The Arctis Nova 3 lacks treble and doesn’t offer a wireless connection. However, for its extremely economical price, its attractive body, comfortable fit, great low end, detailed sound imaging, and brilliant noise-canceling mic are more than enough reasons for it to be a recommendable gaming headset.
Bass has been tuned to sound just perfect
Noise-canceling mic mutes most of your ambient sounds
Treble isn’t as good as the bass
Mids lack space
There isn’t an option to go wireless
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SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3: One-minute review
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 is SteelSeries’ wired gaming headset providing cross-platform support. It offers compatibility with PC, PlayStation, Android, Switch, and Xbox.
SteelSeries is a reputable brand in the gaming audio industry. The Arctis Nova 3 is one of SteelSeries’ latest releases when it comes to wired gaming headsets – we have previously reviewed their Arctis 9 Wireless Gaming Headset and their Arctis Pro Headset. And, it delivers a lot for its price.
You get an attractive plastic body that doesn’t only look good but feels sturdy too. In terms of ergonomics, the headset provides immense comfort and a lightweight build. The fabric extender under the plastic headband offers a range of adjustability options, and the AirWeave memory foam ear cups hug your ears tight for a snug fit.
Performance-wise, the Arctis Nova 3 is quite decent. It features the kind of bass that dominates the orchestra and stands out from the rest of the elements in it. So, if you’re into the low end, definitely consider this headset. The highs aren’t as impressive though. They lack sharpness and don’t come out at you the way the lows do. The mids are pretty balanced and contain clarity.
In terms of soundstage, though, the mids sounded as if they were clustered and didn’t have enough space for each element to shine on its own. They would have sounded perfect with more space, presence, and richness to them.
The controls on the Arctis Nova 3 are intuitive, straightforward, and easy to learn. One of the best features of this headset is its ClearCast Gen 2 noise-canceling mic. It transfers your voice clearly, quickly, and cleanly along with silencing around 85% of background noise.
All in all, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 is a steal considering its reasonable price and one of the best PC gaming headsets on the market.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3: Price and availability
- How much does it cost? $99 (£85, about AU$199)
- Where is it available? Available now
- Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia
The Arctis Nova 3 costs $99 (£85, about AU$155) and was released on August 23, 2022. It sits in the midrange and features a price that is appropriate for a wired headset that offers multi-platform support.
Costing $99 (£88, about AU$155), the headset sits at the mid-range close to the EPOS H3 for under $100 (£89, about AU$160) or the Fnatic React Plus for $89 (£79, about AU$140). It costs considerably more than the budget Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset for $50 (£45, about AU$79) and less than premium wired headsets such as the Beyerdynamic Tygr 300 R, which costs around $250 (£225, about AU$395).
You can get some of the best wired headsets for much less too though, so keep looking if you find the price tag on the Arctis Nova 3 high. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 is available in the US, UK, and Australia at the moment.
- Value: 4 / 5
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3: Design
- Thoughtful packaging with a range of accessories
- A sturdy body and pretty decent aesthetics
- Immensely comfortable and quite adjustable
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 does not look and feel like a $99 / £85 headset. Everything from the packaging to its aesthetics exudes a premium feel.
Even though the Arctis Nova 3 sports a plastic body with absolutely no inclusion of metal, it still gives off a sophisticated look. The company has used good-quality plastic that gives the headset its sturdiness. It features a minimal design with nothing but the brand logo stamped on the exterior of both its earcups.
The fabric extender under the plastic headband offers four levels of adjustability. While that’s helpful in terms of flexibility, the process of adjusting the headset’s height is a little cumbersome. The user is required to clip the extender in and out of the headband each time, as opposed to simply sliding it up or down.
Comfort-wise, though, the headband is excellent. It lightly floats on the top of your head without feeling like a burden. The thick extender also helps disperse the weight.
The earcups are rotatable, which means they can be easily made to lie flat around your neck. They’re also fairly thick and offer generous padding made of breathable AirWeave memory foam. Overall, in terms of ergonomics, the Arctis Nova 3 is extremely comfortable and lightweight.
My favorite feature of this headset is its wide compatibility. Offering multi-platform support, the Arctis Nova 3 comes fully equipped with cables that significantly extend its functionality. You get a 4ft USB-C to USB-C cable, a 5ft USB-C to USB-A adapter cable, and a 4ft USB-C to 3.5mm Analog Cable. The first two ensure PC, PlayStation, Android, and Switch compatibility along with Type-C charging, while the 3.5mm connector makes sure you can use the headset with your Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One.
Apart from the cables and a pretty informative product information guide, a sticker sheet accompanies the Arctis Nova 3. Offering a range of rather cute and colorful stickers, this is SteelSeries’ thoughtful attempt at enhancing your gaming device. It’s little features such as these that contribute towards instantly upgrading a product’s packaging.
