Creative Outlier Sports review: our new favourite headphones for running and exercise
The Creative Outlier Sports are a fitness-focused set of in-ear headphones, designed to offer a comfortable and secure fit, whether you’re sitting at your desk or sprinting. They’re water resistant (to cope with rain and sweat), and they have a battery life north of ten hours (so you won’t be able to get out of exercising because your special earbuds have run out of battery again). They look quite promising, so let’s put ’em to the test!
Summary and score
The Creative Outlier Sports are the best pair of fitness headphones we’ve ever tested, thanks to a rugged design, dependably long battery life and a comfy, secure fit. Music sounds good too, with a noticeable bass presence. While there are cheaper and less brightly coloured options on the market, these headphones will appeal to many.
Support XSR: Buy for - from Amazon.com
- Lightweight, sweatproof and behind-the-neck design
- For active sports and everyday use with IPX4 certification
- Ergonomic easy-to-wear sport ear tips for perfect non-slip fit
- AuraSeal silicone ear tips seal outside noise and moisture
- Outstanding deep bass impact, crystal clear highs and balanced audio
- Up to 11 hours of audio playback for uninterrupted workouts
- Inline remote for easy access to calls and playback control
- Invisible microphone with ClearSpeech Engine for calls
Slide out the inner box, and you’ll find the Outlier Sports nicely presented.
Besides the headset itself, you’ll also find a choice of two additional pairs of ear sleeves, two additional pairs of wings and a clip.
Finally, there’s a soft leatherette carrying case, which also contains a short Micro USB cable for charging the headphones. Thankfully, there’s no proprietary adapter needed, so you can use the same cable as you would use with an Android phone or tablet.
The headphones utilise the common ‘joined-up in-ears’ design, with two earbuds connected by textured rubberised cable approximately 60cm in length. Half-way along, you can see the in-line remote which also contains the battery and Bluetooth radio.
The earphones themselves have a sensible construction, with a semi-transparent sleeve (of the kind we saw in the Creative SoundBlasterX P5) at one end, next the 6mm Neodymium driver, and then a curved silicone wing that serves to stabilise the earbud in your ear. Once inserted in your ear, the fit is both snug and comfortable.
The in-line remote has a circular button in the centre for turning the headphones off and on (which you’ll need to do manually) and pairing. There are also + and – buttons, for skipping tracks and adjusting the volume. Finally, there’s a small door which conceals the Micro USB port.
The earphones are rated IPX4 for water and dust resistance, meaning they can survive all manner of dust, but only splashes of water. Basically, you can’t use these in the pool or in the shower, but sweat and rain should be fine.
Overall, we find it to be an attractive design, initially comfortable in the ears and with readily accessible buttons. Now, we’ll use them for a week, and report back on our experiences in the testing section below.
Note: All XSReviews editors mysteriously weren’t available for photographs, so we have used the press photos that Creative have provided. Imagine us doing the same things, only looking slightly pastier. Thanks.
Agreeing with our initial impressions, we found the Outlier Sports to be quite comfortable both for exercise and mindless vegetation in front of a computer screen. The headphones sit very securely too, not budging even when running at full speed or performing other aerobic exercises.
The fit became a little toasty after a couple of hours use, but removing them for a few minutes every hour was more than enough to allow sustained use.
Indeed, this was often necessary outside of reasons of comfort, because the fit is so tight that there’s a significant amount of passive noise cancellation. It’s quite difficult to hear conversations with these inserted, although your mileage may vary depending on your ear shape and the ear sleeves you’ve chosen to use. This is great for focusing on your exercise or work, but less good if you’re running by a road, for example.
The Outlier Sports seem to have lived up to their promises of water resistance, too. We dropped them in a puddle (accidentally, we might add) and found them no worse for wear.
Battery life claims were also substantiated, with a clear nine to ten hours of usage before we started to hear the low battery tones. Given the ease by wish they can be recharged, requiring no special equipment, it should be no trouble to keep these ready to go at all times.
The sound quality of the headphones was better than expected, with good bass response at the slight expense of clarity in the mids. These aren’t the headphones we’d choose to listen to music above all others, but they’re quite good for an exercise-focused set of in-ear headphones.
The strength of the Bluetooth connection was also laudable, and we didn’t encounter any dropouts during testing to a range of about 20 feet or 6 metres. That’s more than enough to reach your smartphone in your armband, front or back pocket, and of course it allows you to wander around the gym a little bit while keeping your phone safely in your bag.
The only potentially divisive thing about these headphones are their look. Some friends loved it, others expressed an interest in something slightly more low-key. Happily, there are blue and green versions on top of the orange we tested, and these are a little more subdued if that’s what you’re into.
All in all, we faced few if any substantive issues with the Outlier Sports in our testing, and we came out of the testing period with a very positive impression overall.
The Creative Outlier Sports are an impressive in-ear headset for running and exercise of all kinds, and they’re pleasant enough in comfort and sound to wear around the house too. All in all, highly recommended.
Support XSR: Buy for - from Amazon.com