Creative Labs are here with today’s offering, and it comes as the full-flavoured SXFI Air Gamer. Creative Labs need no introduction, so let’s crack on and see if the £99.99 asking price is worth it.
Creative SXFI AIR GAMER Headset: Specifications & Features
Audio Processing: Super X-Fi, SXFI BATTLE Mode
Interface: microSD Card: up to 32GB, FAT32 file system, USB-C, 3.5 mm Stereo Input, Bluetooth 5.0
Product Type: Wireless Headset
Weight: 313.6g (with NanoBoom Mic)
Frequency Response: 20–20,000 Hz
Driver: 50 mm (1.97 inches) Neodymium magnet
Battery Type and Life: Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery, Up to 11 hours
Connector Type: USB, Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5 mm Stereo Input
Bluetooth Operating Frequency: 2402-2480 MHz
RF Power: Bluetooth – 1.70mW, Bluetooth Low Energy – 1.71mW
Audio Codec: SBC
Operating Range: Up to 10m / 33 ft
Wearing Style: Over-ear
Frequency Response: 100–16000 Hz (CommanderMic)
Frequency Response: 100–8000 Hz (NanoBoom Mic)
Sensitivity: @ 1 kHz: -42 dB (CommanderMic)
Sensitivity: @ 1 kHz: -38 dB (NanoBoom Mic)
Technology: SXFI InPerson®
- Touch controls (playback/track controls, Volume, call handling), GamerChat, Bluetooth pairing, Super X-Fi, Power on/off, Source
RGB Ear-Cup Rings: Choose from 16 million colors
Ear Pads: Perforated Protein Leather with memory foam
Product page: Click Here
Creative SXFI AIR GAMER Headset: Closer Look
Let’s start with the box, and it’s a fairly standard offering which includes a picture of the headset itself, the Super X-Fi promotion, and some promotion for CES awards.
Disappointing to open it up and see the headset sat in a moulded plastic clamshell. Play3r is actively promoting the non-use of plastic wherever possible, so here it gets a thumbs down from us.
Opening up the box at the bottom reveals the included accessories. In this case a:
- 3.5mm jack cable
- USB-C cable
- USB-A to USB-C adapter
- The CommanderMic (centre)
- The NanoMic (bottom left)
- Silicone microphone plug (mid-bottom)
The headset itself feels to be built with pretty good materials, which is expected at this price point. All soft-touch material is protein leather and the earpads are perforated with memory foam.
The right earcup contains some Super X-Fi branding promoting the headphone holography. The internal LEDs light up a ring on the outside as well as the text and ring on the earcup itself.
The front-facing side of the earcup reveals a little hole. I can only presume this is here to help with noise cancellation.
On the left, it’s much the same affair from this angle. The NanoMic comes pre-installed out of the box and is visible in this picture on the lower left side of the ear cup.
Around the edges, we find the controls for the headset. From front to back: We have the power button, the removable microphone, but the NanoMic is pictured installed. Remember the CommanderMic can also be installed here, as well as removing them altogether and installing the silicon plug.
Towards the bottom, we have the I/O options. Here is where the USB-C cable and the 3.5mm jacks are connected, depending on the use case.
There is also an LED indicator here as the headset has a battery installed and it lights up when plugged in. Note: the USB-C cable must be used to charge the headset.
The Bluetooth logo button is used to activate pairing mode with a long press. It also doubles as a “Source” button which switched between USB input, Bluetooth input, Gamerchat, and SD card input. More on these options shortly.
Above the Source/Bluetooth button is the micro SD card slot, and finally above that is the SXFI button. This button activates Super X-FI and Battlemode. Again, more on them shortly.
With a nod to premium branding the Creative Labs! logo is stamped into the headband which itself looks really nice and is indeed very comfortable when worn in prolonged gaming sessions.
Creative SXFI AIR GAMER Headset: Setup
Setup of the SXFI Air Gamer was relatively easy. That being said, to get the best out of the headset, the SXFI mobile app is going to be needed.
The app itself creates a SXFI profile by taking three photos, one of each ear and one of your face.
These photos are used to create a “personalised audio map” which can then be downloaded to the SXFI Control app on your PC or Mac, so that will also need to be downloaded and installed.
The SXFI Control software has you sign in to your account allowing the profile to download. From there, you can control the Equaliser settings, LED lighting, Gamerchat, and setup: which is basically switching between stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 surround modes.
Creative SXFI AIR GAMER Headset: The Verdict
Let’s start with a look at the box. It’s obvious here that Creative’s theme is black and blue and the marketing material overall is clear and concise. Inside we find the headset sat on a clamshell. Again, it’s disappointing to see it’s plastic and not a moulded eggbox style paper insert. I was pleased to see the accessory box was card, especially when a lot of effort went into it and how it stores the contents.
The headset itself looks very nice out of the box and it’s clear to see some attention to detail has been given. The headset frame externally is plastic with metal bars internally for rigidity and head-size adjustment which merge directly into the headset cups. The headband also has the Creative logo stamped into it.
The earcups have some detailing promoting the Super X-Fi Headphone Holography and the RGB lighting is tastefully done.
