- Design is a little different and stands out from the other TWS
- Uses a Graphene based driver which is different from the others
- The sound staging and experience is catered for a specific audio listeners
- Qualitywise the audio is excellent
- Battery life is decent and USB-C Charging is the way to go
- Control buttons on the earbuds needs a lot of improvements
- Earbuds can be big for certain users and might fall off
In the whole audio department, Creative is a brand we are fond of and we know somehow – for me, it’s the brand I grew up with: their speakers and the Zen players have played a huge impact in my life. That said, the brand reached out to us before MCO kicked in and sent us two product for us to review – the Creative Muvo, which you can click here to read and the Outlier Gold – which really took us a while for us to review because it wasn’t easy to review this – so, we took our time with it and here’s our final verdict of the Creative Outlier Gold.
Look and Feel
The Outlier Gold looks different from the conventional lid like case and earbuds we have seen so far. Creative took the design and made it “creatively” (pun intended) by making a sliding case that pops out to reveal the earbuds. They have the creative branding on the case with this gold glittery finish which isn’t something I am a huge fan of but I can always apply a custom skin to make it looks a lot more cleaner – but for what its worth it does look pretty darn cool.
On the top is where the indicator and the USB-C port is located, and it even shows which earbud is charging if the case battery is low and an indicator that turns on when the case is charging.
In terms of build quality, it has a mixture of plastic and aluminum – the outer shell has an aluminum finish to add a little more durability and the inside of the shell, well the sliding part is made out of plastic. The earbuds are also constructed in plastic, but the color scheme is very identical to the case itself. Overall, it’s a quite alright build quality – the earbud is pretty huge and feels a little clunky to wear but when you do get the hold of wearing it, the feel of it is alright. But not going to lie, it sure is a little huge – and I wished that it had a Shark fin tip to have a little more support to hold on to the ear as it does feel a little scary if it falls off the ear.
Creative decked out the specs for the Outlier Gold and I am really impressed with what I see here:
- 6mm Graphene Driver Diaphragm
- 20-20,000Hz Frequency Response
- IPX5 Sweat Proof Certification
- 39 Hours of Total Battery Playback
- Bluetooth 5.0 | Qualcomm aptX, SBC and AAC Codec support
Pairing is a Chore
Right outside the box, the pairing for the Outlier Gold is a chore and I recommend you to read the manual and get it right at one go. For starters, you will have to download the SXFI app and register the earbuds with your e-mail. Once that’s done, personalize by creating your profile and then pair your earbuds – now the Outlier Gold has a weird pairing mechanism. Unlike other TWS we have reviewed where the Right earpiece pair with the left and the Left pairs with the phone, the Outlier Gold will ask you to pair with the Left earbud and the next thing you know, both the earbuds are paired independently to the phone.
The Super X-Fi App that it works with to create some sound staging works within the app itself – so, you cannot use the X-Fi to listen to songs from Spotify or any other streaming platforms.
The whole experience with the Outlier Gold didn’t start great for us because the first unit we received had some issues where it wouldn’t pair properly and when it does, adjusting the volume on phone would adjust the volume on the earbud in an uneven manner – so the Left would be louder than the right. So, we relayed this message to Creative and they sent us another unit which worked better than the first pair we received.
That out of the way – we started listening to these earbuds since then and the reason why it took us 5 months to review this – its because it took us a lot of time to appreciate the driver and let the driver go through the burn-in process long enough and experience it. That said, we have tried Neodymium drivers, Balanced Armatures and the list goes on but what is this Graphene Driver? To keep it simple, it is the thinnest and hardest nano material which is said to be a better conductor over copper. It keeps a lower power consumption and outputs better audio quality at the same time. Now how does that add to the whole experience? We tried 2-3 songs on our Spotify and here’s how that went.
For starter we listened to Revolution by Diplo to see the bass response. The song presented with a subtle bass for the first few seconds and the vocal has a nice presence with really clear dynamic staging to it. At the 1:29 mark where the bass gets a lot intense, is where the earphone did quite okay, but the bass wasn’t intense for sure. But what I did love about the song is how the vocal had a good staging and the overall clarity made the song a little colorful.
Second, I went for a classic: Killing me Softly by Roberta Flack. This is exactly where the earbuds excelled really well – with beautiful staging of the instrument in a stereo setting, the warmth in her vocal had a nice feel to the whole song. It does have a soft staging, in terms of the volume. The bass in the song is well maintained and the subtlety of the bass matches to songs like these more than an EDM bass centric song where it does fall behind.
The third song I went for is: Revolver by Madonna and again the reason why is to see how it performs in a modern pop song given that’s what users are going to listen for – the Outlier Gold has a good presence but good treble and nothing overpowering at all which I personally prefer to an higher pitched treble that tends to ruin the vocal and a bass that can lose the key elements of the song – the driver did provide a good detailed high and the mids are alright, just that the bass counterpart of the earbud is a little meh – but if you are okay with the subtle bass then this is great.
Now, what about the Super X-Fi, this is a feature that only works within the app that they have and I was a little bummed because this is the feature the earbuds are known for and users would want to use it with other apps but sadly, you cant do that here. We tried some songs we did have locally and Super X-Fi creates this 3D staging that works but not for all songs. Two songs I tried and it did work with: Messages by Jamie Woon – now if you have listened to the live version which is on YouTube, the Super X-Fi creates that exact staging as if you’d hear from Jamie Woon himself in person. Another song was Lost in my Boots by KWAYE. The songs that it didn’t really work with were pop songs – so if you want the studio staging or that live staging, it works best with alternatives and R&B.
I wish Creative went for a better button layout or a touch sensor which would feel a lot better because the buttons it comes with requires you to press against your ears and needs a little force.
Truth be told, it was a little hard for us to get behind the Outlier Gold at start because it has so much that it had to prove us but after using it for a fair share of time and 5 months, it’s long enough to give a definite answer if these earbuds are a great purchase to go with. Personally, this is the kind of true wireless earbuds I want to rely on for all of my R&B and Alternative songs because the experience by default with no tinkering sound amazing and that’s where the Outlier Gold excel. Hip Hop and Pop, well sure it does too but bass is super important for you, then this isn’t the one for you.
Anyone who’s planning to get the Outlier Gold should get for its good clarity, well balanced audio experience and the amazing features like the long battery life which lasted as they claimed, the IPX5 for workout and Qualcomm aptX Codec support.
Special thanks to Creative Labs Singapore for sending the Outlier Gold for us to do this review and making content like this happen.