Creative Outlier Air V2 Review

Creative Outlier Air V2 Review

With the Creative  Outlier Air V2, Creative gives the entry-level model more battery life, touch instead of buttons, and Super X-Fi. However, in terms of sound, they cannot keep up with the Outlier Gold and have a hard time standing out from the crowd of wireless in-ear headphones.

PROS:

  • Bass-forward, sculpted audio with bright highs.
  • Strong battery life for true wireless.
  • Modest water-resistance rating.
  • Affordable.

CONS:

  • On-ear controls can be annoying to operate
  • App feels like bloatware

With the wireless in-ear headphones Outlier Air V2, Creative brings the successor to the Outlier Air, which were located below the Outlier Gold (test), which will soon receive a successor model. For the Outlier Air V2, Creative relies on a new Qualcomm platform, which significantly extends the battery life compared to its predecessor and on a new touch control that replaces the buttons of the first generation. In addition, the successor now also supports Creative’s Super-X-Fi technology, which uses algorithms to create a surround sound without the music having to be specially mixed.

In addition to the earphones and the charging case, the buyer receives a short USB-A-to-USB-C charging cable and silicone earpieces in different sizes.

Technical data of the Creative Outlier Air V2

For the charging case, Creative once again relies on the expansive construction used in the Outlier Gold. The charging case of the Outlier Air V2 measures 27.0 × 82.0 × 44.0 mm and weighs 60 g, which makes it bulky in trouser pockets and usually too big. Compared to the Outlier Gold, it has also increased in length by around 4 mm. For comparison: the charging case of the Apple AirPods measures only 53.5 × 44.3 × 21.3 mm and that of the AirPods Pro 45.2 × 60.6 × 21.7 mm. There is nothing to criticize about the processing of the aluminum charging case, especially since Creative has reworked the charging contacts compared to the Outlier Gold so that they get better contact with the earphones. To remove the earphones from the charging case, it is pushed open and not opened as usual.

Up to 12 hours on a single charge

While the first generation promised up to 10 hours of battery life with one charge and up to 30 hours of total runtime, according to Creative, the second generation, thanks to new chipsets, is up to 12 hours with one charge and up to 34 hours in connection with the charging case that houses a 450 mAh battery. A battery with 80 mAh is built into each of the earphones. Technically, this corresponds to the Creative Outlier Gold. The Air V2 cannot quite come close to the 14 hours of the siblings above. In practice, 11:50 hours are achieved at medium volume and mixed music. Charging the earphones in the charging case takes around 2.5 hours. The Air V2 does not offer a quick charge function.

IPX5 against rain and sweat

At around 6 g per earphone, the weight of these is in the normal range of current wireless in-ear headphones. Like the first generation and like the Outlier Gold, the Outlier Air V2 are again IPX5-certified to be worn in the rain or during sweaty sports without being damaged.

AAC and aptX, no multi-connect

Creative relies on Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless transmission and supports AAC and aptX in addition to SBC. However, Bluetooth Multi Connect is not supported, so that only one device can be connected to the earphones at a time. If a second device is to be connected, the active connection must first be disconnected to connect to the earphones.
In terms of drivers, Creative once again uses 5.6 mm, neodymium drivers, with a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. For telephony and to control the smartphone’s voice assistant, the manufacturer has installed two omnidirectional microphones with a frequency response of 100 to 10,000 Hz. In addition, the Qualcomm base provides Qualcomm’s cVc 8.0 for filtering background noise when making calls.

Single-use with interruption

The Creative Outlier Air V2 earphones can be used individually, as each copy can establish its connection to the smartphone. However, the change is not uninterrupted in every direction, since in practice, only one earphone is connected to the smartphone. If the other earphones are to be used alone, they will first connect to the smartphone when switching to mono mode and then continue playback.

Good touch control without incorrect entries

With the Creative Outlier Air V2, switching from key to touch is not accompanied by an increase in incorrect entries, as Creative has left simply touching the touch surfaces without any function. To start and pause playback, the touch surfaces must be tapped twice. A track can be skipped forward on the right earbud by tapping it three times and a track backward on the left earbud. He was holding the area on the right increases the volume, while on the left, it is reduced.

