Overall and Final Verdict
In the past, SteelSeries has been great about finding a design that works and sticking with it with only a few changes over time. So the introduction of the Arctis line is a huge deal for them and it is most likely an indication of the direction SteelSeries is looking to go in the future. That direction if you ask me is positive, but prior to the Arctis launch I think that was up in the air. Being a big fan of Sensei, I hadn’t really been impressed with the move away from that design to the Rival. But In my time with the Arctis 5, I’ve been extremely happy with the headset. SteelSeries managed to take the suspension headband that I love about the Siberia series, improve it, and combine it with the best of the H series. This along with having a lighter fit makes the Arctis 5 comfortable over extended periods of time. The new drivers and enclosed earcups also translated to improved audio performance in my testing. The same could be said for the microphone, an area that SteelSeries headphones have been a step behind on. Beyond the two big concerns of comfort and audio quality, the Arctis 5 also had a unique and very useful volume control in the USB sound card that let you adjust your communication audio and in game audio mix to help make adjustments in game. That combined with the volume and mute right on the headset made for great control outside of software. I was also a fan of the slightly more subtle RGB lighting where most gaming headsets go with in your face lighting.
As far as downsides to the Arctis 5, I had a lot more trouble finding them. My main issue was with the lack of an adapter that split the connection into 3.5mm jacks for both microphone and headphones like all quality sound cards give you. You are forced to use the USB sound card or be without your microphone on PCs.
All in all, I was extremely impressed with the new headset and if this is any indication of what is to come from SteelSeries I’m excited. The Arctis 5 is right up with the Cloud headset for quality and I actually think it is more comfortable. On top of that, it is a little more compact and it has the RGB lighting and in game audio mix controller. With an MSRP of $99.99 at launch, it is priced well for the features and it keeps it priced below what most people could do combining a low-end audiophile headphones with a Modmic. All in all, I think the Arctis 5 is a great headset and I think I may have to pick up a pair of the Arctis 7’s to replace my current wireless headphones if they perform this good as well.
Live Pricing: HERE