If you’re on the hunt for some of the best cheap true wireless earbuds then this Creative Outlier Air V2 review is the right place to be.
Finding the best budget wireless earbuds for you will depend on a few factors - you’ll need to decide exactly what style you’re looking for, which features you need, what you’ll be using them for and you’ll need to figure out your expectations when it comes to the battery life. Of course, that will all need to fit into your budget as well.
The Creative Outlier Air V2 buds are perfect for those who want a combination of affordability, good sound and fantastic battery life. In fact, they’re some of the longest-lasting cheap earbuds you can buy with 12 hours of music from a single charge.
They won’t be for everyone though, especially if you have smaller ears and you're not keen on a tight fit, these are definitely better suited to larger ears. The Nokia BH-205 Lite Earbuds are more comfortable and will be a better choice in that case.
Creative Outlier Air V2 review: price and what’s new
The Creative Outlier Air V2 are an affordable pair of true wireless headphones. Directly from Creative they cost $49.99 in the US, £44.99 in the UK and AU$69.95 in Australia. Take a look at the widgets on this page for more retailers and pricing from across the web.
The first generation of the Creative Outlier Air TWS earbuds didn’t have touch controls so those are new for the V2s, they allow you to control your music and answer calls more quickly and easily than with buttons.
Creative has also boosted the battery life from 10 hours from a single charge to 12 hours, the playtime with the charging case has been boosted from 30 hours to 34 hours as well. The earbuds are also lighter this time around, they were 10g each in the original buds but are now just 6g.
Creative Outlier Air V2 review: design and fit
Designed to fit snugly in your ear, the Creative Outlier Air V2 buds are rounded in-ear headphones with touch controls located on the outside. You can buy them in metallic dark blue colour. The matching charging case is shaped like a tube and you slide them out from the left-hand side. The design of the case is a little bit different to what I'm used to seeing, which makes for a nice change. On the side, there’s a USB-C charging port and three small LEDs indicating the case and individual earbuds' battery levels.
As well as the charging case, they come with three sizes of silicone ear tips included in the box. When I tested them out, I found that the earbuds were quite a tight fit. Almost too tight in fact that they completely plugged my ear canal which made them a bit uncomfortable, it made me feel like I was underwater. What’s good about that is they never fell out, even during workouts they stayed put. They are IPX5 water-resistant so can handle sweat and light rain so you can use them for your runs or rainy commutes.
The touch controls allow you to pause and play the music, skip through tracks and adjust the volume, as well as call upon your phone’s voice assistant and answer calls. It is a bit of a hassle though as it’s a case of remembering to tap twice for X and tap three times for Z. I personally found it easier to just take my phone out of my pocket and use that to control my music instead.
You get a massive 12 hours of music from a single charge which means you can literally listen all day without needing to put them back in the case. When you do, the case provides 34 hours of juice. It’ll take between 2 and 3 hours to recharge the case itself.
Creative Outlier Air V2 review: performance and features
When it comes to sound performance, the Creative Outlier Air V2 are some of the best you’ll get at this price. That's not to say the sound is amazing, but it's good enough. They use the same 5.6 mm graphene-coated drivers as the original buds.
The soundstage is wide enough to give you distinct highs, mids and lows. There’s plenty of bass without it being overbearing and you can hear the details of instruments in the tracks, but there’s slightly too much emphasis on the treble so that sometimes took over a little. Overall though, I was impressed with the sound considering these are so cheap. Noise is very well isolated given the fact that they plug your ears completely which does keep all the focus on the music and not on any noise happening around you.
The Creative Outlier Air V2 are Super X-Fi Ready which means you can recreate a professional, multi-speaker system experience in the headphones through the SXFI app. The app uses head mapping through your phone's camera to personalise the sound, it’s quite hard to do without someone else to help you as you need to hold the phone parallel to your ears to take the pictures. Once you’ve done that, it works really well to give you a feeling of surround sound. But unfortunately, it only works on tracks you have stored locally on your mobile, so anyone who streams music through Spotify or Deezer will be left disappointed.
Connecting them to your phone through Bluetooth was a little temperamental, they sometimes struggled to connect and even disconnected while I used them once or twice. It’s not a dealbreaker though because it was quite rare. When they are connected I found that I could wander away from my phone without the connection dropping out, Creative claims that they have an operating range of up to 10m.
Creative Outlier Air V2 review: verdict
With good sound and a very long battery life, the Creative Outlier Air V2 true wireless earbuds are a good pair of headphones for anyone on a budget. Although they don’t technically have noise cancelling, they do such a great job at isolating noise that you don’t even need that extra tech built-in.
Personally, I found them a little uncomfortable because I have small ears and they fully plugged up my ear canal but if you don’t mind that feeling or you have bigger ears then that will be more of a plus point than a downside. You can’t expect to get loads of extra features like manual equaliser settings but you can call upon your phone’s voice assistant and answer calls which will be enough functionality for most.
Creative Outlier Air V2 review: also consider
If you don’t like the idea of a tight-fitting pair of buds, then consider the Urbanears Luma. They have a similar style to Apple AirPods but without such a high price tag. You won’t get exceptional sound quality but they are good enough.
If you think your budget can stretch a little, then I would recommend taking a look at T3's favourite affordable true wireless earbuds, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus. They are some of the best sounding headphones under $100 and have just picked up the 2021 T3 Award for Best Value Headphones.
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