SteelSeries Arctis 5 Review

SteelSeries Arctis 5 vs Mpow 059 Headphones
Written by Alyssia Walmsley

This post is really old, there is a new version here called Best Gaming Headset Under $100 ~ Alyssia 🙂

The Steel Series Arctis 5 is a midrange headset that comes packed with some of the best features in the price range. SteelSeries manages to make an affordable headset that has the specs of a tried and true gaming headset but has the trendy look and feel of a professional headset for well under $100.

Specifications: SteelSeries Arctis 5

  • Form Factor: Over Ear
  • Output Mode: Virtual Surround 7.1
  • Weight: 9.9 oz
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Wireless Transmission Range: 36 ft
  • Battery Time: 23 hours

The headset is made entirely of plastic making it very lightweight. This isn’t uncommon for headsets produced in this price. But where the Arctis differs, is that it comes without the added nuisances of plastic, like feeling cheap or having creaking joints. The headset is primarily available in either a black or white matte. There is not much meddling with the color scheme, sometimes, simple is much better.

Design: SteelSeries Arctis 5

On the surface, you’ll notice the attention towards a minimalist design with an added sense of distinct stylization. The controls are all neatly tucked away leaving the bulk of the headset in a relatively clean state. Primarily thanks to its modular design, the SteelSeries Arctis 5 can be completely disassembled.

Everything comes apart with relative ease. The headset can be separated into its cups, the two piece headband and the cushion pads. Putting it back together is just as easy as taking it apart and nothing feels flimsy. This makes the headset incredibly portable, you can fit it in a backpack or a small laptop bag quite easily. On the inside of the cups, you are treated to a comfortable memory foam padding.

Not only do these pads offer complete noise isolation and prevent leakage but they’re also breathable too thanks to the AirWeave fabric. The Arctis 5 also comes with an adjustable ski goggle suspension band. This fabric band supports the headset softly on your head. The two velcro straps on the sides can be used to adjust it to the proper height. It can also be customized in a variety of different colors.

Around the outer rings of the cups, you get thin strips of led lighting, that can be lit up in a variety of colors. The RGB lights can be entirely customized, using the included Steel Series Engine 3 software. You can choose from a pool of 16.8 million colors to set the light rings too. Additionally, you can also set the rings’ colors individually. You’re also given control of things like selecting a breathing pattern.

Features: SteelSeries Arctis 5

You can allow a constant on/off pattern or even set the system to light on game specific events such as turning red when low on health. The Arctis comes supported with the Engine 3. Here is where you can extensively control the aspects of the headset to your liking. You can customize volume controls for different games, make custom sound profiles and set the tone response to get the EQ just right.

In terms of its wireless capabilities, the Arctis 5 outshines its expectations. The headset gives out a good maximum range of about 11m (36 ft), more than substantial for what’s usually the norm with most midrange headsets. The latency sits at a cool 20ms which is perfectly acceptable for standard usage. Crowded public spaces may cause some issues if there are a lot of obstructions. But you will rarely notice any audio dropping if you are within a reasonably clear range of the Bluetooth adapter.

You can get a pretty decent mileage on the Artic 5’s batteries. They last about a good 24 hours on a full charge. Completely charging them takes around 3.5 hours at the most. When not in use over 10 minutes, the Arctis 5 switches to its idle mode that allows them to conserve their battery. Of course, you can just plug them in directly via the USB or 3.5mm jack, if you are not near any charging source.

Sound Quality: SteelSeries Arctis 5

The Steel Series Arctis 5 features the S1 audio driver, usually found in some of the higher ends Steel Series headsets. The audio drivers are angled slightly, meaning you get far better sound projection. The headset comes with Dolby 7.1 Virtual Surround sound, a feature that makes it easier for you to hear the location of enemy footsteps and weapon discharges, essential for online competitive games.

Aside from gaming, Arctis does well with music, the equalization options are versatile making it easy to find the right sound profile for a particular game or movie. Even without all the tweaking, you can still get pretty decent sounds going with the default sound profile. The Arctis comes with a ClearCast mic that sounds fairly good. As with all other SteelSeries headsets, the mic is completely retractable.

You can mute it with a press off a single button, which makes the red led on the mic light up indicating when it is disabled. Another notable inclusion is the Sidetone feature that lets you adjust how well you hear your own voice when using the microphone during in-game chat. You get a built in standard set of inputs with the Arctis 5, a 3.5mm jack and a proprietary USB. Everything feels perfectly fine tuned.

The headset is connected to a small ChatMix dial that adjusts the audio balance between game audio and chats audio. Along with all of this, you will also get a USB to 3.5mm sound card that doubles as an adapter. Using the sound card, you can hook the Arctis up to a PC, an Xbox One or a PS4. This makes it ideal for using it with laptops and smartphones, these may not have their own sound cards built in.

Conclusion and Amazon Reviews (Pros and Con’s)

It’s hard not to recommend the Steel Series Arctis 5 with its extensive range of features and attractive price point. Steel Series proves it is doesn’t cost to get a quality wireless gaming headset on a budget. Proving to the gaming industry that the best gaming headset under $100 can exist and it’s right here.


About the author

Alyssia Walmsley

Alyssia is a Cornell University graduate of 2003 and a former lead technology development manager for Microsoft and Cisco Networking Systems. Between writing on her blog, SkyGone Inc, loves adventures and chocolate sprinkles!

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