We seem to run across dozens of headphones every quarter, covering everything from buds to cans. Despite such traffic, one thing that never changes, is the fact that it never gets old. Mostly because most of us here are audio heads, so breaking open a new pair of headphones or a fancy new speaker is like Christmas every day. The magic of it all is always understanding the various levels of consumers who are looking for these solutions and what their needs and interests lead toward when it comes to expectation and function, vs turning into an audio snob and voting anything less than audiophile quality with a failing score.
In some cases, someone may be simply looking for a basic solution that is going to cover the physical function they need and simply sound good doing it. Nothing exceptional requiring them to talk about the various unique characteristics they can hear in an album that others cannot–they just want to hear the darn album. In this scenario, an affordable for good sounding pair of headphones is best.
Creative seems to have done a good job of filling this niche in, not only with a pair of headphones that are wireless and simple to use, but also affordable (and they sound good). Plus, they are a brand that most consumers would be familiar with, which always helps. Creative has after all been conquering audio for quite some time now. If it doesn’t quite ring a bell, just think “Sound Blaster” (a series of cards and chipsets that have dominated the market of PC audio since 1990).
Today, we are focusing on Creative’s Outlier One in-ear Bluetooth headphones. A perfect pair of headphones for someone looking for a simple solution for a good run, trip to the gym, hike through the forest, and so forth. They are Bluetooth, feature a simple wire that runs between the two buds (common design), sweatproof and cost only $39.99.
They feature a single-driver design that delivers a surprisingly balanced range of sound, making sure they can be matched with most any genre of music. Of course, they are not audiophile, but for around $40 they sound pretty good. The package coming with three sets of tips (small, medium large) to make sure you can find the right fit for your ears. Try to good as tight as you can as long as they still feel good, as this will help capture the most low-end, adding to the bass of what you are listening to. They also come with a pair of ear hooks to better keep them in your ears with. With the right tips and the hooks applied, they seem to secure comfortably in the ears, even after long periods of use.
As I mentioned, they seem to have a balanced range of sound to them. The highs are pretty crisp and the bass is quite present. The mids are about average but you can’t really expect that to change without spending a lot more money. They sound good if you are listening to acoustic covers or working away to a bass trap rhythm that keeps you moving. The crisp highs help a lot with vocals and brass.
We found the call quality with the in-line microphone is around average, where both parties were able to hear each other just fine. It wasn’t life changing in anyway, but there were no issues to point out (like muffled audio, cutouts, etc). Taking calls is simple as you only have to hit the middle button to answer and you are ready to talk.
Connectivity is easy as you’d expect with just about any modern Bluetooth products. Within seconds you will be connected and ready to listen. They do come pre-charged giving you plenty of listening time before you first ever have to charge it (although most products will tell you to give it a full healthy charge before the first use just in case).
With an IPX4 rating, they are resistant to any sweaty situations where you may be working out and spending a lot of time in the sound. We even ran them under running water to see how well they hold up. We didn’t experience any troubles when doing so, which means they should more than likely hold up to a mild rain as well (we just wouldn’t take them swimming).
Battery life is right where you would expect it to be with a good pair of wireless buds. Coming in at 9.5 hours of listening per charge, a full day’s activities is easily covered. It takes around 2-3 hours to charge it back to full again, so giving it a charge overnight gets you ready for the next day. It does come with the USB to micro-USB cable needed to accomplish this (no wall adapter is included, so you will need to find a USB (3.0 preferably) port somewhere or an old wall charger from a past device.
The in-line remote houses your controls, microphone and the port for charging them with. It has three buttons, which are quite common to most other headphones, with two buttons that control your track skipping and volume, as well as a middle button to pause/play the music, answer phone calls and of course turn the headphones on and off.
The only thing we found that bothered us any was the in-line remote. For some reason it was hard to fiddle with without looking at it (mostly if your hands are wet). The buttons do feature raised icons, but for some reason they blend together sometimes (they just need to be raised a slight bit more for accuracy I guess?).
As mentioned, it comes with everything you need, including the cable to charge it. The cable isn’t the longest, so they will be hanging about if the USB port you’re using to charge it with is too high off the ground (or other surface area). Of course you can use any other micro-USB to USB cable if you need a longer length. You get all of the tips pictured above. Most of us found the larger tips to fit the best. You get the shirt clip (although I don’t foresee too many people using this) as well as a drawstring felt bag. We do recommend the ear hooks as it really helps them stay in place while moving around a lot (ie, running).
They are a great pair of headphones if you aren’t looking to spend much. They sound good/decent, offering a decent level of bass with crisp highs. They offer just enough water resistance to make it through any healthy endeavor (except for swimming of course), even if you are a heavy sweater. They come with everything you need and are quite lightweight.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
20Hz ~ 20kHz
6mm (0.23 inches) Neodymium magnet
Omni-directional, Frequency Response: 100 Hz ~ 10 kHz, Sensitivity (1 kHz): -42 dBV / Pa
2 to 3 hours
A2DP (Wireless Stereo Bluetooth) v1.2, AVRCP (Bluetooth Remote Control) v1.4, HFP (Hands-free profile) v1.6
Bluetooth Operating Frequency
Up to 10m / 33ft
Frequency Response: 100Hz ~ 10kHz
Sensitivity: – 42dBV / Pa
0°C to 45°C