The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are good gaming headphones that are also Bluetooth-compatible, which means you can stream music from your phone while using the headphones wired on your console. They have a great microphone that sounds clear and full-bodied, which is great for online gaming. This model is fairly similar to the other Arctis headphones we’ve reviewed so far and are almost identical to the SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition when it comes to design. Unfortunately, they don’t isolate against ambient noise and feel a bit plasticky, but they're quite versatile and are compatible with pretty much every gaming platform. They also have a pretty impressive 42-hour battery life.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 are good for neutral listening. They have a decent bass, fairly well-balanced mid-range, and great treble range. However, they fail to deliver their audio consistently across users, which means most people won’t hear the same thing with these headphones. Their bass is also slightly lacking in low-end thump and rumble and they sound a bit boomy and cluttered. Overall, these headphones will still be a good option for a wide variety of music and for video games.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 are okay for commuting. They have a Bluetooth connection so they can be used wirelessly in your daily commute. They also have amazing battery life and are quite comfortable. However, their fit doesn’t isolate against ambient noise and a lot of it will seep into your audio. They're also quite bulky and a bit hard to carry around.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 are okay for sports and fitness. Even if the ear cup padding is made from a porous material, these headphones are not designed to be used for physical activity. They can get quite hot fairly quickly and they're very bulky. They also sway around with excessive head movement and will fall off your head during most physical activity. On the upside, they can be used wirelessly, and you won’t have to worry about a cable being in your way or getting hooked on something.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 Wireless are decent for the office. These headphones are comfortable to wear for a few hours without feeling too much fatigue, they sound good, and they have an amazing battery life that will last you a few workdays without a problem. They also have a pretty good wireless range, so you’ll be able to move around your desk a bit. Unfortunately, they don’t block out ambient noise very well, but you can easily mask out the sound of an A/C system with these.
This wired gaming headset can't be used wirelessly.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 are decent for gaming. They have a good sound quality and their microphone have an excellent recording quality, which is great for online gaming with friends or teammates. They're also quite comfortable to wear during long gaming sessions and you can even stream music from your phone via their Bluetooth connection while gaming wired. Unfortunately, they aren’t compatible with the SteelSeries Engine for customization and control options.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth are good gaming headphones that set themselves apart thanks to their great-sounding microphone and the fact that they can also be used to stream audio content from a Bluetooth source. This makes them very versatile, as they can be used with pretty much every gaming console, as well as with phones. However, they don't have the same level of customizability as the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3, as they're not compatible with SteelSeries GG.
See our recommendations for the best gaming headsets and the best PS4 headsets.
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 are better built and feel 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 offers more features and better value than the Arctis 1.
The SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition are better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition since they are compatible with the SteelSeries Engine software, which offers plenty of customization options and controls. The Arctis 3 are more versatile since they are Bluetooth-compatible, making them more outdoor-friendly. The Arctis 5 also have channel mixing, but they don’t have the excellent microphone of the Arctis 3.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 are the newer generation of the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless and have a couple of improvements to their name. While both headphones are comfortable, the Nova 3 have better build quality and are compatible with SteelSeries GG as well as Sonar companion software, allowing you to customize their performance. They also support a wired USB connection. They also have adjustable RGB lighting on the ear cups, which some users may prefer. However, the Arctis 3 have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and they support Bluetooth so that you can receive audio from your smartphone while gaming wired on your console.
The HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II and the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are similarly performing gaming headphones but unlike the HyperX, the SteelSeries can be used wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth. Although they both have similarly excellent boom microphones, the HyperX are slightly more comfortable and have a better build quality. The SteelSeries, on the other hand, have a more balanced sound profile and a continuous battery life of over 40 hours.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha and the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are both solid gaming headphones that each have their pros and cons. The SteelSeries are slightly more versatile since they also support Bluetooth - you can mix in wireless chat audio from your phone while gaming over a wired connection, or simply use them wirelessly on-the-go. However, the HyperX are more comfortable for long gaming sessions and feel significantly more durable.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless are better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless. The Arctis 7 have a better build quality and are compatible with the SteelSeries Engine software, which offers good customization options. They also have a power-saving feature and can be used while charging. However, they have high non-Bluetooth wireless latency. On the other hand, the Arctis 3 have a longer continuous battery life. Their microphone has a better recording quality.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless and the Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either one. The SteelSeries are wired gaming headphones that feel better built, have significantly better microphone performance, and have longer-lasting continuous battery life. However, the Logitech are wireless gaming headphones designed for teens and tweens since they have a smaller fit. They support Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth wireless, although you can't use both connections at once.