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Reviewed on May 30, 2019 , Jake Thauvette, Marc Henney, Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.1
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.5
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.7
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
6.7
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.1
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
7.0
TV
Score components:
7.5
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition are good gaming headphones that are also Bluetooth-compatible, which lets you stream music from your phone while using the headphones wired on your console, for example. They have an excellent 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 Arctis 5 when it comes to design. Unfortunately, they don’t isolate against ambient noise and feel a bit plasticky, but they are quite versatile and are compatible with pretty much every gaming platform. They also have a pretty impressive 42-hour battery life.

Test Results
Design 6.6
Sound 7.6
Isolation 6.2
Microphone 8.7
Active Features 5.9
Connectivity 8.1
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Great microphone for online games.
  • Bluetooth-compatible gaming headset.
Cons
  • Bulky and plasticky build.
  • Lacks customization options via software support.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.

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Arctis 3 Bluetooth 2019 Edition
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6.6

Design

Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Design Picture

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 are very similar to all the other Arctis headsets, but they resemble the Arctis 5 the most, without the RGB lighting. These wired gaming headphones are fairly comfortable but can be tight for some people. Their control scheme is great; you get music management as well, since you can use them with a Bluetooth connection. They are quite bulky headphones, like most gaming headsets, and feel slightly cheaper than some high-end Arctis models due to their plastic headband. On the upside, their 1/8” connection means that they are very versatile and compatible with most gaming platforms.

Style
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Design Picture 2

The Arctis 3 are pretty much identical to the Arctis 5 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 like the Arctis Pro GameDAC or the Arctis 7 2019 Edition. 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, like the Arctis 5. The headset is designed the same way as the rest of the Arctis lineup with large cups and a simple design.

7.5 Comfort
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.65 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
1.0 lbs

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.

7.9 Controls
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Controls Picture
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : Yes
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
No
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
What it is: A transparency feature that uses the mics of the headphones to let you hear what is doing on around you without removing them.
When it matters: If you want to be aware of what is going on around you without removing your headphones or while still listening to your audio. This is typically a feature for the noise canceling headphones and passively isolating in-ears that block a lot of noise.
Good value: Yes or adjustable.
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

The control scheme of the 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.

6.3 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.2 C

Like most SteelSeries headphones, the Arctis 3 aren’t very breathable headphones. They can be tight on some heads and don’t let much airflow 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.

5.2 Portability
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Portability Picture
L : 7.6 "
W : 7.8 "
H : 4.0 "
Volume : 237 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like most gaming headphones, the 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.

0 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones don’t come with a case.

7.0 Build Quality
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Build Quality Picture

The Arctis 3 feel a bit cheaper than the rest of the lineup and are built similarly to the Arctis 5. The headband frame of this model is made from plastic and doesn’t feel as sturdy as the Arctis 7 2019 Edition, Arctis Pro Wireless, or 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.

7.0 Stability
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Stability Picture

Since the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 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.

Cable
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.1 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

The Arctis 3 have a 4.1ft 1/8” TRRS cable, a PC Y-splitter, and a USB to micro-USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.6

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Frequency Response

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth are good sounding over-ear gaming headphones. They have a decent bass, a fairly well-balanced mid-range, and a 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.

7.4 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.23 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
58.23 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-5.3 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.87 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.57 dB

The bass performance of the 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.

7.9 Mid
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.74 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.76 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.82 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.43 dB

The 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.

8.7 Treble
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.66 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.28 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.69 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.48 dB

The 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.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
5.3 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Consistency L SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.88 dB

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.

8.1 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Group Delay SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.27
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.07
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.29
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
6.09

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.

6.7 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
3.97 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
8.18 dB
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
19.94 dB
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
4.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.4
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

The 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.

8.0 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.566
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.779

The harmonic distortion performance of the Arctis 3 is great. The amount of THD throughout the range is within good limits, but our unit seemed to show a few spikes around 250Hz and around 1-2kHz on the right driver. This shouldn’t be audible for most as the THD is still fairly low.

6.2

Isolation

Score components:

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 have the same porous pads as the Arctis 5 2019 Edition, which lets noise seep into your audio. This, unfortunately, means they won't be the best headphones to use outdoors in public transit or at loud gaming events since your audio will be somewhat drowned out by the ambient noise. On the upside, they do not leak too much at moderate volumes, so they won't be distracting to those around you. This also means you can turn your volume a bit higher to mask some of the noise in loud environments, but it might be a bit disturbing for others in very quiet rooms.

5.8 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-13.31 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0.57 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-8.97 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-32.26 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0 dB

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.

7.0 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people to hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
39.67 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 have a decent leakage performance. The 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 1 foot away averages at 40dB SPL and peaks at 54dB SPL, which is just about the noise floor of most offices.

8.7

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
No

The Arctis 3 have an excellent boom microphone. 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.

8.7 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
20 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
2.88 dB
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
9948.49 Hz
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
0.17
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
26.78 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis 3’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 10kHz 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.

8.7 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
38.79 dB

The microphone of the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth has excellent noise handling. It achieves a speech-to-noise ratio of nearly 39dB, which is very good, indicating that it can separate speech from noise even in the most demanding environments, like a noisy gaming event.

