The Samsung Galaxy Buds made quite a splash when they launched a couple of months ago with the Galaxy S10 Plus. These are truly wireless earphones with wireless charging capabilities and even has a great companion app. At $129.99, they most certainly fall in the affordable price bracket.
On the other hand, the Creative Outlier Air earphones are one of the newest truly wireless earphones in the market. With robust features like IPX5 water resistance and superb battery life, these earphones had started to climb the popularity ladder even before their launch. And the cherry on top is the price.
The Creative Outlier Air cost $79.99, which is nearly $50 less than the Samsung Galaxy Buds.
So, is it worth upgrading to the Galaxy Buds, or should you go with the new Creative Outlier Air? Well, that's what we are going to find out in this post today.
Also on Guiding Tech
Design & Controls
Truly wireless earphones are not bulky now as they were a couple of years ago like the Bose SoundSport Free. Truly wireless earphones are now sleek, light and unobtrusive. The Creative Outlier Air conforms to this principle, albeit with its unique style.
The earbuds on these earphones have a nozzle-like design, which makes it easy to stick them to the ear canal. And the gentle slope from the main body to the actual earpiece gives it a slightly different but modern look. However, at the same time, this design also proves to be a tad annoying as the slope doesn't render a proper grip, which in turn may cause the earbuds to slip and fall.
On the upside, the fit is pretty comfortable and snug, and as long as you are wearing the proper silicone tips, they won't fall out from your ear.
Other than that, the Creative Outlier Air earphones are IPX5 certified and can withstand its share of water splashing, even when projected with force. So, if you are caught in a sudden downpour, this pair can handle it, and you won't have to invest in a new one. And needless to say, they can handle your gym sweat equally well.
Speaking of the controls, the Creative Outlier Air comes with physical buttons surrounded by a stylish notification rim. With these, you can control volume, navigate through songs, and answer/reject calls while connected to your phone. The buttons are at the top of the body.
But as many reviewers have noted, the buttons are a little hard to press. They need quite the amount of force to get the job done. While it may not seem much, but if you were to wear them for an extended duration, pushing the buttons may put a considerable amount of pressure on your ears.
Similar to the Creative Outlier Air, the Samsung Galaxy Buds have a small and unobtrusive profile. They comfortable to wear (with a snug fit) and easier to grip as well — all thanks to the slightly protruding angle of the middle section. Plus, the matte finish of the earbuds also plays a role in that.
A major difference between both the earbuds is the IP rating. Samsung's Galaxy Buds are rated IPX2. That means they can take the occasional dripping water, but throw something more at it and you will have to look for a new pair.
On the bright side, the touch control of the Galaxy Buds shouts future-ready. From calls to track navigation and summoning your favored digital assistant, all you need to do is tap lightly.
The good news is that you can customize the double-tap and the long-press of the touch controls. Furthermore, you can lock the touchpad if you're someone like me who tends to tap mindlessly on the earbuds often.
Apart from that, the opalescent coating on the controls ends up giving these earbuds a distinctive look.
Both the earphones support Bluetooth 5.0, which is faster and has a better range. With the Galaxy Buds, I didn't have any major connectivity issues while I was testing them. Neither did I face any signal drops, nor did both the buds lose connection with each other.
However, there have been many reported issues with signal drops. Hence you might want to consider it.
The disadvantage? Well, the Galaxy Buds lack support for Qualcomm aptX/aptX HD or Sony's LDAC.
As opposed to that, Creative’s brand new product has both aptX and AAC Bluetooth codecs.
Galaxy Wearable: The App Advantage
One of the main advantages of the Galaxy Earbuds is its companion app. When connected to the Galaxy Wearable app, you can check the battery levels or choose to customize the touchpad. Furthermore, you can tweak the notification controls or even find your earbuds if you lose them.
There’s an Ambient sound feature which when turned on, lets in a bit of the ambient noise. That is helpful when you are running and want to stay aware of your surroundings.
But the feature which takes the cake is the EQ. Wearable's EQ app lets you switch between Soft, Bass Boost, Clear or the Treble mode. Plus, there's the Dynamic mode too, which if you ask me, is the best setting to go with.
The Creative Outlier Air doesn't have any fancy companion app, but what it does have is a feature called mono mode. With it, you can easily carry on your calls or listen to your favorite songs even when one of the earbuds is in the charging case.
However, before you do that, you have to assign the active earpiece as the primary one.
Interestingly, the Galaxy Buds doesn't need any primary mode assignment. Remove one of the earbuds, and it will turn off automatically, while the one in your ear will continue playing.
Also on Guiding Tech
Battery & Charging
Truly wireless earphones do not sport a huge battery life. At most, you can get somewhere around 5-6 hours on a single charge at moderate volumes.
The Outlier Air outshine many of its counterparts with its impressive battery life. These wireless earphones have a cumulative battery life of 30 hours. While the 60mAh battery on the earbuds gets you around 10 hours on a single charge, the 380mAh charging case provides the rest. The case, in question, can carry up to two charging cycles of 2 hours each. Impressive.
The folks at Soundguys tested this claim and found the earphones to yield around 7.78 hours of playback time, which is also a feat given its price.
Also, when it comes to the charging time, the Outlier Air and its charging case take around 2 hours to charge completely. The case can be juiced up via the USB Type-C charging case.
Compared to the Outlier Air, the Galaxy Buds have meager battery life. These buds manage to squeeze six hours of battery life while the case lends an extra seven hours.
On the upside, the Galaxy Buds also support wireless charging. So if you happen to have a phone with reverse charging capabilities (like the Galaxy S10), place the case on the back of the phone, and it'll replenish the charge. Or, you can put it on a charging pad, and it will get the job done.
Also on Guiding Tech
Last but not least, let's talk about the sound quality. The Galaxy Buds delivers deep warm bass and balanced audio output for everyday listens. After all, they boast of being tuned by AKG.
However, don't expect the world out of these earphones. They are good, but not great, and the audiophile in you might be a tad disappointed with the outcome.
Interestingly, the Creative's Outlier Air are bass-heavy earphones. The audio output is rich, and well, the bass-lover in you will love the oomph of these earphones. And a lot of positive reviews on Creative back this statement.
On the downside, media playback can become slightly less clear if you are in a crowded space, as per the folks at SoundGuys.
Which One Should You Buy?
The Creative Outlier Air's 30-hour battery life is an impressive feature for any true wireless earphones. Plus, the sound quality and the high-quality Bluetooth codec makes these earphones worth every cent. And its compact build is the icing on the cake.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Earbuds certainly has all the smarts like touchpad customization, wireless charging, and mono listening, but the absence of some key features like high-quality Bluetooth codec or a higher IP rating is a big bummer.
So, which one should you buy? I wouldn't mind going with the Creative Outlier Air for now.
Next up: Are you on a lookout for some quality over-ear headphones? Check out the post below that features our hand-picked options.