Audio December 28, 2020
The reason overhead earphones are still hard to beat when it comes to audio experience is because of the fully immersive experience those ear cups provide, the Arc 1 ANC from Aiwa blocks out the world around you letting you focus on the music.
These headphones are only available in black and come with a protective hard case with a carry strap, the zip on the case opens up completely to the point where it detaches the lid from the base, this is then fiddly to reattach. Inside the case is a handy stretchy pocket to store away the cables, however the two raised bits in the middle slow down stowing away the headphones as they have to be lined up precisely which seems unnecessary. The headphones arrive folded down, when the ear cups are popped out, they automatically switch on, there is a green flashing light that indicate they are on, it would be nice if there was an option to switch this off as it could be irritating to others, travelling at night on a plane or bus for example. The Arc 1 are constructed from mostly plastic with aluminium and leather finishing touches making these headphones lightweight to wear, just 243g, the plastic body might not appeal to all, but it does make all day wear more comfortable.
The ear cups are padded with a good amount of memory foam and reduce exterior noise and when the ANC is switched on this reduces outside noise by 23dB, completely blocking out the world around you enough to get lost in your tunes without distraction. I found that even with the head band at its smallest size, the earcups were very low on my ears, I know I have a small head, but I don’t normally experience this with headphones. The headphones connect over Bluetooth 5.0, that provides a stable and reliable connection, there are two integrated mics and echo cancellation for hands free calls and accessing Siri or Google Assistant. The battery life is impressive at battery life with 40 hours playback, 25 Hours with ANC activated, when the battery runs out you can always use the included 3.5mm audio cable to keep the music going. The 40mm dynamic drivers produce an enjoyable sound, it could do with a little bit of a bass injection for cans this size, but it gels well with the mid and high tones. Other features include the IPX5 water resistant rating, replaceable memory foam pads and on ear controls. The ANC, battery life, sound and comfort make the Arc 1 ANC a decent pair of headphones, however, for the price there are a few areas that could be improved upon. RRP €129.99
- Functional ANC
- Enjoyable sound
- Generous padding
- 40hour battery life
- Awkward carry case
- Lid completely comes away from base of case
- Might not be suitable for small heads
- Flashing indicator light
- Bass could use a boost