Gaming headsets are plentiful in today’s marketplace, making it difficult to decide when it comes to spending your hard-earned money on a unit that will not only last, but perform to your expectations. With a plethora of options that fit nearly any budget available, we decided to take a look at the SteelSeries 5Hv3 Headset as an affordable, wired option after spending hundreds of hours with the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset.
Priced at $79.99, the SteelSeries 5Hv3 offers numerous features to make it an attractive option in a crowded segment including a detachable three-piece construction, retractable microphone and a swappable cable system that makes it easy to use the headset with PC, Mac, tablets and smartphones. Marketed as a versatile multi-platform headset, the SteelSeries 5Hv3 isn’t just for PC gamers but works as a fantastic on-the-go unit for mobile gamers.
Read on to find out how the SteelSeries 5Hv3 performed on various platforms.
The SteelSeries 5Hv3 headset is part of the company’s H-Series lineup and is considered mid-range with the cheaper 3Hv2 slotted underneath and the more premium 9H slotted above. As expected with all SteelSeries hardware, the headset comes with everything you need straight out of the box with PC gamers getting dual output cables (audio and microphone) along with an extension, while mobile gamers can take advantage of the adapter for a single plug-in solution. The adapter is an elegant solution for those looking to travel with their headset, allowing them to easily plug back into a PC when they’re back at home.
In terms of its design, the SteelSeries 5Hv3 doesn’t break the mold set by other SteelSeries headsets with an abundance of matte black accented by orange stitching. When not in use, the microphone is retracted into the left earcup for a sleek design. Unfortunately there’s no volume control on the headset itself, so users will have to reach to the in-line control unit in order to control the microphone’s mute and the headset’s volume.
One of our wishes with the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset was portability and the SteelSeries 5Hv3 brings that to the table. Located on the headband of the headset are clips that allow you to easily detach the earcups, giving you three separate components that makes it much more easy to travel with. Breaking down the headset takes just a few seconds and clipping it back together is just as easy. It would have been nice if SteelSeries included a travel bag with the headset, much like Sony does with its Gold Wireless Headset. And while the headset is mainly constructed from plastic, it feels and appears durable enough to withstand travel even if you simply toss it into a backpack.
When slipping on the headset, the first thing we noticed were how much more comfortable they were compared to the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset. When comparing the designs of the two headsets, there isn’t much of a difference except the 5Hv3 does utilize a more oval design to its earcups while the H Wireless is more of a perfect circle. For those looking at long-term use, the earcups are easily removable if you need to replace them. As a whole, the SteelSeries 5Hv3 is actually our preferred headset to wear (compared to the H Wireless) when working and listening to music due to its overall comfort. In fact, it’s one of the most comfortable headsets we’ve ever used.
Sound quality on the SteelSeries 5Hv3 is above average and there’s little to complain about when it comes to listening to music or playing games on a mobile platform. Turning up the volume results in clear, crisp mids and highs while bass is arguably lacking a bit, especially compared to the H Wireless Headset. Of course, the H Wireless Headset is at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to pricing ($299) and features but the ability to adjust its output is worth the money for some. Overall, the 5Hv3 performs better than you’d expect for its price tag and even those switching between listening to music and playing games will find comfort that it’s as versatile as can be.
Even if you’re a serious PC gamer, you won’t be disappointed by what the 5Hv3 has to offer. Though it doesn’t boast Dolby Technology, compromises have to be made for its price tag along with its versatility as a travel unit. Those looking for a more fulfilling gaming experience, especially in a first-person shooter, might want to look elsewhere and dig deeper into your pockets for the SteelSeries 9H, which does offer Dolby Technology. But if you’re a casual gamer that doesn’t need the benefits of simulated surround sound, the 5Hv3 is more than adequate for your needs.
Microphone quality is on par with the SteelSeries H Wireless headset, offering clear voice communication when gaming on PC or even using the headset to talk on the phone. Unlike the SteelSeries H Wireless however, there’s no light indicator on the microphone to know when it’s on mute – but that’s expected from a wired unit. Lastly as an over-the-ear headset, the SteelSeries 5Hv3 does a great job at cancelling out any pesky sounds in the environment and is excellent when travelling on an airplane.
Overall the SteelSeries 5Hv3 is a great bang for the buck and if you’re a casual mobile gamer looking for a nice unit to travel with, it should be at the top of your list. PC gamers will be satisfied so long as you’re not looking for simulated surround or any advanced features. Those looking for an over-the-ear headset to pair with their PlayStation Vita or Nintendo 2DS/3DS will definitely want to consider the SteelSeries 5Hv3.
SteelSeries 5Hv3 Headset: What We Liked
- Ready out of the box with everything you need to get going
- Detachable cable makes it easy to switch between PC and mobile
- Above average audio quality for music and gaming
- Extremely comfortable
- Easily breaks down into three pieces for portability
SteelSeries 5Hv3 Headset: What We Would’ve Liked to See
- Included travel bag
- “Answer phone” button on in-line controls