Creative Zen Air Pro

Affordable TW earphones with appealing sound

In a nutshell

The Creative Zen Air Pro are equipped with dynamic, 10mm drivers that reproduce a pleasantly powerful sound considering the price range. The stylish looks come at the expense of fiddly touch operation, which needs to be learnt. The free app is spartan but offers access to the simple EQ and hybrid ANC or an ambient mode. Overall, the Zen Air Pro left us with a positive impression.

  • Pleasant wearing comfort
  • Balanced sound
  • Low weight
  • Long battery life
  • Customisation of touch operation via app
  • Good codec selection
  • Fiddly touch operation
  • Limited functionality via app

In Buddhist teachings the idea of “Zen” is synonymous with a meditative state that is often equated with “enlightenment”. So what can you expect from earphones with terms such as “Air” and “Pro” in their name? Surely, these can only be good things, especially since the earlier models from the Zen product family have performed well in our previous tests.

With the Zen Air Pro, Creative Labs present new TWS earphones that provide the user with such sought-after features as active noise cancellation, flexible ambient mode and the latest audio codecs (LC3+, LC3, AAC, SBC).

These affordable Creative headphones are at the cutting edge of technology. Thanks to Bluetooth LE Audio, they support Auracast, which expands the possibilities of audio transmission via Bluetooth with the ability to send audio content from a single source simultaneously to an unlimited number of receivers. In practice, this functions as a kind of WLAN hotspot. Creative calls this “broadcast mode”. Due to a lack of compatible hardware, we were unable to test this feature, but if you want to know more about it, you should check out our FAQ.

They have also added “unicast mode”. Using the high-resolution LC3 codec, the Creative Zen Air Pro can be wirelessly connected to a compatible Bluetooth LE audio receiver for high-resolution audio streaming using a single connection.


The ULL (Ultra-Low-Latency) mode is designed to offer a delay-free, i.e. latency-free, film and gaming experience. These earphones use the LC3+ codec for this, but this, of course, requires a compatible smartphone or television.

These lightweight earphones with IPX5 certification are therefore optimally equipped – now all we need to reach enlightenment is for them to sound good.


Optics and operation

The Zen Air Pro certainly look the part: the earphones and charging case are finished in a subtle matt white, and contact with the user’s device is visualised via a series of LEDs on the charging case (USB type C, Qi-compatible wireless charging), but there are no visible controls, with the exception of a multifunction button on the case. Instead, they are operated primarily via touch surfaces on the outside of the earphones. Depending on the touch pattern, functions such as answering calls, music playback and ANC noise cancellation can be controlled, or the Siri or Google Assistant assistance functions can be called up.

The first challenge is to internalise the principle of the number of taps or longer holds required for operation- this takes a little while and is ultimately quite tricky, as you really have to use your fingertips. Of course, they won’t break if you operate them incorrectly, but it’s easy to hang up a call even though you were only trying to adjust the volume. However, in conjunction with the Creative app, operation can be personalised to suit your own requirements.

App connection

The app is an all-rounder that can be connected to various Creative models. The range of functions is straightforward: in addition to the equaliser and the option to reassign the functions for touch control, it allows you to activate or set up ambient control.

Active noise cancelling and transparency mode

These earphones use four of the six built-in microphones for Active Noise Cancelling, and the attenuation can be set to one of five levels. In practice, the results were decent, although the gradation only makes limited sense – you can either have complete ANC or nothing at all, but that’s all you really need. The ANC attenuation was particularly effective in the lower mid-range and bass: much less happened at the top, so high-frequency ambient noise was still perceptible – this means you are only partially decoupled from the world. On the other hand, in Ambient/Transparency mode, the earphones switched to hear-through mode, allowing you to clearly hear your surroundings depending on the attenuation level. As a side effect, the background noise was also increased, and this was relatively prominent, especially in the mid-range – but this is something that you can live with.

Sound characteristics and imaging

The key issue with earphones is, of course, the sound, and this was very pleasing. In their factory settings, the Zen Air Pro delivered a rich and tidy listening experience with strengths in the bass range and pleasant highs. If you like to listen to different genres, then you will certainly enjoy powerful music style with these earphones, but the resolution of acoustic material sometimes reveals slight weaknesses in the mids. The EQ settings in the Creative app can be used to create various profiles, making it ideal for this purpose – there are also factory pre-sets, although these only partially give the impression that they have been specifically tailored for these particular earphones.

However, the spatial resolution of the Zen Air Pro was pleasing, with good depth and a natural stereo image. For the sake of fairness, you also have to look at the price tag for this segment of the headphone market – once you have considered that, everything is actually pretty good.

In telephone mode, the transmission was decent: when used with platforms such as Teams or on a mobile phone, the other party was easy to hear, albeit with reduced audio quality. However, your own voice was picked up relatively quietly, so you might need to increase your voice input to meet the person on the other end of the line’s request for more volume.


Good looks are only half the battle, so good performance rounds off the positive impression of the Creative Zen Air Pro. Let’s get this straight: There are better earphones with more functionality on the market, but in the price range where you will find these earphones from Creative Labs, they make a good showing. The sound is more than decent, the battery life (33 hours, playing time per charge: 9 hours) is just as good, and the basic features are adequate. If you want to find something to criticise, it is the touch operation and the functionally limited companion app – otherwise, nothing stands in the way of personal enlightenment.

5 months ago by Christian Preissig
  • Rating: 3.88
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Weight without cable5.3 g each, Case 41 g

What's in the box

  • 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
  • Charging cable USB-C to USB-A
  • Charging case

Special features

  • BT codecs: SBC, AAC, LC3, LC3+
  • BT version: 5.3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *