SteelSeries have been around for some time now but have been progressively getting stronger in the gaming scene. With competitive gaming becoming such a big part of the industry it is no surprise that other peripherals companies are starting to emerge, but how does the SteelSeries 5HV3 headset stand up in the market. Is it useful for your everyday gaming needs, is it aimed at the hard core eSports gamer or should it be kept for just your music device?
Packaging and Extras
Taking a first look you can see the modern clean look of the packaging and branding that SteelSeries have gone for. With a big clear image on the front you can see easily what the product is about. With the on-going growth of SteelSeries they have also added their big eSports teams to the top of the box. Navi, Ninja’s in Panamas, Tyloo and Fnatic are the teams featured on the top.
The SteelSeries 5HV3 is the mid-range audio headset of the H series. The lower budget headset is the 3HV2 and the top of the range headset is the 9H. There are many different versions and types of headsets in the H series but the whole list can be found on the SteelSeries Store.
Along with the SteelSeries 5HV3 headset you also get an extension cable in case your PC is further away than your desk and two cables which are interchangeable depending on your needs. The dual headphone / microphone cable can be used for your PC needs and gaming, whilst the single cable with just a headphone jack allows you to use the 5HV3 headset for just media devices like an MP3 player or phone.
The SteelSeries 5HV3 Headset
The SteelSeries 5HV3 features a soft, all-leather design making it very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The head strap itself also has soft leather underneath to make it sit on your head without any hard bits poking you. The strap does its job well, keeping the headset fitting tightly but from personal experience I much prefer the bungee style head strap from my Siberia V2. The main point is the 5HV3 is still very comfortable to wear and sits well. The only problem I would foresee is people with slightly bigger ears might find the ear cups uncomfortable after a long period as they are on the smaller side.
The 5HV3 also features a retractable microphone meaning that once you are done the entire microphone sits within the left ear cup. Sensitivity is pretty decent while on TeamSpeak people could still quite clearly hear my voice without even having to retract the microphone. The main reason to use the microphone retraction is that you are able to hide most of the microphone meaning it won’t look strange when just using it for music. This makes it feel more like a dedicated media headset with the option if needed.
Along the wire there is the standard in line controls which allow you to mute the microphone and change the volume. This is what most headsets feature so it is a standard addition you would expect to find. The 5HV3 headset can be used with phones if it has a headphone jack but does not have any additional support other than the basic media controls.
The sound on SteelSeries headsets are always crisp and clean and the 5HV3 is no exception. The only niggle some people might have is that the sound equalisation is very balanced across frequencies. If you like to hear the bass in your music vibrating your eardrums and want the explosions in your games to feel like a real war you might be a little disappointed.
SteelSeries headsets seem to go for a more balanced sound meaning bass can feel a little weaker than other headsets geared to music. The balancing is something you would get used to or not even notice unless you’re an audio buff. Playing a variety of different games with the headset over the past few weeks there was not real problem with how any of the games sounded. SteelSeries have seemed to produce a set of headphones which meet a variety of games with different audio intensities.
Finally with the sound the headset’s noise cancelling is pretty good and allows more immersion into the games you are playing without the distractions of external noises. If something is just that little too loud outside you won’t have to go far up the in line volume wheel to drown it out.
Software wise if you have a SteelSeries product you will be used to the SteelSeries Engine which allows you to configure all your SteelSeries products in one place. With the 5HV3 you cannot use the engine as it does not have a USB connection so it won’t be picked up. Out the box it does its job sound wise so there is no need to configure it, but if you want to it would be best to grab another program which affects your sound card.
Overall the SteelSeries 5HV3 is a good headset: it is comfortable, portable and able to be used for a variety of tasks from PC gaming to just some simple headphones for an mp3 player. The price of the headset is reasonable for the multi-use application and the build quality is decent that you should not need to replace it anytime soon. The fact is comes apart so you can transport it in smaller pieces is well thought out for those who wish to use it not just at the PC and its light weight means it won’t encumber you when travelling.
Should you buy?
Let us know what you think of the SteelSeries 5HV3 Headset. If you have one or want to know more ask away in the comments below.