Product Reviews

Creative Outlier Gold: True Wireless Earbuds with Killer Battery Life

Tina Sieber 09-06-2020
Our verdict of the Creative Outlier Gold True Wireless In-Ear Headphones:
Pleasant design, comfortable to wear, reasonably easy to operate, sweat proof, great sound quality, and an impressive battery life. If those are the features you're looking for in a pair of true wireless earphones, but don't want to break the bank, we can highly recommend Creative's Outlier Gold in-ears.
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Key features of truly wireless earbuds include ease-of-use and long battery life. If you want to wear them for many hours, they should also fit well and be reasonably comfortable. For us, the Creative Outlier Gold headphones ticked all the boxes. Let’s see, whether this package will convince you, too.

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First Impressions

The Outlier Gold Charging Case

The Creative Outlier Gold true wireless headphones come in a compact case, crafted from black plastic and champagne gold aluminum. The case’s USB-C charging port and status lights sit on the left side.

Creative Outlier Gold charging case closed with left earbud charging and right earbud in background

Gently pushing the case’s right side makes the charging tray slide out to the left. You’ll find the earbuds nestled into the tray, firmly held in place by small magnets. Opening the case is the first smooth experience you’ll have with these headphones.

Creative Outlier Gold open charging case with earbuds next to it

The Outlier Gold Earbuds

The earphones feature the same black and champagne gold color scheme as the case. Each earbud sports an RGB ring light that indicates its pairing, playback, or battery status. Unlike the Creative SXFI AIR, you can’t customize the light’s colors, nor can you turn them off entirely and rely on audio cues alone, which would conserve battery life.

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Creative Outlier Gold earbuds next to charging case

Further examination reveals that both earbuds carry a microphone, which means you can use either of the two individually to take calls. When you’re using both while taking a call, only the primary earbud will record your voice, but you’ll hear stereo audio.

Wearing the Outlier Gold

Initially, we were concerned these earbuds might not fit right or feel uncomfortable. But the Outlier Gold earphones actually provided a great fit, and we enjoyed wearing them for many hours. They come with silicone tips in multiple sizes and once you pop on the right tip size, the earbuds will fit perfectly. We ended up preferring the compact shape over the longer design of, for example, the Apple AirPods. Those of you wearing earrings will find the compact shape to be more comfortable and safer than designs that cover or go near your earlobes.

Operating the Outlier Gold Earbuds

Each earbud contains a single multifunction button. But to turn the earbuds on or off, you don’t need this button at all; simply take them out of their case or put them back in. To conserve battery life, the earphones turn off automatically after five minutes without a Bluetooth connection. To turn them back on without the case, press and hold the multifunction button of the main unit (the one you paired first) until you see a flashing blue LED; after about three seconds.

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The single button doesn’t just work in favor of the design, it’s also easy to operate. The multifunction button controls are straightforward and the small manual that comes with these earphones, as well as this Creative Outlier Gold FAQ page, will put you on the right track should you struggle to figure it out. Sometimes, after messing around with the buttons a little too much, we found ourselves caught in a connected-disconnected-connected loop. Briefly putting the earbuds back into the charging case provided a quick reset.

Creative Outlier Gold charging case with one earbud charging and the other connecting

Pushing the Outlier Gold’s buttons wasn’t a good experience at first. What worked best for us was supporting the earbud with the index finger from the backside, while using the thumb to press the multifunction button on the opposite side. A single finger push works, too, but for us it felt uncomfortable and occasionally shifted the earbud. A slightly more responsive button would have made this design perfect.

You might think that touch controls would have made a world of difference here. But try to imagine what it sounds like when you slide across or double-tap something that’s firmly wedged into your ear canal. Let’s say we’re delighted that Creative went with a button; it’s an elegant, functional, and reasonably pleasant solution for this form factor.

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A Closer Look

Our first impressions were solid. Now let’s see what else these headphones have to offer.

Creative Outlier Gold Specifications

  • Design: in-ear headphones
  • Color: champagne gold
  • Drivers: 5.6 mm graphene driver diaphragm
  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • Connectivity
    • earbuds: Bluetooth 5.0
    • charging case: USB-C
  • Operating range: up to 33 ft (10 m)
  • Microphone: built-in, omnidirectional, sensitivity -42 dBV/Pa
  • Weight
    • earbuds: 0.18 oz (5 g) x 2
    • charging case: 1.90 oz (54 g)
  • Battery Life
    • per charge: 14 hours
    • with charging case: up to 39 hours
  • Charging time
    • earbuds: 2 hours in charging case
    • charging case: 3.5 hours
  • Water resistance: IPX5, sweatproof
  • Price: under $100

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Bluetooth

The Outlier Gold feature Bluetooth 5.0 at an operating frequency of 2.4 GHz and three standard Bluetooth profiles:

  1. HFP: The Hands-Free Profile lets your earbuds handle two-way wireless conversations.
  2. A2DP: The Advanced Audio Distribution Profile enables wireless stereo streaming from your device’s Bluetooth connection to your earbuds. This is a must if you want to use your headphones for listening to music.
  3. AVRCP: The Audio/Video Remote Control Profile is the Bluetooth protocol that lets you control media playback and volume from your earphones.

