Reviewed on Oct 04, 2019

Creative SXFI Air Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.4
Mixed Usage
7.2
Critical Listening
6.1
Commute/Travel
6.4
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.3
TV
5.0
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Creative SXFI Air are mediocre over-ear closed-back headphones. Their sound profile lacks sub-bass and detail on vocals and lead instruments, which means they aren’t suited for a wide variety of music genres. On the upside, they have a nice head mapping feature that customizes your sound profile inside one of their two companion apps. However, they practically don’t isolate against ambient noise, though they're comfortable enough to wear for a while. The SXFI Air also have an easy-to-use touch-sensitive control scheme. They're kind of a mix between Bluetooth headphones and a wired gaming headset.

Test Results
Design 6.5
Sound 7.3
Isolation 4.9
Microphone 6.1
Active Features 6.7
Connectivity 5.6
Pros
  • Decent sound profile.
  • Head mapping feature for customized sound signature.
  • Comfortable design.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • High Bluetooth latency.
  • Sound delivery inconsistencies between users and reseats.

Check Price

6.5

Design

The Creative SXFI Air are decently well-designed over-ear headphones. They are quite comfortable, although they feel a bit cheaply made, especially due to the plastic build and the rough mesh-like fabric covering the cup padding. They can’t fold or swivel to make it easier to carry them around, which can be cumbersome. On the upside, their touch-sensitive controls are easy-to-use, but sometimes perform inconsistently.

Style

The Creative SXFI Air are sleek looking headphones. They have a matte finish that looks nice and the headband is well padded with a leather-like fabric. The ear cup pads are thick and made from a porous fabric. They are quite bulky over-ears, and there’s RGB lighting around the cups. They come in an all-black design, or in white with black pads.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.75 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.1 lbs

The Creative SXFI Air are quite comfortable over-ear headphones. They might feel a bit big for some, and the mesh fabric is a bit rough on the skin, which not everyone will like. However, the cups are very deep and should suit most ear shapes and sizes. Also, the headband is well-padded and distributes the weight of the headphones well.

7.2 Controls
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Okay
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : Optimizer

The controls on the SXFI Air are decent. There’s a touch-sensitive surface on the back of the cups that acts as your control scheme. The touch commands aren't always consistent, but you can control calls, music, and your volume. While they're easy to use, the inconsistencies of the surface can be frustrating at times. On the upside, you also have a source/Bluetooth physical button to switch between your different sources. You can even insert a microSD card with pre-loaded music and use that source button to play files on it.

6.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.5 C

Like most over-ear headphones, the SXFI Air aren’t the most breathable option. On the upside, the cup padding is porous and allows some airflow, but you might still sweat more than usual if you wear these headphones during sports. You shouldn’t have any issues during a casual listening session.

5.4 Portability
L : 7.7 "
W : 7.7 "
H : 3.3 "
Volume : 196 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

These headphones are quite bulky, even for over-ears. They also don’t fold into a more compact format and the cups can’t swivel to lay flat, which makes it a bit more difficult to carry them around.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones don’t come with a traveling case.

7.0 Build Quality

The Creative SXFI Air are decently built headphones. The headband is reinforced with metal and the hinges feel solid. However, the mesh padding feels a bit cheaply made and the cups’ material feels shallow and plasticky. Unfortunately, these headphones don’t have a lot of range of motion, so they won’t resist well to physical stress.

6.5 Stability

These headphones aren't a stable enough option for sports. Head movement makes them sway around, and they can easily fall off your head. This shouldn’t be an issue when simply listening to music casually.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5.1 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

The SXFI Air come with a 5-foot long 1/8” TRRS cable and a 6-foot long USB-C charging cable. You can also detach the very small microphone.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.3

Sound

The Creative SXFI Air are decent sounding over-ear closed-back headphones. They have a decent overall sound profile, but some people may feel like it's a bit light on bass and lacking detail on vocals and lead instruments. There's a head-mapping feature inside the app that customizes the sound profile to your ear and head, but we tested the headphones without that feature.

7.9 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.6 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
49.67 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-4.08 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-0.23 dB
High-Bass
:
2.97 dB

The bass performance of the SXFI Air is good. The overall bass might lack a bit of thump and rumble due to the elevated low-frequency extension, which will disappoint fans of bass-heavy music. There’s also a small bump in high-bass, which makes the overall bass a bit boomy.

7.9 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.77 dB
Low-Mid
:
2.55 dB
Mid-Mid
:
2.47 dB
High-Mid
:
-0.75 dB

The Creative SXFI Air have good mid-range performance. The response throughout the range is fairly well-balanced. However, it's mostly over our target curve, resulting in more forward-sounding vocals and lead instruments. The bump in low-mid is also the continuation of the high-bass, which results in slightly cluttered vocals.

7.8 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.67 dB
Low-Treble
:
-0.65 dB
Mid-Treble
:
2.37 dB
High-Treble
:
-2.08 dB

The treble performance is also good. There’s a small dip in the low-treble, which is going to affect the brightness and detail of those frequencies, but the overall response is over our target curve, making these headphones sound a bit sharp on S and T sounds.

