Arctic Sound P311 Headphones

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Posted by on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - 12:00am

ac p311As Big Brother cracks down on cell phone usage while driving, along with their claims that texting and driving is hazardous to everyone else on the road, I’ve started to look into Bluetooth options. Specifically something that I can use with both my phone and iPod.  I’ve tried the little earpieces over the years, but the sound quality for music isn’t there. I gave the wired ear buds with a mic a try, but the wires always got in the way or got tangled up in my pocket. So when I saw that ARCTIC Sound had the P311 available I thought I would give them a try.

Introduction to the Arctic Sound P311 Headphones

As Big Brother cracks down on cell phone usage while driving, along with their claims that texting and driving is hazardous to everyone else on the road, I’ve started to look into Bluetooth options. Specifically something that I can use with both my phone and iPod. I’ve tried the little earpieces over the years, but the sound quality for music isn’t there. I gave the wired ear buds with a mic a try, but the wires always got in the way or got tangled up in my pocket. So when I saw that ARCTIC Sound had the P311 available I thought I would give them a try.

Arctic Cooling’s take on the P311 Headphones

The ARCTIC Sound P311 is a wireless headset that complements 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 functionality at the same time. 


Main features
  • Invisible microphone included
  • Travel case included
  • Compatible with mobile phones
  • Supra-aural headphone features soft pads and ear cup style
  • High fidelity stereo sound, including powerful bass and crisp highs
  • Ideal for sports and on the go

 

 

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 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 during sports. 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.

Compatible with Music Players and Mobile Phones

The design of the ARCTIC Sound P311 is also compatible with mobile phones, such as the iPhone, Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson. It has a built-in microphone on the headset. When there is an incoming call, the Inter-Call-Manager will play a ringtone into the headset. The music will then be paused and will resume after ending the call.

The right earphone is featured with five buttons. They help to answer a call, adjust the volume and forward/reverse the music. The mobile phone or the connected music player can just remain in your pocket. This gives you full freedom and access to all functions while still being flexible and hands-free at the same time.

Superb Sound Quality with Style

The ARCTIC Sound P311 not only comes with style and function, its superb sound quality is also another notable feature. It has a high fidelity driver that ensures uncompromised sound details and dynamics, including powerful bass and crisp highs. The headset features Bluetooth v2.1+EDR, in which it supports secure simple Bluetooth pairing. The connection status is indicated by a LED light on the headphone. Thanks to the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) technology, the ARCTIC Sound P311 can ensure clear and undistorted sound quality since it runs digitally. Distortion that was generated by alternating current that affected analog devices will no longer be an issue.  Moreover, the headset incorporates Clear Voice Capture (CVC) technology, in which it has the ability to clearly extract and capture the user’s voice from a mixture of unwanted background noises. This immensely increases the quality when making calls. The ARCTIC Sound P311 is rechargeable via USB cable and can serve up to 20 hours of playback time.

All in all, the ARCTIC Sound P311 is a great Bluetooth headset. The ARCTIC Sound P311 headset contains dual-functionalities as headphone and headset for calls – this makes it ideal for people that use their phone to listen to music.

If you haven’t heard of Artic Cooling, here is an introduction to the company

Who we are?  ARCTIC COOLING is a privately owned company founded in 2001 with headquarters in Switzerland, offices in Hong Kong and the USA and production facilities in Asia. The ARCTIC COOLING team consists of international highly educated people with business, technical and communicational skills. The attitude to work is based on Swiss principles of innovative spirit and high standards of workmanship for which it is recognized internationally. This striving for excellence is integrated in all processes as a matter of course.

ARCTIC COOLING´s core competencies are multifarious including systematic noise reduction,copper and aluminum heatsink development, customization of thermal solutions, as well as designing quiet fans. More recently quiet and cool PC Cases and Power Supplies have been developed.

