Arctic Sound P311 Bluetooth Stereo Headset

On July 28, 2010

As you know, its not often that we do hardware reviews, and usual we reserve those for the hardware we really like.  This is one of those cases.  Arctic Sound released their new Bluetooth P311 headset last week, and we got our hands on a unit.  

At first when we got the information about the price ($37.95), we were a little concerned.  At under $40, how much quality can you really pack into a pair of headphones?  Turns out, a lot.

First the good.  Syncing these to our iPhone was super easy.  The headset was immediately picked up and over a week of real use (1-2 hours a day), the connection never needed to be reset.  Other headsets have required reconnecting, but not these.

The sound quality is decent at low and mid volume levels, the higher volume levels start to distort, but I’m never a fan of listening to music that loud in a headset since i don’t want to end up with hearing aids later in life.  On a scale of 1-10 for volume, the headset maintains a decent quality sound up to 8.

The other thing we really like about these is that the ear pieces have a faux leather cushion on them (much like our much more expensive non-bluetooth Bose set).  This makes them easy to wear on your head for over an hour and the fact that they wrap behind your head instead of over your head ensures that they stay on and not shift around much.

If a call comes in during a song, the headset lets you know and the large phone button on the Arctic Sounds quickly switches from the music to the call.  The fact that you can use the headset to take a call (due to the built in mic) is a huge bonus.  Did I mention these are only $37.95???

In addition, Arctic Sound made storing this headset really easy.  You can simply fold the earbuds towards the middle and they neatly fall into place inside a hard carrying case (much like the one that comes with our Bose set).

The controls for the headset are found on one of the speakers and allow you to do a bunch of different functions.  The center button acts as the main control.  It allows you to turn the unit on and off, sync the first time with your device, and answer and disconnect calls.  There are also 4 other buttons that surround that button which control volume and skipping ahead and back when listening to your iPod.  There are also 2 different colored LEDS which provide status on the headset.  The blue color when your connected and ready to receive sound, and the red when your turning off the device.

The only complaint that we have is that the volume and forward / back buttons are oddly placed.  Instead of being across from each other, they are right next to each other and we had to use these a few times before we stopped hitting the advance song button across from the volume control when we wanted to adjust the volume level.  But this is a minor issue that quickly evaporates after you use these for a while.

Overall, we give the Arctic Sound P311’s a 9.5 out of 10.  This is a LOT of headphones for $37.95.  If you want decent sound, the ability to take calls, easy storage with a hardshell case, and spend under $40, don’t waste time looking at anything else.  We highly recommend the Arctic Sound P311’s.