Budget Earphones Like No Other
The true wireless earbud market is quite saturated and is full of affordable options for the budget-minded individuals. A lot of these earbuds come with some shortcomings, though. Creative Outlier aims to change your idea of what budget earbuds can be.
With the Creative Outlier Air earbuds, you get high-quality, great-sounding earbuds at an affordable price.
Can it really be done?
The earbuds are lightweight and compact. The dome-shaped earbuds are made of plastic and have a matte finish.
The case is quite large, but doesn’t weigh much. The earbuds fit a little loose in the case, but the magnetic casing holds on nicely. The case itself isn’t like most earbud cases that flip open; instead, this case slides open, exposing the housing for the earbuds.
The earbuds fit nicely in your ear canal. They are secure and won’t fall out, even during vigorous exercise. Comfort levels are great, and the almost tear-drop design creates a great seal. The earbuds come with an IPX-5 rating making them water-proof. Just make sure to dry them off before putting them back in the case.
Each earbud has a button on the side that serves multiple functions depending on how many times you press it. The button is on the stiff side, and the extra pressure needed to press it takes some getting used to. Touch gestures are definitely the way forward, but in this price range, it’s not a dealbreaker.
The case also comes with four LED lights that show battery levels for extra convenience.
The sound quality of the earbuds is truly impressive at this price point. The bass rumbles loudly with a lot of punch without sacrificing any clarity at all. Creative Outlier run the risk of overpowering the mix with the boosted low ends, but successfully pull it off.
Creative Outlier provides this stunning sound using 5.6 mm graphene-coated drivers.
The stereo sound is great with an expansive representation of space, which provides the mid and high frequencies with some breathing space from the loud bass. It also aids in the separation and clarity of the different instruments.
The ear tips don’t provide the best noise isolation, especially in noisy environments like restaurants or a morning commute on the bus. Some third-party ear tips like AudioEquip’s replacement ear tips or RIYO memory foam replacement ear tips should help with this problem. Considering the price of these earbuds, it’s not a dealbreaker and a cheap fix if it bugs you.
In-call quality is great and is relayed through both earbuds, unlike many other earbuds that only send the sound to one earbud.
The built-in microphone also does a good job separating your voice from the surrounding noise. It can be used without hesitation for hands-free convenience when driving or running.
The connection is a little unusual. Instead of pairing with one earbud first and then connecting the second to the first pair, both earbuds are taken out together and show up separately on your phone’s Bluetooth. This means you can use the earbuds separately as stand-alone earbuds or both together with the first one you connected to as the main.
This is an excellent method of connection. For example, if you want to go jogging and want only one ear playing, you have the option. Better yet, you can choose your preferred ear.
The earbuds use Bluetooth version 5 and have a 10-meter connection range. The best part is you get aptX and AAC hi-res audio codecs. Great additions to budget earbuds that firmly put them above all of the earbuds at the same price.
Using the button on the earbud can also access voice assistants if that’s your thing.
You can expect up to 10 hours of battery life at normal volumes, which is superb at this price. Not only that, but the case provides two full charges. This means no matter how long the train, plane, or bus ride, you will never run out of battery before you reach your destination.
If you do run out of battery, the included USB-C charger, which is also an uncommon addition at this price range, charges up the case in two hours. This means 30 hours of playback on a two hour charge.
Who Are The Creative Outlier Air Earbuds For?
These earbuds are by far the best in their price range and can do everything you need earbuds to do. They cater to the general consumer who wants affordable, durable, and great-sounding earbuds.
These are perfect for exercising, commuting, or taking calls. Therefore, if you are looking for earbuds in this price range, these are a must buy. Comparing them to similarly priced earbuds, the JLab JBud Icons look tempting but lack some of the features and hi-res support of the Creative Air.
However, if you enjoy extreme sports like mountain climbing or more rugged hiking and need something more durable, the JLab JBuds Air Sport are the ones for you. You lose the hi-res support but gain the IP66 rating, which makes them dust and dirt proof.
Creative Outlier Air Pros & Cons
- Great sound.
- AptX and AAC support.
- Amazing battery life.
- USB-C charging.
- Clunky charging case.
- Stiff buttons.
- Isolation isn’t great.
More Great Options
Looking for earbuds for a particular reason? If so, check out our reviews of the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Best Wireless Earbuds for Small Ears, the Best Earbuds under 100 Dollars, the Most Comfortable Earbuds, the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping, the Best Earbuds under 50 Dollars, and the Most Durable Earbuds on the market.
The Creative Outlier Air earbuds are by far class-leading and prompt the question… ‘Why aren’t there more earbuds at this price able to provide this quality?’
The earbuds have stunning sound quality, supports hi-res audio codecs, USB-C charging, and amazing battery life. The only real downfall other than a clunky case is the poor noise isolation, which can easily be fixed.
The Creative Outlier Air earbuds are the perfect pair of earbuds for the average consumer who enjoys high-quality music without all the extras provided by more premium earbuds.