Setting up the Arctic S111 BT is a refreshingly simple process. We tested the speakers both with our iPhone 5 and with our Dell Inspiron 15 notebook and both processes were straightforward.
To activate pairing mode, you simply need to hold the power button on the back of the unit. When pairing mode is active the LED indicator flashes red and blue alternatively, and you can search for the unit with a Bluetooth device.
We commenced our testing of the S111 BT with The Dark Knight which is one of our favorite titles to judge movie playback ability, due to the wide range of sound effects in the opening sequence. The S111 BT offered better sound-panning than single unit Bluetooth speakers that we have reviewed in the past, however the short cable doesn’t allow the speakers to be placed very far apart, reducing the stereo effect.
The speakers offer decent bass and overall volume levels which help to create a more immersive experience when watching films, however they still fall some way behind a decent set of headphones.
Perhaps the only significant negative of the S111 BT in terms of movie playback performance is the slight delay between video and audio playback. While this can be manually accounted for using most decent desktop video applications, it may prove more difficult on a mobile device.
Moving on to music playback performance, the S111 BT delivers somewhat of a mixed bag. We commenced our testing with Chopin’s Nocturne Op.9 No.2 which is one our preferred tracks for judging audio clarity and performance with higher tones. We were fairly disappointed with the S111 BT’s performance in this test. Although we doubt many users would use these speakers for this genre of music, this track highlighted a distinct lack of sound clarity and a lack of punch in the upper frequencies.
The S111 BT fared much better with more modern tracks, such as Lana Del Rey, West Coast (ZHU Remix), in which the mid range frequencies are reproduced well and the bass is reasonably prominent. The S111 BT is not ideal for particularly bass heavy music, though, as the speakers struggle to reproduce the lower registers with much presence.
Finally, we are fairly impressed with the battery life of the unit. Arctic claim that the unit can be used for around 12 hours between recharges. During our testing we used the S111 BT for around eight hours without having to recharge and it is still going strong, so we wouldn’t be surprised if it fulfills Arctic’s claims.