Creative Outlier Air True Wireless Earphones Review
True wireless earphones such as the AirPods Pro have demonstrated just how much can be achieved in a small form factor, while the Redmi Earbuds S have proven that you don’t need to spend too much for decent true wireless sound. Somewhere between these two extremes is a particularly interesting price segment that doesn’t quite get enough attention, due to not having too many high-profile launches. Creative looks to make a mark on the Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 space with the Outlier Air true wireless earphones.
Singapore-based Creative is among the older names in the computer audio business, and is credited with developing some of the best affordable personal audio products of modern times, including the excellent Creative EP-630 wired earphones. Today, I’m reviewing the Creative Outlier Air, a promising new true wireless headset priced at Rs. 6,999. Is this the best true wireless headset you can buy for less than Rs. 10,000? Find out in this review.
The Creative Outlier Air has a big, clunky charging case
Straight out of the box, the Outlier Air looks and feels exactly as you would expect of a Creative product. The earphones are quite large, but their plastic bodies keep them light enough to stay in your ears comfortably. All of the included ear tips are small and don’t offer much grip inside the ear, but the design of the earphones lets them sit securely in your outer ears, also resulting in good passive noise isolation. There are large contact points for charging on the insides of each earpiece.
The earphones each have light rings around the outer side, and physical buttons for controls instead of touch sensors. The lights might look good, but can be quite distracting for people around you as they are bright enough to slightly illuminate a completely dark room. The lights stay off when something is playing on the earphones. They illuminate only when the earphones are connected but not in use, in pairing mode, or charging with the case open. Indicator lights are useful, but the Creative Outlier Air overdoes this a bit.
The buttons are incredibly firm and quite difficult to press when wearing the earphones. The on-device controls cover everything including playback, answering calls, adjusting the volume, and invoking the voice assistant on your smartphone, but what happens depends on whether you have audio playing or not.
With music playing, it was possible to play and pause music (single press), skip to the next or previous track (double press on the right or left earphone respectively), adjust the volume (press and hold the left or right button). You can only activate the voice assistant with a double-press when audio playback is paused, and adjust the volume when it’s playing. When I tried to adjust the volume with the music paused by pressing and holding the button, it disconnected the earphones and went into pairing mode. All of this was quite complicated to remember, and I found myself sticking to my smartphone to control the earphones to avoid any mis-hits.
Although the earphones are plastic, the Creative Outlier Air has a rather impressively built metal charging case. It’s quite large and has a sliding mechanism for opening and closing, which I found a bit old-fashioned and inconvenient. The earphones should snap in place magnetically, but this didn’t always happen on the first attempt, leaving them paired to my smartphone and not charging despite being in the case. All of this means the case is a bit clunky and difficult to use. The case has a USB Type-C port for charging and four indicators to show the charging status of the individual earphones and the case itself, and warn you of low power on the case, which does slightly make up for its shortcomings.
Battery life is decent on the Creative Outlier Air, with the earphones running for around eight hours on a single charge, and the case offering an additional two full charges. This gave the headset a total battery life of around 24 hours per cycle. This is quite good given the price of the Outlier Air, and the eight-hour figure for the earphones is on the higher side in the affordable and mid-range true wireless segments.
The Creative Outlier Air features 5.6mm graphene dynamic drivers, and is IPX5 rated for water resistance. The headset uses Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, and is capable of remembering up to two paired source devices so you can switch between them quickly. It also supports the SBC, AAC, and aptX Bluetooth codecs, making this among the more affordable options with support for the superior aptX codec.
Interestingly though, the earphones didn’t allow manual codec selection for me, and automatically switched to the best codec depending on the device in use. This was aptX on my Android smartphone, but AAC on my MacBook Air, even though the laptop does support the aptX codec. This wasn’t often a problem for me, but I would have liked the ability to switch.
