Arctic Cooling P531 headset, Arctic Cooling M571 mouse
Company: Arctic Cooling
Price: headphones $66.55, mouse $29.95
The Arctic Cooling P531 headset and M571 mouse are both designed for gamers, the aim being to support features common to modern games at a price only somewhat above that of generic headsets and mice. Starting with the Arctic Cooling P531 headset, this includes headphones, a microphone, and a controller that provides on-the-fly adjustment of 5.1-channel surround-sound output. The headphones have soft fabric ear cups and flexible connections to the headband, and the microphone is mounted on a flexible arm that can be folded out of the way when not in use.
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Skullcandy 50/50 earbuds with microphone
Company: Skullcandy, Inc.
Skullcandy can make good earbuds, no doubt about that. We liked their older FMJ model.
But time marches on, and Skullcandy releases new products all the time. The Weeks Division of MyMac Labs spent time with the new 50/50 earbud/microphone combo.
How well do they do the job?
The 50/50 is very comfortable. Skullcandy ships it with several differently-sized rubber ear tips, so you’ll no doubt be able to find one that makes nice with your ear canal. I was able to wear them for hours at a time with no irritation or ear tiredness.
Skullcandy’s PR blurbs brag about the bass output, and the PR mavens don’t exaggerate. The 50/50s have no shortage of bass response, yet I did not find them overly bottom-end heavy. Given that most earbuds don’t have much bass punch, the 50/50s will satisfy most users looking for a fuller low end.
Unfortunately, the microphone audio quality doesn’t quite match up to the fine audio output of the earbuds. Most people on the other end of calls from my iPhone reported the audio quality to be "OK," nothing more but nothing less.
Skullcandy ships the 50/50s with a nice little round, zippered carrying case. Small is good for fitting into your pocket, but the cord is long enough that it’s a bit of a tight squeeze to jam the 50/50s into the case.
Speaking of the cord, there’s no lapel clip, so the generously long cord dangles to and fro, rubbing against your clothes. This causes the dreaded cable noise. Skullcandy needs to include a clip.
Conclusion. Skullcandy’s 50/50 are very comfortable, and have fine audio quality, but are hampered by a merely-average microphone, and no lapel clip.