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are similar gaming headphones to the HyperX Cloud Stinger, but they are more versatile since they are also Bluetooth-compatible. Their control scheme is also more complete and is noticeably easier to use. If you’re looking for gaming-only headphones, then the cheaper HyperX might be worth it, but the value the Bluetooth compatibility offers on the SteelSeries might be worth it for some.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are better headphones than the Astro A10. The SteelSeries are more comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions, have a better control scheme, and have a slightly better-balanced sound profile. The SteelSeries are also Bluetooth-compatible, which means you can stream music from your phone while playing on consoles. On the other hand, the Astro feel slightly better made and less plasticky than the SteelSeries, but that’s about it.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are better than the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless for most purposes. The Arctis 3 have a much more comfortable fit, a much better build quality, a longer continuous battery life, and a significantly better overall mic performance. They offer full compatibility with PS4, PC, and Xbox One via wired connection, and they're also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can connect wirelessly to your phone while you game. However, if you want headphones that support wireless gaming, the Arctis 1 come with a USB dongle that allows them to connect wirelessly to PS4 consoles. They also offer full compatibility with PCs, PS4, and Xbox One if you use their included 1/8" TRRS cable.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Razer BlackShark V2. The SteelSeries are better built and have much better controls. They're Bluetooth-compatible, so you can listen to music on your phone while gaming on a console. On the other hand, the Razer have a more bass-rich sound profile, which some may prefer.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless have a slight edge over the Astro A10 Gen 2. While both are wired headphones, the SteelSeries also support Bluetooth, so you can use them more casually or receive audio from your phone while simultaneously gaming. Their boom mic also offers a better overall performance. In comparison, the Astro are better-built, and have a more immersive passive soundstage performance.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Corsair HS70 Bluetooth. The SteelSeries have a more neutral sound profile right out-of-the-box, and their mic's recording quality is better too. They also offer a longer continuous battery life. However, the Corsair are better-built and are compatible with iCUE companion software which offers a graphic EQ plus presets.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are better gaming headphones than the JBL Quantum 400. The SteelSeries have a more conservative design, far more comprehensive control scheme, and the option to be used wirelessly for listening to music while gaming on a wired connection. They also have a slightly more comfortable fit, while their microphone performance is marginally better. However, the JBL have an advantage in the form of their dedicated Quantum Engine companion software, which provides a pretty comprehensive array of options.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless and the Beats Solo Pro Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either depending on your usage. The Beats are more versatile on-ear headphones with ANC. They're more breathable and portable, and are also equipped with an H1 chip for seamless pairing with Apple devices. On the other hand, the SteelSeries are over-ear gaming headphones with a significantly better overall mic performance and a much longer continuous battery life. They have lower latency over Bluetooth and work with PCs, PS4, and Xbox One via analog connection, unlike the Beats.
For gaming, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are a better option than the Creative SXFI Air Wireless. Their microphone sounds better, and they have a better overall control scheme for gamers. Their sound is also noticeably better. On the other hand, the Creative can be used over USB. Both headphones can be used Bluetooth as well, but the SteelSeries offer more battery life but don’t have an app like the Creative.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT and the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless both support wired and wireless Bluetooth playback. However, the Audio-Technica are designed for casual use with only one connection at a time. The SteelSeries are made with gamers in mind, so they're intended to be used wired with your PC or gaming console, while you chat on your phone via Bluetooth. The wired connection of the SteelSeries helps eliminate latency, and their boom mic is better for gaming. If you don't care as much about mic quality and prefer a more casual design, though, the Audio-Technica can also be used wired for gaming.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are better office headphones than the Logitech Zone Wired. The SteelSeries' wireless compatibility, 42-hour battery life, and detachable 1/8" TRRS audio cable for passive playback make them a lot more versatile for a wider range of uses. Meanwhile, their boom microphone does a better job than that of the Logitech at making speech sound full-bodied and clear of background noise. On the other hand, the Logitech have a dedicated companion app, a slightly more portable form factor, and deliver a more consistent listening experience.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless. The SteelSeries have a more stable fit, a better noise isolation performance, and they leak less noise. Their continuous battery life is longer, and their boom microphone performs better overall. They're compatible with both the PS4 and the Xbox One, while the Turtle Beach have separate variants for each console.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 are pretty much identical to the SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition when it comes to style. They have the same one-piece headband made from plastic that doesn’t look as well-built as higher-end Arctis headsets. However, this model still has the signature self-adjusting ski-band headband design from SteelSeries. On the other hand, they don’t have any RGB lighting. The headset is designed the same way as the rest of the Arctis lineup with large cups and a simple design.
These headphones are as comfortable as the other Arctis headsets. The padding on the cups is soft and feels nice on the skin. The cups are wide and deep, meaning most ears should fit inside them. The headband is an adjustable ski band like most SteelSeries headphones we’ve reviewed so far and it distributes the weight of the headset well. Unfortunately, they can feel a bit tight to some, especially people with larger heads. Some may feel the frame of the headset resting on the top of their head, as there is a limit to how much you can extend the ski band.
The control scheme of the SteelSeries Arctis 3 is complete and easy to use. You can use the power/pairing button to play/pause your music and take calls, whether you’re using them wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth. You can also double-tap it to skip tracks. Unfortunately, you can’t go backward. There’s also a volume wheel and a mic-mute button on the left cup. The buttons are easy to differentiate and easy to use.