Energetic sound on the Creative Outlier Air
While I usually speak highly of the Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth codec and any headphones that support it, it’s worth noting that having or not having this codec doesn’t necessarily make a pair of headphones or earphones good or bad. Headsets such as the Blaupunkt BTW Pro don’t sound too good despite support for the codec, while the Apple AirPods, Jabra Elite 75t, and Samsung Galaxy Buds+ sound very good even without it.
The Creative Outlier Air is among the various headphones I’ve tested that puts Qualcomm aptX support to very good use. There was a noticeable difference in the sound when using my smartphone as compared to when using my laptop. The earphones sound good even on the AAC codec, but there was a marked improvement with the Android smartphone using aptX.
Starting with Light It Up by Major Lazer, the Creative Outlier Air made for a lively, exciting, and driven sonic signature that suited this reggae-inspired dance track very well. The synthesised bass was aggressive and energetic, but remained calculated and held back just enough to allow for other elements of the track to be heard and enjoyed clearly. The sound felt a bit warm at first, but there’s plenty of sparkle in the mid-range and highs as well. The sonic signature can be balanced and warm at the same time.
Switching to something a little slower and gentler, I played a high-resolution version of Days To Come by Bonobo. Some of the gentler instrumental elements were sharp and distinct, but it was here that the aggressive bass tended to take centre stage and overpower the vocals and the faintest elements of the track. It naturally didn’t sound as clean and detailed as the balanced armature variant of the Shanling MTW100 which has superior drivers, but the level of detail and the sonic capabilities were good enough for the price.
Back to Spotify and lively, fast-paced tracks, I played Feel The Love by Rudimental, and promptly heard exactly what the Creative Outlier Air is best at. These earphones are quite capable of keeping up with the pace of fast, busy tracks, keeping things cohesive and exciting through and through.
This drum-and-bass track starts off slow and then gets fast and busy around 90 seconds in; the Outlier Air capable kept up with these changes, offering up enough detail and a decent soundstage, for an immersive and fun listening experience all through. The bass was punchy, allowing just enough detail in the mid-range and highs to sneak through without audibly changing the character of the track.
While the sound was best at around the 60-70 percent volume mark, the Creative Outlier Air could go up to around the 85 percent level before I heard a bit of distortion. That said, the earphones are suitably loud even at the 80 percent volume level, and you won’t find yourself needing to go beyond that point too often.
The Creative Outlier Air is decent enough for calls, offering loud, clear sound on both ends. Even outdoors, the earphones performed well and managed to isolate my voice, with the person on the other end reporting very little background sound. Both earpieces have microphones, and you can use either one individually if you like.
The mid-range true wireless segment hasn’t seen too many major launches in the last few months, so the Creative Outlier Air comes as a breath of fresh air (pun unintended) to a segment that I believe is neglected and has much potential to grow. The design of the earphones and charging case is less than ideal, but the Creative Outlier Air makes up for these minor shortcomings with USB Type-C charging, good battery life, and very good sound for the price.
Although held back a bit by its dynamic drivers, the Creative Outlier Air puts Qualcomm’s aptX Bluetooth codec to good use, offering up lively and energetic sound across genres. The bass can get a bit too much at times and the earphones do face some issues with distortion at very high volumes, but on the whole, this is a very good pair of true wireless earphones for the price of Rs. 6,999.
In this price segment, you could also consider my previous favourite in the segment, the 1More Stylish True Wireless earphones which also support aptX. However, better battery life and USB Type-C charging give the Creative Outlier Air an edge here, and makes it my new top pick for less than Rs. 10,000.
