Test Casque Audio Steelseries Arctis Prime

Steelseries completes its very wide range with the Arctis Prime, a wired headset with a retractable microphone that aims for compatibility on a maximum of platforms. Comfort, sound to the ears as well as to the microphone and ergonomics, we take stock of this model which is a little bogged down in its flaws.

Summary

  • Some wiring issues
  • Relative comfort and warm ear cups
  • A sound barely correct but an effective microphone
  • Like a hint of disappointment

Steelseries must be recognized as having a certain consistency in the production of its helmets, which offer the same level of finish from entry-level to the most expensive models. Thus, the Arctis Prime which is rather in the first bracket does not particularly denote with the Arctis 9 and Arctis Pro models. Its plastics are very well adjusted, the ball joints of the metal ear cups are a great reassurance about their durability over time and the imitation leather lined ear cups are simply equivalent to those of the higher ranges. In the end, we can place the Arctis Prime halfway between an Arctis Pro and an Arctis 3, the price of 120 € at launch being much closer to the latter than to the first.

Specifications
Compatibility PS5, PS4, Xbox One and Series, PC, Tablets and smartphones
Type microphone Bidirectional, retractable
Microphone noise attenuation Passive
Render 7.1 / 3D Non
Weight 346 grams without cable
Connections available Mini-jack on owner’s port

Some wiring issues

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

The Arctis Prime is delivered in a box with two 1.20m cables to be connected to each other if necessary. The first is quite well known in the community, with a female mini-jack on one side, and two 3-pole 3.5 mini-jacks on the other. It is simply an adapter for PCs separating the microphone output from the headphone input, with two plugs identified in red and green. The other cable supplied is naturally equipped with a 4-pole mini-jack on one side, which gives it a certain universality, but connects to the headphones with a rather unusual plug. The kind of those that equipped cameras of the 2000s and which will inevitably make particularly difficult cable replacement.

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointmentSteelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

It’s a recurring choice at Steelseries, which surprises us every time. What is the point of not putting a standard 3.5 mm mini-jack here? Especially that another 3.5 base is present on the headset and is used for the connection of a possible second headset. The risk of having to change the cable is however very present, the models supplied being quite thin, a little rigid, and devoid of protective braid.

In terms of functions, this Arctis Prime plays the card of simplicity with a volume wheel on the left rear, a button to mute the microphone, and basta. The headset is also not accompanied by any software. Finally, note that the earplates are removable for personalization effects.

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

Relative comfort and warm ear cups

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

The Arctis Prime bases its head tightening on a rigid hoop in suspension thanks to an elastic band. The system had already been tested with the Arctis 9 Wireless and showed both qualities and some flaws. Already, you should know that the helmet comes with a fairly high weight. 350 grams without the cable, for a wired headset we have seen better. Then, the tightening is rather light on the ears and relies above all on the elastic band to take the pressure of the weight. Finally, the helmet does not offer any size adjustment other than a slight action on the elastic tension.

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointmentSteelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

The result is therefore quite special and not to everyone’s liking. The smallest heads will not find their account there with atria which are presented too low, while the largest heads (or the most hairy) will on the contrary have the impression that the helmet is pulling on their ears. Remain average players, who will appreciate that the headset does not press on any particular point, for hours of play without pressure effect. But not without feeling warm.

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

Unlike the Arctis 9 which offered ventilated fabric ear cups, the Prime plays the imitation leather card. There is certainly an advantage in terms of sound insulation, in the average, but heat retention in the ears is greatly increased. Today we are testing this helmet in fairly mild temperature conditions, with a thermometer around 22 °, that sweating is already pointing the tip of his nose after about fifteen minutes. Admit it’s a shame.

A sound barely correct but an effective microphone

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

The Arctis Prime has a fairly unbalanced profile. Bass well forward, lower mids set back, upper mids which oscillate between hollows and bumps, and highs which struggle to emerge from this mixture. Music lovers will certainly not find what they are looking for. faced with these concerns of consistency, even if the headset avoids being unpleasant as long as we stay on a reasonable volume.

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointmentSteelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

It must be said that it really has reserve in terms of sound pressure and delivers a significant volume even on the small amplifiers of an Xbox or PlayStation controller, to the point that you have to be careful not to hurt yourself in the medium term. A helmet that will therefore not be left unattended to children.

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

Especially at high volume, the balance problems are even more marked, with exaggerated peaks around 80 Hz and 6 kHz. As long as we are entitled to a kick or cymbals in these areas, the discomfort is immediate. Same in video games where certain noises can take precedence, distorting the original mix. Fortunately, all of this is done without audible distortion, so the headphones stay okay in any situation. It’s already that.

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

On the microphone side, the situation is much better. The timbre is not perfectly respected with a lack of bass, which prevents us from recommending it to you for streaming, but in the context of the chat, it’s perfect. Once the volume is set on the OS in use, the voice is precise and remains intelligible whatever the nuances. We understand that you speak softly or loudly, and the microphone takes the pressure surges of your voice rather well. The microphone is also accompanied by a windscreen rather effective, but which is unfortunately incompatible with the retraction of the microphone. It’s too bad.

Like a hint of disappointment

Steelseries Arctis Prime headset review: multiplatform disappointment

Without being bad, Steelseries Arctis Prime helmet fails to convince us on most of the points tested. It is comfortable under conditions of having an average head size and accepting to have a little warm to the ears, its wiring is far from convincing us despite its fairly wide compatibility, and especially its sound is quite mediocre, well too unbalanced to satisfy us. Considering the price charged, around 120 €, this Arctis Prime does not reach the level of its most serious competitors, with in mind the EPOS H3 which remains to this day our reference in this niche.

Offers

Materiel.net

119,95 €Delivery € 5.95

LDLC

119,95 €Delivery € 7.95

Top Buy

119,99 €Delivery € 4.95

Conclusion

Points forts

  • A good build quality
  • The sound of the microphone, effective
  • Compatible with many platforms
  • Simple and efficient ergonomics

Weak points

  • The sound reproduction to the ears is unbalanced
  • Unpleasant at high volume
  • The ear cups retain heat a lot
  • But what is this wiring?

The Arctis Prime headset is a real disappointment. Whether in terms of comfort or sound reproduction, this headset does not manage at all to rise to the level of its competitors, at a price level that is nevertheless quite high. We also regret a cabling system from another time that the manufacturer insists on reproducing on several models in its range. Incomprehensible.

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