Prior to getting a set of their earphones by mail, I've actually never heard of Swiss-based company Arctic Cooling. Formed in 2001, the company produces an interesting mix of electronics devices, including PC cases, CPU coolers, USB chargers and the aforementioned earphones.
Since I wasn't familiar with the company, I wasn't expecting much after I unpacked the Arctic Sound E361 earphones and plugged them to my MP3 player. But after listening, well, let's just say that they've now got my attention.
Read on for my review of the Arctic Sound E361 with built-in mic.
Excellent sound: When judging any kind of earphone, the most important thing, of course, is how it sounds. To gauge audio quality for the Arctic Sound E361, I compared it to a standard set of iPod earphones fitted with Yurbuds adapters. The difference was quite noticeable, particularly in terms of bass response. Sound via the E361 was excellent, producing throaty bass without sacrificing clarity. High tones remain clear despite the powerful bass, with the Arctic Sound E361 not exhibiting the muddy sound you sometimes get when you try to boost bass settings with cheap earphones. (I also asked my brother to try the headphones out and the first thing he said was, "Wow, this thing has pretty good bass.) When it comes to sound quality, I must say that this thing delivers.
Good noise isolation: The Arctic Sound E361 does a good job in isolating ambient noise, which also helps improve audio quality. The caveat is that it must fit well to do so, which I'll get to in more detail later.
Integrated mic: Having a mic is always a nice feature for people who use their smartphones as music players since they can just answer calls without having to finagle with their phone too much. The Arctic Sound E361 also comes with a splitter cable to connect it to the mic and headphone slot of a computer — quite nifty for users of programs such as Skype.
Other extras: The E361 comes with three different earbud adapters (small, medium and large), which helps with fitting. Besides, the splitter cable and earbud adapters, the device also comes with a carrying case for the earphones.
Easily comes off: If you have a problem with earbud-type phones that fall off easily from your ears — and I'm one of those people — I'm sorry to say that you'll have the same issue with the Arctic Sound E361. If you've got dry-type ears, expect a lot of slip-sliding action going on. To its credit, the device actually stays on better than other conventional earbuds due to its off-angle shape (allowing you to use the base to lodge against one of the crevices of your outer ear). But jogging with these was pretty much out of the question for me.
No cellphone headphone adapter: If you have one of those phones that don't come with a standard-size headphone socket, you'll need to fork over an extra $4.95 to get an adapter. For earphones that come with a mic, I'd expect it to come with such an adapter off the bat.
At about $61 with a mic, the Arctic Sound E361 can be considered at the lower end of high-end earphones, if that makes any sense. It certainly sounds high-end, offering great audio with both excellent bass and clarity.
People who struggle with keeping earbud-type phones in place will likely have the same issues with this device. But if you have no such problems, then the Arctic Sound E361's excellent audio definitely makes it worthy of consideration. The bass alone will make you wonder how they managed to cram that much boom in such a tiny, little package. Just a great set of earphones overall.
Disclosure: A review sample was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.