Review on Creative SFXI Air Gamer Gaming Headset
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The Review on Creative SFXI Air Gamer Gaming Headset
The Creative SXFI Air Gamer delivers great sound, effective positional gaming audio and is extremely comfortable. It has a wide range of connectivity options and you can communicate via Bluetooth while listening to gaming audio via USB at the same time. Mediocre external soundproofing is the only disappointment. In front of
Very comfortable Excellent sound quality for gaming, music and movies Dual microphones let you optimize for quality or portability USB, 3.5mm and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity Simultaneous USB and Bluetooth connections allow you to connect both your PC and phone
Installation requires a smartphone and is much easier with a second person External noise isolation could be better MicroSD is of limited use
It’s hard to think of a job that Creative’s SXFI Air Gamer can’t handle. This gaming headset covers just about every input combination imaginable and can even play music without any connection thanks to a MicroSD slot. Connect the SXFI Air Gamer to your PC’s USB port, enable Super X-Fi Battle mode and enjoy the benefit of accurate positional sound while gaming. Unplug it, connect via Bluetooth 5.0 to your phone and use it for music or mobile gaming. Or connect the USB and Bluetooth at the same time and chat via phone while gaming on your PC.
That’s not to say the SXFI Air Gamer excels in every area. There’s no wireless dongle, so PC gaming requires a wired connection for the lowest audio latency. The 11-hour battery life over Bluetooth is hours shorter than some competing headsets. And while the headset certainly doesn’t look cheap, it lacks the stylish, high-end feel of some of the best gaming headsets, like the equally flexible but more expensive Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT. In addition, audio isolation could be better.
Still, the Creative SFXI Air Gamer delivers where it matters most – excellent sound quality from both the 50mm drivers and microphones – and offers above-average flexibility for a mid-priced $150 gaming headset. The 7.1-channel holographic audio feels a bit gimmicky with his ear-mapping scans. But despite the heavy marketing, it sounds great and delivers an effective 3D soundstage for both gaming and entertainment. Creative SXFI Air Gamer Specifications Driver Type 50mm Neodymium Magnet Impedance Less than 2.2 kohms Frequency Response 20-20,000 Hz Microphone Type CommanderMicrophone: Bi-directional, 100-8,000 Hz NanoBoom Microphone: Bi-directional, 100-16,000 Hz Cup Microphone: Omni-directional Connectivity Options Bluetooth 5.0, USB -C cable, 3.5 mm cable Cables 6 feet (1.82 m) USB-C cable, 5.2 feet (1.58 m) 3.5 mm cable Weight 0.75 lb/335 g with NanoBoom Mic Lighting 1x RGB Zone Software SXFI Control (Windows, Mac); SXFI App (iOS/Android) Additional MicroSD card, USB-C to USB 2.0 Type-A dongle, Microphone port cover Design and comfort
Despite the “Air” in the name, these are quite large headphones with thick, heavily cushioned earpieces, reminiscent of audiophile headphones in size and shape. At just 0.75 pounds though, and while the padding on the underside of the headband is quite thin, I found them perfectly comfortable to wear throughout a workday. They fit well, but not so tight that they put pressure on my large head.
Much of this comfort comes from the padded ear cups. Made from memory foam and with a perforated pleat lining, they cover even larger ears without undue pressure. The perforations help keep them cool during gaming sessions in warmer rooms, although they also prevent the SXFI Air Gamer from isolating outside noise, as do some headphones, such as the non-perforated Plether-equipped Fnatic React+. Comfort is also aided by a small amount of vertical movement in the ear cups.
The overall design of the SXFI Air Gamer is stylish, if slightly tacky, matte black, with silver metal straps for size adjustment. A pair of RGB rings on each earcup provides a bit of visual bling without being flashy. The rings show the same effect and you can adjust the RGB color or set it to pulse through the rainbow using the PC/Mac app. Of course, you can also turn off the lighting for a more subdued overall black look.
