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Creative Outlier One Plus review: The best earphones for the gym

Christopher Minasians
3 Dec 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
36
incl VAT

With a built-in MP3 player, stellar sound quality and an affordable price, Creative’s Outlier One Plus are a must-buy for the gym

Pros 
Superb sound quality at this price
Comfortable and sturdy design
Built-in 4GB MP3 player
Cons 
None at this price
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Singapore-based component manufacturer Creative originally made its name with its line of Sound Blaster sound cards, but it’s now dipped its toes in all sorts of different waters, from MP3 players to Android tablets. These days, it’s the firm’s range of speakers and headphones that are doing the business for Creative, and the Outlier One Plus are its next star product.

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Creative Outlier One Plus review: What you need to know

Outwardly the Outlier One Plus look like any other wireless Bluetooth headset. They’re not true wireless buds like the Samsung Galaxy Buds or the excellent RHA TrueConnect; instead, there’s a wire connecting the earpieces that’s designed to rest against the back of your neck.

It’s a pretty common design and one that here works pretty well. The cable is comfortable on the neck and doesn’t create much in the way of microphonic noise as it rubs against your skin or shirt and it houses an easy-to-use control module. This houses a micro-USB port for charging and data transfer, a built-in mic and three buttons to control media. The control module also houses a dedicated button that toggles between Bluetooth and MP3 modes.

With three sets of silicone tips and two types of “secure tip” in the box, it’s reasonably likely you’ll find a decent fit, too. The secure tips have “wings” that lock them in place in the outer part of your ear and are particularly good at ensuring the earphones don’t fall out on your morning jog. You needn’t worry about rain or sweat, either, as the headphones meet the IPX4 standard: they’re not swim- or water-proof, though.

So far, so good. What sets the Outlier One Plus apart from most at this price, though, is the fact they come with a built-in MP3 player and 4GB of storage, so you can listen to your favourite tunes and podcasts without having to have your smartphone nearby. That makes them ideal for wearing when you’re out for a run.

To utilise the MP3 mode, you’ll need to transfer files from a computer to the earphones but, as long as you have the files to hand, this is a relatively painless process. There’s no need to download additional software: simply drag and drop files across to the earphones using Windows Explorer or the macOS Finder. The headphones support a healthy number of file types too – including MP3, FLAC, WAV and WMA – but AAC and M4A go amiss.

When it comes to battery life, the Outliers last around seven hours in Bluetooth mode and ten hours in MP3 mode. That’s nothing special but neither is it anything particularly out of the ordinary for headphones of this type. When used over Bluetooth, they’ll work at a range of up to 15m, which is also pretty standard. Codec support, on the other hand, is limited to SBC; disappointingly, there’s no support for the higher quality aptX or aptX HD codecs.

This, however, doesn’t seem to impact on sound quality much. Much like the critically acclaimed Outlier One, the Outlier One Plus offer fantastic dynamism across the frequency range. For a pair of headphones this cheap, they sound remarkably punchy and exciting.

Cue up Charlie Puth’s “How Long”, for instance, and you’ll be impressed with the taut, tuneful bassline, while the forward-sounding vocals add an engaging atmospheric edge. There’s a pleasing lack of sibilance, too, with the rolled-off treble sounding very easy on the ears.

Switch to Michael Jackson’s “Liberian Girl (Master Chic Mix)” and the earphones handle instrument separation, tonality and spaciousness with impressive grace. They sound open and airy, much more so than other earphones in this price range – the wired Sennheiser CX 3.00 and the wireless Brainwavz BLU-100, for instance. The Creative Outlier One Plus also go ear-piercingly loud if that’s your bag.

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Creative Outlier One Plus review: Price and competition

The Creative Outlier One Plus face plenty of competition from other wireless earphones from Anker, TaoTronics, Mpow and even Creative’s Outlier One. However, none of these budget wireless earphones have a built-in MP3 player. And at a mere £6 premium over the Outlier One, the Outlier One Plus remain affordable.

Creative Outlier One Plus review: Verdict

For its price, there’s nothing out there that competes with the Creative Outlier One Plus: they have a secure fit, a built-in MP3 player and sublime audio quality. They’re among the best-sounding and most feature-packed Bluetooth earphones you’ll find for under £50.

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