SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 – Versatility and Quality

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 - Versatility and Quality

To be totally honest with you I am not the sort of person who pays too much attention to the type of headset I use. Before receiving the Arctis Nova 3 for this review, I was rocking a headset that had seen so much use the covering was starting to flake away from the sides. I figured it does the job I need so there is no reason to get something else. It took me very little time to realise that the Arctis Nova 3 was unlike any headset I had tried before, and it would change the way I play my games and watch things on my phone and tablet.

The first thing most people want to know is what they can use it on, and the answer is pretty much anything they want to. Want to use it with your Switch on the commute? Plug it in with the USB-C cord. PC gaming but no USB-C ports open? Attach the USB-A extender cord and you can rock on. Xbox Series X? Well, it is a bit more basic but there is a 3.5mm audio jack to plug straight into the controller. Pretty much you can use this headset straight out of the box with anything that does not rely on a lightning connector. Simply plug it in and off you go.

So how does it sound? Really good. Now I am not an expert when it comes to sound, but this headset can pump out the music. Taking a leaf out of Editor in Chief Hewso, as soon as I opened these up I plugged the headset into my phone and promptly blasted Du Hast at full volume. That may have been a slight mistake, as my wife promptly smacked me across the back of the head because now the deep thundering sounds of Rammstein were drowning out the show she was trying to watch on TV. But it sounded great, and there was no distortion at all despite the very loud volume I had the music cranked up to.

The Arctis Nova 3 is surprisingly lightweight as well. Coming in at around 250 grams you can wear it for long gaming sessions without the stiffness in your neck that comes from some of the chunkier headsets on the market. The earcups too are soft and light, allowing long sessions without my ears feeling discomfort or starting to burn up from prolonged contact. As with most headsets, you can adjust the length to fit your head better, but this is boosted by a rotation point in the ear cups and a ski band that can be adjusted to the perfect level to alleviate the small weight of the headset. No matter the size and shape of your head you will be able to play your games in comfort.

The ClearCast Gen 2 microphone is designed to make sure you are always coming into your friends loud and clear, making use of A.I. algorithms to ensure that you always come through loud and clear. It was successful enough that despite my children having a roaring argument and yelling at each other the people I was playing with barely heard a thing. The mic is fully retractable, allowing you to keep it tucked safely away when you don’t need it or when you just want to make use of the headset in solo gaming or plugged into your phone. The one thing that I did find disconcerting at first was that I was picking up a lot of the sounds around me, the sound of the cord rubbing against my shirt most of all. Fortunately, you can turn the mic off with a simple press of a button to eliminate that issue and continue rocking out without any problems.

In the looks department, Steel Series continues with its simple black design, eschewing the gaudy colours you can find on some other headsets. However, there is a significant part of the population that loves the ability to have RGB lighting up everything they own, so the Arctis Nova 3 has this segment of the population covered as well, with a light-up ring that will work with any device apart from those connected via the 3.5mm jack. There are some basic patterns you can choose from, though if you want your headset to make your room look like a rave is going on you will be out of luck. If you are not the sort of person who revels in having your headset flashing RGB colours for all to see, or you don’t want to draw power from your device unnecessarily, it too has a simple slider that allows you to turn it off or on whenever you desire.

Probably one of the biggest pros of the Arctis Nova 3 is the Sonar system you can download through SteelSeries GG. Now as you may have guessed by now, I am not a big audiophile, but for those that love to get in and customise settings to get the best experience possible then, this is for you. Sonar allows you to fully customise your headsets output to maximise your efficiency in competitive gaming. You can choose from a number of pre-programmed configurations for games like Apex: Legends, CS: GO or Rainbow Six to help give you an edge on your opponents, whether that be hearing their footsteps clearer or hearing the beeping that signifies the location of a bomb. You are not restricted to the configurations as well, able to modify and tweak them all so that they fit your needs perfectly. It is not my cup of tea personally, but for those that love their competitive gaming, this can help give you an edge over the competition.

The Arctis Nova 3 is also compatible with the Tempest 3D audio for the PS5, however, that does come with a bit of a caveat. To make use of this system, you need to have the headset hooked up via the USB-C cord. Right now I have no problem with that as the PS5 is sitting on top of my desk because I have been doing some P2 Plays recordings, however, if the PS5 was in its usual location in my lounge room I would only be using the headset via the 3.5mm jack so I can sit in comfort on my lounge. It is not a deal breaker but just something to be aware of if you plan to buy this headset for your PS5.

Overall the Arctis Nova 3 is a great headset that can be used for long sessions without any discomfort. The need for a wired connection does limit its usability as a replacement for the Pulse 3D Headset for PS5, but most people will be fine using it via the 3.5mm audio jack. With the multiple connection cords, it is more than just a PC gaming headset, allowing me to use it whether I want to play on any of my consoles or binge-watch the latest season of Cobra Kai on my tablet while my kids hog the TV.

Look out for the Arcis Nova 3 where good gaming gear is sold for around $165 AUD. 



Speaker Drivers

  • Neodymium Drivers: 40 mm
  • Headphone Frequency Response: 20–22,000 Hz
  • Headphone Sensitivity: 93 dBSPL
  • Headphone Impedance: 36 Ohm
  • Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion: < 1%
  • 360° Spatial Audio: Supported



  • Microphone Type: ClearCast Gen 2 – Fully Retractable Boom
  • Microphone Polar Pattern: Bidirectional Noise Cancelling
  • Microphone Frequency Response: 100-10,000 Hz
  • Microphone Sensitivity: -38 dBV/Pa


Box Content:

  • Arctis Nova 3 Headset
  • USB-C to USB-C Main Cable (4 ft / 1.2m)
  • USB-C to USB-A Adapter/Extension Cable (5 ft / 1.5m)
  • USB-C to 3.5mm Analog Cable (4 ft / 1.2m)
  • Product Information Guide

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