2019 is a big year for true wireless earpiece. Headphone giant Sennheiser released their very first true wireless under their Momentum series – Momentum True Wireless which was a surprise to the market observer and smashed the market taboo that “tiny earpiece can’t deliver good sound”. Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless said it all. Tech journalists from around the world has been writing positive reviews of this product in the first quarter of the year. The “momentum” did not stop. Sony responded with their WF-1000MX3 that wowed the market with its noise cancelling capabilities. Both products have been selling like hot cakes despite a high price attached to them (Momentum True Wireless – RRP SGD469, Sony WF-1000MX3 – RPP SGD 349)
Undeniably, Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless and Sony WF-1000MX3 are the winners but they are obscenely expensive. I can’t help but ask myself,” Aren’t there unorthodox products in the market that could deliver same or similar quality but at a lower price point?” I decided to try Creative Outlier Gold.
What’s in Creative Outlier Gold that caught my attention?
Last year, Creative (stock quote: C76:SGX) shocked the world with their Super X-Fi, personalized 3D immersive sound technology which they termed as “holy grail” of headphone processing. Instead of restricting this technology to headphones, they are bringing this into their true wireless, the Outlier Gold.
For those who have followed my posts, you should know that I have good impression of the Super X-Fi technology. (If you haven’t, you may wish to check out the post http://theneodimension.com/creative-achieves-next-breakthrough-super-x-fi-investing-usd-100m-20-years-rd/) It will be interesting to see how this set of technology performs in the smaller Outlier Gold. Furthermore, this technology is (currently) proprietary to Creative which means you can’t get it in other devices.
How Creative Outlier Gold fare against other Super X-fi headphones?
Super X-Fi requires both algorithm and their processing chip. In other words, to get the full potential of Super X-Fi, both software and hardware side of things are built within the audio device and that’s the main shortfall of Creative Outlier against other Super X-Fi headphones. Given its physical constraint, Super X-Fi in Outlier Gold is purely software-driven.
To enjoy Super X-Fi, you need a Super X-Fi app (which you need to download for setting up purposes) to play music file that is stored locally in my phone. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy Super X-Fi if you are playing music from Spotify or other streaming apps.
How’s the sound performance?
Unable to enjoy full potential of Super X-Fi on Creative Outlier Gold is kind of a turn-off, the performance via the app is quite impressive. I am convinced that small device like Creative Outlier could deliver reasonable 3D holistic sound stage; for a lack of better description, I would like to quote from my good friend, Chester Tan (@musicdairy) who happened to own Creative Outlier Gold. He said, “ (music) sounds more comfortable and roomy”. With technology advancement, I am not surprised that true wireless could deliver multi-directional sound performance (drivers) as headphones could in the future.
Without Super X-Fi, sound from YouTube or Spotify lacks depth. Instead, you are getting a clearer and sharper tone. Bass is reasonably strong and punchy which I believe it is most people’s likings. Personally, I prefer hi-tempo dance music especially when I am out for run. Hence, I prefer the bass to be stronger.
In general, it is a good device to listen to any genre of music.
If I am buying this, what am I getting?
Sound performance is subjective and what I like may not be of your likings. But, we could look at the technical aspect which it is very comparable across all models. First, battery life of Creative Outlier Gold is 14hrs (without the case) which is kind of unspoken standard in the market. It is not exceptional impressive but at the very least, it is almost as good as some of the mid and top-end models that are offering in the market.
Like other true wireless, Creative Outlier Gold comes with a battery-cum-storage case that gives a total playtime up to approx. 39hrs.
It has a water resistance rating of IPX5. Yes, It is sport-friendly. After your run with Outlier Gold, you could wipe your dirty sweat away with a wet tissue and the water won’t cause any damage to your earpiece. A point to note here – Sony WF-1000MX3 has no IP rating. From this aspect, the cheaper Outlier Gold beats Sony WF-1000MX3.
The Creative Outlier Gold is also packed with Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm aptX. If you are using compatible smartphones, lower latency will help in keeping fast connection between the earpiece and phone. To put it simply, you could listen to hi-res audio without any loss connection via Creative Outlier Gold.
Creative is not a premium brand. As such, I believe most consumers won’t be paying a premium for a Creative brand product. (Sad for Singapore brand…) Anyway, the Creative Outlier Gold is priced at SGD 139 which is very wallet-friendly for those who are looking for a true wireless.
Truth to be told, this product is not the prettiest true wireless I have seen. In terms of sound qualities, the Creative Outlier Gold has certainly exceeded my expectation at that kind of price. The Creative Outlier Gold is also water resistance and packed with premier features that you could only find in more expensive hi-end true wireless models. At the low-to-mid price category, I would say the Creative Outlier Gold offers the best-in-class values to the customers. If you are not that brand conscious, this is one product that you should consider.