Today, we are writing our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review to discuss the headset from SteelSeries. The Arctis line of headsets is a highly-praised collection of the company, which the company has optimised for 2022. Its products come in all-new designs and now have a less confusing lineup of products.
The Arctis 5 was entirely dropped but rolled into the Arctis Nova 3 headset. The product features excellent audio drivers, such as the Arctis Nova 7, plus fancy new RGBs on its exterior.
The headset is an impressive budget-friendly pair for general use and gaming. But is it as good as the other headsets from SteelSeries? We will find out in our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Packaging
Like other SteelSeries products, the Arctis Nova 3 shipped in a sturdy-looking grey and orange-themed box. The front displays an image of the headset, along with details like the company branding, model name, and some features.
On the sides and rear of the box, you will find other details and information about the headset.
We will also share the box contents for our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review. Inside, you will find the headset, a USB-C to C main cable, and a USB-C to C adapter/extension cable.
There is also a USB-C to 3.5mm analogue cable, plus a product information guide.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review – Design and Functionality
The Arctis Nova 2 design is understated compared to earlier Steelseries headsets. Plus, comfort was a priority over spectacular appearances.
Do not get us wrong; the headset still lights up and features an attractive appearance when connected by USB-3. But of course, you can switch this feature on and off whenever you like.
While writing our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review, we saw it has a lightweight, plastic frame. It features an updated design, unlike the earlier generation.
The headphones have a fully-adjustable height and retractable mic that sits on the headset when not used. And because of its plastic frame, it is flexible, which allows it to bend and twist without wear or tear.
Both ear cups have a rotating design wrapped in the plush AirWeave memory foam cushions from SteelSeries. These are soft, breathable, and sit perfectly along the ears.
When using glasses, you will enjoy using the Arctis Nova 3 since it will not apply too much pressure. It makes a comfortable experience no matter how long you use the headset.
A lever on the side makes it simple to switch off the lighting on the go. The Arctis Nova 3 also has a customisable RGB ring along both earcups for added flair.
When connected to a device via USB, you can select from 16.8 million colours. Plus, you can take advantage of dynamic lighting effects.
Controls and Connectivity
The headset controls and connectivity are also part of our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review. Here, we learned the headset houses controls on both its ear cups.
The left ear cup houses the microphone-mute button and volume dial. On the right ear cup is a button for switching on the RGBs.
Its controls are easy to find and simple to manage, and misfires never happen. Its volume slider has adequate resistance and a perfect position. It means you will not accidentally slide the volume up/down when adjusting the Arctis Nova 3.
Also, the headset works with any device using a USB-C or 3.5mm port.
The Microphone of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset
You will also receive a modernised, completely retractable ClearCast 2 noise-cancelling microphone with the headset.
Also, finding the ideal position for crystal-clear in-game or Discord chat is much faster and easier. It is all thanks to the ultra-flexible arm mount of the mic. You can opt not to use the microphone if you want an external one.
You can also fully retract it inside the ear cup for a streamlined appearance.
Your teammates or friends will never miss a word you say because of the mic AI and noise-cancelling algorithms. These are elements that eliminate background noise. It allows the microphone to produce near studio-quality audio.
It even features a LED indicator to inform you when the headset is on mute. Plus, it will provide auto mic monitoring to address and catch issues like echoing before these occur in games.
However, the biggest downside of the headset is it does not auto-mute when retracted to the ear cup. Instead, you will need to press the mic-mute button physically to make it happen.
Although it is a minor issue, we think it can be inconvenient for people used to auto-mute. It will also be an issue for those needing instant conversations outside Discord games/voice chats.
Key Features of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset
Is the Arctis Nova 3 better than its predecessors? Know the product features by reading our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review.
The Nova Acoustic System
The Arctis Nova 3 features the top-notch Nova Acoustic System that works with custom-designed High Fidelity Drivers. The combined software and hardware satisfy your ears with crystal-clear deep bass and high notes.
360° Spatial Audio
360° Spatial Audio lets you hear your opponents from a distance, allowing you to identify their location. The immersive audio surrounds you from all angles to place you at the centre of the action.
