Arctic Sound calls it “the combination of this summer.” Basically, two ultra portable laptop speakers coupled with a solar power source make any summer trip in the sun complete with your favorite tunes. I absolutely love my MacBook Pro, but the speakers are far from useful in my eyes. This leaves me with a constant search for audio solutions. I have tried many combinations, some with good sound but no portability and others being portable with just ok sound. The S111 speakers are tiny making them easy to carry and the addition of the C1 Mobile makes them usable without a live USB port to power them. Lets take a look at the speakers and the solar power source and how they work together.
Arctic Sound S111 Mobile USB Powered Speakers:
The S111 speakers are super small cube shaped speakers with each side only measuring 2 3/4 inches. They are constructed with a very solid plastic so they feel super tough but also are light weight. The bottom of each speaker has four small foam feet so it is easy to always keep the downside down. The back of the main control speaker contains a large volume dial, USB power cord, audio in cord and a port to plug in the left output speaker. That is virtually it. Simple setup created for extreme portability and designed for great sound.
- Compact dice-shape speakers – portable and lightweight
- Balanced vocals and bass for natural sound response
- Built-in volume control
- 3.5mm jack – compatible with computers, MP3, DVD, CD players
When I first opened the speakers, I was a little leery of what kind of sound was possible. These things are truly small and extremely light. Since they have a standard 3.5mm jack, I was excited at the possibilities for use. The speakers are powered via USB so normally they would only be usable with a computer, but remember, the combination I am using includes a solar powered USB charger! The S111 speakers will fit in most gear bags and are portable enough to carry outside at the beach or on the deck to power any audio device.
So the speakers are tiny, light weight and look nice…how do they sound? Let me start off by reminding you these are designed to be small and portable and not to provide the same sound as a 2.1 system or your home entertainment speakers. With that said, these little things provide much better sound than you can expect. I tested and continue to use the unit with a variety of devices and situations. Every morning I use the speakers with my MacBook Pro when I do the Insanity workout program. During my daily break in between football practices I surf the net and watch the live Big Brother 12 feeds. Yes, I know! One of my few guilty pleasures in life. The other use for the S111 speakers has been when we are able to sit and relax on the new deck I built this summer. We either listen to Slacker or Pandora and sometimes the iPod in tandem with the C1 mobile charger.
First, the speakers are powerful. I am able to listen at pretty high levels without any distortion problems or degradation of audio quality. Watching the exercise videos, television shows or live feeds provides superior quality to my television. The mids, highs and lows are balanced so that the audio is clear and powerful. By no means is there deep thumping bass, but the audio engineers have done a great job balancing the levels so that the lows work perfectly. Voices are strong and easy to understand and the entire experience brings full audio. To my surprise, the same levels provide a nice music listening experience. I can best describe the sound with music as being powerful in comparison to the size of the speakers. The mid and high levels really push out clearly and the bass adds just enough contrast to provide great mobile audio. I honestly have a difficult time using my native laptop speakers!
Arctic C1 Mobile Solar USB Charger:
Most instances of reviewing a pair of USB powered speakers, the review would be restricted to a laptop or desktop computer. The folks at Arctic Cooling are presented the S111 speakers and the C1 Mobile as a great summer combination. For anyone who likes activities in the sun, this is truly a great combination. There are many times I sit somewhere with the family on a beach or river and we use the iPhone to listen to some tunes. Of course the iPhone speaker is not worth listening to in those situations. The C1 Mobile now allows me to bring my USB powered speakers along and not worry about bringing a computer. Last night we ate BBQ on the deck celebrating a rare evening off for me and we used the charger and speakers with my iPhone. It was so convenient to just plug in the phone and pump the tunes. We loved it. The charger not only powers the speakers, but will also charge most USB devices. Several different tips are included with the package and it was able to charge my iPhone. I am actually going to carry the unit with me at all times for a variety of uses, especially in an emergency situation. It is actually much smaller than my phone and fits in a side pocket in my backpack.
- Built-in 4400 mWh lithium-ion rechargeable battery
- Ideal for high-powered devices everywhere
- Fast and save charging by the USB cable provided
- Adapter for Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola included
I am going to agree with Arctic Cooling that the S111 USB speakers coupled with the C1 Mobile are a great summer combination. Now when we sit on the deck, we just plug the speakers into the solar charger and leave on the table for hours of audio. The audio is superior as mobile speakers go and the charger makes this a must have for anyone who enjoys the outdoors along with some tunes. The speakers as well as charger can be purchased at the Arctic Cooling website very soon. As long as there is sunlight, there is music!
S111 speakers: $15.45
C1 Mobile solar charger: $24.60
What I like: Affordable and super portable audio and charging solution for an affordable price. The solar charger has many uses.
What could be improved: I would like some sort of carry case or bag to protect the speakers in my backpack.