When Julie asked if we were interested in some stuff from Arctic, I was more interested in their four-port USB charger that I recently reviewed, but was pleased to see the Arctic P402 headphones in the package. Many headphones these days are either mostly plastic (which means they break easily) or huge and bulky (which means they don’t travel well). These, however, are light, on-ear, and quite tough.
Images can be clicked for a larger version.
The Arctic cans have a brushed metal covering the black plastic and vinyl-covered foam on each speaker cover. In the center inside of the actual speaker unit, a simple nylon netting prevents getting dust and hair in the speakers. On the bottom of the right channel speaker is a captive (can’t be removed) thin audio cable that runs about two feet before the expected mini-stereo plug.
The metal springs between the speakers are covered in a textured rubbery tubular material. They are very firm, yet stretch easily and don’t press too strongly onto your head. I’ve not had anyone using them get hair tangled in them, anyway.
On the bottom of the right channel speaker is a captive (can’t be removed) thin audio cable that runs about two feet before the expected mini-stereo plug. About six inches down the cable from the right speaker, there is a small microphone (visible in the photo above), which works nicely for phone, Skype, FaceTime communication. Not a broadcast quality by any means, but perfectly fine for phone conversations.
Wearing the Arctic phones when listening to music or podcasts is quite enjoyable, to the point I’ll forget I have them on. That’s only a problem if I stand up to go get another cup of tea and they are still on my head, which has happened more than once. To prevent this, I’ve taken to using them as my mobile headphones, so they ride around in my bag most days, ready to serve up Netflix movies in the coffee shop or food court. (I don’t tend to walk away from my iPad there.)
The cushions do a decent job of blocking out simple background noises, but don’t think these are going to block out the TV in the next room or travel noises in an airplane. When you crank them up, though, you’ll have to go pretty far to distort the sound. That said, these headphones have probably the best fidelity of any cheap (sub. $50) headphones I’ve yet to try. I give them a solid three out of five stars.