Sunday, 28 February 2021 23:30

Review - new Creative Outlier Air v2 wireless earbuds provide all-day audio


Singapore-based multimedia company, Creative, has released its latest Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds, the Outlier Air. Not only does this build on Creative’s vast legacy of audio excellence, but enhances the firm’s original award-winning Outlier Air in-ear headphones.

Creative is no stranger to audio, being the leading manufacturer of soundcards for 8-bit and 16-bit computers. While competing sound card manufacturers are on the scene today, Creative has a robust and proven brand name and heritage. It’s this audio experience that we see in the Outlier Air range of Bluetooth earbuds, both its first incarnation and the newly released v2 model.

The Outlier Air v2 operates using Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX and AAC audio codecs and a 5.6mm graphene-coated driver diaphragm. Graphene is lighter than paper, stronger than steel, and conducts electricity better than copper.

It’s certified IPX5 water-resistant so you can wear it while exercising or enjoying the outside world, no matter how profusely you sweat. It contains intuitive touch controls and solid call quality based on Qualcomm cVc 8.0.

The earbuds also support Super X-Fi READY, a new version of the Super X-Fi headphone holography. A free mobile app, SXFI, lets you try this out on your downloaded (but not streaming) music library. It’s quite a fun experience, immersing you in your favourite music.

The battery lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge, and when used with the supplied carrying and charging case, it runs up to 34 hours before the case runs out too. The charging case itself has a nifty design, with the earbuds sliding out on a tray, like a little loot crate all of its own. The case charges via USB-C, and a USB-C cable is included.

Silicone ear tips are provided in several sizes, so you can select the right one for you. This is important; in our testing, we found the earbuds weren’t quite sitting securely in the ear using the default ear tips. This meant I was occasionally touching the earbuds, and then inadvertently activating the touch controls. Swapping the ear tips for a larger size took sorted this out completely.

CreativeOutlierAirV2 1

In all our use, the Outlier Air v2 performed continuously, without drop-outs or problems. We played music, made and received voice and video calls, and kept them in-ear for hours on end. With the right ear tips, they remained snug and comfortable. Creative says this is the ideal all-rounder in-ear headphones for work, learn, and play, and they definitely hit the right notes in all our tests.

The Creative Outlier Air v2 has an RRP of $129.95 but is available right now for $109.95 through Creative’s web site, including free shipping.

It's also worth noting the original Outlier Air is on sale, with a twin pack for $119.90 - normally $219.90 for the two sets - meaning you can have a spare or split the cost with a friend and take one each.

The v1 model has won accolades in its own right and is still an admirable set of earbuds. However, the v2 brings improvements in battery life, call quality, a change from buttons to touch control, and Super X-Fi READY.

For the money and size, it's hard to find stronger options with equivalent battery life and sound quality. You don’t get noise cancelling, but you get a set of comfortable earbuds you can wear and use all day, where your voice call contacts won’t ask if you’re still there, and with a stylish charging case, all backed by a rich heritage of audio innovation and excellence.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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