Creative Outlier Air V2 Review Wireless Earbuds With Loud Volume

Monday, March 15, 2021

Something you could see Spock sporting while "mind melding", the Outlier Air V2 are a creative pair of earbuds with an interesting charging case reminiscent of a hyperbaric chamber! 
The overall design of the earbuds and the open triangle etchings give the Outlier Air V2 earbuds a Star Trek vibe. On one side of the charging case, there are three small battery status leds that feedback the battery status of the charging case and both earbuds. The charging case battery led will blink red when the battery is running low and, it will light up yellow (medium level) or green when the battery level is high.

Also, the battery status for the battery and earbuds is located right outside the case, making it very convenient to tell the status of the battery. This is, actually, a neat design because with most true wireless there is no battery indication for the earbuds; hence you can't tell when the earbuds are fully charged unless you manually check. Just below the status leds, there is the USB-C charging port.
On the opposite side of the charging case, there is a Super Xfi Ready etching to indicate the Outlier Air V2 earbuds support Super Xfi Ready technology via the SXfi mobile app, which is important to note because Super Xfi is typically built-in; whereas the Outlier Air V2 earbuds use the SXfi mobile app to emulate Super Xfi spatial sound enhancement similarly to Windows sonic for headphones.
The SXFi app requires signing up for an account and has a nice interface with an easy to use EQ to go with. The only downside is that the SXfi mobile app does not support Spotify, YouTube or Apple Music or any other content streaming so, you can only experience SXfi with locally stored music on your phone. Also, the SXFi app doesn't have a button remapping functionality, although the Outlier Air V2 earbuds do support all the functions you would ever want onboard an earbud, including volume control, which is activated via a long press.
The Outlier Air V2 charging case sliding mechanism works similarly to a drawer runner slider that allows the docking tray to slide out, just enough, to comfortably take out the earbuds. When retracted, the docking tray remains securely inside the case via magnetic connection, which is strong enough to prevent the docking tray from sliding out accidentally. Because the Outlier Air V2 charging case uses drawer runners, rather than a hinged lid, you can swing the case open, which is cool.
When the docking tray is out, the dimensions of the charging case are 14cm long (8cm long when closed), 4.5cm wide and 3cm thick; hence the charging case is substantially bulkier than most true wireless. The Outlier Air V2 charging case weighs 58 grams, while the earbuds weigh 11 grams (5.5 grams each).
To pair the Outlier Air V2 earbuds, you have to take them out of the charging case to trigger bluetooth pairing. The Outlier Air V2 earbuds show up as two devices (right and left) but, you only have to click on one of them to pair and connect both earbuds. You will hear a voice prompt saying "connected". The touch control panel has a shiny finish to it with an led ring around it that makes the earbuds look like owl eyes when they light up. The ring leds do not flash during audio playback, which is a good thing because if the ring leds did flash they would likely annoy/distract someone sitting nearby.
There is no re-connection delay when switching earbuds in and out of the case. That said, you cannot pair them independently of each other, unless you keep the earbuds out of range of each other (approx. 10 meters away). With some earbuds that support independent use, you don't have to keep them apart, which is obviously more convenient. That said, once the Outlier Air V2 earbuds are paired with different devices they can be used at closed range; hence you will be able to connect one earbud to your phone and the other earbud to your computer at the same time.
As far as Bluetooth codecs, the Bluetooth 5.0 chip supports aptX, SBC and AAC, which help cut down some lag. If your phone doesn't support aptX or AAC, you will notice the audio being slightly out of sync with the video as you can tell from the video above. The audio quality is still good via regular bluetooth, especially the volume sound, which is loud despite the small driver size. The Outlier Air V2 earbuds deliver huge bass an passive noise isolation, thanks to the large body shell of the earbud. The Outlier Air V2 are bass heavy earbuds with the bass being more prominent than the higher tones, which are pushed back, although the midrange and treble can still be perceived clearly.
The narrow nozzle necks are capped by metal mesh tips. The Outlier Air V2 earbuds integrate, probably, one of the smallest drivers around, at just 5.6mm diameter. Most true wireless earbuds driver size tends to be 6mm and up. That being said, the Outlier Air V2 driver diaphragm is made of graphene, which is one of the most unique non-metal materials used in speaker drivers because it's stronger than steel yet, it's lighter than paper.
The Outlier Air V2 earbuds battery capacity (80mAh) is well above the 45mAh average most true wireless earbuds are equipped with. The charging case battery capacity (450mAh) is a on the smaller size though, specially given the bulky size. Both the charging case and Outlier Air V2 earbuds take 2.5 hours to fully charge. There is no quick charge support nor is there multipoint pairing connection support. The Outlier Air V2 earbuds have a 12-hour runtime (6 hours per earbud) when volume is set to 50%. The charging case can provide up to two recharges (total of 36 hours).
The Creative Outlier Air V2 earbuds use an omnidirectional microphone (one per earbud), which does a good job of isolating your voice from background noise for a clear casual conversation. An unbranded charging cable (USB-A to USB-C) is included, along with different size silicone ear tips and a user guide. You can buy the Creative Outlier Air V2 earbuds from amazon. If you like neckband style earbuds, check out the review of the Aurvana Trio Wireless.

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