Creative Outlier Pro

Extremely powerful True Wireless in-ears with Hybrid ANC and Low-Latency Mode

The Creative Outlier Pro offer plenty of battery power, feature five-level attenuation and amplification of external noise as well as individual earpiece and sound settings via an app. For improved synchronicity of picture and sound during mobile gaming or movie watching, these wireless in-ears are also equipped with a low-latency mode.

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The Pro model from the Creative Outlier series presents itself with a fresh, new look, with the in-ears now weighing seven and a half grams per side, two grams more than the model we last tested Creative Outlier Air V3. The rather massive charging case is also nine grams heavier at 74 grams, which is probably due in part to the increased battery capacities of the earphones and case. The advantages of the slightly larger housing design, which completely fills the ear, are a high degree of shielding from the outside world and a firm, stable fit. Thanks to the sweat- and water-resistant finish in accordance with IPX5, the Creative Outlier Pro is ideally equipped for outdoor use and sports. However, compatibility with wearing caps is limited, as the housings distinctly protrude from the ears.

Battery life

The Creative Outlier Pro’s battery life is outstanding at 18 hours and 40 minutes per charge at higher volume in basic mode, while maximum noise cancellation still provides 14 hours and 30 minutes of listening time. In addition, these in-ears can be fully charged in the case three times before an external power source is required, giving a total runtime of more than 74 hours in standard mode and up to 58 hours in ANC mode. All in all, impressive endurance figures that are not achieved even by many Bluetooth over-ears.

If the batteries of these earphones are empty, a charging cycle takes almost exactly two hours, but a quick-charge function has been omitted. The case can be powered either via the USB-C port or wirelessly via Qi. The battery reserve is restored in just under three hours via the included USB-C to USB-A charging cable.

Operation

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In addition to the Bluetooth 5.2 standard, the Creative Outlier Pro support single-sided use in Single Mode, but multipoint connections with two devices at the same time are not provided. Pairing the headphones can be done by removing them from the case, which turns the system on and puts it into pairing mode. Putting the in-ears back into the charging case switches them off. Manual switching on and off is enabled by holding the touch-sensitive surfaces down, and this offers advantages because the case does not necessarily have to be taken along with you, especially since the headphone’s batteries are conserved if they are not recharged after each use. Another positive feature was that the wireless connection had an above-average range of 13 metres within an urban environment, and several rooms could be reliably covered.

Once a Bluetooth connection is established, a double tap on the right touch surface controls playback, while the left earpiece can be used to switch between Basic, Ambient and ANC modes. Answering and ending calls can be done on either side by tapping twice. Triple-tapping the right in-ear advances to the next track, and on the left side, this activates the voice assistant. The volume can also be lowered by briefly holding down the left earpiece and increasing it with the right. The assignment of the touch control can be adjusted via the Creative App so that functions such as jumping back during track selection can also be used, a good feature. However, with firmware version 1.0.211210.1120, the remote required a lot of sensitivity and did not always react reliably. This was a problem that was not known with the previous Outlier models, so it can be assumed that an update should provide a remedy. The same applies to the battery status display in the app, which, at the moment, was not updated, and the inactive charging status display of the earpiece from the case. In this respect, the system does not appear to be fully developed in several areas at the time of release, but this can be remedied. Especially since features that worked flawlessly in previous generations were affected.

Creative App

In addition to touch control assignment, the Creative Outlier Pro’s noise control can be configured via the app (for Android and iOS) by adjusting the noise-cancelling and ambient mode in five levels to suit the environment. In addition, the low-latency mode can be activated via the app, and according to the manufacturer, this halves the offset between image and sound. When Bluetooth codec SBC was used, a clear improvement in synchronicity was also noticeable for films and games. However, the range of the wireless connection is also noticeably reduced, which is why we wouldn’t recommend the low-latency mode for everyday use.

A graphic EQ with ten bands and a total of 43 predefined EQ settings is available for sound adjustment, including for music styles such as “Hip-Hop”, “Pop”, or “Rock”, as well as specific settings for individual computer and video games such as “League of Legends”, “Fortnite” or the “Call of Duty” series. Various genres such as “RPG” or “driving simulation” are also covered. Custom settings can also be saved as presets, and the built-in EQ settings can be used as a basis for custom adjustments, a feature that is smartly done.

