Creative Outlier Air V3 earphones – fantastic low price for high performance (review)
The Creative Outlier Air V3 is the new version of the already very good V2 – not only for performance but the price – a low, low $99.95 gets you BT 5.2, ANC, Qi charge and a massive ten hours (ANC off) battery life with 30 more in the case.
Creative Outlier Air V3
|Price||Price: Normally $99.95 but on promo at $72.95|
|From||From: Creative online|
|Warranty||12 months ACL|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Company||Singapore based Creative Labs (Est 1981) is famed for its PC soundcards and, more recently, speakers and headsets. Its Super X-Fi launched in 2018, is just beginning to take hold to produce spatial sound from stereo technology.|
They look and feel like premium buds, have a superb Qi and USB-C charge slide-out carry case and Creative (you remember the Sound Blaster people) are giving them away at A$99.95 on special at $72.95. Buy now – a no brainer.
Fit is essential for comfort and noise isolation. It comes with small, medium and large silicone tips. They sit well in the ear and just at the front of the ear canal. While they are IPX5 rated, they don’t have any wings to stabilise them, and during an hour’s strenuous walk, I had to reseat them a few times.
BT pairing – a little slow
While it pairs with the Samsung S21 Ultra and Surface Pro 8, it does not support multi-point. You have to disconnect to go to the other. The App won’t load until it is connected.
You can use both for stereo or either for mono.
Claim: 10 hours ANC off. We tested over four days, and at 75% volume, ANC on it was 7.5 hours. Recharge time is 2-3 hours on USB-C and about 20% more on Qi. Qi charging is unheard of at this price.
ANC – not quite what you think
It is software-based – not hardware as with most ANC. And let’s be fair, Creative calls it active Noise Reduction – not cancellation. The level is very similar to the Jabra 75t when it got a software upgrade to ANC.
It does a fair job – way above what you can expect from a $99 device.
Sound – more pre-sets than seagulls fighting over chips
It has 46 pre-sets, about half for music styles and the others for well-known games. But you can also customise it with the famous finger slide too. The EQ downloads the last profile to the buds.
Our initial problem was the lack of volume on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. We discovered that the touch volume controls on the buds work independently of the Samsung BT volume settings. A quick swap to Windows 11, and the volume was excellent.
The sound stage is slightly wider than your ears, and there is excellent left/right separation, and that is due to the vented design.
Music-wise, it is very good with lots of bass, solid mids, and a hint of treble harshness that you can reduce in the EQ.
It was excellent with Dolby Atmos test tracks. Creative has the SX-Fi app, and this incorporates something called ‘headphone holography’ where all the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) is on the phone on music stored there.
Hands-free – not bad
It has two mics per bud – outside for voice and ANR. It does a passable job at hands-free conversation but won’t handle windy conditions.
CyberShack’s view – Creative Outlier Air V3 is amazing value for premium features
Qi Charge, ANR, customisable touch, huge range of EQ pre-sets and custom profiles, terrific native sound signature and all for $99. You could spend twice as much and not get this.
For the price, it’s a 10/10, but our objective rating is 9.1/10.
|Price||Usually $99.95 on special $72.95 plus freight|
|Accessories included||S/M/L ear gels, short USB-A to USB-C charge cable|
|PRO 1||Excellent sound signature|
|2||Qi and USB-C charge|
|3||Decent App and amazing EQ|
|5||Fantastic low price|
|CON 1||Only SBC and AAC codecs|
|2||Large charging case|
|3||In-ear detection missing|
|Everything you need|
|Don’t know of any better buds at even twice this price|
|Great music signature, wide sound stage and good volume|
|Ease of use||8.5|
|Little slow to pair and lacks fast pair and multi-point|
|Love the slide-out metallic green case|
Creative Outlier Air V3 specs
|Earphone comparison chart||Creative Outlier Air V3|
|Sports (with wing)||no|
|Ear tip type||Silicone|
|Colour||Metallic matte green – very attractive|
|A2DP, AVRCP, HFP||Yes|
|True Wireless (Qualcomm)||TWS – not likely Qualcomm as no aptX|
Can use left or right as mono
|Google Fast Pair||No|
|Windows Swift pair||No|
|Weight each grams||5.2|
|Type||Touch – customisable|
|ANC||Software-based active noise reduction – basic effectiveness|
|Speaker size mm||6|
|mAh in each bud||55|
|mAh in case||450|
|Case charge type (USB or Qi)||USB-C and Qi|
|Charge voltage rating||5V/1A/5W|
|Battery time excluding case ANC off||10|
|Battery time excluding case ANC on||Tested 75% volume 7.5hours|
|Additional battery time in case hours||30|
|Charge time case||3 hours USB-C|
4 Hours Qi
|Number on each bud||Dual|
|Other||Hands-free is effective with a degree of background noise reduction.|
|Type||OK Google and Siri|
|EQ||Amazing range of pre-sets for audio and games.|
|Find my buds||No|
|Spatial||SXFI app and works with Dolby Atmos|
|OS support||Android and iOS. BT connects to any BT host.|