It’s easy to get attached to premium features. For that reason, I typically daily drive SteelSeries’ top-of-the-range Arctis Nova Pro Wireless; creature comforts like hot-swapping batteries and simultaneous 2.4GHz and Bluetooth audio are luxuries to which I’ve grown accustomed. However, a headset priced near that of a next-generation console is not for everyone and in the process of completing my SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 review, the lightweight wired headset has become my go-to recommendation for a mid-tier headset.
It was the next in SteelSeries’ new lineup to catch my eye. At a lower price — retailing shy of $200 here in Australia — the lightweight wired headset has a few perks its big brother does not.
For starters, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 offers broader compatibility thanks to its simple setup. A single USB-C connection supports almost anything, with included cables also offering connection to 3.5mm jacks and USB-A ports. Plug-and-play connectivity between my PlayStation, PC, iPad and Samsung phone is convenient, even at the expense of wireless connectivity. If you lack the patience for what can be a more complex setup with a wireless adapter or DAC, you might prefer the Nova 3.
On PC and Mac, the SteelSeries GG software allows you to change mic settings, and EQs, and customise the subtle RGB ring that encircles each ear cup. A feature unique to the Nova 3, the RGB can be turned on/off with a single switch on the side of the right earcup. Besides being stylish — and very Gamer™ — I used this function to signal to colleagues when I was on a call in the office. It’s a nice touch for gamers that have to pretend to be professional sometimes.
It adopts a similar design aesthetic and is equally as comfortable as a more premium model. With the ComfrotMAX System — a strap suspending the headband above your head — and a lighter-weight construction, it’s a headset that suits all-day use. Despite an overall cheaper feel and fabric memory foam earcups rather than synthetic leather, the Nova 3’s build quality is solid. I’m confident it would serve you well over years of rigorous gaming should you not hurl it across the room having lost a game of FIFA.
And as I now expect from all SteelSeries headsets, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 sounds fantastic. Games, music, and media all sound brilliant, even if they might lack a little oomph in the lower end. A volume wheel on the side allows you to fine-tune volume with onboard controls next to a mute button for the high-quality, retractable mic. It supports 360° spatial audio and PlayStation’s 3D audio, so if you want to hear directional footsteps in Call of Duty or scare yourself silly in Resident Evil, you’re good to go.
If you’re in the market for a wired headset that sounds excellent and is well-made and comfortable, it’d be hard to look past the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3. Surprisingly, I got some use out of the RGB, but I could take it or leave it. USB-C connectivity, however, is a huge bonus; the lack of frills translates to a no-fuss, lightweight, versatile headset that’s a great deal under $200.