Review: Creative Outlier Free Pro+ – The Sound of Safety

Consciously Crafted for Your Active Lifestyle through Bone Conduction Technology!

Headphones and headsets come in a variety of different shapes, styles, and sizes to meet a variety of different needs. Sometimes, this requires an innovative approach, such as operating in situations where the listener must also be aware of background sounds. There have been a variety of answers to this, from passive microphones that pass audio through, to bone conduction. Creative’s Outlier series answers that challenge with a pro-level product of their own. Let’s take a look!

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The Concept

When comparing the conventional headphone design, which often creates a bubble of isolation from your surroundings—potentially compromising safety for pedestrians or drivers—Creative’s Outlier series introduces a novel solution. Utilizing bone conduction technology, these headphones rest gently on your jawbone, transmitting sound through vibrations in your bones. The result is a remarkable fusion of immersive audio and heightened environmental awareness. My experience with the Outlier Free Pro+ exemplified this delicate equilibrium flawlessly. Throughout my extensive testing period, I found myself seamlessly engrossed in a diverse range of audio content while maintaining a keen awareness of my surroundings.

What sets the Outlier series apart is its ability to deliver audio without obstructing the listener’s connection to their environment. By harnessing the natural conductivity of bone, these headphones offer a unique listening experience that prioritizes safety and situational awareness. During my time with the Outlier Free Pro+, I discovered firsthand the effectiveness of this approach. No matter what I was doing, I felt fully immersed in my audio while remaining attuned to potential hazards or interactions that came my way. It’s this thoughtful blend of technology and functionality that makes the Outlier series a standout choice for those seeking both audio excellence and environmental awareness.

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Design and Quality

The Outlier series features a very smooth and modern design, and importantly, a fully IPX8 waterproof design, which can be used while swimming or actively participating in water related tasks or heavy exercise – they work very well in these environments. With the absence of any cloth that could absorb moisture (these feature a smooth rubberized plastic surface instead), they also remain far more hygienic than typical headphones.

The main downside of the Outlier Free Pro+ design, however, lies in the charger: it relies on a set of proprietary magnetized pins. This is something that I don’t like to see in general, as it locks you down to a specific brand if anything happens to your original charger, or if you’d like to have a spare.

One thing that is apparent, however, is that Creative went to some great lengths in order to create a headset that was fully waterproof, even including a plug to protect the microphone when being used in wet environments.

Experience and Feel

While the PRO+ is incredibly easy to use and exhibit overall acceptable audio performance, I did feel like the internal microphone was not the best at carrying sound. Multiple individuals that I tested this with confirmed that my voice sounded distant when speaking on this headset. In terms of playback quality, however, I had no significant complaints.

In terms of feel: these headphones, in my experience, exhibited a loose feeling that made it difficult for me to feel they were fully secure. Even with the adjustable transducers, I found the overall fit and feel lacking, and would not have felt confident while using them during heavy activity.

Pros:

  • Enhanced Safety: Bone conduction technology keeps users aware of their surroundings.
  • Robust Waterproofing: IPX8 rating ensures durability during water activities.
  • Long Battery Life: Enjoy over 10 hours of playback on a single charge.

Cons:

  • Limited Charging Compatibility: Proprietary charging pins restrict options.
  • Fit Issues: Some users find it challenging to secure a snug fit.
  • Mediocre Microphone: Internal mic may sound distant or tinny.

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Features and Assessment

While the design of the Outlier series has modern aesthetics and impressive waterproofing capabilities, it’s not without its drawbacks. The reliance on proprietary charging pins and concerns about fit and microphone quality detract slightly from an otherwise impressive package. However, Creative’s commitment to creating a fully waterproof headset is commendable, with added features like a protective plug for the microphone in wet environments showcasing their attention to detail.

The Pro+ has many impressive features, including 10+ hour battery life, iPX waterproofing, and a built-in MP3 player. In many ways, however, if feels like it is trying to do too much without nailing the basics (like clean and crisp sound delivery through the on-board mic – even in a still room, I had complaints about sounding distant or tinny). For the price point of $150USD MSRP, I honestly expected a little more from the Outlier Free Pro+. That being said, it did a fine job delivering clear audio performance and delivering exceptional battery life. It just ended up lagging on other areas like overall fit and feel and microphone quality.

Despite its shortcomings, the Outlier Free Pro+ is still a decent choice for those seeking a different type of audio experience. The Creative Outlier Free Pro+ is available now. For more information, check out Creative’s product page for details on the full Outlier lineup.

About Author
Glenn is the U.S. executive editor of SonnyDickson, a long time Apple user, and a former manager and service technician at an Apple authorized retail partner. His passion for technology was present from a very young age, and has extended throughout his entire life. His first computer was an Apple II, and he fondly remembers the era of Apple, Commodore, and Amiga. He also has a huge passion for journalism, has been a writer, editor, and journalist through a number of venues, and is a big fan of technology of all types, especially video and home kitchen tech! Glenn@SonnyDickson.com