Artistic Outlier Air v2 Overview: Higher In (Nearly) Each Approach

Artistic Outlier Air v2 Overview: Higher In (Nearly) Each Approach


Ranking:
9/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Scorching Rubbish
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Execs, Tons Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Sufficient to Purchase On Sale
  • 7 – Nice, However Not Greatest-In-Class
  • 8 – Implausible, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Cash
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Value: $69
The Creative Outlier Air v2 earbuds and open case on a white desktop
Cameron Summerson

Many moons in the past—maybe even a decade in the past in 2020 years—I referred to as the Artistic Outlier Air the best true wireless earbuds for the cash. Now, Artistic is again with the aptly named Outlier Air v2, which fixes essentially the most nagging difficulty with the v1 (spoiler: the buttons). However the true wi-fi panorama has modified dramatically within the final 12 months, so can the $69 v2 maintain the finest worth title?

This is What We Like

  • Good worth
  • Improved controls
  • Insane battery life
  • Balanced sound profile

And What We Do not

  • Cumbersome case

Since I reviewed the unique Outlier Air final 12 months, I’ve gotten to spend time with roughly a dozen different units of true wi-fi earbuds. All the pieces from the forward-thinking AirPods Professional and Jabra Elite/Elite Lively 75t to the budget-friendly Skullcandy Indy Gas have been stuffed in my earholes. I’ve seen this market progress at a speedy tempo in simply 12(ish) months.

So when Artistic requested if I wished to take a look at the successor to the unique Outlier Air—which has remained on the high of my record for “price range” earbuds—I couldn’t wait to see what was totally different. I used to be actually hoping to see extra trendy options like ANC, transparency mode, or a smaller sleeker case. Sadly, none of these issues exist right here.

As a substitute of being a complete revamp of the predecessor, the Outlier Air v2 is extra of a marginal replace. The match and kind issue are the identical. The case could be very comparable. Essentially the most quick and definable improve right here is within the buttons—the unique Outlier Air had clicky buttons that had been exhausting to press and didn’t have sufficient journey. With the Outlier Air v2, Artistic made the transfer to capacitive contact controls, which is an enormous enchancment.

However is it sufficient to make the Outlier Air v2 stand out in a really crowded market?

A Large Fatty Case Requires a Devoted Pocket

I don’t depart the home with out a set of earbuds in my pocket (not that I depart the home a lot today anyway, heh). It’s usually no matter set I’m reviewing on the time, however the Jabra Elite Lively 75t and Skullcandy Indy Gas have been my go-to in between opinions for months.

The Outlier Air v2 and earbuds next to the Pixel 5 on a white desk
That’s the Pixel 5 for reference. Cameron Summerson

Whereas neither of these buds have a case fairly as smooth as AirPods Professional, they’re simply pocketable—I may even comfortably put the Jabras in the identical pocket with my cellphone. The unique Outlier Air case was a cumbersome factor in itself, however that was extra applicable on the time. Now? Not as a lot.

The Outlier Air v2’s case is very much like the unique case, although it’s a little bit thinner and a little bit longer. That doesn’t make for a vastly significant change relating to pocketability, sadly. It’s a chonky boi.

The sheer dimension of the case is probably going a results of the gorgeous insane battery life—a complete of 34 hours between the buds and case. (The buds themselves get an insane 12 hours of playback.) That’s 4 greater than the unique Outlier Air, which already had a formidable battery. Hell, that’s nearly sufficient to get you thru a full workweek and betters most earbuds that price twice as a lot (or extra).

The Outlier Air v2 case next to the AirPods Pro case
Cameron Summerson

And all that’s superb when you’ve got a free pocket. I’m a twin cellphone type of man (iPhone and Android all day, each day, y’all) so I’ve one cellphone in every entrance pocket. That’s the place the largest downside is for the Outlier Air v2 for me—a single pocket will get fairly full fairly quick with a cellphone and the v2 case on the similar time.

Now, I notice that the majority of you don’t carry two telephones. However for those who use a front-pocket pockets and carry a cellphone, then you definately’ll probably run into the identical difficulty. Or for those who’re a girl, nicely, everyone knows that the pockets of women’ pants aren’t actually designed to, you realize, use.

