Product: Creative Outlier
Type: Closed Circumaural Headphones
Connection: Wired/Wireless (Bluetooth)
Preferred Use: Portable
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Warranty: 1 Year Warranty
Thanks for taking the time to check out my Creative Outlier Review; a newly released wireless Bluetooth headphone from Creative Labs. According to Creative, these super lightweight on-ear headphones should be the perfect companion for all your indoor and outdoor sports activities. They even have some neat built-in health features accompanied by an android app to assist you in getting yourself healthy and in shape! Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything later in the review.
Taking Lightweight to the Next Level
The Creative Outlier is one of the lightest headphones I’ve ever seen apart from earphones of course. They weigh only 93gr. For Bluetooth headphones weighing less than 100gr, that has got to be some kind of record. I don’t know. But know this. You’ll literally not feel these things on your head!
Let’s talk about the headband. Normally there has to be some padding to ease the pressure on your head. The Outlier has no padding. On normal circumstances, this would be a big negative. Not this time. Simple fact, these cans do not need padding on the headband. There’s no weight that’s pressing onto your skull. Very minimalistic but it works in this design!
Furthermore, the headband is really durable. I’ve pulled it every direction I could think of and it never gave the impression that I was putting it under any stress. The headband is so flexible and does not give any squeaks whatsoever!
Check out this video to see for yourself how flexible the headband really is!
On-ear Design a Safety Choice
For portable sports headphones, I always prefer an on-ear design instead of an over-ear design. Why? Because I feel that when you’re running, biking or doing any other outside sports activity, you should always be aware of your surroundings. For your own safety, but also for the safety of others! Since most portable headphones are closed-back, meaning the outside of the earcups are completely sealed, they have excellent sound isolation. An over-ear design would further enhance that isolation.
Comfort & Design
The Outlier is equipped with small leatherette earpads which include memory foam. This makes sure the earpads are comfortable and will have a long lifespan. Sometimes the problem with an on-ear headphone is that your ears will start to hurt because of the constant pressing of the pads against your ears. Now because of the fact that these cans are pretty much weightless, they do not press hard against your ears at all. So I’ve never felt any discomfort in a way that I had to adjust or take these headphones off to release the pressure on my ears. And I’ve used these for several hours at a time.
So how do these fit on your head? Thanks to the flexible and fully adjustable headband, you are guaranteed to get a perfect fit, no matter how big or small your head is. Even my 4-year old son got a perfect fit with them!
For a sports headphone, it is critical that they do not shift on your head while running or doing other kinds of activities. I’ve used them for pretty much all kinds of stuff. For my weekly runnings, working out in the gym, and even working outdoors cleaning up our backyard. I’m glad to say that even while running, I never had to adjust them to stay on my head. This is all thanks to the lightweight materials Creative has used here.
They are made out of super lightweight plastic materials and although they may look a bit cheap at first, I can tell you they are very durable. They can easily survive the occasional accidental fall to the ground because of their light weight and sturdy build. This is handy because there’s no protection case provide. But to be honest, because of the small size and light weight I did not have any problem in throwing these in my sports bag! You just know they can handle it.
Thanks to NFC and Bluetooth 4.1 the Outlier has no problems whatsoever to connect to any compatible device with ease. If you have an NFC-compatible smartphone, the pairing is just as simple as holding the two devices against each other. That’s it! They’re connected.
There’s also the USB Audio option. Connect the included USB-cable from the headphones to your PC/Laptop and you’re good to go. The big advantage of this is that this way you can use and charge the battery at the same time.
Of course, you can also use the included 3.5mm stereo cable to hook it up to any device that has a 3.5mm stereo output. It will not charge the battery, but it makes sure you can still use the headphone when it ran out of juice. Funny thing is that Creative calls this the legacy solution, therefore suggesting that a standard headphone cable is superseded technology. Pretty bold 🙂
The Creative Outlier gets you around 10 hours of music via Bluetooth. That’s more than enough in my opinion. Besides the initial test to see how long the battery holds out, I never had them die on me. Because when I got home and sat behind my computer, I used the USB-cable to listen to my music and at the same time recharge the battery. This always guarantees that my headphones are fully charged every day I used them outdoors or when away from home.
A full charge takes about 2 to 3 hours.
So let’s see what kind of features the Outlier has besides the excellent Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
Android users can praise themselves happy as the Buddy app is a must have if you truly want to enjoy the social capabilities of these headphones. It’s pretty much a text-to-speech app that reads out any text messages or notifications. You can switch on options for Skype, Whatsapp, WeChat, Line, Viber and, of course, SMS. This app works flawlessly and I use it all the time!
Strangely enough, this app is – for the moment – not available for IOS. Also, Windows Phone users are out of luck.