More importantly, if you want to stream music from your Android or iPhone, you’ll appreciate that the Outlier Gold can handle both the aptX and AAC high-quality Bluetooth codecs Buying Wireless Headphones? 6 Things You Need to Know Planning on buying wireless headphones? Here's what you need to know about price, form, technical specs, and more. Read More . Qualcomm’s aptX supports a higher bit rate than the SBC codec and achieves CD-like performance. AAC, which is favored by Apple, uses a lower bit rate, but overall delivers comparable performance to aptX.

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Battery Life

Battery life of 14 hours per charge and up to 39 hours when recharged from the case is outstanding. What powers this superior battery life is one 80 mAh rechargeable battery in each of the earbuds and a 450 mAh rechargeable battery in the charging case.

Note that your mileage will vary depending on volume, distance from streaming source, or when using the microphone. Outside of perfect testing conditions, we experienced a slightly lower battery life, but we could reproduce the quoted charging times. With intense use at higher volumes, you can expect around 11-12 hours per charge.

Software Super X-Fi

The Creative Outlier Gold headphones support Creative’s Super X-Fi technology. Super X-Fi is an AI-powered software that creates an immersive 3D listening experience from regular audio tracks. We’ve previously explained how it works and shown you how to create your own SXFI profile in our Creative SXFI AIR review Creative Super X-Fi AIR Review: Spatial Audio Done Right Read More .

Creative Outlier Gold closed charging case with earbuds next to it

When you put on a pair of headphones, you essentially shrink the space the audio signal travels from the source to your ears. The sound won’t bounce off of surfaces and thus can’t pick up that characteristic 3D feeling. Instead, it sounds like it’s all in your head and with earbuds, it literally is. Creative’s Super X-Fi technology can emulate that 3D sound character using software.

The Outlier Gold feature Software Super X-Fi, a processing technology that requires Creative’s SXFI App (AndroidiOS) and audio files downloaded to your phone. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy this feature if you mainly use streaming services like YouTube, Spotify, or Netflix; downloads on these services are not supported. In this case, you might want to get the SXFI AMP or the SXFI AIR headphones. If you routinely listen to local podcast or music files, however, it could make this experience a lot more pleasant.

Sound Quality

While battery life and easy handling are key for earbuds, you’ll also want them to sound good. To test the sound quality and performance, we followed AudioCheck’s headphones and earphones testing routine, developed by Dr. Ir. Stéphane Pigeon. It’s a set of free tests that you can use with any pair of headphones. The tests are best used to verify a product’s sound quality with your own ears and to make sure the headphones you’re buying are wired correctly.

Keep in mind that these audio tests can’t replace specialized audio equipment because they are highly subjective. Your own hearing abilities, which in part depend on your age, as well as personal preferences, impact how you experience sound quality.

In the frequency response test, we couldn’t hear frequencies above 11 kHz, i.e. on the treble end of the spectrum. With other headphones, we were able to hear frequencies up to 17 kHz. What this means is that you might not hear the full spectrum of higher harmonics and thus audio might sound less bright. On the bass end of the spectrum, our hearing dropped out at around 30 Hz, but depending on your hearing abilities, you can expect to notice sounds as low as 20 Hz.

The earbuds sounded great on all other tests. Most importantly, we enjoyed the sound while listening to music and podcasts. The Outlier Gold headphones deliver a solid performance across the full audio spectrum.

On audio calls, the sound quality was clear both for us and on the receiving end. As mentioned previously, you will hear stereo sound, but only the microphone of the main earbud will record your voice.

Our Creative Outlier Gold Verdict

You won’t find a better pair of earbuds in the sub-$100 price range. You’ll love the Outlier Gold’s comfortable, yet secure fit, the design is both functional and appealing, and the sound is more than satisfying.

Creative Outlier Gold charging case with one earbud charging and the other connecting

We subtracted one point for a few minor items: the larger size compared to other earbuds of this form factor, and the fairly push resistant multifunction button.

If you intend to use the Outlier Gold headphones for your workouts, you’ll appreciate their IPX5 sweatproof rating and lightweight design. Audiophiles interested in Super X-Fi can get a taste of it using the software, but I wouldn’t let this factor into your buying decision. More importantly, Bluetooth 5.0 with AptX and AAC codecs ensures good sound quality.

The killer feature of the Creative Outlier Gold is their incredible battery life. And with true wireless earbuds, that should be one of your top priorities.

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Enter the Competition!

Creative Outlier Gold Wireless Earbuds

Related topics: Audiophiles, Hardware Tips, Headphones, MakeUseOf Giveaway, Surround Sound.

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  1. Hamdhan Bin Ishak
    June 18, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    I never win in give away , don't miss me here also