6.6 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.73 dB

The frequency response consistency is just okay. Depending on your head or ear shape and size, you might experience a different frequency response with this headset. There is a noticeable difference in both the bass and treble ranges, which could result in different sound profiles.

8.2 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.58
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.98
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.71
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
3.95

The stereo imaging of the Creative SXFI Air is good. The group delay is under the audibility threshold, which is good. Our unit also has well-matched left and right drivers, but did show a bit of phase mismatch, which can result in inaccuracies in the stereo image. However, this might not be audible for most people. Note that these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

5.1 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.44 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
1.17 dB
PRTF Distance
:
8.09 dB
Openness
:
6.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.5
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage is sub-par. There isn’t a lot of pinna interaction, which results in a small soundstage. On the upside, the minimal activation is accurate and should sound fairly natural. These headphones won’t sound as open as open-back headphones.

7.7 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
1.362
Weighted THD @ 100
:
1.433

The THD performance of these headphones is good. The THD in the bass range is within good limits, and stays fairly low throughout the range. However, there are a few spikes in the treble range, which might make those frequencies a bit harsh and impure. Most people won’t notice it, especially with real-life content.

4.9

Isolation

The Creative SXFI Air has a poor isolation performance. It practically doesn’t block any noise in the bass and mid ranges, which means they won’t block out noise in a daily commute or in a plane. On the upside, you might be able to mask out a bit more ambient noise by raising your listening volume, since they don’t leak too much.

3.8 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-10.99 dB
Bass
:
-0.13 dB
Mid
:
-3.1 dB
Treble
:
-29.64 dB
Self-Noise
:
20.96 dB

The noise isolation performance is bad. This maybe due to the porous pads, but the headphones practically don’t block any noise in the bass and mid ranges. This means they won’t be a great option for commuting and traveling. On the upside, the treble isolation is pretty good and will block S and T sounds and A/C system noise.

7.0 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
39.83 dB

The leakage performance is decent. These headphones’ leakage isn’t too loud and is mainly concentrated around the mid and low-treble ranges. This means that the leakage will sound thin and fuller than that of in-ears, but it won’t be as disturbing as open-back headphones. People surrounding you shouldn’t hear what you’re listening to, unless you’re playing your content at a very high volume in a very quiet environment.

6.1

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The microphone of the Creative SXFI Air is mediocre. It looks like a small boom microphone on the side of the cup, which you can fully detach. However, it doesn’t sit near your mouth, and the recording quality and noise handling performance were mediocre, resulting in a muffled sounding speech that can only be comprehensible in quiet environments.

6.2 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
226.27 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
11.65 dB
HFE
:
23322.39 Hz
Weighted THD
:
1785.584
Gain
:
17.98 dB

The recording quality of the Creative SXFI Air’s microphone is mediocre. The small protruding integrated mic sounds thin and muffled. It lacks detail but will still be fairly audible and comprehensible in a quiet environment.

6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
11.98 dB

The mic of the SXFI Air is mediocre at noise handling. It struggles to separate ambient noise and actual speech, making it difficult for the other person on the line to hear you in moderately loud environments such as a busy street. It will be better suited for very quiet environments.

6.7

Active Features

The Creative SXFI Air has an okay battery life but has great companion apps for customization options. They’ll last you about 11 hours, which some might find to be not enough. On the upside, there’s a unique head mapping feature to customize the sound to your ears, and also great control over the sound signature thanks to a 10-band EQ.

6.6 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
11.2 hrs
Charge Time
:
2.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The battery performance of the SXFI Air is just okay. They give about 11 hours of continuous playback, which is slightly disappointing especially since they don’t have a power saving feature, so be sure to turn them off if you’re not using them. On the upside, you can use them wired, even if the battery is dead, and while charging as well.

8.0 App Support
App Name : Creative SXFI Air Control
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : Yes
Windows : Yes
Equalizer
:
Parametric + Presets
ANC control
:
No
Mic Control : No
Room effects
:
No
Playback control
:
Yes
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : Yes

The Creative SXFI Air actually have two apps instead of one, called SXFI Air Control and SXFI App. With those apps, you get access to a great amount of customization. There's a head mapping function that personalizes the sound profile of the headphones to your particular head and ears. You also have a good parametric EQ with presets and can also customize the color of the RGB rings on the cups. There’s also a virtual surround sound mode called Super X-FI.

5.6

Connectivity

The Creative SXFI Air can be used via Bluetooth or wired with an analog or USB cable. They're fairly versatile as you can use them on-the-go and wired with your PC or game consoles. Unfortunately, their latency is a bit high for Bluetooth headphones, but you can eliminate that issue by using the headphones wired.

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

These headphones are Bluetooth compatible, but unfortunately doesn’t support multi-device pairing and NFC, meaning they can only be connected at one device at a time. Thankfully, their pairing procedure is fairly easy, simple, and works well.

