SteelSeries’ latest lineup is aimed directly at competitive players with a simple design. The SteelSeries Prime line includes a new wired Arctis headset that borrows tech from the well-known Arctis Pro along with three brand-new mice for various budgets and needs. We got to go hands-on with the Arctis Prime headset as well as the Prime, Prime+, and Prime Wireless mice to see how they perform. Be sure to hit the video below to check out all of the details.
On the audio side, the brand new Arctis Prime keeps things simple but hits hard as a competitive gaming headset. This wired pair of cans feature the same ski-goggle-type headband that has become synonymous with SteelSeries headsets. I’m a huge fan of this style for comfort, with the Arctis 9X and 7X being top picks for the Xbox because of how comfortable they are.
SteelSeries keeps things simple on the earcups as well with familiar design and shape as the rest of the Arctis lineup. The left earcup holds all of the controls with the retractable microphone, a 3.5mm jack, main cable jack, volume dial, and mic mute button.
The removable ear pads are plenty soft and wrapped in faux leather. With these ear pads and ear cups, the Arctis Prime delivers great passive noise cancellation. While nothing on the Arctis Prime stands out with cutting-edge tech, it seems to be doing most things very well and is very comfortable for extended gaming sessions.
How does it sound?
Under the earcups, the Arctis Prime delivers an impressive 10-40,000Hz frequency response. This huge range makes it great for delivering booming lows as well as crisp highs. But nothing is too boomy or too harsh. The Arctis Prime keeps sound relatively even and level across a broad range of frequencies.
Bass is slightly pushed forward over a more flat pair of headphones like the Phillips Fidelio X3, but overall the Arctis is well balanced. SteelSeries claims the Arctis Prime uses the same premium hardware and tuning from the Arctis Pro, which is a well-regarded headset for its audio quality for gaming.
SteelSeries Prime Lineup: video
Combined with that balance is great clarity and positioning as well. I was impressed with how easy it was to pick out separate sound effects and where they are coming from when playing Call of Duty: Warzone. This is definitely a headset I would recommend to those looking for a simple high-performance competitive gaming headset.
Now, because of the simple nature of the Arctis Prime, you don’t get any control over that sound like you would find in a USB headset like the Razer BlackShark V2. But, you can always add an external sound card to make some tweaks on your own.
Arctis Prime: microphone
Aimed at clear communications, the microphone on the Arctis Prime is flexible to get in the proper position, and picks up vocals well. It’s not going to sound as natural as a dedicated condenser microphone, but the discord-certified mic does the job well.
While SteelSeries kept things simple with the single option for audio in the Prime line, it’s giving three different options when it comes to mice. The lineup starts with the $60 Prime, then the $80 Prime+, and headlined by the $130 Prime Wireless.
All three mice share some features like the right-handed ergonomic shape and more standard FPS layout with two side buttons and a clickable scroll wheel. There is RGB in the scroll wheel, but otherwise, the design of the Prime mouse lineup is pretty simple. The left side dips in nicely for a comfortable grip for your thumb, while the right also contours in slightly with a large comfortable heel on the mouse.
All mice measure in with a 125mm overall length, 59mm width in the middle, 67mm width in the back, and a 42mm hump at the highest point of the mouse. Overall, it’s a very comfortable mouse for my hand and gameplay. SteelSeries describes the shape as especially beneficial for those using claw or fingertip grip styles.
One other main feature that sets all of these mice apart is the use of Prestige OM switches. An optical magnetic switch, this unique combination of technology uses magnets to deliver a more consistent click along with an infrared light beam for fast response times. Combine that with a 100-million click rating, and it sure sounds like these are made for making the rounds while competing.
SteelSeries claims another benefit of these switches is the lifetime of crispy clicks that will outlast other mice. While I haven’t used the mice for very long yet, they do have a very crispy feel right out of the box. It’s pretty loud compared to other gaming mice but feels very satisfying.
Prime: entry-level high performance
Starting with the most basic, the Prime features a removable cable and a lightweight build at just 69g. Even this entry-level mouse in the Prime-Line features those Prestige OM Switches, though, making it a heavy-hitting mouse at $60.
The Prime also features the TrueMove Pro sensor designed with PixArt. SteelSeries claims this is built to outperform the competition with true 1-to1 tracking and tilt tracking to eliminate unwanted tracking during quick movements.
For me, it felt great in use. The combination of lightweight, clicky switches and that TrueMove Pro sensor all worked together to make a great experience when playing FPS games.
Prime+: Take it up a notch for competition
For those who want even more performance, the $80 Prime+ takes all of the great performance features of the Prime and adds a secondary depth sensor for lift-off detection as well as an on-board OLED screen to customize settings on the mouse without booting up any software.
At 71g, the Prime+ only adds 2 grams over the entry-level mouse. Using the same overall design, switches, and RGB, the Prime+ feels just as good as the former. Clicks and very crisp, and tracking is great as well.
When plugged in, the OLED screen on the bottom of the mouse will display the current settings, while a single click will cycle through CPI settings, which equates to a similar DPI sensitivity. Holding down that button unlocks a bunch of customizable features like you would find in a software program. Everything from RGB brightness to CPI settings to polling rate and liftoff distance can all be easily dialed in from this small menu.
Aimed at competitive gamers, this ability to quickly change settings ensures that your mouse is always set up exactly how you want it without any required software.
Unfortunately, just like the Rival 5, the one downside of these mice is the cable. While it has a braided design that looks similar to those from the competition like the SpeedFlex from Razer, it is still stiffer and doesn’t give quite the same freedom of movement. And while it didn’t get in my way when gaming, I could still feel and notice it moving around more than other mice. This cable is removable but looks like it has a more proprietary shape around the mini-USB connector.
Topping off the mice in the Prime lineup is the $130 Prime Wireless. Packing that same shape and those same great switches, the Prime Wireless is also a great performer with a TrueMove Air sensor. Still designed in collaboration with PixArt, the Air version of this sensor features a little less maximum speed and maximum acceleration than the TrueMove Pro sensor found on the other two mice. Personally, I couldn’t tell a difference in performance but enjoyed the cable-free nature of the Prime Wireless.
As expected, the Prime Wireless weighs a bit more than the wired variants, but still comes in at a respectable 80g.
For battery life, you can expect about 100 hours out of the Prime Wireless.
Overall, SteelSeries has delivered a great lineup of competitive peripherals. The Arctis Prime is a great-sounding headset and at $100 definitely gets a recommendation for a competitive pair of cans.
The mice all perform very well in their respective categories as well. The optical magnetic switches are very satisfying and feel like they are going to last as long as SteelSeries says they are. I do wish the cables were up to par with those from Razer and Glorious, but I was still able to happily game on all of the mice.
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