CREATIVE AIRWAVE HD
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.