Note:Only the volume wheel works when the headset is used wired.
Like most SteelSeries headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 aren’t very breathable headphones. They can be tight on some heads and don’t let much air flow through, even if their padding is made out of a porous material. You'll likely notice a small difference in temperature over time, but this shouldn’t be a big issue during gaming sessions. However, they won’t be a good option for sports as you will sweat noticeably more than usual.
Like most gaming headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth aren’t the most portable. They have a bulky design and they don’t fold into a more compact format. On the upside, their cups swivel to lay flat, which makes it easier to slide the headphones in a bag or to wear them around your neck without being bothered by the cups.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 feel a bit cheaper than the rest of the lineup and are built similarly to the SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition. The headband frame of this model is made from plastic and doesn’t feel as sturdy as the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition, SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, or SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC. However, the cups are the same and should survive a few accidental drops without too much damage. Also, the retractable microphone is malleable and feels well-made too.
Since the SteelSeries Arctis 3 are fairly tight, they feel stable, but their bulky design won’t be ideal for most intense sports and physical activity. They’ll sway around with head movement and aren’t designed for working out. These headphones are also wired, so you’ll need to be careful not to get their wire hooked on something, which could yank the headphones off your head. You can also use their Bluetooth connection with your phone to get rid of that risk.
The frequency response of the SteelSeries Arctis 3 is sub-par. 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 bass performance of the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth is decent. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 58Hz, which is okay. That and the 5dB underemphasis in low-bass will result in a bass that sounds light on thump and rumble common to bass-heavy music like EDM, dubstep, and rap. The response then goes up to a 3dB bump in high-bass, which adds extra muddiness and boominess to the overall 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 SteelSeries Arctis 3’s mid-range is good. The response throughout the range is fairly well-balanced and is decently near to our target curve. However, there’s a small bump in low-mid, which is a continuation of the high-bass, making vocals and lead instruments a bit thick and cluttered. There’s also an 8dB tilt favoring lower frequencies.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 have a great treble performance. The response is very flat and even, but gets a bit elevated around 9-10kHz. This bump will make some sibilants (S and T sounds) overly sharp and piercing, especially on already bright tracks. Note that not everyone will hear it as intensely.
Also, their treble delivery varies noticeably across users. The response here represents the average response and your experience may vary.
The imaging is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.27, 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. 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.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 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 pronounced dip around 10kHz that could help bring the soundstage out of the listener’s head and to the front.
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 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 3 have a decent leakage performance. A significant portion of their leakage is spread between 400Hz and 4kHz, which is a fairly narrow range. The overall level of leakage is also too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at one foot away averages at 40dB SPL and peaks at 54dB SPL, which is just about the noise floor of most offices.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3’s microphone has excellent recording quality. It does a better job than the Corsair HS70 Bluetooth's microphone as your voice sounds full-bodied, detailed, and present. However, it also sounds noticeably bright, and although it won't sound neutral, it could help cut through audio from your game.
Update 10/22/2021: These headphones have been updated to test bench 1.5. In this update, we made changes to the way we test noise handling. We now use a subjective evaluation of our audio clips. This new method has resulted in different results than what we had reported in our previous test bench. As a result, the scoring of this box has changed, and we have updated our results.
The microphone of the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth has good noise handling. It's able to separate your voice from moderate ambient noise, ensuring that your teammates hear you clearly.
With over 40 hours of continuous playback, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 are among the headphones that offer the longest playback time without the need for physical AA or AAA batteries that we've tested so far. With such a long battery life, it's expected that they might take a bit longer to charge than most Bluetooth headphones. Unfortunately, they don’t automatically turn off if they're idle for a bit. You can use them passively with an audio cable, though, even if their battery is dead, which is convenient.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 are not compatible with the SteelSeries Engine gaming software for customization options. However, they still have surround sound, which you can enable in your sound settings on Windows 10 under “spatial sound”; choose Windows Sonic for Headphones.
These headphones are Bluetooth-compatible. You can connect them via Bluetooth to your phone while gaming on a console with the headset being wired to your controller. However, you won’t be able to connect them wirelessly to multiple devices simultaneously.
When used over Bluetooth, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 have less latency than most Bluetooth headphones we've tested, which usually average 200-220ms of delay. This means some people might not even notice the delay between audio and video content even when using the headphones wirelessly, which is great, but still might be a bit too high for gaming.
Update 02/14/2022: The connection was originally reported as 1/8" TRRS. However, the connector for the headset is a Mini B 8-Pin. The results have been updated to reflect these changes.
Thanks to their mini B 8-pin to 1/8” TRRS connection, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 support audio and microphone on pretty much every platform that has the appropriate jack. When using them on PC, you’ll have to use the PC Y-splitter to use the mic and headphone jacks.
These headphones don’t have a dock. For similar headphones with a dock that allows customization and great control options, take a look at the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless or the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC.