If you want a budget-friendly pair of headphones that delivers high-quality sound during gaming and performs as an excellent tool for your zoom meeting, Arctis 1,3, or 5 from SteelSeries might be a great choice.

The three products offer a range of features, designs, and price points. Among all the most expensive options is the Arctis 5, which boasts RGB lighting and a removable L-shaped plug. However, only the Arctis 1 offers an on-ear design. Arctis 3 is the most affordable of the three. 

There is no difference in the frequency ranges of Arctis 3 and 5, but Arctis 1 does not provide passive noise reduction.

Let’s take a closer look.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 vs 3 vs 5 Comparison Chart

ModelSteelseries Arctis 1Steelseries Arctis 3Steelseries Arctis 5
Detachable cableNoYesYes
Weight0.6 lbs0.65 lbs0.69 lbs
Length8.1″7.6″9.0″
Width8.0″7.8″8.5″
Height3.6″ 4.0″2.0″ 
Ease Of UseGoodGoodGood
FeedbackGoodGoodGood
Microphone Control  Mute/UnmuteMute/UnmuteMute/Unmute
Channel Mixing NoNoYes
Call/Music Control  NoYesNo
Volume ControlYesYesyes
Noise Canceling ControlNoNoNo
Head Modeling NoNoNo
Room AmbienceNoNoNo
Speaker Modeling NoOn/OffOn/Off
Virtual Surround No AppWindows Sonic Spatial AudioDTS 7.1
Microphone StyleBoom Boom Boom 
Battery Type No BatteryRechargableNo Battery
Continuous Battery Life N/A42.3 hrsN/A
Total Battery Life N/A42.3 hrsN/A
Charge Time N/A3.8 hrsN/A
Power-Saving FeatureNoNoNo
Audio While Charging NoNoNo
Passive Playback Passive HeadphoneYesPassive Headphone
Charging PortNonemicro-USBNone
App Name  No AppNo AppSteelSeries Engine
Equalizer NoNoGraphic + Presets
Mic Control NoNoAdjustable Level
Bluetooth Version No Bluetooth4.1No Bluetooth
NFC Pairing NoNoNo
Multi-Device Pairing NoNoNo
Analog Audio YesYesYes
USB Audio NoNoUSB Type-A
Base/Dock TypeNo Base/DockNo Base/DockWired USB Dongle
RGB lightingNoNoYes
over-the-ear formNoYesYes
stereo speakersYesYesYes
Compatible with PlayStationYesYesYes
Compatible with XboxYesYesYes
Supports Dolby DigitalNoYesYes
ColorBlackBlack and WhiteBlack and White

SteelSeries Arctis 1 vs. 3 vs. 5 Descriptive Comparison

Now, I’ll compare all three models in detail to help you decide the best one for you.

Design

Steelseries Arctis 1

A 3.5 to 3.5-millimeter audio cable is included with the Arctis 1 wireless since you still have to use a wired connection. For Xbox gamers, there’s a USB A to micro USB cable used for charging since the Arctis 1 still charges through the micro USB port. You also get a USB C wireless transmitter which will connect directly to your computer, Nintendo switch, or even your phone, and you will receive a USB A to USB C adapter.

Thus, you can plug the transmitter into your Playstation 4 or your computer if it doesn’t have a USB-C port.

As far as performance is concerned, there is no noticeable lag, and the transmitter has never disconnected.

Steelseries Arctis 3

Regarding style, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 and the SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition are almost identical. The headsets have one-piece plastic headbands that do not appear as well-made as higher-end Arctis headsets. Nonetheless, this model still features SteelSeries’ signature self-adjusting ski-band headband.

Soft and matte plastic is all around the headset, but it’s solid simultaneously. Besides the volume control and mute button, there is also a USB port. The set features a proprietary plug-in addition to a 3.5-millimeter plug. However, they do not include RGB lighting.

Additionally, some accessories come in the box with the headphones, such as a PC audio and mic splitter cable. Although these headphones are stylish, they could also be used as regular headphones.

With large cups and a simple design, this headset is similar to the rest of Arctis’ lineup.

SteelSeries Arctis 5

There are many similarities between the Arctis 5 and the Arctis 7, but the headband differs slightly. However, the ski-band headband is still present, but the entire frame is entirely plastic and relatively rigid, giving it an overall cheaper appearance.

Despite keeping the same design, the backplates of the cups feature RGB lighting. This gaming headset has a rather simple build and isn’t as flashy as some others we’ve reviewed.

The microphone can also be retracted inside the left ear cup for a more casual look, but it won’t be very suitable for outdoor use. This headset is available in two colors: black and white.

Weight

Arctis Steelseries 1

The weight of Arctis Steelseries 1 is 272g.

Arctis Steelseries 3

The Weight of Arctis Steelseries is 3: 294g.

Arctis Steelseries 5

The Weight of Arctis Steelseries is 5: 277g.

Comfort

Steelseries Arctis 1

As with the ARCTIS 3 headset, the Arctis 1 headphones are still very lightweight, they are still made from plastic body panels, and their ear pads are still made from very breathable fabric that keeps your ears cool even after the long gaming sessions. However, Arctis 1 is much more comfortable than Arctis 3.

Compared to the Arctis 3, they fit much better on your head. The top portion of my ears is pressurized more by the Arctis 3 than the bottom portion. It’s not uncomfortable, but it’s annoying, whereas the Arctis 1 ear cups apply pressure all around your ears, so you forget you’re wearing them after a while.

Also, the ear cups on the Arctis 1 are slightly larger than those on the Arctis 3. In other words, if you have large ears, the Arctis 1 will probably be great for you.

Steelseries Arctis 3

Like the other Arctis headsets, these headphones are comfortable. They are wide and deep, so most ears should fit comfortably inside. You’ll love the soft padding on the cups. There’s an adjustable ski band, as with the other SteelSeries headphones, which is an excellent way to distribute the headset’s weight.

Some people find them a bit tight, particularly those with larger heads. The ski band is limited in how much you can extend it, so some may feel the headset’s frame resting on their head.

Steelseries Arctis 5

These headphones are just as comfortable as the other ones in the Arctis lineup. The cups have good padding, and the fabric is soft and comfortable against the skin. The headband is an adjustable ski band that distributes the headphone’s weight well.

There is a limit to how far the band can be extended, so people with larger heads may feel the frame. Some people also find them a bit tight on their heads, making them uncomfortable. On the plus side, some may prefer leather pads available on the SteelSeries website.

Color Options

The Arctis SteelSeries now come in various patterns and colors in addition to the details above. These include three color schemes (Winter Night, Solar, and Glacier) and three different design patterns (Crushed Dusk, Crushed Dawn, and Crushed Snow). Customers can choose the version that they prefer.

Among the headphones, only the Arctis has an on-ear cup. There are straight plugs on the Arctis 1 and 3 and an L-shaped one on the Arctis 5. Even if it’s a small detail, it might be necessary to some, depending on how many devices they intend to use.

Microphone Performance

Steelseries Arctis 1

As you’d expect, this headset’s microphone sounds fantastic, and it does a great job of picking up only your voice and not anything else. This headset is excellent for isolating your voice from any sounds nearby. The microphone provides you with a clear and loud sound. As a whole, I think the steel series Arctis 1 is excellent.

Steelseries Arctis 3

Steelseries says this is a top-notch gaming microphone. Its microphone is retractable. You can retract, move, and bend it in different directions. There is a mute switch, which, when pressed in, unmutes it, and pulling it mutes it.

Generally, the microphone sounds great. You can place the mic anywhere you want, so that’s good. You can use it for multiplayer games. I don’t think this will be suitable for professional use.

Steelseries Arctis 5

With the Arctis 5, the boom mic provides excellent recording quality. The low-frequency extension (LFE) is at 133 Hz, which is very good. Thus the sound of speech recorded/transmitted by this microphone will be deep and full.

It also has a good HFE at 10 kHz, ensuring a clear voice. A 10dB bump in the treble, focused around 5kHz, may make speech overly bright and sharp.

A positive aspect of this mic is that it provides a very clear and discernible sound. Although it is not a great microphone, it works fine.

Sound Performance

Steelseries Arctis 1

Regarding sound quality, I did not notice any significant differences between Arctis 1 and Arctis 3. Their sound is loud enough, and there isn’t any distortion.

The Arctis 1 allows you to adjust the headset’s EQ, dynamic range, compression, microphone side-tone, and mic volume by connecting to Steelseries Engine 3 on your computer.

So if you changed from playing on your PC to playing on your switch or Playstation, the headset settings would still carry over, which is a good thing.

Because you can only use the Arctis 1 passively with a wired connection, your presets for dynamic range compression and EQ will not work with it. Xbox gamers have no choice but to purchase the Arctis 1 Wired version.

Steelseries Arctis 3

The sound is pretty good. These headphones have a warmer sound. In their ways, they are detailed but not as crisp and clean as you might expect.

They are not headphones for footstep lovers and those who play multiplayer online since they are not very crisp and don’t provide much detail on the higher end. You might want to EQ them in some way if you are using your computer.

There’s a little bass bump but not an excessively bassy one, and they sound nice and full. With a lot of headphones that require power from the Dual-Shock 4, there is a problem.

You could do louder with the Dual-Shock 4, but they weren’t loud enough, so there won’t be any hearing damage, and you can hear everything in the game, but it can’t go beyond that. So, that’s a little disappointing.

Steelseries Arctis 5

The Arctis 5 lacks consistency in frequency response. The deviation in the bass range is quite broad and deep, reaching more than eight decibels.

You can quickly notice this difference. A bass drop may also be caused by wearing glasses or having a lot of hair.

Things start getting interesting with Arctis 5. It is stated that Arctis 3 and 5 have the same technical specs, which implies they have the same drivers.

I have found the Arctis 5 to sound better when testing music and games. It has more bass, and the highs are toned down a bit, so they aren’t as painful. It’s still very loud and clear to hear footsteps.

