Outlier Air offers an affordable alternative to AirPods (and with better battery life)

Outlier Air is Creative's new, $79.99 wireless earbuds. I don’t find their audio quality quite as good as Apple’s AirPods, but they their battery life is better (30 hours compared to 24) as is their price ($79.99 compared to $159).

When it comes to audio quality, the Outlier Air is certainly no slouch thanks to its 5.6mm graphene driver with aptX technology and AAC audio. aptX helps solve the problem of sending pure audio wirelessly over Bluetooth (and the Creative earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0) by reducing the size of audio files so they can be squeezed through the wireless pipeline without affecting the sound quality.

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AAC is an audio coding standard for lossy digital audio compression. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, AAC generally achieves better sound quality than MP3 at the same bit rate.

Clarity is smooth on the Creative earbuds. And bass was more powerful than I expected in something this small. 

Another nice touch: with Outlier Air, you can hear audio out of both earbuds while on a call and also have direct access to Siri, Apple’s personal digital assistant. Both earbuds are fitted with a built-in mic for calls and smart assistant functions. You assign your preferred side as the main unit control. The secondary earbud will then be automatically paired. Sweet! 

The Outlier Air is also pretty rugged thanks to its sleek, aluminum charging case. The 1.9-ounce case is small enough to toss into a travel bag or purse. And you’ll want to take it with you, so you can pop your earbuds into it for storage. And while they’re stored, the case automatically charges the earbuds.The case is also rechargeable via an included USB Type-C cable to a Type-A charging port.

What’s more, you can engage mono listing by placing one earbud back in the case. This is a nice safety feature as one ear is free if you’re walking or running in a high traffic area.

Also, the earbuds — which are very comfortable to wear — are certified IPX5 water-resistant so they’re good for wearing while working out. 

The Outlier Air is great for general consumers who want affordable earbuds with great battery life and who aren’t extremely attached to the Apple ecosystem.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★