PrismSync RGB Lighting
The dynamic RGB lighting of the Arctis Nova 3 is fully customisable using 16.8 million available colours. Create brilliant colour shows in dual-zone RGB and sync these with other devices for enhanced aesthetics.
With USB-C connectivity, you can connect the Arctis Nova 3 to multiple platforms to enjoy the immersive sound. It works with PC, Mac, iPad, Switch, and PlayStation.
SteelSeries Sonar – Parametric EQ
The Pro-grade Parametric EQ lets you take control of your audio. It uses X-Ray Hearing to let you hear footsteps, potion gurgles, and bomb sets before you even see them.
We will discuss more details about the Parametric EQ later in this SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review.
The Arctis Nova 3 looks and feels good. It can fit any head since it has four adjustment points.
Its durable, stretchy band distributes weight evenly to fit any head. The lightweight build of the headset allows for long hours of use without experiencing discomfort.
Aside from the excellently designed band, the headset uses AirWeave Memory Foam for the earcups to increase comfort.
The ClearCast microphones of the Arctis Nova 3 use advanced AI algorithms from Sonar to deliver clean audio. As a result, you can communicate with your teammates with all voices being audible.
This section of our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review focuses on the different specifications of the headset.
The Arctis Nova 3 uses 40mm neodymium drivers and has a frequency response ranging from 20 to 22000 Hz. Its sensitivity is 93dB SPL, while its impedance is 36 ohms. The headset has less than 1% THD and supports 360° Spatial Audio.
The Arctis Nova 3 has a fully retractable ClearCast Gen 2 boom microphone. There is also a bidirectional polar pattern with noise-cancelling features. Plus, its frequency response ranges from 100 to 10000 Hz.
For its sensitivity, the headset has -38 dBV/Pa.
The GG Engine works with Windows 7.1 or higher and macOS 10.13 or above. However, you will need Windows 10 and above to use Sonar features. The reason is that the system is necessary for AI noise-cancelling on PC.
Hands-on with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset
SteelSeries GG Engine
The Arctis Nova 3 works with the SteelSeries GG Engine, a software suite for configuring the headset settings.
We used the GG Engine to create custom equaliser settings and access features like the 360° Spatial Audio.
The outstanding feature of the GG Engine was Sonar, a Parametric EQ dashboard that enables spatial audio. We set our preferred audio settings for each game we played, and we think it is an impressive feature. The software suite offers over 20 presets that instantly tailor the soundstage for particular games.
Aside from the audio settings, we also personalised the RGB lighting effects of our headset. GG Engine offers colour presets and effects while allowing carrying over RGB settings to the console.
We tested the product across various platforms for our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review. Its audio is identical to the Arctis Nova 7 since it uses the same audio drivers.
Virtual sounds were impressively immersive, and most details were audible. We heard opponents from different directions, which put us at a competitive advantage.
The noise-cancellation was not perfect since we could still hear some sounds like our keypresses and the air conditioner. However, soft sounds like the wind, water dripping, or the electric fan set on low were not audible. We have no complaints since it blocked most sounds and allowed us to focus on our games.
The headset also worked excellently for chats. Its microphone captured our voices well while our teammates heard us. Everyone was loud and clear, so the headset and mic allowed us to execute our strategies and commands.
The Arctis Nova 3 delivered excellent performance throughout our tests, which makes it easy to recommend.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 Headset Review Summary
The Arctis Nova 3 is an excellent headset for multiple platforms. It works via PC, console, and mobile devices. Plus, it has an attractive design that offers unparalleled comfort, making it ideal for long gaming sessions.
We love its unique features like the 360° Spatial Audio, Parametric EQ, and the Nova Acoustic System. These elements deliver highly immersive and superior sounds for both in-game audio and chats. Also, you can customise it further via the GG Engine to enhance its audio.
For its price, the Arctis Nova 3 is a versatile headset that is ideal for gamers. We recommend this headset because of its excellent design, comfort, and performance.