Getting the speakers paired and working with my phone was as easy as you would would expect from any Bluetooth device, I simply turned the speakers on and my phone found them right away. As advertised on the box the speakers also had no problems with playing Spotify which is always handy as it saves faffing with third party apps.
The most important question here is how do the speakers sound? Well for the size they aren’t half bad; I didn’t expect much given the price but the sound is fairly clear, and they aren’t tinny like you might expect them to be at only two watts a piece. The dual speaker design is also pretty clever, as when you place both of them at full extension you do get a sense of stereo that isn’t really present in other solutions, even those sporting two drivers.
If I had to really pick at them I would say its odd that the speakers don’t feature some kind of ported enclosure design, I think this would really help add some much needed low down punch to the sound; the speaker housings are big enough that it seems a shame to me that they are acoustically wasted.
Overall though, considering the price tag I think the listening experience with the S111s is perfectly satisfactory, more volume would be nice though.
Arctic don’t do much boasting about the range on the S111s, which seems odd as looking at the specs we can see they feature a Bluetooth 4.0 chip which should indicate a decent range. What Arctic does say is that they should exceed the fairly standard 10m Bluetooth range by around 50%, making them work well indoors.
Testing outside the speakers worked flawlessly at a range of 15m, with no hitches in the playback or any loss of quality so that’s a pass there. Indoors was no different either, the speakers managed to do well with multiple walls between them and my phone, the Bluetooth 4.0 definitely helped here, with the S111s having noticeably better indoor range than the Luxa 2 360s I recently tested.
Battery life is one of the more impressive on paper stats of the S111s, with Arctic claiming the 2000mAh battery is good for 12 hours of playback. Indeed, in practice I was very impressed with the battery life on these speakers; I observed just over 13 hours of battery life from them with a mixture of low, medium and high volumes.
It is always nice when battery life lives up to claims, I daresay you might dip down to the 10 hour region if you have them at full volume constantly but that’s not very likely as most will use them at a lower volume meaning the majority of users should easily see the full 12 hours from the S111s.
So, the battery life is excellent for speakers of this price. The only complaint I have is that I can’t understand why there is no auto shutdown feature, as they can run themselves flat in about a day of being left on not playing anything, which might catch you by surprise.
Overall I would say the performance, for the money, is pretty good. I’m not blown away but neither am I disappointed. Head over to the next page where I’ll be summing up my thoughts about the S111 BT speakers.