What we do?  ARCTIC COOLING is a leader in creating thermal cooling solutions for personal computer systems that enable CPU (Central Processing Unit), GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) and PC case cooling whilst reducing the noise level. Increased heat generated by modern computer systems has overwhelmed most existing cooler manufacturers in their efforts to keep pace with the demands in terms of noise level and cooling. The noise pollution caused by today´s IT systems has increased, severely affecting productivity in open office environments. ARCTIC COOLING has been working closely with globally recognized companies such as Inno3D, ECS, Galaxy, Sapphire, Powercolor and ATI. Through these partnerships ARCTIC COOLING has been able to adapt to the changing market requirements and has quickly developed the optimal solutions. ARCTIC COOLING combines the Swiss art of engineering to realize innovative cooling ideas. Thanks to the low labor cost in Asia, ARCTIC COOLING has consistently produced innovative solutions which lead the market in price / performance. Cooling solutions are created from the demand of our customers. Due to the continuous product development at ARCTIC COOLING the demands of end-users will always be satisfied. As a result of the head-start ARCTIC COOLING has in knowing end-user´s requirements, manufacturing possibilities and ARCTIC COOLING´s strong R&D, ARCTIC´s products will continue to be market leaders in cooling solutions and provide assemblers, computer hardware distributors and IT-technicians with innovative, virtually silent, cost-effective cooling solutions for CPU, GPU and PC-case worldwide.

Our Vision:  Providing thermal solutions optimized to reduce noise for our global customer base.

ARCTIC COOLING GmbH was founded in 2001. The initial start-up with a registered share capital of 20´000 CHF began with sales in Switzerland and Germany. In May 2003 ARCTIC COOLING GmbH transformed from a limited liability Company (GmbH) into a corporation company (ARCTIC COOLING Switzerland AG) with a registered share capital of 100´000 CHF.

ARCTIC COOLING (HK) Ltd. was founded in 2002 to be close to the mainland manufacturing facilities. 

ARCTIC COOLING Inc. was founded in 2005 in New York City to support customers in North and South America. In spring 2007 the company ARCTIC COOLING Inc. moved to California where it has a local warehouse.


Packaging and contents

The packaging for the Arctic Sound P311 is pretty basic. The box is a brushed aluminum look without any fancy graphics. What they do display is the quantity of features you can expect from the P311.

Inside you will find the P311 snugly fits in a plastic form fit container with the cords all neatly tied in place. No hard to open zip ties, just compression fit formed plastic and regular twist ties.

You will also find a well laid out instruction manual. Clear easy to read instructions, in all English, provide you with guidance on how to hookup your Bluetooth headset to your Bluetooth device, along with clear instructions on using all the P311’s features.

Specifications

Wearing Style

Supra-aural, neckband 

Ear Cup Style

Closed acoustic

Bluetooth Versiony

V.2.1+EDR Class 2

Profiles Support

A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP 1.5

Range

Up to 20m

Talk Time

Up to 20 hours

Standby Time

Up to 400 hours

Weight

71.2g

EAN-Code

872767003668.00

 

Main Features

  • Invisible microphone included
  • Travel case included
  • Compatible with mobile phones
  • Supra-aural headphone features soft pads and ear cup style
  • High fidelity stereo sound, including powerful bass and crisp highs
  • Ideal for sports and on the go

Closer look at the P311’s

The P311 isn’t a unique design for this type of product. While wired or single earbud designs are the norm, there are some competitors that use the neckband design. 

The microphone is invisible; it’s just a little opening in the casing of the P311.  I was sure I would need to shout in order to be heard, or at the very least, have my caller deal with a lot of unwanted background noise. I decided to call my wife since I knew she wouldn’t sugar coat it if I was too loud, the sound was terrible or any other negative that might come up. Of course I was speaking louder than a normal voice with my worries about the “invisible” mic, and right away she told me to stop yelling. Seems I didn’t need to worry, their Clear Voice Capture (CVC) worked well, it picked my voice up over the sound of the TV, and did so with excellent quality. 

Here is a closer look at the controls. Just five simple buttons to remember. You can’t miss the central phone button, this is your main button, and is used to turn the P311 on/off and enable pair mode for your Bluetooth hookup. For making phone calls you use it to accept an incoming call, to make a call or enable voice dialing, end calls or refuse to accept one. You can also use it to re-dial your last number called or switch between your mobile phone and your handset. When you are listening to movies or music you will make use of the four buttons surrounding the main central phone button. These are self-explanatory; you have volume up/down and skip forward/back. In movies you can forward or reverse the movie, and when listening to music you will skip to the next song, or the last song.

