Creative SXFI Air Gamer Review: Small Improvements to an Already-Great Headset
Updated: Aug 21, 2021
When I first reviewed the Creative SXFI Gamer, I thought it was a fantastic headset; great value, really comfortable and overall good sound for gaming. The one downside was that it was a wired headset, meaning that people looking to use it for mobile gaming and the likes weren’t able to. Well, the new Creative SXFI Air Gamer takes the foundation that the SXFI Gamer has set and builds on it.
It looks almost identical, I’ll be honest. You get the same RGB lighting on the earcups, the same metal adjustable sliders with numbered notches, the same headband. The most obvious difference is in the earpads, and it’s a pretty big one.
It’s now perforated, allowing for better airflow and preventing ears from getting overheated, which is really nice. I used the headset for around 3-4 hours and never found overheating to be an issue. The earpads are around the same thickness as the ones found on the SXFI Gamer and they both use memory foam, but I found the foam on the Air Gamer to be a bit firmer. It’s still just as comfortable though.
Unfortunately, the padding on the headband seems to be just as thin as the headband on the SXFI Gamer, so that’s a bummer. Thankfully, the headset isn’t heavy enough to end up in too much pinching or pain at the crown of the head, so I guess there’s no real issue here.
The other big change is to the buttons on the left earcup. The volume control wheel is gone, which is a bummer. In exchange though, Creative has done something really interesting. They’ve given us a MicroSD card slot that can be used for music playback. Now, I don’t have a MicroSD so I couldn’t test it, but the headset supports MicroSD cards up to 32GB and formatted in FAT32.
It’s definitely an interesting offering and one that means you could possibly bring your headset out and about to listen to music without needing to connect it to a phone. I’m not sure when you would ever need to do that, but hey, surely someone somewhere will find this useful. This also means that you have four source options: USB-C, MicroSD, Bluetooth 5.0 and 3.5mm. More is nice, but I think most people would have preferred to have the volume control wheel over the MicroSD slot. At least, I know I would.
The mic mute button from the SXFI Gamer is also gone and is now replaced with a Bluetooth button for pairing. This means that if you want to mute your microphone, it’ll have to be done via the connected device or through software.
Speaking of software, you’ll still need the SXFI Control application on your computer, as well as the SXFI app on your phone to scan your ears and get your personalised profile. You get three modes: SXFI mode on, off as well as Creative’s Battle Mode, which is tuned for first-person shooter games, allowing you to more accurately pinpoint footsteps and gunshots. I tried this with Apex Legends and Star Wars Battlefront II, with pretty good results. SXFI mode is better suited to cinematic games, so open-world RPGs work wonderfully.
When it comes to music, it wasn’t the SXFI Gamer’s strong point. Turning on SXFI resulted in music losing some bass and detail in exchange for widening the soundstage. That same issue is prevalent here with the SXFI Air Gamer. The bass is reduced, but you do get that soundstage expansion. Personally, I think it’s a worthwhile tradeoff if you’re not big on music genres like House or EDM. If you enjoy classical music or jazz, the airiness provided by turning on SXFI is a nice touch. Again, this is a gaming headset, so you shouldn’t expect audiophile performance here.
Moving on to the microphone, Creative has given two choices here this time, in line with the headset now supporting Bluetooth and on-the-go gaming. You get the CommanderMic, which seems to be exactly the same as the one from the SXFI Gamer, as well as a NanoBoom mic that’s incredibly tiny so you don’t have to bring the long CommanderMic out.
The NanoBoom mic picks up voices pretty decently, and it’ll do in a pinch if you’re out and about, but I did find that my friends heard my voice better when I was using the CommanderMic at home. Obviously, it’s to do with the distance between the different microphones and my mouth, but yes, I appreciate Creative providing consumers with the choice.
To prevent myself from losing the NanoBoom mic when not in use, I plugged it into the 3.5mm input port near the USB-C port, and it works pretty well as a place to secure the mic without interfering with the CommanderMic operating, so that’s nice.
Overall, these are a great update to the SXFI Gamer. It’s also priced just a bit higher than the SXFI Gamer, S$199 to S$179, but I think the S$20 increase in price is incredibly reasonable when you consider that there’s now a new mic option included in the box, as well as Bluetooth functionality. If you’re looking for a gaming headset that can do everything, from wired use with a computer to wireless situations where you’re gaming on a phone or tablet, the Creative SXFI Air Gamer is a pretty good option.
More information on the Creative SXFI Air Gamer (S$199) and purchase options are available on Creative’s website.
Written by Cheryl Tan