Functions and Features
As a stand-alone headset, the Wearhaus Arc has a nice base of functions and features to cover all of your listening scenarios. Out of the box, you’re supplied with everything you need to enjoy the Wearhaus Arc as your headset for all occasions. You have a carrying sack, micro-USB cable, the box itself, some stickers, a manual, and a 3.5mm cable for when you want or need to use the Wearhaus Arc as a powered-off wired headset. The 3.5mm cable able comes with an onboard standard mobile device media controller button for moving between tracks, playing and pausing tracks, or handling phone calls.
When using the Wearhaus Arc as the intended wireless headset that it is, all of those controls are handled on the right ear cup. The touch controls are pretty intuitive as sensible gestures finagle through your media as you would expect. A tap plays and pauses tracks, a swipe forward moves tracks forward and inversely a swipe back moves a track back. Swiping either up or down adjusts the master headset volume to be higher or lower respectively. Touch and hold to initiate the onboard color select mode where you can toggle between a preset of colors or shut them off entirely.
If you noticed, I had mentioned the “box itself” as a feature. That’s because the base of the box comes with pre-cut-out holes to act as a pass through for the USB charging cable. This effectively allows you to turn the base of the box into a handy docking and charging station for your Wearhaus Arc! Not bad at all.
The touch gestures took little to no time to remember, leaving one to simply train learn to swipe effectively. There were some hiccups initially where poorly-aimed swipes were picked up as play/pause taps. However, with very little practice, muscle memory took over once we learned the correct angles in which to swipe. The Wearhaus Arc also had spoken audio indications for “Power on”, “Pairing”, “Headset paired” as well as spoken instructions on how to use the sharing features. This was pretty handy at getting the point across to what the headset was doing or was ready to do.
Part of me wish there was an indicator for “power off”. As I didn’t want to attract too much attention on the train, I personally set the LEDs to be off at all times. So when it came to holding down on the power button to turn off, I was giving no cues as to when the headset was actually off. I had to tap around to see if the headset was active, or check my audio source to see if the headset was no longer paired.
Putting the LEDs and touch gestures aside, we now go into the meat and potatoes of the Wearhaus Arc, the media sharing. It starts off with a Wearhaus Arc, currently connected to some audio source via Bluetooth. This first Wearhaus Arc is then switched into “broadcast mode”, awaiting another Wearhaus Arc to connect to it. The second user sets their Wearhaus Arc to search for the first “broadcasting” Wearhaus Arc and then connects to it by setting it to “receive”. Now both users can listen to what the first Wearhaus Arc headset is currently listening to, wirelessly.
Once broadcasting, it takes from one to two minutes for the corresponding “receiving” Wearhaus Arc to actually connect. So a bit of patience is in order. But once connected, the “receiving” Wearhaus Arc hears whatever sound is currently playing in the “broadcasting” Wearhaus Arc, no matter what the “broadcasting” Wearhaus Arc’s sound source is. At this point, the wearer of the “receiving” Wearhaus Arc can only adjust its audio volume or choose to disconnect from the “broadcasting” Wearhaus Arc.
All in all, this was a nice assortment of functions that worked with minor gripes. For starters, the sharing function was awesome once connected. The wireless sharing of audio content is quite convenient, especially in travelling scenarios where the quarters are tight, otherwise making wires even more of a hassle. There were some connection hiccups however, where the first Wearhaus Arc couldn’t find the second, or vice versa. Now that’s very forgivable in the nuance-ridden world of wireless connectivity. However, with the standard search and connect time between Wearhaus Arc’s taking as long as it does when Wearhaus Arcs connect normally, connection failures hurt that much more.
Imagine not knowing if your connection failed or if you just have to wait just a minute more. Whenever this happened, we ended up restarting both headsets, reconnecting Wearhaus Arc #1 to its audio source and trying the share again. Again, once connected it was great. The few times it did not, definitely lead to several minutes of troubleshooting, with little to no clue as to what caused the initial issue. If you can swallow the occasional bouts of device support, then you have an effective wireless sharing solution for you and your companion in the Wearhaus Arc.