The choice of TWS wireless headphones is very large. It is increasingly difficult for manufacturers to stand out from the competition’s offers. Creative decided to do it in the simplest way – it fights with the price. Creative Zen Air headphones cost PLN 209 on the manufacturer’s website, but in some stores the price has already dropped below the threshold of PLN 200. These are one of the cheapest TWS headphones on the market. In addition, they offer active noise reduction, ambient monitoring mode and wireless charging. We met with headphones five times more expensive that did not have the latter function. The price-performance ratio is hard to beat, but are the Creative Zen Air good headphones? We will try to answer this question.
How do we evaluate design?
Creative Zen Air look like many other TWS models on the market. The headphones are made of white plastic and have an IPX4 seal standard. Each of the headphones weighs 5 grams, and the case together with the headphones 46 grams. When you look closely at the photos taken with the macro lens, you can see that the matching of materials is not as precise as in more expensive models. However, this has no significance for functionality or convenience.
Each earphone is equipped with a 10 mm driver and two microphones. The case has a USB C connector, a two-color LED and a pairing button. Insert the headphones into the case horizontally. The case allows for wireless charging on a QI charger.
We operate the functions of the headphones by touch. Actions have been distributed between the left and right headphones. A double-tap on the left earbud cycles through ambient noise reduction, off, and ambient monitoring modes in a loop. A triple tap activates the voice assistant. Touching and holding the left earbud decreases the volume. The same gestures on the right earbud pause and resume playback, skip to the next track, and increase the volume.
For voice calls, the gestures are identical on both handsets. This helps when only one handset is used for a conversation. Double-tap answers the call, hold for 3 seconds to reject calls, and double-tap during a call ends the call. Changing the volume works as before and requires both headphones. One of the functions that cannot be performed from the headphones is to go back to the beginning of the song or to the previously played song.
The headphones are light, comfortable and do not tend to slip out of the ears. Three sizes of rubber tips are included – one on the earbuds and two more in the box.
Mobile application and additional functions
Creative Zen Air do not have a dedicated application to support them. All functions that are available have touch gestures assigned and it is not possible to personalize them. On the one hand, this simplifies the use of headphones, which you just need to pair and start using. On the other hand, it is not possible to change touch gestures, disable some functions, or personalize the sound.
Sound and voice conversations
The sound of the Creative Zen Air headphones surprises positively. As for one of the cheaper models on the market, it is really hard to see compromises in the quality of the music played compared to models twice as expensive. The sound is soft and melodic, low tones deep and undistorted. Even the high tones are pleasant to hear, although not as detailed as in the higher models of headphones. In terms of just listening to music, the Creative Zen Air can easily be rated high.
Voice calls are almost as good – not once have I had problems with the interlocutor understanding me. The headphones even managed a fairly large dose of ambient noise, which was not completely inaudible to the interlocutor, but did not interfere with the conversation.
Noise reduction is by far the weakest point of the Creative Zen Air . The feature is available and offers some improvement, while the noise reduction is symbolic. Far less effective than in higher models of more expensive headphones. It brings some improvement in comfort in the most monotonous noise, but already cars in city traffic are almost as well audible with and without noise reduction. The main part of the noise reduction is passive – resulting from the clogging of the ear canal with rubber tips.
The situation is similar with the environment monitoring mode – it works even a little better than noise reduction, but the gusts of wind are strongly amplified, and ultimately, to talk to the other person, I would decide to take the headphones out of my ears anyway.
How long does the battery last?
The manufacturer states that the Creative Zen Air works for 6 hours on its own and up to 18 hours when recharged in a case that can charge the headphones twice. This result ensures comfort, but there is no shortage of models on the market that last longer. However, it should be enough even for most longer trips.
The main advantage of the Creative Zen Air is the possibility of wireless charging, which many models of headphones do not offer, especially in this price range.
Creative Zen Air are cheap and good headphones. If we accept that they do not have a dedicated application, and we treat active noise reduction as a minor feature, then for this price we get a really great product. Few models on the market offer such good sound and wireless charging at such a low price. The operation is intuitive and the voice calls are of good quality. I think that for most Creative Zen Air users , this will be a great choice of headphones for everyday use. However, if we care about effective noise reduction, a very good ambient sound amplification mode and an extensive mobile application, we will not find any of these features in the Creative Zen Air, nor in similarly priced headphones. To get ANC from the top shelf you will have to spend at least three times more.
We love: sound quality
What we don’t like: ineffective reduction of ambient noise
Who is the Creative Zen Air for:
- For people looking for good sound at a low price
- For those who want to charge headphones wirelessly
- For talking and listening to music
Who the Creative Zen Air is not for:
- Not for people who care about effective, active reduction of ambient noise
- Not for people who plan to use Ambient Sound Boost mode often
- Not for people who value personalization of functions and sound in the mobile application
The main pros and cons of the Creative Zen Air
Advantages of Creative Zen Air:
- Light and comfortable, they do not fall out of the ears
- Can be charged via USB C and wirelessly
- Very good sound
- Good quality of voice calls
- Convenient, repeatable touch operation
- You can adjust the volume directly from the headphones
- Very good value for money
Wady Creative Zen Air:
- Build quality not as good as more expensive models
- No mobile app or personalization options
- Active noise reduction ineffective
- Limited use ambient monitoring mode
- You can’t undo a track from the headphones