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Steelseries Arctis 1 wired gaming headset review

A decent headset for a fantastic price

Our rating 
3.8 out of 5 star rating 3.8
£49.99
steelseries arctis 1

Our review

If your care about price and want a decent pair of headphones that will do the job then look no further than the Steelseries Arctis 1. While there are without question more powerful headsets out there, you will find a lot to like in this one at a cost that is hard to ignore.
Pros: Fantastic value for money
The detachable microphone is a nice touch
Comfortable
Good quality sound for the most part
Cons: The earcup pads rotating can be irritating
The bass levels leave a little to be desired
Lacklustre microphone quality

Finding a headset below £100 can be a tough task, especially when you want one that will do what you need it to and manage to do it to a solid level – so the price of this one will likely catch your eye and leave you wondering whether something so cheap can be worth your pennies.

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But what about all the ins and outs of the Steelseries Arctis 1? Does it match up to other headsets on the market, and will it be useful for all the things you want to do with it, considering how cheap it is?

Have a read of our full review, where we will, hopefully, answer all the questions you have about the Steelseries Arctis 1.

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Steelseries Arctis 1 review: summary

steelseries arctis 1

This is one of the best headsets you can buy for under the £100 mark and at around £50 is well worth some consideration. Sure, there are headsets out there that are far better and give better results, but for a pair of headphones as cheap as this, you will find very little to complain about with the Steelseries Arctis 1.

What is the Steelseries Arctis 1?

The Steelseries Arctis 1 is a 2.4GHz wired gaming headset designed to work with PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S – it can also be used as a regular pair of headphones with your mobile device of choice, as long as that device has an audio jack input! Lots of the iPhone don’t these days, but you can find adapters online that will plug that gap for you.

How much is the Steelseries Arctis 1?

The Steelseries Arctis 1 retails at around £49.99, which as anyone who has been on the hunt for a gaming headset, will know is a bargain price for a product that more than holds it’s own considering its inexpensive cost.

Steelseries Arctis 1 design

The foam pads on the earcups are comfortable and feel light to the touch, and the only issue we have come across with them is that they swivel a little too easily for our liking – we had to put them back into their original position a few times while testing these out which is, happily, nothing more than a small annoyance.

The oblong shape of them works well, and they look impressive before you even get to experience how impressive the sound that comes out of them is. This is a definite improvement from the older models where the plastic speaker driver had a habit of digging into your ear a bit – so this is certainly a welcome change from them.

Another change is the microphone that is now detachable and actually comes separately in the box when you first get it. This again is an improvement as you don’t want to be stuck with a mic if you are just listening to music, and being able to remove it altogether is far better than the retractable mic that was part of the Steelseries headsets of old.

The metal inside the headband is sturdy enough and survived us trying to bend it more than anybody normally would, and while the fake leather used does feel nice, it would not be our go-to choice for the material they could have used as this does tend to wear away easily over time. It is also here that you will find the most trouble with getting these to sit comfy – they are comfortable, but the design of the headband makes it a little tricky to get it to sit right on occasion.

Steelseries Arctis 1 features

steelseries arctis 1 controls

As you can see in the above picture, the controls for the Steelseries Arctis 1 are placed on the left earcup, and you will find all the features you would expect to be included neatly positioned on it. You’ll find the volume controls, the ability to switch the microphone on and off, and a connection port here too.

It is worth noting that the extra 3.5mm port for sharing audio with a second headset is missing from this set which may be an annoyance for some people, but it is likely one of the things that keep the cost of this down as low as it is – so it is an understandable thing to leave out.

The headset connects via a single 3.5 mm audio jack, and you also get a second wire included too which is an audio/mic splitter for gaming PCs, although keep in mind this wire is way longer than it needs to be, which will is a bit of pain when you are using it. Another thing to keep in mind is that while the Arctis 1 does work with mobile phones, this wired version will only do so with those that have the correct port – something the newer models frustratingly tend to leave out.

Steelseries Arctis 1 performance

Let’s get the negative out of the way first, and that would be the bass which is not the heaviest out there and does feel, at times, that it could do with a little extra oomph going into your ears. This is fine in a lot of cases, but when playing something like Call of Duty, it is noticeable.

Other than though, you will be getting some great sounds coming out of the Steelseries Arctis 1. We could hear things like voices and gunfire coming from all directions, and the audio experience was far more complete while wearing them as opposed to playing with the regular sound that comes out of our TV. Music sounds great, too, and while not perfect, it was far better than we expected from a headset that costs so little.

We could hear some sound from our real-world surroundings while playing but not enough to cause a distraction, and the best way we can sum up the audio power and clarity is by saying that it does the job well enough and while there are better ones out there that will give you more, we had no glaring complaints from the several hours we spent trying these out – particularly when the low cost is factored in.

As for the microphone, it’s fine but hardly anything to write home about. Many gaming headsets let themselves down a little with the mic, and that is the case here too. People will be able to hear what you are saying, but the quality of your voice could and should be better.

Steelseries Arctis 1 setup

This is very much a plugin and play situation that is to be expected with a wired headset. But that does mean it is super easy to get up and running, and we ran into no issues when we first tried ours out on all the different consoles we own.

Our verdict: Should you buy the Steelseries Arctis 1?

If you want the best quality when choosing your headset that this will likely not be for you as it, expectedly with the price, falls short on many of the top tier ones on the market. But if you just want something cheap and cheerful that will do the job to an acceptable level, then the Steelseries Arctis 1 should be strongly considered – you will be hard-pressed to find better any cheaper.

Review scores:

  • Set-up: 5 /5
  • Design: 3.5 / 5
  • Features: 3.5 / 5
  • Performance: 3.5 / 5
  • Value for money: 5 / 5
  • Overall star rating: 3.8 / 5

Where to buy the Steelseries Arctis 1

The Razer Opus X headset is out now, so you should be able to find it at most major retailers, including Currys. If you’re looking to save a few quid, check out our handy deals widget below, which should compile the best prices it can find from around the web. If our review has convinced you to make a purchase, click away and grab one of these while they last.

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If you’re looking for more audio reviews, don’t miss our best soundbar and best wireless earbuds round-ups.