Creative completely cable-free In-Ears Outlier Gold are sweat- and water-resistant and have a very long battery life. The lightweight, stable earphones support the Bluetooth standard 5.0 and high-quality audio codecs such as aptX or the AAC format. The free app connection also enables a personalised, spatial music experience via Super X-FI technology.
The headphones, which weigh just twelve grams, are robust and well manufactured, and offer reliable stability in everyday use, even accommodating a short sprint without issue. However, the firm hold can also cause a feeling of pressure during longer listening periods. Otherwise, the design fits well into the ear so that they do not protrude too far and can be placed under a hat if necessary. Thanks to its IPX5-certified water resistance, the system is also protected against weather-related moisture and is easy to clean.
On the energy side, the headphones offer an impressive running time, which in practice was sometimes even higher than the 14 hours advertised by the manufacturer. The case, which serves as a charging station, cannot hold the specified battery reserve of 25 hours, but provides additional capacity for an additional 20 hours, so that the total service life is up to 35 hours. A quick charge function has been omitted, which limits spontaneous use when the battery is low. When charging the headphones, you should also make sure that they are placed exactly inside the charger, otherwise only one side may be supplied with power. Although the case has a USB-C connection, with attractive aesthetics thanks to the aluminium housing, it also demonstrates some weakness in the design, with the sliding mechanism proving stubborn and prone to sticking. However, the LED on the outside of the headphones indicates whether both sides are receiving a proper charge. While a complete charging of the in-ears takes a good two hours, recharging the case via the supplied USB-C-to-USB-A charging cable takes about three hours.
The wireless system supports the Bluetooth standard 5.0 and, in combination with various Android and iOS devices, offered stable ranges of up to eight metres within an urban environment. The headphones can be paired directly upon their removal from the case with an automatic switch-on. It’s worth noting that both the left and right side of these headphones serve as the master. If there is an established connection, both remote buttons are used to start and stop playback, as well as accept and receive calls. To select a title, however, double-click on the right-hand side to jump forward or backwards using the left-hand side. Similarly, volume control is performed by holding down the right remote button to increase the volume, while the left one can decrease it. Language assistants such as Siri or Google Assistant can also be called when playback is stopped by double-clicking on the master handset button.
On one hand, both sides of the headphones are equipped with an omnidirectional microphone, ensuring top-rate speech intelligibility for telephoning applications. On the other, the high levels of resistance exhibited by the button pressure points prove a little taxing, making the device difficult to control at times. Additionally, this may cause issues for those with pressure-sensitivity.
The Outlier Gold boasts universal tuning, with the result being a bright, well-balanced sound profile that resolves trebles well, with no drop off and clear contours. However, I personally think there’s a tendency toward hardness here, which I found particularly noticeable with increases in volume levels. The counterpart of these qualities is a very powerful bass foundation that reaches deep into the bass range, with the result being a loss in overall precision. This can make those deeper bass elements sound largely dull. Otherwise, the sound is clear and restrained in the mid-range, with a multi-faceted character. Thanks to the support for high-quality audio codecs, these headphones score with a good resolution and offer high levels of output that allow for considerable reserves. However, the noticeable background noise does detract from the overall sound impression.
Super X-FI App
The free app provides a player for enjoying local music files with an integrated equalizer, which also provides the user with sound adjustment potential via ready-made presets and tailored settings. In addition, there’s the option of so-called holographic sound to enable and experience. This feature promises to deliver a spatial character to audio that you might experience when listening via a multiple loudspeaker system (see also our review of the Creative SXFI Air). To this end, photos of both the ears and face of the user are used to create an individual listening profile during the setup stage, with the specifics made clear thanks to a tutorial. Afterwards, the Super X-FI effect can be switched on and off via the player to listen to music, so that a direct A/B sound comparison is possible. In some cases, there is actually a considerable difference, although the musical benefits seem ambivalent. For example, bass-stressed pieces with deeper sound elements suffer from a warped change, with an odd and unnatural character becoming apparent, with the low-frequency bass range seeming to dissolve against larger reverberations. Professionally produced alternative pieces take on a “garage feeling” while experimental jazz or classical productions do seem to benefit from the spaciousness afforded to them, even if the consequence is a reduced overall sound quality. You’ll notice a drop in treble in these cases, with an overall weakening of the contours. All in all, I’d have to conclude that the audio holography credentials of these headphones are probably best utilised for home cinema and gaming applications.
Creative’s Outlier Gold is a real standout in the field of lightweight, True Wireless headphone tech. The impressive battery life of over 14 hours is a real win, while the universally tuned sound profile provides great levels of flexibility for the user when it comes to everyday music listening and other entertainment applications. That’s true whether you’re comfortable at home devouring your favourite media, or cutting through your favourite playlists while you’re on the go. The optional Super X-FI technology on offer here is perhaps the only major downside of the overall package, with no discernible added value for the user when listening to music.
- Ear coupling In-Ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Weight without cable12 g; total 66 g
What's in the box
- 4 pairs of eartips (2x S, 2x M)
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- Charging case
- BT version: 5.0
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
- BT profiles: A2DP