SteelSeries Arctis 5 Review

SteelSeries Arctis 5 Headset Review
The SteelSeries Arctis 5 gaming headset promises superior sound quality and comfort, as well as versatile connectivity options for a variety of gamer-friendly uses.


S1 Speaker Drivers

Perhaps the flashiest feature on the SteelSeries Arctis 5 gaming headset is its S1 speaker drivers. The S1 drivers featured on the Arctis 5 are the same high-quality speaker drivers SteelSeries uses on its highest-end gaming headset. The result is full-bodied, 7.1 surround sound, designed to deliver a better overall listening experience while minimizing distortion in the process.

ClearCast Microphone

SteelSeries’ ClearCast mic is renowned for its noise cancellation skills, which makes it a favorite amongst gamers, even those who game at the elite eSports level. Better still, thanks to SteelSeries’ exclusive bidirectional mic design, that also comes with a very high level of voice clarity and fidelity, so those hearing your voice on the other end can hear the real you. This means you never have to worry about missed commands during gameplay, nor do you have to worry about interference when you have to take a work call.

Versatile compatibility

The SteelSeries Arctis 5 headset can be used with a variety of devices. Wired connection via a standard 3.5mm connected with included adaptor is ideal for use with your smartphone or VR headset. You can use the USB connection for your Mac, PC or PlayStation. With PlayStation, Mac and PC you get the extra benefit of Prism RGB illumination, and with the latter two, you also get ChatMix-ability.

AirWeave Ear Cushions

AirWeave is a smart fabric designed by SteelSeries. SteelSeries says they were inspired by athletic clothing when creating the AirWeave ear cushions. Today’s advanced athletic clothing has intelligent features like moisture wicking and breathability, and those aspects are present in the AirWeave ear cushions; these ear cushions keep you nice, dry and comfortable even in a marathon gaming session.

Ski goggle headband

The ski goggle headband is the ultimate in comfort thanks to its adjustable elastic fabric design. With the nature of the fabric, not only can you adjust it, but it also adjusts to your head as you wear it. This works to alleviate pressure, allowing you to play longer and in greater comfort.

First impression
The Arctis 5 gaming headset from SteelSeries comes in two colors: black and white. I got the black, and I’m glad I did, because it looks great with the RGB illumination feature.

Of course, looks aren’t the most important thing. Thankfully, the Acrtis 5 has a lot more to offer than that.

The biggest pro with the Arctis 5 gaming headset is its much-loved ClearCast mic. It’s retractable and bidirectional. By and large, its most likeable aspect is its superior noise cancellation, which rivals top-end gaming headsets everywhere. It gets a lot of praise and this was my first time using it, but I’m inclined to agree with the experts: This mic is a real winner.

Sound quality on the receiving end is also phenomenal. The S1 speaker drivers really do their thing, emitting a full-bodied overall sound quality with a deep bass, strong middle and clear highs. It’s also worth noting that the volume and mute controls, located on the ear cup, are super easy to use and access, which is also a big plus.

I like the fact that you get both 3.5mm connectivity as well as USB connectivity. It really ups the device compatibility. I recently got a VR headset, so I’m really pleased I’m able to use the Arctis 5 with it.

  • ClearCast retractable, bidirectional microphone with noise cancellation
  • S1 speaker drivers: SteelSeries’ highest-end speaker drivers
  • 40mm neodymium drivers
  • 20Hz to 22000Hz frequency response
  • 98dB headphone sensitivity
  • Built-in volume and mic mute control on ear cup for ease of access
  • USB connectivity
  • 5mm jack connectivity (adaptor included)
  • 3m/10ft cable
  • PC, Mac, PlayStation, VR and smartphone compatible
  • Prism RGB Illumination for all USB connections
  • ChatMix on PC and Mac
  • Ski goggle headband is comfortable and relieves pressure
  • AirWeave ear cushions keep ears cool, comfortable and dry during marathon gaming

  • The Prism RGB illumination only works when the Arctis 5 is connected via USB to your PC, Mac or PlayStation. It’d be nice if this feature also worked when using the 3.5mm connection, so you could have it while using your smartphone or VR headset, though this isn’t a deal-breaking issue either. It would just be nice to see.
  • While the AirWeave Ear Cushions are spectacularly comfortable and well-designed, it’d be nice if the optional leather ear cushions were included in addition to the AirWeave ones so that users could easily choose the option that works best for them and their ears. Once again, this issue isn’t the end of the world, but it’d be nice to have more options shipped with the headset.


  • What is a bidirectional microphone?
  • A bidirectional microphone is a type of microphone that picks up sound really well in from front to back, but not side to side. The benefit of this is it naturally cuts down on background noise so people can hear you clearly when you speak into the mic.
  • What does noise cancellation mean?
  • Noise cancellation is a feature on microphones that essentially means that those listening on the other end of your line won’t be able to hear background noise on your end, such as when you’re eating a bag of chips, or if your roommates are fighting. It not only presents you in a more professional manner to your teammates, but it also ensures there is no misdirection going on during coordinated, in-game attacks.
  • What are speaker drivers?
  • A speaker driver is a type of transducer that turns electronic signals into soundwaves. It’s a vital component of what makes up a speaker. Additionally, speakers tend to have more than one driver, because multiple drivers are required to achieve full-spectrum sound.
  • What is Prism RGB illumination?
  • This is the RGB illumination feature that the SteelSeries Arctis 5 has when its connected via USB to your PlayStation, Mac or PC. It lights up your headset with a full spectrum of colors for a customized appearance.


The SteelSeries Arctis 5 gaming headset comes with an extended 30-day return policy.

Final verdict SteelSeries Arctis 5 gaming headset features their top-of-the-line S1 speaker drivers, delivering quality sound free of distortion. The bidirectional, noise-cancelling mic can’t be beat, and the comfort features like the ski goggle headband and the AirWeave ear cushions make this headset incredibly comfortable. This is a headset upgrade I’d recommend to anyone who prizes comfort and quality all in one tidy package.

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