10 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
Yes
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone

The wired compatibility of the headphones is amazing. You'll get audio and microphone support on consoles, phones, and PCs if you use the analog cable. Via USB, it supports both audio and mic on PC and PS4, but you won’t be able to use the USB cable on the Xbox One.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

These headphones don’t have a base/dock.

8.1 Wireless Range
Line of Sight Range
:
187 ft

The wireless range of the SXFI Air is very good. You shouldn’t have any issues with the connection if you keep your source near yourself, like your phone inside your pants pockets.

0 Latency
Default Latency
:
266 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The SXFI Air’s latency is slightly over typical Bluetooth headphones’ usual delay. Some people might notice a delay when watching video content or gaming wirelessly, but some apps and devices offers some sort of compensation, so it might not be as noticeable. You can also use them wired to get rid of the delay.

In the box

  • Creative SXFI Air headphones
  • 1/8” TRRS audio cable
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Detachable microphone
  • Microphone port cover
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Creative SXFI Air are a mediocre pair of headphones. They don’t have the best sound profile by default, but they have a unique head mapping feature that customizes a sound profile inside the app. They're kind of a mix between Bluetooth headphones and a gaming headset. See our recommendations for the best headphones, the best gaming headsets, and the best over-ear headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are more versatile headphones than the Creative SXFI Air. These ANC headphones block a lot of ambient noise, they have a good sound quality and are more comfortable than the Creatives. They're also noticeably better built and offer about twice the battery life. On the other hand, the SXFI Air have a better sounding microphone and a unique head mapping feature.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

As Bluetooth headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are noticeably better than the Creative SXFI Air. They are more comfortable, more lightweight, and their isolation performance is one of the best. Their audio quality is more neutral and better suited for a wide variety of music. On the other hand, the SXFI Air have a better sounding microphone,  and a unique head mapping feature.

Audeze Mobius
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Audeze Mobius are better headphones than the Creative SXFI Air. They're better-built, have a better audio reproduction, and have a noticeably better performing microphone for online games. They also have a unique head tracking feature that gives an immersive experience. Both headsets are Bluetooth compatible as well, but the SXFI Air offer passive playback, which you can’t do with the Mobius unfortunately. The SXFI Air also have a nice head mapping map that customizes the sound to your head.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

For gaming, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are a better option than the Creative SXFI Air. Their microphone sounds better and they have a better overall control scheme for gamers. Their sound is also noticeably better. On the other hand, the SXFI Air can be used over USB. Both headphones can be used Bluetooth as well, but the Arctis offer more battery life, but don’t have an app like the SXFI Air.

Conclusion

6.4 Mixed Usage

Mediocre for mixed usage. The Creative SXFI Air have a decent audio reproduction for music, but they won’t be great for any other use. They practically don’t isolate at all against ambient noise and their design isn’t made for sports. They aren’t stable enough for sports and will make you sweat more than usual when working out. Due to their wireless latency, they won’t be great to use wirelessly for watching video content and gaming, but this can be nullified by using them wired with their analog cable.

7.2 Critical Listening

Decent for critical listening. The overall sound profile of the SXFI Air is decent but lacks sub-bass and detail on vocals and lead instruments. Their treble range is also overemphasized, which will make sibilants overly sharp and piercing. However, they have a unique head mapping feature that makes you a personalized sound profile. They are also quite comfortable to wear for a while.

6.1 Commute/Travel

Mediocre for commuting. These headphones are Bluetooth, which is useful for traveling, you won’t get a great isolation performance out of these. They don’t have an ANC feature and barely block any noise, especially lower-end ones like the rumble of an engine. You’ll only rely on their poor passive isolation and playback sound to mask out ambient noise. They also don’t fold or swivel to lay flat, making them less portable. On the upside, they’ll be comfortable for long rides and their battery life should last you long enough for most flights.

6.4 Sports/Fitness

Okay for sports. They aren’t the most stable option and over-ears will make you sweat more than usual when working out. They're also not very portable as they don’t fold into a more compact format and don’t even swivel to lay flat.

6.6 Office

Okay for the office. They're comfortable to wear for a while and their battery should last you a full work day, but might need daily charging. However, they aren’t the best option when it comes to noise isolation. They practically don’t block any ambient chatter, but you’ll be able to drown out some ambient noise with your music. They can also be used while charging or wired if their battery is dead, which is convenient in an office setting.

5.3 TV

Sub-par for TV. These headphones are Bluetooth and won’t be the ideal choice for watching TV content due to their latency. People might notice a delay between audio and the image of what you’re watching. You can use them wired to neglect that delay but won’t have the range to watch from your couch, unless you have a very long audio cable extension.

5.0 Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. These headphones lack bass and their microphone isn’t good enough for online multiplayer games. Their wireless latency is also too high for this use, so you’ll need to plug them in to get rid of the audio delay.

Recommended Articles

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider

Unlimited access to full product reviews, test measurements and scores

test table UI

Product prices across the site on reviews, tables and tools

product prices UI

Additional votes for our
next reviews

Additional votes UI

Early Access
to our reviews and test measurements

Early Access UI

Create Discussion