Additionally, the 5 offers slightly more detail, but it’s not as noticeable as the difference between the Arctis 1 and 3.

Build Quality

Steelseries Arctis 1

Arctis 1 from SteelSeries has excellent build quality. The plastic used in these entry-level gaming headphones is thin, so they are not very sturdy. The headband’s padding doesn’t seem stitched, and it is already coming out of the slot after minimal use.

It does seem that the hinges are okay, but they lack elasticity and have a small range of motion, appearing that they could easily break under physical stress.

Steelseries Arctis 3

SteelSeries Arctis 3 are built similarly to the Arctis 5 2019 Edition and feel a bit cheaper than the rest of the lineup. Plastic has been used for the headband frame of this model, so it doesn’t feel as sturdy as the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition headband, SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless headset, or SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC headset. The cups, however, are the same and should be able to withstand accidental drops. Additionally, the retractable microphone is easily bendable and feels well-built.

Steelseries Arctis 5

It feels a bit cheaper than the other Arctis models. The headband is made of plastic and doesn’t feel as sturdy as the Arctis Pro Wireless, Arctis Pro GameDAC, or Arctis 7 2019 Edition. However, the cups are comparable and can survive a few accidental drops without too much damage. Additionally, the retractable microphone feels well built and is malleable.

Controls

Steelseries Arctis 1

Wired and wireless versions of the Arctis 1 are available with a USB dongle. The wired version uses a non-detachable 3.5 mm cable for connectivity. By plugging in a controller, it can work with Xbox and PlayStation. A desktop computer can be connected to a microphone via the splitter included. To use the microphone on a laptop, you need to make sure that you have a 3.5 mm combo jack.

Steelseries Arctis 3

Arctis 3 has a comprehensive and user-friendly control scheme. Music and calls can be played and paused through your power/pairing button, whether you are connected wired or wirelessly. The button can also be double-tapped to skip tracks. Sadly, you can’t go backward. The left cup has a volume wheel and a mic-mute button as well. The volume wheel is the only control that works when using the headset. It’s very easy to distinguish and use the buttons.

Steelseries Arctis 5

Game players will find these headphones helpful due to their simple control scheme. The mic-mute button and the volume wheel are well-designed and easy to use. Plugging in their dock will give you an additional wired range and access to a channel mixing knob. A notch shows when the audio between the game and chat is 50/50, which is helpful. Nevertheless, the knob is very sensitive, making it easy to turn it accidentally.

Connectivity

Steelseries Arctis 1

Wired and wireless versions of the Arctis 1 are available with a USB dongle. I’ll be focusing on the wired version. By plugging in a controller, it can work with Xbox and PlayStation. This device has a detachable microphone. To connect a microphone to a laptop, make sure it has a 3.5 mm combo jack. There is a mute mic switch and a gain slider on the left ear cup. A desktop computer can use the splitter that comes with the device.

Steelseries Arctis 3

Bluetooth is compatible with these headphones. You can wirelessly connect the headset to your phone while playing games on a console, and the headset is plugged into the controller. They can’t connect simultaneously to more than one device, however. They don’t come with a dock.

Multiple variants of the Arctis 3 are also available. A wired-only version, a Bluetooth-enabled wired version (which isn’t ideal for gaming), and a wired-only console version are available. A detachable 3.5 mm cable is included with the console version, but there is no PC splitter. You can circumvent this issue by connecting it to a PlayStation controller attached via USB to your computer.

Steelseries Arctis 5

Bluetooth is not compatible with these headphones. Consider the SteelSeries Arctis 3, Arctis Pro Wireless, or HyperX Cloud Mix if you’re looking for a gaming headset with Bluetooth. Video content and gaming are enjoyable when using these headphones because they do not have latency due to their wired connection. You shouldn’t experience any delay.

A small dock is included with the Arctis 5, which offers channel mixing. YOu can use the dock for audio and microphone on PS4 and PCs. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with Xbox One.

You can read our comparison guides for:

Conclusion

Here is how the Arctis Steelseries 1, 3, and 5 compare to each other:

All are almost equal in their design. The Arctis 5, however, has an L-shaped cable connector, whereas the Arctis 1 is the lightest. A tie between Arctis 3 and 5 in terms of sound. There is no noise-canceling system on Arctis 1. Tie for connectivity. The Steelseries 3 has the lowest price.

All three headphones provide high sound quality and innovative design. Noise-canceling, cable length, and volume (the Arctis 1 is the loudest) are the main points of difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Arctis 5 worth it?

Gaming headphones SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition have good audio reproduction and are wired. This gaming headset comes with a great microphone and can be easily customized and controlled using SteelSeries Engine software.

Is Arctis 1 still good?

The Arctis 1 headsets from SteelSeries are relatively good for making phone calls. Despite being in a noisy environment, the boom mic does a great job of keeping your voice clear and natural. Despite this, they have trouble cutting down ambient noise around you, so you may have difficulty hearing the person on the other end of the line.

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