The SteelSeries Arctis Prime is the newest wired gaming headset in the Arctis brand, but instead of aiming for the high-end luxury market, the newest wired gaming headset is aimed towards the more cheap esports crowd. This is one of SteelSeries' more affordable alternatives, at $99, but it's also the same price as the Arctis 5, which has additional features. While it lacks some of the extra features found on the top gaming headphones, the sound quality on offer here still represents excellent value for money.

SteelSeries Arctis Prime Headphones
With a minimalist style and basic features belying a gaming experience that punches beyond its price tag, SteelSeries has undoubtedly committed the majority of its resources to the audio profile here. However, whether such trade-offs are worthwhile in exchange for higher-quality in-game audio will likely depend on your playing style.


The SteelSeries Arctis Prime follows the same design language as the rest of the Arctis range, but with a huge logo on either side instead of the more subtle aesthetics of prior versions. The flexible headband that runs around the top of the headset is still there, along with a lightweight steel frame and massive cups. However, there are some hints in the design that this is a lower-cost variant.

The cups themselves are made of brushed plastic that feels lightweight and robust, but the leatherette cushions are a step down from prior generations' luxurious fabric. I didn't detect any overheating or harsh clamping, which is a common complaint with lesser gaming headphones, and the noise isolation they gave was very appreciated, but it was certainly tiny.

I didn't need to modify the headband beyond its default setting because it's simply adjustable. The already snug fit along the crown became a touch unpleasant after sizing down, but the usual position was comfortable enough for prolonged periods.

The left cup has a pull-out microphone, which is a handy feature if you find yourself dipping in and out of team conversation. It's simple enough to slide out, but when I tried to put it back in, it fought back a bit, shoving the cup itself farther up my head as I pushed. Even with one hand, it's still manageable.


To make way for that cheap price tag, the Arctis Pro sacrifices a few extra functions. There's no RGB surrounding the cups, like there is on the similarly priced SteelSeries Arctis 5, and the ClearCast mic lacks ChatMix capability. On the left cup, you'll find basic controls, such as a volume slider and a mic mute button.

The free-spinning volume dial, on the other hand, was a touch too simple to locate. I found myself putting the headset on by bringing it squarely over the top of my head rather than sliding it on at an angle because of the ski goggle strap design. I frequently bumped the pretty sensitive volume dial by accident throughout this process, so a click wheel would have been useful to avoid this.

Because this is a wired headset, you won't be able to get too far away from your system when playing. That's especially true because the cable is somewhat shorter than expected (though an extension is included if you're searching for a PC gaming headset), and it's constructed of cheap squishy plastic rather than a more quality braided construction.

That's a shame, because some of the best inexpensive gaming headsets on the market still come with a sturdy 3.5mm connection, and I'd be wary about tossing this one into a carry case or bag on a regular basis. Similarly, because this is a proprietary connection to the headset, you won't be able to replace it with a different one if it breaks. While you won't find console-specific features in this set like you would in the best PS5 headsets or the best gaming headsets for Xbox, it's a great all-arounder that will serve you well no matter what platform you're playing on.


It would be silly to expect the sonic presence of something like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro for less than $100. However, there's more to this storey than meets the eye. The SteelSeries Arctis Prime takes the Pro line's high-end drivers for increased frequency range, and they deliver in a variety of titles. It's easy to tell the difference between Doom Eternal's thundering bass and demon screeches and gurgles, and although explosions and gunfire still carry a punch, the mid and upper registers are confident enough to provide a clear soundscape throughout the battlefield.

Although there is an emphasis on bass, it is not the gravelly hum of a cheap headset. Instead, it provides a visceral bang when needed and takes a back seat when Spider-Man: Miles Morales' open universe demands attention.

The audio isn't as rich as you'll find further up the price range, but if you're just looking for a well-balanced pair of cups, the SteelSeries Arctis Prime is a great option. Although conversation mixing tools are missing in online play, the microphone picked up sound with reasonable clarity and a clean sound in team chat.

Is the SteelSeries Arctis Prime gaming headset worth your money?

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime lacks some of the features seen on some of its more costly siblings. It may not, however, require those extra add-ons to get all you need from a low-cost gaming headset without breaking the bank. The audio profile here is well worth the Arctis moniker, pulling from far more expensive models to produce a fantastic soundscape that accentuates bassier tones with a delicate touch while yet allowing enough of room for the mid and upper registers.

The absence of microphone features, connected connection, and worse design quality, on the other hand, may not appeal to everyone. If you're missing ChatMix but don't want to give up RGB completely, the $109.99 Arctis 5 is a good option. If you prefer a more luxury feel without losing audio quality, the Razer BlackShark V2 is also available for $99.99. If you're looking for a wireless gaming headset for the same price, the Razer Barracuda X is a good option. Nonetheless, this is a superb platform-agnostic wired headset (though we prefer the Xbox-focused SteelSeries Arctis 9X or PlayStation's SteelSeries Arctis 7P if you're only looking for a console device).