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Creative Zen Air DOT

Affordable True Wireless earbuds with a high degree of wearing comfort

In a nutshell

With the Zen Air DOT, Creative add a pair of very lightweight True Wireless earphones in a half-in-ear design to their range. They are comfortable to wear even if you have pressure-sensitive ears and they come with a handy pocket-sized charging case. In addition to touch control, these earbuds are equipped with two microphones with ENC technology, which aim to ensure clear voice transmission during telephone calls.

Pros:
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Very light, compact format
  • Battery life
  • Speech intelligibility when talking on the phone (except for wind noise)
Cons:
  • Touch controls without volume control
  • No latency-reduced gaming mode
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The Zen Air DOT are water- and sweat-resistant in accordance with IPX4 and, with a weight of three and a half grams per side, they are extremely light. The earbuds fit “loosely” in the ear and do not sit in the ear canal like in-ears, which means that there is no feeling of pressure even during longer periods of use. They are also different to in-ear systems with regard to shielding from the outside world, which is significantly lower with these earbuds, meaning that it is possible to perceive your environment.

Battery life

Despite the low weight and an extremely compact design, the Zen Air DOT have enduring batteries, which enabled almost seven hours of listening time at high volume. In addition, these earbuds can be recharged two and a half times in their case, making a total runtime of 24 hours. While the earbuds are fully recharged after 90 minutes, the battery reserve of the case is restored after one hour and 50 minutes via its USB-C connection. Both the earbuds and the case have a very useful LED which displays the level of charge.

Operation

The touch-sensitive earpiece surfaces on the earbuds control playback, answer and end phone calls and call up Google Assistant or Siri. It is also possible to use them to skip forwards and backwards when selecting tracks. However, there is no volume control here. But on the positive side, the Zen Air DOT can be switched on and off manually via the touch surfaces, which saves the batteries. Single-sided use in single mode is also possible.

Bluetooth

Thanks to Bluetooth 5.3, the earbud’s wireless connection proved to be quite stable. While there was a range of 20 metres in the garden, a distance of up to 10 metres could be covered inside buildings. However, it was a pity that the earbuds do not have a latency-reduced gaming mode, as the SBC codec means that you have to tolerate an offset between picture and sound when watching films, YouTube videos or playing mobile games.

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Speech intelligibility during phone calls

The voice transmission of the Zen Air DOT is not quite as natural as that of higher-priced models, but both sides of the conversation could be understood loud and clear. In addition, when the ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) technology was used effectively, it attenuated ambient noise so that the user’s own voice remained in the foreground and was intelligible to the person on the other end of the line. Considering the price range, this worked very well! Outdoors, however, you would need to use the phone in a place that was sheltered from the wind, as wind noise was not filtered out.

Sound

Due to their “loose” fit, earbuds have the disadvantage of losing the bass components of tracks. This was also the case with the Zen Air DOT, which meant that the sound was perceived as rather bright and treble-heavy. If you prefer a bass-emphasised tuning, then you will probably not be happy with these earbuds and should look for an in-ear system such as the Creative Zen Air instead. However, the loss was mainly limited to the low bass, while the mid to upper bass range seemed quite powerful and remained crisp for listening to pop and rock music.

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The mid-range seemed appealingly spacious and was not too dense or cramped, giving space to voices and reproducing audiobooks with a great sense of detail.

The high frequencies were lively and present, which was an advantage at moderate volume settings, as the earbuds did not have to be turned up loud for the sound to develop. However, above a medium playback level, sibilants could be perceived as more incisive, while the upper registers tended to peak and become sharp at higher volume levels.

Conclusion

Creative’s Zen Air DOT are comfortable to wear thanks to their very lightweight half-in-ear design and we recommend them as an alternative to in-ear systems for pressure-sensitive ears. These weatherproof True Wireless earbuds also scored points with their long-lasting batteries and good speech intelligibility during phone calls, as the ENC technology successfully attenuated ambient noise, apart from wind noise. From a sound perspective, a brighter sound image with present highs would be suitable for most listening habits. However, we would not recommend these earphones for listening to hip-hop or club music.

6 months ago by Maike Paeßens
  • Rating: 4
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingEarbuds
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Weight without cable3,5 g each, case 26 g

What's in the box

  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Charging case

Special features

  • BT codecs: SBC
  • BT version: 5.3

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