- Design: 4.5 / 5
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3: Performance
- Straightforward and easy controls
- Great bass coupled with pretty good sound imaging
- Brilliant noise-canceling mic
The controls on the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 are pretty straightforward. The right earcup features just the RGB switch that turns the lighting on or off. The left earcup sports a mute button for the mic, a volume dial, a USB-C port, and a retractable mic.
It’s always nice to see gaming headsets sport mics that are detachable or retractable, so the headset is fit to be used for non-gaming purposes as well. The mic on the Arctis Nova 3 easily comes out of its socket with just the push of a finger and is flexible enough to be moved in all directions.
The headset took just a few seconds to connect to my laptop. Sporting a wired connection only, the Arctis Nova 3 features a fairly simple connection process. Weused the USB-C to USB-C cable for our laptop and watched the headset light up in RGB colors as soon as we plugged both of its ends. We used the headset to play PUBG and Call of Duty, followed by a couple of songs on YouTube. Here’s how we feel about its sound profile.
The Arctis Nova 3 very obviously inclines towards the low end. The lows feature that oomph, which isn’t always present on gaming headsets. The bass is powerful and punchy but never gets too thick so it sounds pleasant to your ears.
In an attempt to produce strong bass, many headset manufacturers end up making it sound way too thick, which obviously sounds unpleasant. In other cases, the bass sounds powerful at lower volumes but is unable to retain that punch when the volume is raised. Fortunately, the Arctis Nova 3 doesn’t feature any of these flaws. The bass has been tuned to sound just perfect.
We can’t say the same about the highs, though. If you’re a fan of treble, look elsewhere. The treble on this headset is a solid 7.5 out of 10, if we’re being generous. It’s not completely nonexistent, but it doesn’t stand out in the orchestra the way the bass does.
The mids are balanced and clear but, soundstage-wise, they sound a little clustered. They are not as spacious as we would’ve liked them to be. A little more richness and presence would’ve made them ideal.
In terms of sound imaging, the Arctis Nova 3 is pretty good. We had no trouble discerning where the sound of the footsteps was coming from in Call of Duty.
The ClearCast Gen 2 noise-canceling mic on this headset is brilliant. It cancels out a considerable amount of ambient noise and carries voice pretty clearly and quickly. During our testing, it was better at muting low-end background sounds such as the hum of our dishwasher as compared to high-end ones.
- Performance: 4 / 5
Should I buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3?
Buy it if...
You’re a fan of bass
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 is definitely what you’d call a bass-heavy headset. Its treble doesn’t suck, but it won’t push you out of your seat.
You want a good-looking headset for cheap
The Arctis Nova 3 doesn’t look like it’s for $99 (£85, about AU$155) only. It features a sturdy body that gives off a classy feel.
You game on a number of consoles
This headset is perfect for anyone who plays games on multiple gaming consoles. It offers PC, PlayStation, Android, Switch, and Xbox compatibility.
Don't buy it if...
You’re looking for premium sound
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 offers exactly what you’re paying for. Don’t expect it to deliver an incredibly detailed sound profile with a lot of space in it.
You don’t like being tethered to your gaming console
This is something you need to think about in advance. If you prefer going cable-free when gaming, look further.
The Epos H3 is one of our personal favorites. It sits in more or less the same range as the Arctis Nova 3. In fact, it’s a little cheaper. Offering clean and crisp audio, the H3 is not a bad deal at all.
Read our full Epos H3 review
Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset
The Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset is another option. It delivers strong stereo sound that is a big plus to have in a gaming headset. It’s also comfortable and overall offers value for money. With just a $50 price tag attached to it, it’s nothing less than a steal.
Read our full Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset review
Fnatic React Plus
The Fnatic React Plus is a good idea to invest in as well. Costing $90, it lies in the same price range as the Arctis Nova 3. It offers great sound, an excellent mic, and wide compatibility.
Read our full Fnatic React Plus review
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3: Report card
|Value||The Arctis Nova 3 is a $99 (£88, about AU$155) gaming headset that is available in the US, UK, and Australia.||4 / 5|
|Design||The Arctis Nova 3 includes a number of accessories to facilitate the user, sports an attractive body, and is very comfortable.||4.5 / 5|
|Performance||These cans feature great bass, average treble, and impressive sound imaging along with a mic that cancels out most of your ambient noise.||4 / 5|
|Total||The Arctis Nova 3 is a pretty good deal considering its low price and wide range of specs.||4 / 5|
- First reviewed November 2022
How we test
We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.
Dua is a freelance technology writer who's contributed to TechRadar, PCMag and ScreenRant. She's been a technology fan since she was young, and used to pore over the latest product reviews. When not playing with or researching some new piece of tech, you might find her reading, working out or playing the ukelele.