CRE­ATIVE AIR­WAVE HD

HWM (Singapore) - - Multi-Test -

With re­gards to aes­thet­ics, the Cre­ative Air­wave HD cer­tainly looks very dif­fer­ent from the other speak­ers on test this month. Re­sem­bling an over­grown Toblerone cho­co­late bar, the Air­wave HD ends up look­ing like a mish-mash of tex­tures, with plas­tic and other shiny bits of trim­ming all around. This looks more like gear that a teenager would tote around.

Cre­ative does throw in a gen­er­ous serv­ing of con­trol but­tons; on the top you can see the power but­ton, vol­ume con­trols and Blue­tooth pair­ing con­trol. At the back are the 3.5mm port for wired au­dio in­put, as well as a mi­cro-USB port for charg­ing. Be­ing portable by de­sign, the Air­wave HD comes with a built-in lithium-ion bat­tery, with Cre­ative rat­ing it for 7 hours of play­back on a sin­gle charge. Ob­vi­ously, NFC con­nec­tiv­ity is a head­line fea­ture as well.

The NFC tag for the Air­wave HD is lo­cated at the back. The tri­an­gu­lar de­sign makes the tag easy to ac­cess, and in­ter­est­ingly, pair­ing with a smart­phone was eas­ily the quick­est of the bunch. While some speak­ers tested ne­ces­si­tated hold­ing the smart­phone in place for a few mo­ments to com­plete the pair­ing process, Cre­ative’s im­ple­men­ta­tion comes clos­est to the tap-to­op­er­ate prom­ise that NFC brings. Once a con­nec­tion has been es­tab­lished, 2.25inch driv­ers and 12W of power help to pro­duce sound. To en­sure qual­ity au­dio, Cre­ative in­cludes what they term a “Su­per­charged Amp” to help drive the speak­ers. While the Air­wave HD as­pires to de­liver bal­anced and neu­tral au­dio, it does fall short of the stan­dards set by the Sony SRS-BTX500, though is able to hold its own against the rest.

The Sam­sung DA-F61 dis­played strong bass per­for­mance, the Log­itech UE Boom had a lush, warm tone, and the JBL Pow­erUp im­pressed with its clear highs. While the Air­wave HD doesn’t ex­cel in any one depart­ment, it has a pleas­ant over­all sound. Strong mids and a good sound­stage, made pos­si­ble thanks to the 30 de­gree de­sign tilt, im­pressed us in most tracks played. There is a lack of clar­ity for the highs, as well as con­stricted ex­ten­sion of the low fre­quen­cies, which pre­vents the Air­wave HD from prop­erly chal­leng­ing the Sony SRS-BTX500 for the ti­tle of best-sound­ing speaker.

“ThE air­WaVE hD CoMES WiTh a builT-in liThi­u­Mion baT­TErY, WiTh CrE­aTiVE raT­ing iT For 7 hourS oF PlaY­baCK on a Sin­glE ChargE.”

Cre­ative has placed the NFC tag on the back panel of the speak­ers.

The tri­an­gu­lar cross-sec­tion of the de­vice re­sults in a 30 de­gree tilt for the speak­ers, which helps with pro­jec­tion.

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