The smartphone’s voice assistant can only be called up when no music is playing, as this function is also based on three taps on one of the two earphones. Calls are accepted and ended with a double-tap. To reject them, you have to press an earphone for around 3 seconds.

An adaptation of the operation is not possible due to the lack of an app. If only one earphone is used, only the functions of this copy are available.

No automatic pause, no transparency mode

The Creative Outlier Air V2 does not offer a function for automatically pausing playback when an earphone is removed from the ear and for automatically resuming playback when the earphone is reinserted into the ear. The wireless in-ear headphones also lack a transparency mode with which you can perceive your surroundings while jogging in traffic.

An app only for Super X-Fi

Creative does not offer an optional app that can be used to adjust the controls or the sound of the Air V2. This means that firmware updates cannot be imported either. However, since the Outlier Air V2 supports Super X-Fi for simulated 3D surround sound, the Super X-Fi app is supported. After registration and setup, this can be used to activate the surround sound. For this purpose, photos are taken of the user’s face and ear with the smartphone before use, a mapping process with an algorithm that adjusts the desired spatial sound to each user and their physical characteristics. Of course, the immediately audible effect is to be assessed depending on the music genre and personal preferences. Still, it can make the sound of the earphones placed directly in the ear appear much more spatial.

In practice, however, the biggest drawback is that Super X-Fi can only be used for music stored locally on the device or music services that allow open, local storage. Unfortunately, this does not apply to streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, YouTube, and Netflix. So, for example, the practical benefit is limited if you use a music streaming service and not a local music library.

Firm hold with light pressure

The Creative Outlier Air V2 sits securely and firmly in the ear, which provides a slight feeling of pressure. The passive isolation is high. With active music playback, the surroundings can no longer be perceived. The clear transmission of body noises via the earphones found in the test of the Outlier Gold is lower with the Outlier Air V2.

Sound and voice quality of the Creative Outlier Air V2

5.6 mm neodymium drivers are responsible for the sound. They should offer a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz and are largely convincing in practice. Subjectively, the Outlier Air V2 is rather light and airy. The sound is pleasingly clear and can be described as detailed. The lower mids could be a bit thicker, however. Although the basses come into their own at times and also have power, a little more volume and fullness in the sound would have been even nicer. This is particularly noticeable in male voices through a somewhat thin sound image. On the other hand, the treble and S-sounds tend to hiss at high volume.

The noise floor is typical for many active devices. However, in our specimens, it is so small that you have to concentrate on it to hear is disturbing. Even quiet audiobooks in a quiet environment are enjoyable.

With Super-X-FI, the soundscape adds a little more space and dynamics and makes the Outlier Air V2 a lot more fun. Here the Outlier Air V2 shows that, in principle, they can do more. Unfortunately, the feature is limited to locally stored music and cannot be used with Spotify. Too bad.

Voice control and telephony are also easily possible using the two Omni-directional microphones. Background noise is filtered well to a certain extent, and the voice is understandable. Even if there is a slight reverb, it is still voice and not tinny.

Conclusion

I liked the Creative Outlier Air V2 in the test. They are convenient, inconspicuous, and easy to use, thanks to the reliable touch fields. Also, with the (somewhat bulky) case, the in-ears are always in good hands and receive a fresh charge of energy.
They also cut a very good figure in terms of sound and ensure mobile music enjoyment with any music.

A gold award would be almost certain, but objectively there are small things that in total are only enough for the second-best award: Subjectively, the lower mids are a bit too thin for me, which bothers me as a radio play friend when it comes to male voices. The highs are also a bit sharp when it gets louder. If you have the opportunity, you should counteract this with an EQ. It is regrettable that Super-X-FI, which pep up the Outlier Air V2, only works with local music files since streaming services are part of everyday life. However, the slight background noise is of little consequence.

Creative Outlier Air V2 Review
Creative Outlier Air V2 Review
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