband is decent and distributes the weight of the headphones effectively. The cups also have a good range of motion and you should be able to find a good fit quite easily.
The control scheme of the Arctis 1 is very simple and effective. On the left cup, you get a volume wheel and a mic-mute switch. The wheel is easy to use and stops scrolling when you reach the minimum or maximum volume, but it doesn’t have notches. The mic-mute switch is quite easy to use, too, but it might be a bit harder to know which setting you're on without taking the headphones off. Other similar Arctis headsets have a mic-mute button, which makes it easier to know if your mic is muted or not. Unfortunately, if you were to use these with your phone, you won’t be able to control your music or take calls directly on the headset.
These headphones aren’t the most breathable and shouldn’t be used during physical activity. You will feel a noticeable difference in temperature, and they will make you sweat more than usual if you wear them while working out. However, the breathable and porous pads help a bit, so this shouldn’t be an issue during casual gaming sessions.
Like most gaming headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 are quite bulky and aren’t easy to carry around. They have large cups that don’t fold into a more portable format, but they do rotate to lay flat, which makes them a bit easier to slide inside a bag, but they would have a bigger footprint on a desk. They also don’t come with a traveling case to protect them. On the upside, since they're gaming headphones, you shouldn’t be on the move too often with them, since they’re more likely to stay around your gaming setup most of the time.
The Arctis 1 is the cheapest feeling SteelSeries Arctis headset we’ve reviewed so far. The headset is made from thin plastic that doesn’t feel very sturdy. The padding of the headband isn’t stitched and is already coming out of its slot on our unit, after very minimal use. The hinges are okay but feel hollow and don’t have much range of motion, which could easily break with a bit of physical stress. This Arctis model is the entry-level model and the build quality shows that.
These gaming headphones aren’t very stable on the head. You shouldn’t use them for running as minimal head movement can make them fall off. This shouldn’t be an issue for casual gaming sessions unless you move a lot when playing games. Also, the cable isn’t detachable, so be careful as it could yank the headphones off if it were to get hooked or stuck on something.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 are good sounding over-ear gaming headphones. Their bass is good and offers more thump than the Arctis 3. Their mid-range is good and their treble is mostly even. However, their bass is slightly boomy and the reproduction of vocals might be slightly cluttered. Also, they fail to deliver their audio consistently across users, which means most people won’t hear the same thing with these headphones. Overall, these headphones would be a good option for a wide variety of music and video games.
The Arctis 1 have a great bass performance. Their low-frequency extension (LFE) is at 10Hz, which is great. Low-bass follows our neutral target curve very well. Overall, their bass is deep and will reproduce an accurate amount of thump and rumble common to bass-heavy genres like EDM and dubstep. Mid range, responsible for the punch of bass guitars and body of kick drums, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are both slightly overemphasized by about 2 and 4dB respectively. This will result in an excess boominess of the bass.
Also, their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response, and your experience may vary.
The mid range of the Arctis 1 is also great. The response is decently balanced, but there is a 10dB tilt favoring the lower frequencies. The low-mid is over our target curve by over 2dB, which is the continuation of the high-bass, resulting in thick-sounding vocals and lead instruments. The underemphasis in the high-mid will negatively affect the projection and intensity of vocals/leads.
The Arctis 1 treble range performance is very good. The response throughout the range is fairly even, but there is a small underemphasis of about 3dB in low-treble. This will negatively affect the detail and brightness of vocals and leads. On the other hand, there’s a small bump around 9-10kHz, which means that these headphones can make sibilants (S and Ts) a bit piercing, especially on already bright tracks.
Also, their treble delivery varies noticeably across users. The response here represents the average response and your experience may vary.
The frequency response of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 is poor. In the bass range, the deviation across our five human subjects is quite wide and deep, reaching more than 10dB at their LFE. This will be easily noticeable. Also, having glasses or lots of hair seems to increase the chance of experiencing a drop in bass. In the treble range, we also measured a maximum variation of more than 10dB under 10kHz, which is very noticeable and show that these headphones' treble delivery is sensitive to fit and positioning.
The stereo imaging is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.33, which is within very good limits. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay is below the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass and a transparent treble. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in amplitude and phase but had a very small mismatch in frequency that won’t be audible for most. This is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.
Just like other SteelSeries Arctis headphones, the Arctis 1 have a decent soundstage for closed-back headphones. The shape of the PRTF response isn’t accurate but has a lot of activation, suggesting a soundstage that may feel relatively large but a bit unnatural. Although their closed-back enclosure results in a soundstage that may not feel as open as that of open-back headphones, they produce a small dip around 10kHz that could slightly help bring the soundstage out of the listener’s head and to the front.