Speech quality during phone calls

The Creative Outlier Pro have six microphones (three per side), which are said to provide clear call quality and ambient noise cancellation. In standard operation, effective filtering was also noticeable so that even in a noisier setting, there was good speech intelligibility. However, both sides of the conversation were perceived as somewhat muffled and choppy, which spoils the performance. This was not the case in ANC or Ambient mode, which in themselves offered better voice quality, but this was limited to use in a quiet environment, as ambient noise was transmitted.

Noise cancellation (ANC) and ambient mode

The Creative Outlier Pro’s hybrid noise cancelling noticeably attenuated static, low-frequency noise, in particular when commuting or travelling, worked without any perceptible background noise. High-frequency external noise was also reduced, although this could be have been more effective. Voices or complex sources such as street noise were still perceptible and only faded slightly into the background when the maximum setting was used. Coupled with the high passive isolation properties of these headphones, however, a significant shielding was, on the whole, present during playback.

When external noise was amplified, in contrast to noise cancellation, background noise was present from the third level onwards; the intensity of this increased some much that playback at the highest level might be negatively affected. Apart from this shortcoming, however, voices were well understood, meaning communication was possible while playback was paused. Even announcements on a station platform could be understood. During playback, on the other hand, the maximum setting allowed responsiveness up to medium volume levels.

SXFI technology

Since the Creative Outlier Pro is also connected to the SXFI app, there is an option for interested parties to try out Audio Holography for Headphones. This technology is supposed to enable spatial listening like with multiple speaker systems, but it is only applicable to local music files when playing them via the app’s player. If the sound effect is switched on, the virtual stage shifts into the room, but consequently, the bass reproduction noticeably loses substance. In this respect, the musical benefit seems quite small except with ambient soundscapes. The main strength of the SXFI technology is certainly in the film and gaming sector. However, with these True-Wireless headphones, there is no possibility to use this feature with streamed content via Netflix etc.

Sound

In addition to Bluetooth standard SBC, the Creative Outlier Pro support the higher-quality AAC codec and, with a fun-oriented tuning, provide a full, warm reproduction that has a sound image that is earthy rather than bright. The full-bodied bass reproduction reaches far down and does not seem too thin, even in the lower registers, but remains full-bodied and powerful. However, this can cause the low bass to flounder when it is required for modern music styles. If you like bass-oriented music, we recommend lowering the substructure a little with the EQ so the sound becomes much more controlled and powerful.

This results in a clean, harmonious midrange that brings out voices in a pleasing and easily understandable way, which equally benefits vocals, spoken content and films. The treble reproduction could also be characterised as good-natured, with sibilants reproduced unobtrusively and no tendency to harshness or sharpness even at higher volume levels. However, the reproduction flattens out in the upper ranges, but this can be easily remedied with the help of the EQ section, which opens up the sound advantageously. At moderate volume settings especially, the reproduction might otherwise appear somewhat dull and diffuse, as the treble seemed rather restrained at lower levels and only gained presence as the volume increased. More complex arrangements also benefited from a boost in the treble range, which cleared up so that more detail emerged.

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Maike Paeßens
1 month ago by Maike Paeßens
  • Rating: 4
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

The reliability of the touch controls and the background noise in Ambient Mode need improvement, and this could be fixed with an update. Otherwise, the Creative Outlier Pro offer a lot of functionality at an attractive price thanks to the individual earpiece and sound setting options, the low-latency mode and the adjustable noise control. Finally, these weatherproof True Wireless in-ears score particular points with their immense runtime.

  • Sweat and water resistant according to IPX5
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • App connection with versatile sound customisation
  • Case can be charged either via USB-C port or wirelessly via Qi
  • Low-latency mode
  • No fast charging function
  • Ambient mode with stronger background noise
  • Imprecise touch control (firmware version 1.0.211210.1120)
  • No multipoint connections

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Weight without cable7,5 g each, case 74 g
  • Cable length30 cm

What's in the box

  • Eartips in three sizes (S/M/L)
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Charging case

Special features

  • BT codecs: SBC, AAC
  • BT version: 5.2

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