Photos and Features
It only takes one look to see that the new Arctis line is completely different than SteelSeries’s previous headset lines though it does take a few features from each. Gone are the big round earcups from the H series and in place are lower profile oval earcups with a flat outside. The earcups are still enclosed though like the H series. For the headband, they went with a design closer to the Siberia line than the H series with its suspension band. The earcups pivot off of a weird bend that allows a little more flexibility but still lets you sit the headphones down completely flat if you want.
So the suspension headband of the Siberia headsets is one of my favorite features and I was really happy to see the Arctis 5 have something similar. Unlike the Siberia, though this design doesn’t have spring loaded springs in the headset, they went with something a little simpler. The headband is elastic and just wraps around two points on the headset. In fact, they use Velcro on each end so you can remove the headband and clean it or swap it out with one of the difference designs that SteelSeries sells. Unique designs could also be hand made to really do something custom, hopefully, we see some on Etsy in the future.
The earcups have a microfiber finish that is soft and shouldn’t get too hot. Inside from there the speakers are covered up by a tight mesh. The earcups are large for an around the ear fit for most people but they aren’t super deep. I will be curious to see how the new design is for comfort. For drivers, they went with 40mm Neodymium drivers and they have a frequency range of 20-22000 Hz. The Siberia’s ha a 50mm driver so this isn’t SteelSeries just carrying over the same drivers that they have used forever now. The new drivers have the same range on the low end but have a little more range up high. With a sensitivity of 98db, they are drastically different than the older 80db drivers, this should mean higher volumes without having to crank the volume up.
The microphone design is also a complete departure from past SteelSeries designs. They once again have a flexible boom that can be pushed into the headphones but the boom seems a little stronger. The microphone on the end of the boom is also larger but when tucked away it takes up almost no room at all. The new microphone has the same frequency range of the previous model but is now Bidirectional rather than Unidirectional. It also has a better sensitivity as well at -48db. They also included noise canceling to help cut down on outside noise. The microphone now also has a red LED in it to let you know when you are muted but this only works when running full USB.
At first glance at the Arctis 5 in the packaging you would think it is a wireless headset but that is just because the cable is completely detachable. The left earcup has that connection along with a few other things. For starters next to the tiny connection is a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio sharing. Next to it is a volume control and a push button microphone mute button.
For cords and connections, SteelSeries did a few things that are interesting. To support the wide variety of options that they have listed they went with a modular cable system. They did this with a few of their recent headsets but for the Arctis 5 things are a little different. The headset itself has its detachable cable. That cable uses a tiny USB-like connection that plugs into the headphones on one end and on the other it can be plugged into the USB cable for PC use or the 3.5mm connection for consoles and mobile devices. The USB cable for your PC is the only way you get the RGB lighting effects and it also has an inline control box that lets you adjust between chat and in game noise levels. I’ve seen this in the past with a few console setups prior to the current generation consoles but for the PC this is really unique. The two connection options cover most things but I really wish they would include a third adapter for the traditional split 3.5mm setup, for people who want to use their own audio cards or for some laptops that still have the older configuration.