It seems most gamers have left behind wires, or at the very least they detest them. I remember working at GameStop and having people gasp at my suggestion of a headset with a wire. To me, as long as I’m not tethered to the console I’m good. I understand the desire for freedom and comfort, but if you make a headset as good as SteelSeries does, it doesn’t matter. After owning several of the original Arctis 3 headsets, the Arctis Nova 3 made it into my hands, and even with the Nova Pros in my arsenal, these are an awesome (and much cheaper) option.
The box is pretty easy to behold, with the Nova 3s inside along with several cables and instructions. Every cable is going to work via USB-C, so that’s a fantastic change that improves your wired headset. Those are: a USB-C to 3.55mm jack, a USB-C to USB-C, and a USB-C extension cable with a USB-A end for another connection. It’s nice to see this amount of support for any headset, especially a wired one. My only qualm with these is no on-wire controls, leaving you reaching up to your headset to make adjustments.
What sets plenty of SteelSeries headsets apart is comfort, and the Nova 3s supply that in droves. It’s only 253 grams, which leaves it light as air on your head. The ski-band I always stan is here, making it feel even lighter and more comfortable. That’s not even taking into account the ear cups, which are the same as the Nova 7s (which we recently reviewed), and have very comfy memory foam. Something a bit different than the Nova 7s however is the fit, with a much tighter feeling on my head which helped with lesser sound leakage. They just feel nice, which is great for what some may consider a budget pair of headphones. Just a heads up though, the cheaper price has again caused the materials to change, meaning it’s all plastic this time. Even though it’s sturdy, you’ll want to be careful and store these appropriately to reduce the risk of damaging them.
The Arctis Nova 3s are also surprisingly versatile, even without wireless connectivity. Having a USB-C option to plug in opens up all the possibilities, with PC, PS5, Switch, the Steam Deck, and Meta Quest 2 offering that connection. That’s not even considering how many people use Android phones, and with the next run of iPhones about to move to USB-C you’re future proofed. With PS5 you won’t really want to use the USB-C given you’ll be directly connected to the system, but there’s an option for the headphone jack to keep you as close to wireless as possible. This also includes being able to use these with your Xbox, meaning you’re in the clear to use the Nova 3s just about anywhere.
For sound, I’m ridiculously impressed. There is a missing depth to them, a clarity my more expensive headsets provide, but pound for pound you’re still getting great audio. They do this by being a bit louder than their brother (Nova 7) and dad (Nova Pro), which is a trick a lot of headsets use to give you the implication your experience is better than it actually is. I don’t feel that way about the Nova 3s though, with well-tuned drivers that are still better than the competition. As per usual my Call of Duty’ing has gone extremely well, with footsteps being clear, gunshots ringing out from the direction they’ve been shot, all the things you need to clutch up.
I also reviewed Atomic Heart while using these, and given the game uses a lot of music and sound to set the atmosphere, the Nova 3s stood out here. The review was on PS5, and even using the 3.55mm jack you could hear the Tempest 3D audio at work (as the Nova 3s support both it and Microsoft’s Spatial Sound). They also are great for music, and if you’re using it with the USB-C and some form of equalizer you’ll get top notch sound. Again, there are little details you don’t hear that I think are missing compared to the higher tiers of the Nova lines, but what they can do is excellent.
If I had to talk about one thing that surprised me the most with this headset, it’s probably the microphone. The Nova 3s use the same Clear Cast mic you have on all SteelSeries headsets, but unless I got one that was souped up, I swear they’re more crisp than my Nova Pros. Usually there is a fuzzy sound to your voice when using any headset microphone, but that’s been very minor on the Nova 3s. Maybe it’s the wired connection, but if you want clarity in your comms, I highly recommend going with these.
Last but not least, the Nova 3s actually have a little bit of RGB. It’s just a ring around each ear cup, but it’s a nice touch that looks classy. As with other accessories you can customize your illumination by connecting to your PC, using the SteelSeries GG app (which I highly recommend for sound equalization as well). There aren’t a ton of options when it comes to the RGB, but at least you can do it. The RGB also works anywhere you can connect to your device using USB-C or A, so I find it really cool you can do so with your phone. If you don’t want to be so shiny, there is a button to turn it off, another option I really appreciate.
David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 headset
They do it all. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3s are the standard variant in the Nova line, the tough jack-of-all-trades that gives you good performance wherever you use it. Versatility, comfortability, crisp audio and mic; it’s all here. SteelSeries always seems to find a way to give you the most with each of their devices, and the Nova 3s are no different.