5.9

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The Arctis 3 have a tremendous amount of continuous playback time. While they advertise about 28 hours of battery life, we measured over 40 hours. We've retested this to be sure this wasn't an error and got consistent results. They obviously won’t need daily charging, which is great, especially that they take about 4 hours to fully charge. Even if you manage to completely drain them, you can still use them passively with an included audio cable. Unfortunately, these headphones are not compatible with the SteelSeries Engine software, but they still support Surround Sound on Windows 10.

6.5 Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
42.3 hrs
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
3.8 hrs
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
No
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when you're relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
No
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
Yes

With over 40 hours of continuous playback, the 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 are idle for a bit. You can use them passively with an audio cable, though, even if their battery is dead, which is convenient.

0 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
N/A
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The Arctis 3 Bluetooth 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.

8.1

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

Like the HyperX Cloud Mix, these gaming headphones have a wired connection, useful for gaming, but can also be used with a Bluetooth connection to stream music as well. When used wired, they have a 1/8” TRRS connection, meaning they’ll support audio and microphone support on all platforms. You also won’t have any latency, which is great for playing games without any delay. When used wirelessly, they have excellent wireless range and their latency is still pretty low for Bluetooth headphones.

6.0 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version
What it is: The version of Bluetooth that the headphones support.
When it matters: Newer versions of Bluetooth, when paired with devices that support the same version, may have improved latency and wireless range performance.
:
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
No
NFC Pairing
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
No

These headphones are Bluetooth-compatible like the HyperX Cloud Mix. 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.

9.1 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
OS Compatibility
What it is: Testing the headphones' cable to see which operating system it works with.
When it matters: Some wired headphones don't support all operating systems so this allows you to check if the headphones will work with your device.
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
What it is: When your headphones can play analog media using a standard 1/8" TRS audio jack. Includes using a 1/4" or 1/16" TRS with a 1/8" TRS adapter.
When it matters: For listening to music with devices that have a standard 1/8" TRS audio jack, like an MP3 player, tablet, smartphone or PC.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB Audio
What it is: When your headphones can play digital media using a standard USB connector.
When it matters: For listening to music on a PC. A digital USB adapter can offer some advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC or added software support.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4 controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone

Thanks to their 1/8” TRRS connection, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 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.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source for the base/dock/transmitter.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

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 Arctis Pro GameDAC.

9.1 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. We test our obstructed range with a Moto E4 Plus. Results may vary depending on your phone model or Bluetooth source.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
52 ft
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
186 ft

When used with their Bluetooth connection, these headphones have excellent wireless range. They have a pretty good line of sight range and their 52ft of range when the source is obstructed will allow you to move to the next room over without having too many audio cuts. However, wireless range is dependent on many factors, including your source’s signal strength, so your results may vary.

10 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

When used wired, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 don’t have any latency, which is great for watching video content and playing games without delay. We measured about 134ms of delay when using the Bluetooth connection. This is lower than the average Bluetooth headphones, 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.

In the box

SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless In the box Picture

  • SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth 2019 Edition headphones
  • 8-pin USB to 1/8” TRRS audio cable
  • PC Y-splitter
  • USB to micro-USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless Compare Picture

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. See our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best PS4 headsets, and the best gaming headsets for PC.

HyperX Cloud Stinger

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition 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 Cloud Stinger might be worth it, but the value the Bluetooth compatibility offers on the Arctis 3 might be worth it for some.

SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition

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.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless are better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition. They have very low latency when used wirelessly and the headphones feel better built. Both headphones sound similarly out of the box, but the Arctis 7 are compatible with the SteelSeries Engine software which offers good customization options. While their battery life is a bit shorter than the Arctis 3’s, they have a power saving feature and they can also be used while charging. The Arctis 3's microphone is also surprisingly better. On the other hand, thanks to their USB dock, the Arctis 7 can be used wirelessly on consoles, but won’t support the mic on Xbox One.

Astro A10

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition are better headphones than the Astro A10. They are more comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions, have a better control scheme, and have a slightly better sounding audio quality. The Arctis 3 are also Bluetooth-compatible, which means you can stream music from your phone while playing on consoles. On the other hand, the Astro A10 feel slightly better made and less plasticky than the Arctis 3, but that’s about it.

Conclusion

7.1Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
Decent for mixed usage. These gaming headphones have good audio reproduction and can also be used wirelessly via Bluetooth, which makes them very versatile. Unfortunately, their microphone is not detachable to make them more outdoor-friendly, but it is retractable. They have an amazing battery life that will be suitable for the longest trips, but they don’t have a good noise isolation performance, which won’t make them a good option for commuting. They are also quite bulky and are not designed to be sports headphones. On the upside, they have a great microphone and when used wired, they don’t have any latency issues; this is great for playing games and watching video content.
7.5Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Good for critical listening. The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 have a decent bass, a fairly well-balanced mid-range, and a 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.
6.7Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Okay for commuting. The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 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 are also quite bulky and a bit hard to carry around.
6.7Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
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 are 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.
7.1Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
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 work days without a problem. They also have 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.
7.0TV
Score components:
Decent for watching TV. Their Bluetooth latency is pretty low and some people might not even notice the delay when using them wirelessly. You can also completely nullify it by using them wired, but you’ll be limited by their cable’s length. On the upside, they are quite comfortable to wear during a full movie and they have a good audio reproduction. However, they won’t be the best option if you’re looking for headphones to watch TV without bothering your household or to block out the ambient noise.
7.5Gaming
Score components:
Good for gaming. The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 have a good sound quality and their microphone have a great recording quality, which is great for online gaming with friends or teammates. They are 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.

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