Moving down to the housing and it’s an all-black affair and I’m pleased to say the large perforated memory foam earcups are soft and do a surprisingly good job with noise isolation.
There’s no denying the earcups look and feel plasticky but overall it’s very solid, and I like the look of them. Regardless, almost all headsets have a plastic construction anyway. The earcups themselves also have touch controls on the left-hand side. These controls are:
Up-down swipe is up/down control volume
Left-right swipe is previous/next tracks
A single tap controls play/pause and answering/hanging up calls when paired to Bluetooth devices.
The plethora of controls on the left earcup edge are laid out very well and are easy to use and navigate, especially when worn on the head.
Under the hood, Creative has implemented 50mm Neodymium drivers.
I grabbed my go-to mixed genre playlist which gives me a good mix of music frequencies. I’m happy to tell you the headset performs well with well-balanced sound delivering good highs and mids with punchy lows across the board. Overall, they sound fantastic!
Gaming performance is again well delivered and the 5.1 & 7.1 surround sound implementation worked very well too. Giving me excellent situation awareness in FPS titles such as Hell Let Loose & Call of Duty: Warzone, as well as driving games like Assetto Corsa Competizione, the games you’ll typically find me playing.
Creative SXFI Air Gamer: Final Thoughts
I’ve failed to mention so far the point of the SXFI Air Gamer headset. Creative has created a headset for everyone, that works with anything that outputs via USB, 3.5mm jack and Bluetooth. In my head, that pretty much covers almost everything!
Be that: PC gaming, Console gaming & VR gaming, and then when you’re not gaming they double down as a really good pair of Bluetooth headphones capable of making calls when paired with the low profile NanoMic.
Gamerchat deserves the next mention, to quote:
“Teamwork makes the dream work, right? But what if you can’t communicate because the platform that you are gaming on doesn’t allow for that option? This is where SXFI AIR GAMER’s GamerChat comes in. Especially on gaming devices like Nintendo Switch, you can enjoy Super X-Fi Headphone Holography via USB on both handheld or dock modes, and connect wirelessly to your mobile phone’s chat app (e.g Discord) over Bluetooth—simultaneously on the SXFI AIR GAMER. While connected, you can also quickly pick up incoming calls without having to remove your headset.
And we’re not just stopping there—with GamerChat, you get to preserve the audio quality of 7.1 holographic audio immersion without losing acoustic details. At the same time, the audio sources are precisely positioned and supercharged with the Super X-Fi Headphone Holography for the best cinematic effects. The spatialized effect neutralizes headphone fatigue that usually plagues long gaming sessions to improve your overall gameplay altogether. Simply switch to GamerChat mode via the Source button located on the headset itself to enjoy this feature!”
As good as it is, and it is…
It only works when connected to devices (PC, Mac and Consoles) that use the USB connection. So if you’re an Xbox user this feature isn’t for you, unfortunately.
Finally, SXFI needs a mention. Super X-Fi, in its full name, is technology that uses computational audio to recreate the listening experience of a high-end multi-speaker system in a professional studio, and delivers the same expansive natural experience with the same original depth, detail, realism, and spaciousness, in headphones.
I didn’t like it… simply put, it adds too much echo and surround effect. It left me disappointed, as I was expecting to be blown away and I wasn’t, at all.
Now being subjective, I’ve been using the SXFI Air Gamer headset for almost 6 months now, so I am talking here from experience.
I’d recommend using SXFI mode when listening to certain music: though vocal-heavy music sounds the worst, and when watching movies, SXFI and movies are an enjoyable experience.
I wouldn’t recommend using the SXFI mode when gaming at all, and the reason is simple: when it’s turned off the headset sounds amazing! The SXFI Air Gamer is one of the best sounding gaming headsets I’ve ever used. Period!
Overall, the SXFI feature has left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. It’s given with one hand and taken away with the other, especially as SXFI is heavily promoted with the Air Gamer headset.
So, is it worth the £99.99 asking price?
Providing you think you are going to be using all the features, and by that I mean the 3.5mm or USB audio interface, and occasionally Bluetooth for VR gaming and use away from the desk, then yes absolutely.
If not, Creative has a range with fewer features that’ll have you covered!
Big thanks to Creative for sending me the SXFI Air Gamer headset for today’s review.
- Well built.
- It delivers fantastic sound through all the ranges.
- Decent microphones, both the NanoMic and CommanderMic sound awesome.
- Look really good.
- SXFI tuning needs some work, especially when gaming.
So, I have these and I have a couple comments that I haven’t seen others mention. First, I actually like the SXFI sound, so it’s obviously subjective. Overall, I generally like the headset, but I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone else.
The big sales pitch is that you can do USB to your PC/PS (or maybe 3.5mm if using an XBox) and Bluetooth to a Discord chat simultaneously. That stated, it only supports the most basic Bluetooth codecs, so it’s going to sound like a crappy phone call and not crisp.
Now that you’re not going to use the Bluetooth, it still has a battery in it that can’t run completely over USB because it won’t charge the battery as fast as it’s discharging over USB. So if you have a long session or you forget to turn them off… you’re SOL.
Therefore, I’d recommend a person save the money and get the Creative SXFI Gamer USB-C Gaming Headset instead if these interest you.