Before there were the likes of home-grown tech companies like Grab and Carousell in Singapore, there was Creative Technology, the creator of the Sound Blaster sound card, bringing audio to PC in the 90s. Before there was Apple iPods, Creative was a dominant player in the global mp3 player market.
A global leader in personal lifestyle audio and multimedia digital entertainment products, Creative has remained in the market for over 40 years, with a focus on R&D in audio technology, launching innovative audio solutions, launching premium wireless speakers, high-performance earphones and headphones, as well as other portable media devices.
With travel on the return again post-pandemic, we take a look at two of their audio products targeted at travelers on the move – the MUVO Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker and Outlier Pro Wireless Earphones.
Built for outdoor use, the new MUVO Go is IPX7-certified waterproof and is designed to thrive in all kinds of weather conditions and extreme adventures from mountain hiking to cycling to a pool party. Being certified with a waterproof rating of IPX7 means the MUVO Go can withstand splashes and be submerged in water, specifically, for up to 30 minutes at a depth of one metre, perfect for those who like to listen to music while engaged in watersports like canoeing or just to chill by the pool with the music you like.
The MUVO Go comes with an impressive 18 hours battery life, sufficient to last for a whole day with a full charge. We tested this out and the claim seems to hold. With light usage, the speaker lasted for almost a week with one charge. Other nifty features include Bluetooth 5.3 and wireless stereo link that allows you to pair two MUVO Go together to amp up the atmosphere for an expanded soundscape.
Note that the newest MUVO Go no longer support microSD card slots, NFC pairing or 3.5mm inputs, which were available for older models. I am presuming this is to simplify on the features in this age where often, less is better, enhancing the aesthetics and making it easier to use with just the essential. After all, most earphones and headphones these days are paired via bluetooth only.
For audio quality, this is where Creative is at the top of the game, being a company focused on pushing the boundaries of audio technology. With dual full-range Neodymium drivers, the MUVO Go delivers full-bodied, remarkable audio with powerful bass of up to 20W, made possible in combination with dual passive bass radiators. It is extremely loud for a speaker its size and deliver crisp, steady sound.
Ergonomic-wise, the MUVO Go is designed like a bottle that offers dual orientation for portability and versatility. It can be slotted into the water bottle cage on your bicycle, placed upright on a tabletop or flat on a swim float, while still delivering consistent audio quality. It is also designed for ruggedness, so you don’t have to worry about dropping the speaker on the floor, into a mud puddle or even into water.
The MUVO Go weighs 570g, half the weight of a one-liter water bottle. It retails at $119 and comes in three different colours – Midnight Black, Pine Gree and Cloud Blue.
There are many other similar outdoor speakers like the MUVO Go and the choices are aplenty. The MUVO Go is priced competitively and delivers on the audio quality, but so do many other competitors’ products. Go for it if you like the overall design and the long battery life.
The Creative Outlier Pro is the latest addition to Creative’s Outlier TWS (True Wireless Sweatproof) series.
At first glance, it is one of the chunkiest in-ear headphones that I have come across in recent times as everything gets smaller and smaller in design. However, with the chunky design comes a significantly longer battery life. The Outlier Pro claims to be able to deliver up to 60 hours total playtime, with 15 hours per full charge in the case. These are impressive for those who often forget to charge their devices or find charging a hassle.
We tested it out and a single charge was able to last us for more than 2 weeks. Charging the Outlier Pro can be done with the provided USB-C cable or by placing it on any Qi-compatible wireless charging pad. If you are in a hurry, a quick 10-minute charge can provide for 2 hours of listening.
Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is introduced to the Outlier Pro, eliminating unwanted noise to deliver clean, crisp audio from its graphene-coated drivers. With the use of feedforward and feedback microphones on each earbud, the Outlier Pro detects your surrounding sounds and monitors what you hear, effectively cancelling out surrounding noise.
Controling of the Outlier Pro is done via tapping on the left and right earbuds.
When you need to hear your surroundings, you don’t have to pause the music or take the noise cancelling earbuds out. Double tap on the left earbud to switch over to Ambient Mode, and let in just the right amount of surrounding sound or you can also customise the amount of sound to let in via the Noise Control module in the Creative app.
You can also activate your preferred Siri or Google Assistant with three taps on the left earbud to provide commands. Tapping three times on right earbud will allow you to skip a track. To adjust the volume, you can hold down the left earbud to lower or the right earbud to increase.
We were able to easily skip through our Spotify playlist, answer calls, or toggle between ANC mode and Ambient Mode using the tap features. You can also customise your own tap controls via the Creative app and set them in the most intuitive way to you if you do not like the default settings.
A small hack – when watching videos or playing mobile games on your paired gadget, head over to the Creative app and turn Low Latency Mode on. This feature reduces the latency of Outlier Pro by more than half, effectively minimising that Bluetooth transmission time-lag, so you can enjoy fully synchronised audio and video.
The Outlier Pro comes with a total of six microphones for clearer call quality, customisable touch controls, IPX5-certified water resistance, and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.
The earbuds are equipped with 10 mm graphene-coated driver diaphragms that efficiently deliver pristine and accurate sounds for any type of content.
We tested it to watch videos, listen to music and attend work video calls. The audio quality is good and the ANC works well.
With IPX5-certified water resistance, the Outlier Pro earbuds can withstand the occasional splash. IPX5 water-resistant devices are protected against low-pressure water jets from any direction, including light or moderate rain. This means it will work fine with heavy sweat or a light drizzle.
To ensure the Outlier Pro earbuds fit perfectly in the ears for the most effective noise suppression, Creative has packed three sets of soft silicone ear tips with each set so you can try the different sizes for each ear and find the optimal ear tips.
The Creative Outlier Pro comes in one colour – Metallic Umber and retails at $89.00. While it is competitively priced, there are many other similar products in the market from other brands. What stands out for the Outlier Pro is its impressive battery life and good audio quality. Get it if you like the design and feature and if you do not mind a chunkier device in exchange for longer battery life.