When SteelSeries introduced its Arctis line of gaming headsets last year, it made clear it was aiming to deliver useful specs and features for gamers, and no gimmicks. Now a year later, it is pitching a Arctis 3 Bluetooth headset that plays audio from over Bluetooth and wired connections at the same time. Is it a gimmick? Not as far as SteelSeries is concerned.
"This is the first time that you can simultaneously have wired gaming audio and wireless Bluetooth. Bluetooth is incredibly useful for connecting wirelessly to mobile devices for chat and music, but as most gamers know, Bluetooth has too much latency for gaming. That is why this is a wired headset for gaming and Bluetooth for everything else," SteelSeries says.
SteelSeries is pushing the feature hard for Nintendo Switch gamers, who can connect their phones via Bluetooth to use the Nintendo switch Online chat mobile app, while using a wired connection for game audio from the Switch. However, the headset is compatible with various gaming platforms, including PC, VR, PlayStation, and Xbox.
For PC, one scenario where the Arctis 3 Bluetooth might be useful is for using Discord on mobile for chat, and a wired connection to the PC for gaming audio. And of course the same applies to consoles.
"We've noticed gamers hacking away at blending console game audio and Discord voice for quite some time," says Eros Resmini, CMO of Discord. "SteelSeries makes that whole process easy with this product and let's more gamers use Discord with their friends."
The Arctis 3 Bluetooth uses 40mm neodymium drivers with a frequency response of 20-22,000Hz. According to SteelSeries, every Arctis headset uses the same drivers as found its its $300 flagship headset.
Having Bluetooth thrown into the mix comes at a pricing premium over the non-Bluetooth model—the Arctis 3 Bluetooth has an MSRP of $130, versus $80 for the regular Arctis 3.
You can purchase the Arctis 3 Bluetooth (opens in new tab) now direct from SteelSeries. It comes with a choice of a free headband ($15 value).