|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Arctic Sound P311 Stereo Bluetooth Headset|
|Posted by Winston|
|Monday, 25 October 2010 21:59|
Bluetooth devices (BT for short) have been around for many years, with numerous manufacturers producing hundreds of Bluetooth products from headsets and speakers to keyboards and mice. Although you can get these Bluetooth enabled devices literally everywhere, it's only recently I had the chance to really play with them again. My past experience with Bluetooth devices hasn't been exactly great. I remember having epic failures with using Bluetooth for file sharing, and it was just a nightmare trying to configure headsets and other devices. For example, when I turn on the Bluetooth on my iPhone, smartphone and even on my computer, it would sometimes fail to detect certain Bluetooth devices, which is extremely annoying. In the end, I kind of lost faith in Bluetooth altogether.
Having said that, this little episode happened 3 years ago, and since then Bluetooth devices have greatly improved, and are a lot better now. I'm hoping this is the case, as we will be taking a look a stereo Bluetooth headset from Acrtic Cooling ... the Arctic Sound P311.
So how come I'm reviewing a Bluetooth headset after my bad experience? Well, this actually came about during a recent visit to Arctic Cooling's office in Hong Kong. I was extremely saddened when I realised I lost my ear-piece/ear-buds for my iPhone. But thanks to the kind people at Arctic Cooling, they gave me a stereo bluetooth headset which they said I could use, in return they wanted my verdict on the product. So I gladly accepted. For those who are not familiar with Arctic Cooling or their products, here's a quick blurb taken from their website ...
This headset has been described by Arctic Cooling as a supra-aural headphone featuring soft pads and in a neckband style. It produces high fidelity stereo sound, including powerful bass and crisp highs. It also features an invisible microphone for answering calls, and is compatible with most mobile phones. What's more, the Arctic Sound P311 has volume adjustments, as well as track selection (next/back), which is great for listening MP3s without having to use the phone's physical controls. The included travel case is ideal for sports fans and users on the go.
These stereo Bluetooth headset are totally wireless, produces decent quality sound and looks pretty cool. Takes an initial 4 hours to charge via a mini-USB cable, which is included and offers upto 20 hours playback.
Features and Specifications
The ARCTIC Sound P311 is a wireless headset to complement with virtually any electronic devices that support Bluetooth wireless technology, such as laptops, mobile phones or music players. The ARCTIC Sound P311 possesses clean hardware design, yet maintaining functionalities at the same time.
The ARCTIC Sound P311 is a well-made Bluetooth headset in terms of its design and function. Weighing only 71g, it is fairly small and compact – this makes it to be an ideal on the go companion. Since this is a Bluetooth wireless headset, it transfers audio signals over short distances. This means, it is compatible with laptops, mobile phones and music players that support Bluetooth.
The ARCTIC Sound P311 incorporates a one-size-fits-all headband. The soft pads and ear cup style offer great comfort and secure fit, even when doing sport. The good noise elimination ensures that you can truly enjoy your music. Its bendable arm allows users to easily fold and store the ARCTIC Sound P311 into the protective case that is included with purchase.
For more information please visit Arctic Cooling's website ...
One Step Bluetooth Configuration
Initially, I was a little dubious whether my iPhone 3GS can actually detect the Arctic Sound P311 stereo Bluetooth headset. Suprisingly, it was extremely simple. AlI I had to do, was to turn on the Bluetooth on my iPhone 3GS, then hold the large center button on the headset for 5 seconds until the blue LED came on. This blue LED flashes on and off to let you know that the device is currently switched on. Once "connected" it's ready to go ...
Press the large center button to start/stop play, as well as answer calls. The other smaller buttons controls volume and skip audio tracks forward/back. To turn the headset off, you need to hold the large center button again for 5 seconds, but this time a red LED will come on. It flashes once and then goes off.
Verdict and Conclusion
Overall, I was very impressed with the sound quality of the Arctic Sound P311 stereo Bluetooth headset. It's got good bass, crisp highs and decent volume. It's makes listening MP3s a joy on my iPhone or any other mobile phones. The one step Bluetooth configuration was extremely was easy and simple to set up, and I thought the neckband design was pretty chic/trendy ... no more clamping your head down like traditional headsets. What's more the headset unit itself can be folded and stored away in a travel case, which is included ... perfect for sports fans and users on the go.
Using the buttons on the headset, I was able to adjust the volume and skip audio tracks forward/back. Press the center button to start/stop play, as well as answer calls. Call quality for answering and making calls, was a little disapponting. At the receiving end, the caller said my voice/volume was pretty low. I'm guessing the "invisible" microphone is the blame here. So, as a headset for answering and making calls, the Arctic Sound P311 may not be the best ... it's acceptable, but not great.
The build quality is OK, though not excellent. I suppose Arctic Cooling had to make a compromise between price and quality. But still, it's not bad at all ... trust me, I've seen much worse.
I'm not sure about you ... but I found charging portable devices via USB kind of odd. However, it seems a lot of manufacturers are taking this route. I suppose you get to save a lot with no physical batteries required. All you need is a USB cable to charge the portable device. For the Arctic Sound P311, it takes an initial 4 hours to charge via a mini-USB cable and offers upto 20 hours playback. During our "real-life" tests ... we managed to get 14-16 hours of continuous playback, which is more than plenty for any music listeners on the go.
Pricewise, the Arctic Sound P311 Stereo Bluetooth Headset will cost around USD $38.00 (GBP 25.00), which I think is a great price. It's affordable and will attract a lot of users who like this style of "neckband" headsets.
Final words. All-in-all, the Arctic Sound P311 Stereo Bluetooth Headset is a pretty decent headset for the price. It produces good sound with loud enough volume, decent bass and crisp highs. It's affordable and does what it says on the box. For this reason, we've given it our "Value Award"