The SteelSeries Arctis 5 RGB illuminated gaming headset is a well-received product. On Amazon at the time of this review, the Arctis 5 headphones average 4 out of 5 stars. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a negative professional review. What do people like here? Do the complaints have merit? I have been using these headphones for about a year now, lets review and find out about the pros and cons. The below is excerpt is from Toms Guide. Let’s see if Tom got it right when it comes to comfort.
SteelSeries has generally put other headset manufacturers to shame when it comes to comfort, and the Arctis 5 is no exception.
The Arctis 5 headset boasts many features, let’s review the elements that SteelSeries promotes here.
- ClearCast Microphone
- Ski Goggle Headband
- AirWeave Ear Cushions
- 7.1 Surround
- RGB Illumination
The SteelSeries compatibility is on their product page and can vary by device. For example, the PC has the best support and provides all the promoted features. However, if you fail to realize this and buy this product for some other device, you may find disappointment. For example, if you buy this for a mobile phone, you will have to use the 3.5mm analog connection. Using this link drops the surround system support, engine3 support, RGB illumination and the ChatMix Features. After scanning many of the Amazon reviews, I found the following complaint.
I’m docking one star because I wish somewhere in the description they would tell consumers certain features are not compatible with the Xbox One if consumers intend to buy the Arctis 5 or 7. I had to exchange from the 7, to the 5, to the 3.
The above Amazon review complaint is valid from a strict Amazon vantage point; the incompatibilities are not present. However, if you look at the product page on the vendor’s website, you’ll have no problem identifying features. I would be cautious that the Xbox One has no mention, this is going to depend on how Microsoft designed their product to interact with legacy hardware. Recall, that the Xbox One just came out, SteelSeries could not predict how the Xbox One would function and thus should not bear any fault here.
Personally, I have found the Arctis 5 microphone impressive with one exception. The audio quality is excellent, and you will be hard-pressed to find a negative review in the thousands of reviews on Amazon about the subject. It seems the consensus is that the microphone on the Arctis 5 is top notch from the average consumers perspective. If you are a producer looking for a mic with production quality recording, look elsewhere. The only feature I do not like here is how the headset informs you that the microphone is off. If the Microphone is off, a bright red led light turns on. Apparently, you can not change this behavior, and you’re stuck with it whether you like it or not. I would personally rather have an indicator that it was on, might help with those open mic incidents.
Design & Comfort
The ski band and the cushion earphones fall into the category of design, and I have grouped them. The ski band is a nice feature that not only aids with comfort but also provides an excellent premium look. The headphone cushions prove to be comfortable, and at times, I forget that I have them on. I have had headphones in the past that squeezed my ears too hard and caused slight pain with extended use. I do not have that problem here. However, My wife has complained that they are also heavy and her neck hurts after prolonged use. In the past, she has used earbuds and those very lightweight headphones. If my wife’s previous use describes yours, you may find these headphones uncomfortable. Otherwise, you should be fine. Most user reviews comment on how comfortable these headphones are. I have to agree here.
Surround sound in headphones seem to be difficult to achieve. You continuously find whats called “Virtual Surround “, and you will find that to be the case with the Arctis 5 as well. The one time I found an exception was in 2008 with Turtle Beach headphones. Back then you could buy real surround sound headphones with separate speakers from different sources at a similar price. Today it seems to be a feature for the $200.00 and more headphones. The sound quality here is great, it’s clear, precise, and sounds just like it should. The surround sound effect leaves much to be desire on the table and falls in line with what other vendors provide regarding “Virtual Surround”. If you want surround sound, nothing beats the real thing, and that continues to be the case here. Buy these for sound quality and not necessarily the surround sound.
I honestly love the RGB illumination and feel that it provides a real premium look when in use. My wife finds it annoying, and you will know if you like the idea before you purchase. Even more fascinating, you can integrate the illumination in some games. For example, red color on low health. The RGB effect is well done and provides multiple illumination options from different alternating colors to being turned off completely. Its a nice premium feature to have and I currently can not think of any other headsets that offer something similar. TheRGB illumination provides all the features you expect with additional features you probably didn’t. The one LED light I’m not a fan of is the microphone off light that glows red and does not let you change it. Perhaps an oversight on an otherwise excellent product.
Durability & Build Quality
The Arctis 5 headphones have a premium look and feel, However, they are plastic at the end of the day. I have used plenty of plastic headphones that seemingly snapped for no reason after extended use. Some of these headphones even had metal braces. And by prolonged use, I mean in about one years time. Both My wife and I use this headset, and we have both owned the product for over a year. Neither of us has had any problems with the Arctis 5 headset breaking down, the headband is still intact, and the quality plastic mold shows no signs of damage or wear. We have both dropped our headphones on occasion, not too often, but it happens from time to time. The durability and build quality are fantastic for this price range, and you should have no complaints here.
The best list on any review. What are the problems? First, the microphone red LED light comes on when the MIC is not active. Secondly, you can now add headphones to the list of items you need to update. I have update my headphone drivers about 3 times in the last year. Thirdly, the surround sound is an average implementation and there are also complaints that the bass is weak here, a true statement, it does not improve much from default setting. Fourth, the cables are proprietary and must be replaced with vendor parts. Lastly, the included software can be a bit tricky to figure out initially. But if you use a PC regularly, you really should not have a problem.
Arctis 5 Conclusion
So you want to know if you should get these headphones? If you are in the market for quality headphones for about $100.00, then yes you should. These headphones are top of their class for their price range and provide a multitude of features that won’t disappoint. The sound quality is fantastic, the durability has no problems, the microphone offers excellent clear communication with no echo, and the comfort provided is exceptional. You should avoid these headphones if you fall into one of the following camps. If you want a fantastic “virtual surround” sound experience, look elsewhere, these provide the standard “virtual surround” found in other headphones. Do not confuse that with sound quality, the audio quality is excellent. If you do not like headphones and typically use earbuds or similar solutions for comfort purposes, you’ll probably still find these uncomfortable. Otherwise, the Arctis 5 is an excellent choice.
SteelSeries Arctis 5 RGB Headset$99.99
- Great Sound
- Awesome RGB Lights
- Stellar Microphone
- High Customization
- Annoying Microphone off light
- Average Surround Sound Solution
- Headphone Updates
- Proprietary cables
- Bass could be better