We’re at a point right now where the majority of gaming headsets are featuring better sound for less money, and it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish a $300 headset from a $100 headset. While most peripheral companies are adding their own bits of flare in hopes that their headset will carve out its own niche, the crowded headset marketplace doesn’t allow for a lot of wiggle room. But when it comes to the new SteelSeries Arctis 5 gaming headset, which comes in at $99.99, the subtle nuances and bits of flair are what sets it apart.
First, it’s the smooth texture of the Arctis 5 that grabbed my attention. As someone who is incredibly sensitive to how things feel on his fingers, I can tell you that the feel of the Arctis 5 is smooth, with the ears having an almost rubber texture to them. The build quality is there, and the headset has a sturdy build that isn’t flimsy or cheap.
The Arctis 5’s level of comfort is unmatched. As someone who wears glasses, it’s super important to find a headset that doesn’t squeeze the glasses against the side of my head, but also presses firmly enough against your ears to allow for the best sound experience. The Arctis 5 headset does just that, and even after five-hour gaming sessions, the headset is still comfortable to wear. The material also stays dry for hours, keeping you cool and comfortable in long sessions. It also has an adjustable elastic headband that conforms to your head, for an added level of comfort.
The Arctis 5 also has an impressive number of different configurations to mess with thanks to the software that comes with it. You’re able to select DTS 7.1 surround sound for fully immersive experiences. With it turned on, Overwatch never sounded better, and I was able to easily pinpoint directional noises (as if I needed any help being leet at Overwatch). Even by default, without flipping any switches and turning any dials, the Arctis 5 sounds good, and with proper equalization and fine-tuning, it sounds great. The mic quality is also good, allowing you to be fully heard by your teammates, and it’s easily setup with Discord and Teamspeak.
Of course, to many gamers, the look of their setup is just as important as its functionality, and the Arctis 5 looks great. The RGB color options offer numerous display configurations, ranging from solid colors to light shows right on your ears. It’s not overdone as to look cheesy, either, and it’s the right level of lighting.
The Arctis 5 is hard to define, but it does a lot of different things very well. Its biggest pro is its physical design, but the high-quality sound is also worth the mention. For $99, it’s a great pick, and it’s going to make a great gift for gamers this holiday season.
- Extra Long Cables
- Smooth Texture
- RGB Lighting
- Very Comfortable
- Easy Software
- Mic sticks out slightly even when “tucked away”
Overall: 9.3 out of 10