Creative Zen Air review: ANC earbuds with good sound under $30

Creative Zen Air has relatively good sound and call quality, but other aspects are relatively ordinary and have fewer functions – after all, they cost less than $30.

Creative Zen Air specs and features:

  • Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC codec
  • 3.5-6 hours playback of per charge (ANC on/off)
  • Charging case can charge earbuds fully 2 times
  • IPX4 waterproof rating (rain and sweat resistant)
  • Comes with 3 sets of eartips, USB-C cable, user manual
  • $29 – Check latest price on Amazon US, Amazon Germany or other Amazon countries

Appearance and Comfort

The appearance of the charging case is exquisite, pure white with the classic golden font of Creative as embellishment. The size of the charging case is very small, weighing only 46g – it can be easily put into the pocket of jeans. There is a multi-function button between the two earbuds in the case, which can realize manual bluetooth pairing.

The weight of a single earbud is about 5g, and the classic long headset stem semi-in-ear design – the appearance has no outstanding features. In addition, it is equipped with 3 sizes of silicone eartips to meet the needs of different groups of people. The earbuds support IPX4 waterproof rating.

Creative Zen Air does not support the low-latency game mode with no problem to watching movies. However, there will be a phenomenon that the sound and picture are not synchronized when playing the game.

Connectivity, Control and Battery Life

Creative Zen Air uses Bluetooth 5.0 and supports SBC and AAC codec. When connecting for the first time, simply select “Creative Zen Air” in your phone’s bluetooth device list to connect quickly. Open the charging case for subsequent use to connect to a successfully paired bluetooth device. The earbud is connected to the mobile phone stably within 10 meters. In an environment without obstacles, the connection will be intermittent if the distance from the mobile phone is more than 10 meters.

The touch control of the earbuds is relatively comprehensive, and different functions can be realized by click and long press. Such as answer/hang up call, play/pause music, power on/off, volume+/-, switch songs, ANC on/off.

The earbuds have a single battery life of up to 6 hours, and the combined battery life with the charging case can reach 18 hours – only 18 hours is not enough. The battery life after turning on the ANC mode is about 3.5 hours. Support for wireless charging – surprising.

Noise Cancellation and Calls

The earbuds supports three noise cancellation modes: ANC mode, ambient mode, and normal mode. On the street, it can eliminate more than 80% of the noise, especially for voices and engine noise – nearby voices and horns can still be heard. Also, the high-frequency noise cancellation ability is poor. Only a slight engine sound can be heard while riding the motorcycle, and the wind noise at high speeds is very noticeable.

Ambient mode on the Creative Zen Air picks up brighter ambient noise when you need it, letting you hear your surroundings. Play music at the moderate volume, which is not very useful when talking to others.

The earbuds uses 4-mic call noise cancellation technology, and the call effect is very good. When you are on the phone with a friend, you can make the other party feel that even if you are on the street, he thinks you are at home. Of course, the earbuds still have wind noise passing through.

Sound Quality and SXFI READY

Creative Zen Air uses 10mm neodymium dynamic drivers, supports AAC codec and Creative SXFI technology.

The sound of streaming media is relatively warm, with good transparency and lively feeling – very pop tuning. The voice is clear, not too close to the ear, and the moderate distance is not so aggressive. The main reason is that the lines and softness are relatively good, so it has an advantage in terms of vocal pop.

The high-frequency is quite satisfactory, neither very dim nor very bright, but it has a soft texture, and it is not easy to get tired after listening songs for a long time. The low-frequency extension has a certain depth, and the 10mm dynamic driver brings a very loose low-frequency percussion. At the same time, this depth does not conceal the performance of the mid-high frequency.

Overall, its sound is biased towards POP music, but very relaxed and lively. Playing games and watching movies also have a good appeal, suitable for long time wear.

Creative Zen Air has the SXFI READY function, which can bring a holographic sound experience when playing local music through the SXFI APP on the mobile phone. It is actually a bit similar to the “Atmos” technology we often hear, but SXFI has a special feature – first, you need to scan your ears through the APP to make the SXFI effect more significant.

After the actual experience, I feel that it will separate every element in the music and enhance the soundstage space at the same time. It is like listening to speakers in a large room with the distortion for each frequency band is also reduced to a minimum.


Creative Zen Air has relatively good sound quality and call quality, but other aspects are relatively ordinary and have fewer functions – after all, they cost less than $30.

Also, while SXFI is great for simulating a live listening box, it’s not necessary for me. And combined with the limited application scenarios of mobile phones (currently only supports listening to local music), as a true wireless earphones of SXFI READY, its real application is on PC or TV.

Shortcoming of Creative Zen Air:
  • Insufficient noise reduction depth and intensity
  • No multipoint connection
  • No game mode
  • No Creative APP support
  • No in-ear detection
  • Not Buletooth V5.2 or V5.3

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