There’s a padded headband with a subtle Creative logo across the top, as well as SXFI Air Gamer branding. The earcups are surrounded by a small “Super X-Fi Headphone Holography” slogan that repeats around the perimeter, but the writing is small enough to form an unquestionable visual accent.
All headset controls surround the left earcup. There is a power button, a switch to switch sources and a button enabling the audio enhancements of the headset. The controls are cleverly spaced far enough apart that you don’t hit the wrong switch once you learn the placements. You can also manipulate the volume and audio playback via a touch surface on the outside of the left earcup. wipe up/down to adjust volume or left/right to skip audio tracks. Tap the pad to pause playback or answer/end a call. The touch controls are responsive and I’ve had no issues with accidental activation when adjusting the headset.
Also on the left earcup are USB-C and 3.5mm audio connectors, a microphone connector and a MicroSD card slot that allows the SXFI Air Gamer to function as a standalone music player. Although technically only suitable for cards up up to 32 GB, the smallest MicroSD card I had available was 64 GB, and it worked fine, with the headset recognizing both MP3 and FLAC files. The quality of music playback was great, but since the only navigation through your music collection is forward and backward through all the tracks on the map, it’s hard to see you’re using this much feature when playing through your PC or phone will provide significantly better music navigation.
The SXFI Air Gamer comes with both USB-C and 3.5mm cables, as well as a USB-A to USB-C adapter. You can connect to PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch and PS4/PS4 Pro via USB and to an Xbox controller via the 3.5mm cable. Audio Performance Advertisement
In its pure state with improvements disabled, the audio quality of the SXFI Air Gamer is quite good. The large 50mm drivers do a great job of delivering clear audio across sound effects, voices and music, and the bass response is one of the better I’ve heard. Explosions and shots in games (and drums in music) pack a serious punch, but bass isn’t emphasized so much that it obscures the clarity of the sound or feels overdone. It feels just right for a set of cans aimed at gamers.
Once you turn on the Super X-Fi (SXFI) audio, the soundstage really effectively spreads around you. Creative says the Super X-Fi computational audio maps your head and ear shape and uses that information to tweak the audio output to create a virtual “holographic audio” 3D soundstage tailored to your unique physique. . Sounds not only feel positionally distributed, but also feel like they are coming from detectably different distances. When we tested Creative’s earlier SXFI Air headset, the earlier version of SXFI technology lagged some of the competition when it came to using 3D audio imaging to locate enemy movement and fire. Creative has addressed that weakness well with the addition of the SXFi Battle mode, which accentuates low sounds like footsteps and gunfire and makes detecting them much easier.
SXFI Battle Mode worked extremely well with Call of Duty: Warzone, Just Cause 4, and Watch Dogs: Legion. When enabled, other audio is slightly less emphasized, giving other background noises a more distant, ethereal feel. It didn’t detract from the experience and I had no trouble understanding the dialogue or choosing up other sound signals. But for games where you’re not so focused on someone snooping around the corner to kill you, the default SXFI mode has a slightly more natural overall tone. When SXFI is enabled, you can choose between stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 channel audio. While the virtual surround performance was convincing, the difference between 5.1 and 7.1 channels was negligible.
The SXFI Air Gamer also worked very well for watching movies and other videos. The strong bass response was great for action scenes and voices remained clear with or without SXFI enhancements enabled. In Bluetooth mode, I didn’t notice any lag between video and audio, so I watched YouTube videos on my phone or shows on my Bluetooth equipped TV were both enjoyable experiences.
Musically, the headset can’t match the depth and clarity of more audiophile headsets, like my Sennheiser Momentum 3. That said, music sounds better than you’d probably expect from gaming-focused headphones, especially at this price point. Vocal-focused tunes from artists like Childish Gambino and blues/rock like Larkin Poe sounded best when the SXFI enhancements were turned off. Putting them on while listening to more instrumental artists, such as Pink Floyd and classical orchestras, gave you a very immersive, rich soundstage. It felt like the music completely surrounded me, instead of being by your side.
Wrap up Review on Creative SFXI Air Gamer Gaming Headset
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