Price: Rs. 6,999
- Bluetooth 5, aptX Bluetooth codec support
- Excellent battery life
- Lively, energetic sound
- IPX5 water resistance
- Good for calls
- Dull design, glaring LEDs
- Complicated, difficult controls
- Clunky charging case
- Not very detailed sound with high-resolution music
Ratings (out of 5)
- Design/ comfort: 3
- Audio quality: 4
- Battery life: 5
- Value for money: 4
- Overall: 4
Why are smartphone prices rising in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
Best deals today: OnePlus 10T 5G, Victus 16 Gaming Laptop, Xbox Series S, and more
OnePlus 10T 5G
We start today’s best deals at OnePlus.com, where you can now score 13 percent savings on the recently launched OnePlus 10T. This model arrived with a $749 price tag, but the latest discount lets you take one home for $649, which means you get to save $100 on your purchase. In addition, this model comes with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 pro, an Adreno 730 GPU, and more. Now, this deal is rather interesting because this price would regularly get you the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model, but early adopters will be able to receive the 16GB RAM and 256GB storage space version without additional charges.
If you’re looking for more deals on Android devices, you can also check out the latest savings on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus, that now sells for $830, after scoring a 15 percent discount that will help you get $150 savings on the 256GB storage model.
OnePlus 10T 5G
OnePlus 10T is the latest affordable flagship from OnePlus. It comes with Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, a 4800 mAh battery with 150W fast charging, up to 16GB of memory, and much more.
Victus 16 Gaming Laptop
Next in our selection, we have HP’s Victus 16 Gaming Laptop, which now receives an 18 percent discount that lets you pick one up for $999. This model comes with a 16.1-inch FHD display capable of reaching 144Hz refresh rates. You also get an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage space, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics under the hood, which makes this a very compelling option for those looking for a new gaming laptop. The Victus 16 Gaming Laptop usually sells for $1,220, so the latest offer will get you more than $200 savings.
Of course, you don’t need that much power to get basic work done, so you can also opt for a more affordable ASUS Chromebook C425 Clamshell Laptop that now sells for $280 after seeing a $50 discount. This model comes with an Intel Core m3-8100Y Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage space, and a 14-inch FHD nanoEdge Touch Screen.
Victus by HP 16 Gaming Laptop
Take your gaming to the next level with the Victus by HP 16 Gaming Laptop with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics and tons of power under the hood.
Microsoft Xbox Series S
And since we’re already in gaming territory, we can also add the Microsoft Xbox Series S gaming console to the mix, as it is now receiving a $50 discount over at Adorama. This means you can purchase one of the best gaming consoles on the market for just $250. The Microsoft Xbox Series S comes with 512GB storage space and 10GB RAM, and the best part of this all-digital console is that it will also get you the Midnight Drive Pack, 1,000 V-Bucks, and 1,000 Rocket League credits. And don’t worry if you don’t see these savings immediately after you get to the product’s landing page, as the savings will be added when you add the Xbox Series S to your cart.
You can also opt to get the same product from Amazon.com, but savings will only be limited to $10, as it sells for $290. And you can also check out the savings applied to the Razer Universal Quick Charging Stand for Xbox Series X|S that now sells for $30 after receiving a $10 discount.
Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series S is one of the best gaming consoles available today. It packs 10GB RAM, 512GB storage, a custom CPU/GPU, and other great features to have you playing your favorite games.
Marshall Major IV
Amazon also lets you save on the Marshall Major IV On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones that are now available for $120 after scoring a 20 percent discount that will get you $30 savings. This model comes with incredible sound and more than 80 hours of battery life for you to enjoy your favorite music and anything else you want to hear. And the best part is that it also comes with quick-charge capabilities that will get you 15 hours of listening time after a short 15-minute charge.
In case you’re looking for other options, you can also consider going for a pair of Apple’s 3rd generation AirPods that now sell for $150 after seeing a 16 percent discount. Or go for the more affordable Echo Buds gen-2 that sell for $100 after a $40 discount that represents 29 percent savings.
Marshall Major IV
The Marshall Major IV On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones feature custom-tuned dynamic drivers to deliver roaring bass, smooth mids, and brilliant treble for a rich, unrivaled sound, along with a long-lasting battery life that will get you more than 80 hours of non-stop playback.
