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Hands-on-review: Creative Outlier Air V3

By Tom Richmond
Mon 2 May 2022

Creative is back with the third version of its affordable Outlier Air wireless earbuds range - aptly named the ‘V3’. And this time, they come boasting ambient mode and active noise reduction.

The Outlier Air V3s are currently retailing for AUD $59.95 (approx. NZD $65), meaning they are priced competitively. In fact, significantly cheaper than the Belkin SOUNDFORM Rise earbuds we reviewed earlier this year. 

So, should you consider the Outlier Air V3s if you’re in the market for some budget earbuds?

Looks and feel

First thing’s first, looks-wise, Creative hasn’t developed the product much since its first version was released a few years back. However, it has fixed several internal issues with the previous models. 

If you aren’t familiar with the Outlier Air range, the two earbuds sit within a neat charging case, which is mainly made of cheaper-feeling plastics with a nice metallic finish. The earbuds curiously slide out sidewards, displaying either a blue or red LED to indicate their charging status. 

Neither the charging case nor earbuds have any physical buttons - but the latter does have touch technology allowing a range of customisable inputs such as play/pause and volume control.

As you might expect for the price, the device doesn’t feel especially premium, although this doesn’t affect the performance. 

For the price, I was incredibly impressed with just how comfortable the Outlier Air V3s felt in the ear. Some earbuds can get quite uncomfortable within an hour or so of usage, but I found myself being able to use these for much longer periods than I’m used to. 

Performance

The earbuds are simple to connect to your device via Bluetooth 5.2 and easy enough to operate via the aforementioned touch inputs.

One of the most impressive features of the Outlier Air V3s is the battery capacity - the earbuds have a 10-hour battery life, with a total of 40-hours with a fully charged case. Charging can be done either wirelessly or via USB-C. It’s worth noting, however, that battery life reduces significantly when using the handy ambient mode or active noise cancellation.  

The sound is by no means going to blow you away compared to more premium products. Still, it’s genuinely good enough to listen to various genres of music over long periods of time - which came as a pleasant surprise. The earbuds are powered by 6mm bio-cellulose drivers, which aid performance. Call quality has noticeably improved over previous models with four built-in microphones - another pleasant surprise. These microphones also allow you to utilise Siri and Google Assistant.

Creative’s SXFI App (available on both App Store and Google Play) allows you to personalise your listening experience. However, this doesn’t work with several third-party streaming apps, including Spotify and YouTube. 

Verdict

The Creative Outlier Air V3 air buds should definitely be on your shopping list if you want some everyday true wireless earbuds without breaking the bank.

During testing, I had to keep reminding myself that these weren’t twice the price once they were in my ears. The sound quality is impressive. 

The comfortability means these would be great for long haul travel, and an IPX5 sweatproof rating means that they are also a good option while working out.

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