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  • Cheryl Tan

Creative Outlier Pro Review: REDEMPTION!

I’ve reviewed a number of products from Creative over the years, and with the most recent Outlier Air V3, I was a little disappointed because the unit I had did have some issues when the active noise reduction was turned on. Well, I tried the Outlier Pro and I can unreservedly recommend these. Creative has redeemed themselves here.

We have the Creative Outlier Pro with us today, and they’re the company’s newest flagship wireless earbuds, although they’re still as affordable as ever at S$119.

So, let’s talk design. The case is pretty much unchanged. It’s a bronze-ish colour on the outside, which is quite nice, really. On one end, which is also the end that the inner case slides out from, you get three battery indicator LEDs along with a USB-C charging port. Same problem here as with previous Creative earbuds, if you’re unplugging a wire from the case, you’ll most likely end up pulling out the inner case.

Thankfully, it’s not that big a problem here since there’s wireless charging. Just plop these on any Qi charger and it’ll start charging, which is great.

Moving on, the earbuds do look slightly different this time around, with a glossy bronze finish on the faceplate which, unfortunately, does mean they’re fingerprint magnets. Aside from that, though, the shells are pretty nicely sculpted to ensure they’re comfortable in the ear, and yeah, I never had any wearing discomfort with these at all.

As always, you get Super X-Fi support on these, but do note that Creative’s earbuds that are “Super X-Fi ready” only support onboard music tracks. So you don’t get Super X-Fi sound with stuff like Tidal, Spotify and the likes. You’ll have to download songs to your phone or whatever other device and then turn on Super X-Fi from the app.

Speaking of the app, you’ll have to download the SXFI app regardless so that you can scan your ears and get your personalised headmap, software updates and access the EQ function. There’s also another Creative app, which you’ll need to download for customising touch controls, which is a bit odd. Would be great to see Creative change this moving forward so that people just need one app.

There are touch controls on these earbuds, and they work perfectly fine. Everything’s customisable, so yeah, I have these set up exactly the way I like them. That being said, you just gotta take note that there’s no single tap, but personally, I’m fine with that since it avoids false inputs.

There’s Bluetooth 5.2 on these, and connectivity is pretty good, I didn’t experience any issues or drop outs. Unfortunately, there’s only SBC and AAC support on these, which is the same as the Outlier Air V3. Seeing as these are Creative’s “flagship” earbuds, I would have really liked to have seen aptX support here, but no luck.

Battery life is pretty insane. With ANC off, Creative claims you get 15 hours in the earbuds with a total of 60 hours when you include the case. Turning ANC on, that drops down to a still-very-respectable 10 hours in the earbuds and a total of 40 hours with the case. I never actually managed to drain the earbuds down to zero, but yeah, more than enough for anybody to get through a day on the earbuds, and the case basically means most people will be able to go close to a full work week on a single charge.

There’s IPX5 water resistance, which means no worries about rain or sweat.

As for ANC, the Outlier Pro is using a two-mic feedback, feedforward hybrid system and it’s pretty decent. I won’t say they’re anywhere close to the level of the Sonys or the AirPods Pro, but they do remove low rumbles that you’ll hear on trains, cars or planes. Higher pitched noises like cutlery on plates, or voices still do slip in though, but I wasn’t expecting mind-blowing ANC performance out of a pair of earbuds that are just a hundred bucks anyway.

For mic quality, there are three on each earbud for a total of six, and yeah, my voice does come across quite clearly. Outside in windy environments though, you might notice a bit of artifacting, but no real problems with being understood most of the time.

Coming to sound quality, it’s impressive, as always. Creative never fails to leave me amazed by what they can do with such a tight budget. With 10mm graphene dynamic drivers, you get a lot of punch in the low ends with these. There’s a slight emphasis on the bass, resulting in a warmer sound that I’m personally quite fond of. Even so, it doesn’t overwhelm the other regions, with the mids still clear and distinct, although I did feel that I would prefer a bit more energy in the treble, but hey, that’s just personal preference.

The soundstage is relatively open, although it did feel a bit tight heightwise. Layering was okay, nothing to shout about, but that’s where Super X-Fi comes into play. Turning that feature on, you get the soundstage widening up immediately, with more air and space between instruments. I did find that with my unit, vocals tend to feel a touch more recessed than normal with Super X-Fi on, but yeah, not really a big deal since there’s the EQ and you’ll be able to adjust the sound to your liking.

All in all, it’s a really decent offering for S$119, and there’s really not much I can complain about.

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