Roku Express 4K+
Finally, we have deals on the Roku Express 4K+ 2021 Streaming Media Player that now sells for just $30 after receiving a 25 percent discount. This model comes with a Roku Voice Remote with TV controls, and you also get a premium HDMI cable to help you stream your favorite content to your TV. It will also help you get more out of your smart TV, and it can help you enjoy faster navigation. Or you can also opt to check out the latest savings applied to Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices that start at just $20.
We also decided to include the Optoma UHD55 4K Ultra HD DLP Home Theater and Gaming Projector in our list, as it includes HDMI ports that will let you connect your new Roku or Fire TV streaming device in case you do not love the product’s software. And the best part is that it is now available for $1,499 after scoring a 17 percent discount which translates to $300 savings.
Roku Express 4K+
Get more from your TV with the Roku Express 4K+ Streaming Device that comes with a Roku Voice Remote and other great features.
Fiio FF3 Dual Cavity Wired Earphones With Drum-Like Design Launched in India: All Details
Fiio FF3 drum-type dual-cavity wired earphones have been launched in India, priced at Rs. 9,990. The new headset is a part of Fiio’s well-established range of mid-range audiophile-grade wired earphones, and features an interchangeable plug with support for both 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone jacks. The earpieces of the Fiio FF3 have a drum-type design, which provides an outer-ear fit that promises better comfort, is said to enhance bass, and allows for large 14.2mm dynamic drivers.
Fiio FF3 earphones price and availability
The Fiio FF3 wired headset are priced at Rs. 9,990 in India, but is available on the company’s India website at a discounted price of Rs. 8,399 at the time of writing. The earphones are available in two colours – elegant black and cosmic silver. Included in the sales package are two plugs for connectivity, sponge covers for the earpieces to improve comfort, and a hard carry case.
Fiio FF3 earphones specifications and features
The Fiio FF3 dual-cavity earphones have a drum-type design that provides an outer-ear fit, which many consider more comfortable than the in-canal fit. This also allows for the earphones to have larger drivers; each earpiece has a 14.2mm dynamic driver, and the design of the casing is said to improve bass output. The changeable sponge covers are said to have an effect on the sonic signature for sound customisation.
The earphones have a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz, a sensitivity rating of 105dB, and interchangeable plugs for connectivity, with 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone jacks supported through the plugs. The headset weighs around 31g, and has a cord length of 1.2m.
The Fiio F3 earphones are meant for audiophiles looking at the more comfortable outer-ear fit, and have an impedance rating of 45Ohms, which means that the headset can be driven by most smartphones, budget audio players, and DACs.
Best deals today: Google Pixel 6 Pro, Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop, iPad Pro, and more
Google Pixel 6 Pro
Amazon’s latest deals come with excellent news for Pixel fans. The Google Pixel 6 Pro is now available for just $649 after receiving a very attractive discount that will get you $250 savings. The Google Pixel 6 Pro usually sells for $899, and it comes packed with Google’s proprietary Tensor chip, 128GB storage, 12GB RAM, a killer camera that will deliver some of the best shots on the market and other great features. This model also comes fully unlocked so that you can use it on the network of your choice.
Suppose you want a more affordable option that also sports the same fast and snappy software and a fantastic camera. In that case, you can also check out the regular Google Pixel 6 that now goes for just $499 after receiving a $100 discount. And if that’s still too much for your budget, you can also consider purchasing a new 2022 version of the Moto G Stylus that now sells for $200 after scoring the same $100 savings.
Google Pixel 6 Pro
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is the first flagship-level offering from Google after it spent a year away with mid-ranged devices. It features a 120Hz 1440p display and a triple camera system with all-new optics.
Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop
We have also spotted some interesting deals for gamers, as the Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop is now available for $3,208 after receiving a 13 percent discount that translates to more than $490 savings. This deal also comes with a special promo that will get you 6 free months of VEGAS Post 365, an amazing video tool for creators that includes everything you need for video editing, motion graphics, image composition, live streaming, and sound design.
The Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop comes packed with a powerful 14-core Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD storage, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics, and a 15.6-inch QHD display that will deliver up to 240Hz refresh rates. And if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, you can also consider going for the Razer Blade 15, which comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and 15.6-inch FHD display with 360Hz that sells for $1,999 after scoring a 26 percent discount that will get you $700 savings. And you can complete your gaming package with a HyperX Pulsefire Dart Wireless RGB Gaming Mouse that sells for $40 after an insane 60 percent discount.
Razer Blade 15
The Razer Blade 15 features a powerful 14-core Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD storage, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics, and a 15.6-inch QHD display.
11-inch iPad Pro
Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro has been receiving tons of attention during the last couple of weeks, and you can now get yours for as low as $700 after the latest 12 percent discount that will get you $100 savings on the Wi-Fi-only model that packs 128GB storage space under the hood. This model also features a stunning 11-inch Liquid Retina Display with ProMotion, Apple’s M1 processor, an all-day battery, and support for the second-generation Apple Pencil that’s now available for just $99.
If you want more storage space and a $149 discount, you can also opt for the 1TB model in Space Gray that now sells for $1,350 after seeing a 10 percent discount. However, Amazon is also letting you save on some of its Fire tablets, starting with the Fire HD 8, which now sells for $50 after a $40 discount on its 32GB storage model with an ad-supported lock screen. And if you want a larger display, you can also consider the Fire HD 10 tablet that now sells for $100 after a $50 discount.
Apple 11-inch iPad Pro
Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro comes powered by Apple’s M1 processor, which means you get the same performance as its larger brother, but with a smaller canvas.
Jabra Elite 85t
Jabra is also starting to give us incredible deals on some of the company’s best earphones, starting with the Jabra Elite 85t that are now listed for just $140. These excellent, truly wireless earbuds with advanced noise-canceling usually sell for $230, which means that you can purchase a pair and take advantage of this $90 discount. However, you will have to stick with the Titanium Black and Copper Black color options, as the Gold Beige variant is even more expensive than the regular models.
The Jabra Elite 85t will deliver up to 25 hours of battery life with their wireless charging case, crystal clear calls, and other great features. However, you can also opt for a more affordable pair of Jabra Elite 7 Active in-Ear Bluetooth Earbuds that now sell for $116 after a $64 discount.
And if that’s still too much for your wallet, you can also consider heading over to Woot.com, where you will find the third generation AirPods selling for just $110 after a 39 percent discount, or get the AirPods Pro for $135 after a 46 percent discount. Just remember that these earphones are available in Grade A Refurbished condition before you pull the trigger.
Jabra Elite 85t
The Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds feature cutting-edge technology for crystal clear calls and an outstanding music experience that will go for up to 25 hours, thanks to its compact Qi-certified charging case.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 G95NA Gaming Monitor
Finally, we have the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 Gaming Monitor receiving a massive 30 percent discount, which means you can take this baby home for $1,600. The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 Gaming Monitor usually sells for $1,600, so this deal will get you $600 savings. It also comes with a curved 4K UHD Mini LED display capable of reaching 240Hz refresh rates, 1ms response times, and other great features.
You can also get the same 49-inch curved monitor with a QLED display and 120Hz refresh rates for $900 after a $300 discount, in case you’re budget is limited. However, if you can go all out, we suggest you check out the latest 55-inch Odyssey Ark 4K UHD 165Hz 1ms Quantum Mini-LED Curved Gaming Screen, which is now receiving a $100 discount when you reserve yours. It is now available for $3,500, in case you’re interested.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 G95NA Gaming Monitor
The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 Gaming Monitor comes with a curved 4K UHD Mini LED display capable of reaching 240Hz refresh rates, 1ms response times, and other great features.
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