SteelSeries Arena 3 Review

SteelSeries Arena 3 Speakers Review – A Great Entry Level Option

Here's what we thought

With a reputation for making some of the best gaming headsets on the market, it would be fair to assume that SteelSeries’ level of quality would carry over to their range of gaming speakers. However, the Danish manufacturer’s best often comes with a premium price tag. Thus, the stereo Arena 3 speakers — the cheapest in the lineup at $289 (currently $199 at Amazon) — leave much to be desired in audio quality despite a compelling list of features and strong aesthetic design.

For their looks, struggle to fault the SteelSeries Arena 3 gaming speakers. As I’ve come to expect from the brand, they look slick: an all-black matte plastic finish is right at home alongside my other peripherals. I continue to love their aesthetic approach, avoiding the garishness that is typically associated with products geared towards gamers.

SteelSeries Arena 3 Review

Their large footprint might make them struggle to accommodate on more compact desk setups, but on an 1800mm wide desk such as mine they look right at home. Its curvaceous design and sizeable 4” drivers make the speakers more closely resemble fancy studio monitors more so than a set of gaming speakers.

Sadly, that doesn’t translate into quite the same audio quality. Designed with gaming in mind, my day-to-day music and podcast playback did not rival the fidelity I’m used to with the SteelSeries Nova Wireless headset or my KEF Q350s in my living room. But nor should they; it is unfair to compare the audio quality to a headset that’s nearly three times the price or entry-level audiophile speakers and amp combination that is closer to eight times the price.

THE CHEAPEST PRICE: $199 FROM AMAZON

Still, you should temper your expectations. The bass doesn’t rumble as much as you might like without a sub, which might be problematic given the primary application of said gaming speakers is exactly that — gaming. Explosions and gunfire typically give subwoofers a workout.

Similarly, if you have a penchant for listening to dance music throughout the workday too, you might also be left desiring more.

SteelSeries Arena 3 Review

Still at the near $300 RRP, I fear it is nearing a price point at which we should expect the sort of oomph gamers need. It could be argued the money spent on these would be better put towards a soundbar and subwoofer combo, or the more premium Arena speakers offered in the lineup.

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That said, a more casual listener seeking simplicity will be pleased enough that these speakers get impressively loud. Although I wouldn’t recommend it, the volume dial is within easy reach upon the stand of the right speaker should you want to crank it. Should you piss off your family, the multifunction/mute button is conveniently located to the dial’s left.

SteelSeries Arena 3 Review

As part of their growing ecosystem, the speakers are made better by SteelSeries’ Sonar software, where you can manage the volume, mix and EQs of the speakers alongside your other devices. This software has impressed me greatly, and I would encourage some tinkering with the EQs to make the most of your setup with presets available for music, movies, podcasts, and a bunch purpose-made for specific games.

It’s worth noting however, even without SteelSeries products, you can make use of this software. Another convenient feature seems agnostic to your brand loyalty, with a headset output on the back of the speaker allowing to toggle the output between your speakers and headset assuming it supports a 3.5mm connection.

SteelSeries Arena 3 Review

True to its name, that multifunction also allows you to connect to a Bluetooth device. Should you prefer to control music from your phone whilst your PC audio continues to play simultaneously, you absolutely can.

Whilst they haven’t pried me away from my Nova Pro Wireless headset, for half the price the audio quality of the SteelSeries Arena 3 is serviceable.

@shannongrixti

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless Year of the Dragon edition is one of the nicest headsets I’ve seen #SteelSeries #SteelSeriesHeadset #ArctisNova7 #YearOfTheDragon #GamingHeadset #Headset #Tech #Gaming

♬ original sound – Shannon Grixti | Gaming & Tech

SteelSeries Arena 3 Review
CONCLUSION
For the sake of some more casual game time, some background listening, or showing my girlfriend some hilarious cat videos, the SteelSeries Arena 3 speakers are a valuable addition to my gaming setup. If I did not already have a premium headset and I was looking to make a serious upgrade to my audio setup, I do however feel the money could be better spent.
Loved
Great aesthetics design
Handy controls within reach
Impressively loud
Pairs nicely with the free Sonar software
Bluetooth support and headset switching
Didn't Love
Lacking bass
Not the best bang-for-buck audio experience
The Cheapest Price