The Creative Zen Air Pro true wireless earbuds are worth checking out. For S$119, you get pretty good sound, and decent noise cancellation. It also supports the new LE Audio standard, albeit with some bugs that will likely be ironed out in due time. Such issues are moot anyway if you're using devices, such as an iPhone, that don't support the format. I would have liked features like Bluetooth Multipoint, but I suppose that's asking too much.
- 10mm dynamic driver
- Hybrid ANC and ambient mode
- Bluetooth 5.3 with LE Audio
- 9 hours of playtime without ANC, 33 hours total playtime with case
Available only in white, the Zen Air Pro has a short stubby stem, and a fairly flat surface that makes using its touch controls a tad more reliable than say, the Creative Aurvana Ace 2. These earbuds are comfortable — they are not too large, and fit well in my ears. They are also IPX5 rated, so they are good if you're caught in the rain. You can replenish the charging case via wireless charging or the USB-C port. Creative says the battery life (with the case) is up to 33 hours without turning on its hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC). The earbuds themselves are rated at up to 9 hours without ANC, but this drops to 6 hours with ANC. That's still a very competitive figure, though.
Unlike other variants of the Zen Air series, the Pro version supports LE Audio, a new format that promises better sound and lower power consumption. Based on my experience with the Creative Aurvana Ace 2, LE Audio is promising. But it also had some teething issues. Unfortunately, the Zen Air Pro is buggy, too. For starters, only one earbud would connect to my Pixel 8 Pro when using LE Audio. It just wouldn't connect as a pair, even after the latest firmware update. In addition, the Creative app wouldn't connect to the earbuds when they are in LE Audio mode. Of course, it could be my smartphone — Google calls LE Audio experimental, after all. Creative has an USB LE Audio transmitter that it includes with the Zen Hybrid Pro (Classic bundle), but I didn't get to try it.
For its price, the Zen Air Pro — using a 10mm dynamic driver — sounds good. The bass is definitely the first thing you'll notice. Even with a flat (neutral) equaliser setting in the Creative app, the bass is quite prominent on these earbuds. But it doesn't come across as overpowering, though sometimes it sounds strained. The highs still come across clearly, vocals sound great, and there's good audio separation, too. Its hybrid ANC is decent at reducing some low frequency noises. However, traffic and engine noise, as well as human voices still mostly come through. You can adjust the levels of noise cancellation (mine was set to max) and the ambient mode in the Creative app.
If you're looking for a no-frills pair of noise cancelling earbuds, the Creative Zen Air Pro does a great job for its price. The sound quality, and battery life are good, though the noise cancellation is merely decent. But it does lack niceties such as Bluetooth Multipoint, and in-ear detection. The LE Audio support is promising, but needs more work. It's a good buy at S$119. Get it now from the Creative online store.
Note: Review set provided by Creative.
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