Creative SXFI AIR Gamer Review Rating
The Creative SXFI AIR Gamer are one of the most feature-rich headphones I have tried. The SXFI works well to offer a more immersive experience for gaming and movies, and I like the fact that you can have just one pair of headphones for multiple scenarios.
Overall - 80%
- SXFI is great for games and movies alike providing a more immersive experience
- Fantastic range of connectivity options
- GamerChat feature is both unique and useful
- Attractively priced considering the features you get
- Not a lot of bass with SXFI off
- Could be better musically (and I am not sure about listening to music with SXFI on)
- SBC Bluetooth codec is less than ideal for gaming/movies
In such a crowded marketplace, Creative manage to produce so quite a lot of innovative products. The Creative SXFI Gamer is one of their more unique options. These are not just generic wireless headphones, they offer SXFI sound processing for more immersive audio in both gaming and movies and some clever communication options with GamerChat. On top of that, they have a wide range of connectivity options.
There are four Creative SXFI AIR models plus the SXFI Theater. They all seem to be designed around the same headphone but each offering different connectivity and pricing.
The Creative SXFI AIR Gamer are the newest model, which launched back in April this year.
|SXFI AIR Gamer||SXFI AIR||SXFI AIR C||SXFI THEATER|
|Drivers||50 mm Neodymium magnet||50 mm Neodymium magnet||50 mm Neodymium magnet||50 mm Neodymium magnet|
|Frequency Response||20 Hz – 20 kHz||20 Hz – 20 kHz||20 Hz – 20 kHz||20 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Impedance||32 ohms||32 ohms||32 ohms||32 ohms|
|Weight||313.6g||338g (11.9 oz)||318g (11.2 oz)||346g (12.2 oz)|
|Nintendo Switch Chat Support||Yes||Yes|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5, USB-C, Line-in||Bluetooth 4.2, USB-C, Line-in||micro USB, Line-in||Low-latency 2.4 GHz wireless, Line-in|
|Colours||Black, White||Black, White||Black||Black|
|Controls||Touch controls (Volume and Playback controls)|
Power on / off, Source
SXFI BATTLE Mode
|Touch controls (Volume and Playback controls)|
Power on / off, Source
|Mic mute, Volume|
RGB lighting on / off
NanoBoom microphone & CommanderMic
|MicroSD Card MP3 Player||Supports MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC formats||Supports MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC formats|
|Battery Life||Up to 11 hours||Up to 10 hours||USB-powered||Up to 30 hours|
Set Up / Connectivity / Head Mapping
Setting up any SXFI product requires a lot more work than you may be used to. For SXFI to work, you need to do a head scan of your ears using your phone with their mobile app. Thankfully I had already done this when I first reviewed a SXFI product. However, it is not really a one-person job, trying to get the camera aligned up to your ear accurately by yourself is really quite difficult. It is probably quite easy with someone helping you though.
These are quite unique in that you have four ways to connect:
- Bluetooth 5 – Upgraded from 4.2 on older models but still only uses the SBC codec, which has a lot of latency
- USB-C – Which enables GamerChat and 7.1 holographic audio
- 3.5mm –
It is an impressive range of options, but it does come with caveats. For gaming, or whenever possible, you will want to use the USB-C. This will give you access to lower latency and higher quality audio, plus enable various SXFI features.
Considering Creative have the BT-W3 dongle, which offers both low latency and high definition audio, it seems odd that these are limited to the standard SBC Bluetooth codec. Perhaps this is something that will get added with subsequent SXFI AIR launches.
Comfort & Design
These are incredibly comfortable for me to wear. The earcups have extra thick padded, and they are large enough to fit around my quite large ears without pressing down on them. Head tension is quite low too, so these have been comfortable for me to wear for prolonged periods of time.
Oddly, all the controls are on the left ear cup, so it takes a little while to get used to controlling them (unless you are a lefty).
The inclusion of a microSD slot feels a little retro in a world of streaming, but these have support fro things like the FLAC format so it may appeal to individuals that have a digital archive of high-quality music.
One of the main selling points of these headphones is the unique GamerChat. This allows a dual connection with Bluetooth on your phone then USB on your PC/console. With this connectivity, you can seamlessly chat via your phone while hearing your gaming audio. This can be either to take calls mid-game, or you can create your own ad-hoc in-game chat for games that don’t have it built-in.
I tested this briefly, and it does seem to work well. Admittedly I neither use in-game chat nor voluntarily take phone calls very often, so it is a feature that is a bit wasted on me.
The Creative SXFI AIR Gamer sound quite good, they are a bit more neutral than many consumer headphones. With these likely appealing to a younger audience, I would have thought a more bass focussed sound profile may be preferable. On the flip side of this, the subtle bass doesn’t drown out a lot of ambient noise while gaming, so these work quite well if you need to hear the environment around you.
For music, I personally found them a little bit lacking. Treble was a touch overemphasised, and I wasn’t able to get the EQ to boost the bass that much with SXFI off. SXFI appears to introduce more bass, but as much as I like the SXFI experience, with its widened soundstage, I am not sure how much I enjoy it for music, probably just because it is quite a different audio experience.
They still sound good, and if you prefer a more neutral sound, you may love them, but I think many non-gamer focussed options could likely outperform these.
For everything else, these work great. Movies, TV and games all benefit from SXFI, providing you with a wider sound stage and virtual effect.
Price and Alternative Options
- HYBRID HEADPHONE WITH USB AUDIO...
- AWARD-WINNING SUPER X-FI TECHNOLOGY - Accumulating...
- BETTER CALL EXPERIENCE...
- SXFI BATTLE MODE AND CUSTOM-DESIGNED KEVLAR...
The Creative SXFI Air Gamer are £124.99 on Amazon and Creative. Amazon currently has a 10% off voicer available.
The older Creative SXFI AIR is just £79.99 from Creative with these, you will lose out on GamerChat and SXFI BATTLE Mode. Then they use the older Bluetooth 4.2 and microUSB and lack the detachable CommanderMic.
There is not really any direct competition. You either have wired, USB, or Bluetooth headphones, not all three at once.
The Creative SXFI AIR headphones are an excellent and versatile choice that are ideal for someone that wants one device to transition from a console headset to headphones for on the move.
GamerChat and the SXFI processing are both features you won’t find on competing options, and this, therefore, makes these highly extremely for gamers.
Sound quality is good, but perhaps not musically the best I have tried. However, they do sound fantastic for gaming and movies alike, and there are not many other options on the market that do built-in virtual surround sound processing.
The lack of a low latency codec is quite disappointing. It is not something I’d normally moan about too much, but with these being designed with a gamer in mind, it would have been good to have a low latency codec for mobile gaming (and movies etc).
Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API