SteelSeries Arctis 1 Gaming Headset Review 3

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Gaming Headset Review


Value and Conclusion

  • The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is available online for $50/€50.
  • Good overall sound performance (considering the price)
  • Good microphone quality
  • Light and exceptionally comfortable
  • Detachable microphone
  • Intuitive onboard controls
  • Good value for money
  • Bass-heavy sound signature makes it worse than other Arctis headsets in terms of spatial awareness
  • Poor quality dual TRS splitter cable (causes significant microphone crosstalk)
You can't go wrong if you treat yourself to the SteelSeries Arctis 1, one of the best $50 brand-name gaming headsets on the market. Even though it doesn't quite match its more expensive siblings from the Arctis lineup in terms of build quality and acoustic performance, it does everything you'd expect from an inexpensive headset, and it does it well.

Like other members of the Arctis family, it looks unassuming and nice. It's more compact, too, mainly because it replaces the dual-headband design with a more traditional, single-headband one. That makes it look and feel less fancy, and it's less intuitive in terms of ergonomics, but you still get a very comfortable gaming headset that won't hurt your ears during even very long gaming sessions.

Instead of using an in-line remote control, SteelSeries stayed true to their on-board controls, which I really like. You won't have to fumble around to find them around your chest area—they're on the left ear cup, always within your reach. The microphone is detachable and can easily be removed should you want to use the Arctis 1 as mobile headphones, which is definitely a valid option.

Although the SteelSeries Arctis 1 allegedly uses the same speaker drivers as more expensive members of the Arctis family, they're tuned differently, with a stronger emphasis on bass. That works well for added excitement in action games, but the Arctis 1 is definitely less informative than its siblings in terms of spatial positioning, as some finer details do get drowned out by the sheer magnitude of its bass. It's by no means bad, though—I was still able to detect my in-game targets and respond appropriately. For music, if you're into genres like EDM and rap, you'll love the Arctis 1. If rock, metal, and classical music is what gets you going, you're probably better off looking elsewhere.

The microphone quality is surprisingly good as well. I can't think of a $50 gaming headset that performs better in this aspect. If you plan to connect the Arctis 1 to your PC, I strongly suggest not using the supplied 3-pole (TRS) splitter cable because it causes significant crosstalk (for more details, check out the microphone performance section of this review). Just buy a different splitter cable, which should be available in any electronics store for a couple of bucks. Either that or utilize your sound card's Acoustic Echo Cancellation feature, if available, at the expense of voice quality, which will be lower due to added compression and filtering. Despite this quirk, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 is a good buy and definitely worth considering if you're on a limited budget.
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