The P311 are not adjustable for size and Arctic Sound claims they are one size fits all. Some people may find that a bit disconcerting, I know I was worried when I read that. My wife, my 16 year old son and I all tried them on, and had no problems. They hook over your ears in order to stay in place, for some of you that will sound a little odd, and that it may be a little painful or easily fall off.  It isn’t. I decided to test how well they would hang on, so I took the P311s out running. I am not the most graceful person out there, and running isn’t something I really enjoy, just something I have to do so I can keep drinking Cokes without exploding too far around. So running for me involves a lot of bouncing, hopping on and off curbs and stopping to bend over in an attempt to keep from passing out. I never felt any chance that the P311s were going to fall off or move period, nor did I feel any pinching or pain on my ears.  For those of you that do run, walk or even just sit with headphones, there is nothing more annoying than having the wires start pulling your earphones off, bouncing around on your back, twisting around or getting caught on stuff. P311s=no stinking wires! I have thrown away so many pairs of wired earbuds/plugs/headphones because they would not stay in place while running. 

The earpieces easily fit over my ears and the padding provided a comfortable fit thanks to the P311's light weight.

One of the nice things about the P311 is their ability to fold up to store away when not in use. It’s a very simple procedure: you just grab the top of the head phone band with one hand, the earphone portion with the other and bend in towards the center. This is an area worth watching, I’m not sure how many open and closings it can take without damage. Although even if it doesn’t lock back into place I honestly don’t think it will affect the functionality or use of the P311s. Once they are folded up you can store them away in the sturdy, hard sided container they provide you with. 

Charging the P311 is a simple procedure; on the side of the headphone is a mini-USB hook.  Just remove the dust cover, plug in the mini-USB and connect the full size USB to your PC and let it charge. They state it will last for 20 hours of use or 400 standby. I never did run it out of power. I know for review purposes I really need to test that, and for a week I used it 2-3 hours a day, almost 21 hours in total, and it never ran out on me. I was pretty happy about that, but I now have so many electronic devices that charging just becomes a habit. 


Conclusion

Thank you Arctic Cooling for sending us the ARCTIC Sound P311s to play with. This was another rough review, spending time talking on the phone, listening to music and movies, and doing something I hate but have to do anyways, run. There were only two things I would really worry about; one would be the material around the earpieces. When running I tend to sweat and I don’t want the headphones to start stinking. When cleaning them off after one run I noticed that it is possible to pull the pad completely off. Bit of a pain to put it back on though. However the pads themselves are easy to clean and sealed all the way around, even the inside. 

After running in them for over 2 weeks, and just giving them a quick wipe down, I never noticed any odor at all. I guess it’s possible that my ears sweat less than I thought, or the material is not absorbing odor and sweat. The other would be breakage from the opening and closing of the headphones.  Like I mentioned earlier, even if they failed to snap open, it wouldn’t affect the performance, and during my time with the P311s I never noticed any extra play creeping in. Enough with worries, the positives dominate any concerns I have. After all these are easily affordable, with the listed price of $37.95, especially considering all the features you get with them. Most comparable headsets I found using a Google search showed prices averaging around $80. 

I used these with my Motorola Droid, iPod touch and even a Bluetooth enabled laptop, and was surprised at the ease of connectivity. All it takes to enter the P311 into pairing mode is holding down the call button for a few seconds, then your Bluetooth equipped device will be able to pick it up. I found myself switching back and forth frequently with no trouble. As far as range is concerned, Arctic Sound lists it as 20m or about 65.5 feet. Now I don’t have the largest house around, but I was able to put my phone in one corner of the house and walk to the far opposite corner, with several walls in-between devices, and not lose the signal.

I was equally impressed by the volume. I could not turn it up all the way without cringing from how loud it was. I will admit that one of my running routes goes with-in 50 yards of a train track, and when the train went by and blew its whistle I couldn’t hear the music. However that happens even when I’m in my car listening to the radio! Otherwise just the train and the traffic noise had no impact on my ability to hear what I had playing. Audio quality is quite good for a Bluetooth pair of portable headphones, I can’t help but be impressed by the P311, they are the most comfortable and useful portable headphones I’ve had. I look forward to using them exclusively for a long time to come. 

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