Overall and Final Verdict
When you are on a budget, you always have to try to get the best bang for your buck while cutting and saving anywhere you can to put the money where it helps the most. SteelSeries recognized this when redoing their Siberia product line so they slipped in a new headset priced lower than their new Siberia V3’s. To give you an idea of where these land, to get a USB Siberia v3 you are looking at $139.99 and $99.99 for a non-USB model. The Siberia RAW Prism comes in much cheaper with an MSRP of $59.99. This puts it in direct competition with headsets like the Logitech G230 and the Creative Labs SB Inferno. Even then both of those headsets sell for the same price but aren’t offered with a built in sound card. Of course depending on how good your onboard sound card is that could be a good or a bad thing.
The new Siberia RAW Prism’s aren't perfect by any means but SteelSeries did do a good job of making them perform well within their price point on both comfort and audio performance. The fact that you get full color LED lighting and good software is a nice bonus as well. I did run into two downsides to the headset though. While the overall build quality is good, I’m not a big fan of the plastic finish of the headset overall. It feels cheap and looks unfinished to me. The plastic looks very similar to what some prototype products look like when I get the chance to check them out at events like CES. SteelSeries has been known to paint their headsets different colors, the Siberia RAW Prism is just begging for this treatment in my opinion. Give me a nice rubberized black or an orange Siberia RAW Prism and I would be extremely happy.
The other issue I has was with the stubby microphone picking up on the audio coming out of the headphones. The microphone did an amazing job of picking up my voice, but it worked too well. If you rarely talk on your microphone this will never be an issue but if you do make sure you have tweaked the settings or make sure you aren’t playing anything embarrassing when talking. At minimum your team might hear themselves talking through your microphone and worse case they might find out about your Justin Bieber obsession and never let it go.
While the issues I ran into weren’t really trivial issues, I do still think SteelSeries is onto something here. I would still recommend it to anyone who is on a budget as long as you can live with the downsides. The upsides might just make it worth overlooking them though! If nothing else, it looks like the budget headset category just got a little more competitive.