It’s good to see that Creative included the newly HD Voice technology. HD Voice makes sure that every conversation is crystal clear. Luckily my mobile provider has started supporting this technology last month and I was able to test it. Voices sounded amazing! But even without the HD Voice, I can tell you that conversations sounded very understandable as they should be. So don’t worry if your current smartphone or mobile provider doesn’t support it. Anyhow, it’s good to have the option in the future.
Built-in MP3 Player
This is one of the coolest features. The Outlier features a built-in MP3 player which you feed music through the SD card slot in the right earcup. You can insert MicroSD cards up to 32GB, which should give you plenty of songs to listen to. Supported formats are MP3 and WMA both up to 320kbps, and WAV up to 16bit 48KHz.
Music controls are also placed on the right earcup, so you can easily adjust the volume and select tracks.
When connected via the USB-cable to your computer, the MicroSD card is seen by your operating system, which makes it easy to add & delete songs. No need to eject the MicroSD card out of the headphones all the time.
I love this feature as it doesn’t require me to have my phone on me all the time. I can leave my phone in the locker room and still enjoy my music while working out.
One unique and nifty feature is the so-called Lap Timer. Have you ever imagined what it would be like when your headphones would tell you your latest lap time and also the total time elapsed? Stop imagining it and start experiencing it with the Outlier! This feature records your lap times and tells them to you. How’s that for an extra motivation to push hard and break records!
Creative provides six pairs of acoustic rings which you can put around the earcups to personalise your headphones. Now this is not all about looks. Without these rings the Outlier provides a balanced sound signature, meaning there’s no elevated lows, mids or highs. But if you want that extra bass to get you going, just add the rings and the Outlier will beef up the bass a bit.
Sound Blaster Control Panel
Besides the mobile ‘Buddy’ app, you can also install the SBX Studio software in which you can control and customise the sound aspect of the Outlier. You have control over the following parameters:
|SBX Pro Studio Surround™||Delivers a 360º surround sound experience.|
|SBX Pro Studio Crystalizer™||Enhances sound by restoring low and high-end frequency curves lost during audio compression.|
|SBX Pro Studio Bass™||Fills in the missing low-frequency tones for extra impact.|
|SBX Pro Studio Smart Volume™||Delivers consistent volume levels to address abrupt volume level changes in music and movies.|
|SBX Pro Studio Dialog Plus™||Enhances voices in movies and games for clearer dialogue over the sound track and ambient noise.|
If you don’t feel like doing manual adjustments, there are three different presets available: Music, Movies and Games.
It is important to know that this software only works if you connect your Outlier via USB to your computer. The software does a decent job, but don’t expect any miracles. After all, it’s still just an EQ.
So we know by now that the Creative Outlier is very comfortable and has tons of awesome features. But let’s take a closer look at how it sounds.
They’re powered by 32mm neodymium drivers with a frequency range between 20Hz and 22.000Hz. These do not need any extra amplification from an external amp to sound better. I did not detect any difference hooking them up on my Dragonfly and Objective2 amp.
For a portable lifestyle headphone, the sound quality is very good. They have a pleasuring sound and work extremely well with modern music. During my workouts, I like to listen to upbeat pop songs and the Outlier really put a smile on my face.
Mids and highs are pretty good. Vocals pop out as they should and the headphones do not sound harsh at all. One thing that struck me was the somewhat less powerful bass. This is because of the small 32mm drivers. Even with the acoustic rings attached, the bass response is a bit lacking.
To be honest it didn’t really bother me when I was working out or doing my weekly runnings. It was only when I was sitting behind my computer and listening to some of my favorite songs, it started to bother me a bit. I would not use these for primarily home listening, as there are better options like the Superlux HD661, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. But for all my sports and other outdoor activities, these are champs!
Besides the headphones you get:
- 1 micro USB cable (1.5m / 5ft)
- 1 stereo audio cable (1.2m / 4ft)
- 6 pairs of Acoustic Rings
Yep SIX pairs of those rings in a variety of colors: orange, pink, blue, green, yellow and black. That should satisfy everyone’s taste!
Although the bass is a bit lacking (there’s only so much you can get out of 32mm drivers), these are still very good sounding headphones and fit the purpose of a portable sports on-ear headphone perfectly! Having tons of useful features and being super lightweight and extremely durable, make these the ideal partner for every health and sports enthusiast. With a price just below $100, they are a bargain as you get a lot for your money.
Hope you enjoyed my Creative Outlier review and let me know if you have any questions at all about these headphones.
The Outlier truly lives up to its expectations and is a dream come true for sports and fitness enthusiasts. Creative has done a tremendous job in creating in what they call the perfect Healthy Lifestyle Companion!