The harmonic distortion of these headphones is very good. The THD in the bass-range isn’t too elevated and within good limits, while the THD in mid and treble ranges are fairly low too. The graph shows there are a few small spikes, but this shouldn’t be audible.
Like other Arctis headsets, the Arctis 1 doesn’t isolate much noise due to the porous pads of their earcups. They let a lot of ambient noise seep into your audio and won’t be the best option to use when commuting or traveling. For gaming events, you won’t be able to block out the noise of the subwoofers and ambient noise well. On the upside, they don’t leak too much so you might be able to block out more noise by raising your listening volume without disturbing people surrounding you in a quiet environment.
Their isolation performance is sub-par. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they don't achieve any isolation, which means they won’t be a good option for commuting and traveling. In the mid-range, important for blocking ambient speech, they block about 9dB of noise, which is sub-par. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts and A/C noise, they achieved about 33dB of isolation, which is good.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 have a decent leakage performance. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 300Hz and 4kHz, which is a fairly narrow range focused in the mid-range. The overall level of leakage is also too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 39dB SPL and peaks at 56dB SPL, which is just over the noise floor of most offices.
The Arctis 1 have an excellent boom microphone that performs almost exactly like the Arctis 3 2019 Edition mic. In a quiet environment, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic sounds full-bodied, clear, and easily comprehensible, but slightly bright. In noisy environments, the mic rejects a very high amount of ambient noise, making these headphones good to use in very loud places like a gaming event.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1’s microphone has great recording quality. The low-frequency extension (LFE) is extended down to 20dB, which is excellent, and means speech recorded or transmitted with this headset will sound full-bodied. The HFE of 8.8kHz is also very good, which ensures a detailed and present speech. However, the 10dB bump after 2kHz makes the sound of this microphone noticeably bright, which, although it won't sound neutral, could help with cutting through the game audio.
The microphone of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 has excellent noise handling. It achieves a speech-to-noise ratio of 39dB, which is very good, indicating that it can separate speech from noise even in the most demanding environments, like a noisy gaming event.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 are wired and passive gaming headphones that don’t need a battery. They also aren’t compatible with the SteelSeries Engine for customization options.
These headphones are not compatible with the SteelSeries Engine software. For a budget SteelSeries headset with compatibility with the software, check out the Arctis 5.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 are straightforward gaming headphones that support audio and voice chat thanks to their 1/8” TRRS connector. They will work with every gaming platform that has the appropriate jack. Being wired, they won’t have latency issues, but your range will be limited to their cable’s length.
The Arctis 1 has a 1/8” TRRS connector that can be used on all gaming platforms that have the appropriate jack. You can also use them wired with your phone, if yours has a headphone jack. For PC users, you might have to use the included Y-splitter to use the mic and headphone ports.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 are entry-level gaming headphones from the Arctis lineup. They have very good audio and microphone quality like the rest of the lineup, but their build quality feels a bit cheaper. They also don’t have access to a companion app for customization options. See our recommendations for the best gaming headphones, the best PC gaming headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best PS4 headsets.
The Corsair HS50 and the SteelSeries Arctis 1 are two decent gaming headphones that have different strengths. The Corsair HS50 are slightly better sounding, are noticeably better-built, and feel more durable. Some may also prefer their large cups and find the padding to be more comfortable. On the other hand, the microphone of the Arctis 1 is noticeably better and sounds clearer. If you play single player games and don’t need a boom microphone, get the Corsair HS50.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis 1. While their sound and microphone quality is practically the same, the Arctis 3 2019 are better built and feels slightly more comfortable. Additionally, they are also Bluetooth compatible for you to use with your phone, which is useful. On the other, the Arctis 1 have a fully detachable microphone, which is more convenient than the retractable one on the Arctis 3. Overall, the Arctis 3 will offer more features and better value than the Arctis 1.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger are marginally better than the SteelSeries Arctis 1. They are ever so slightly more comfortable, and are better-built than the Arctis 1 as materials don’t feel as cheap. They perform quite similarly across our tests and most people won’t notice a big difference in sound. However, the Arctis 1 have a detachable mic, which gives them a more outdoor-friendly look if you want to use them with your phone.
The Logitech G433 Gaming Headset are better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis 1. They are more comfortable, thanks to their larger cups, and the materials used feel more durable. You also get an additional pair of pads with the G433. They are also one of the best-sounding gaming headphones we’ve reviewed so far. Additionally, thanks to their USB dongle, you get access to G Hub for customization options, which the Arctis 1 lack. On the other hand, the noise isolation of the Arctis 1 is slightly better, but is still pretty sub-par.