Simply one thing to contemplate for those who’re desirous about shopping for these. Figuring out the place you’ll stick the case when you’re out is essential.

Extraordinarily Comfy, Even for Hours at a Time

As vital because the match of the case in your pocket is, it’s nonetheless second to the match of the bud in your ear. I beloved the match of the unique Outlier Air—it stays one of the crucial snug units of earbuds I’ve ever worn. I’m glad Artistic selected to stay with the identical kind issue for the v2, as a result of they’re simply as snug. I can put on them for hours with none form of ear fatigue, which greater than I can say for quite a bit of buds.

The Outlier Air v2 earbuds on a white desk with the case opened in the background
Cameron Summerson

A number of the match has to do with the ear suggestions included within the field. Artistic does one thing that I haven’t seen another firm do: embody a number of sizes and types. There are extra squared-off suggestions and rounded tip, every with not less than two sizes accessible. The rounded suggestions appear to work so a lot better for my ears than squarish suggestions, so I’m grateful for that.

As a result of the match is so good, I get a superb seal with the Outlier Air v2 (similar to with the unique). So whereas they don’t have Lively Noise Cancelation (ANC) like many trendy buds do, the wonderful match creates robust noise isolation. Even with the audio quantity turned down low, I can barely hear most ambient noise round me.

An excellent match is essential for consolation and noise isolation, nevertheless it’s additionally a key level for good audio high quality. Like their predecessors, the v2 sound good—particularly when you think about the value. They’re not going to outperform a set of $200+ earbuds just like the Jabra Elite 85t (or 75t for that matter), however at 70 bones, you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a better-sounding set.

The audio high quality is evident and balanced. They’re not overly punchy in any explicit space, which is de facto solely a difficulty for anybody in search of a set of ‘buds with boomy bass. However the balanced output works very well throughout all genres of music in addition to for spoken phrase, podcasts, and even films.

In addition they function Artistic Tremendous X-Fi function, which is designed to recreate a multi-speaker audio system. The digital model of Tremendous X-Fi that’s discovered within the Outlier Air v2 (and the previous Outlier Air Gold) isn’t fairly as dramatic or refined as its wired counterpart, however the setting it creates remains to be fairly spectacular. The largest draw back is that it solely works with native audio (so no streaming companies) and solely via the SXFI app. You possibly can study extra about Tremendous X-Fi here.

The Controls Are Higher and That’s Good

My greatest grievance concerning the Outlier Air was the controls. They’ve bodily buttons that had been exhausting to press and made me really feel like I used to be pushing the buds approach too far into my earholes. The v2 fixes this by shifting to capacitive contact controls.

The Outlier Air v2 in the case while opened, with the LED lights on the earbuds illuminated red
Cameron Summerson

Usually I don’t love contact controls as a result of I find yourself by chance pausing music or no matter each time I regulate the buds. BUT! Artistic did one thing cool right here: didn’t assign a single-tap motion. So you may regulate them and contact them and all that different great things with out by chance triggering some command.

As a substitute, a double-top on both bud pauses music playback. A triple-tap when music is taking part in strikes ahead or again within the tracklist (for proper and left, respectively). A triple-tap with the music paused calls up the digital assistant. A protracted-press on both facet raises and lowers the amount (once more, proper and left, respectively). It’s good and I adore it. It’s the perfect implementation of contact controls I’ve ever used.

Conclusion: Nonetheless a Nice Worth

The Creative Outlier Air v2 case in low light on a glossy black background
Cameron Summerson

The conclusion on the finish of the primary evaluate was fairly straightforward. At this time, the market is way more crowded, and issues have modified quite a bit. The largest query is: Do the Outlier Air v2 nonetheless current pretty much as good of a worth as the unique, even in mentioned crowded market?

So … possibly. I can’t consider a greater set of ‘buds for $70, in order that’s a very good begin. However the Skullcandy Indy Evo is an efficient competitor for simply $10 extra. However for those who’re not a fan of stick-style buds or want one thing with all-day-and-then-some battery life, it’s exhausting to disregard the Outlier Air v2. They’ll get you thru a day and into your night exercise. And past.

General, this new model presents the whole lot I favored concerning the first-gen however fixes the wonky controls. It’s not the monumental improve I hoped for after I was first provided the v2 for evaluate, however that isn’t essentially a foul factor—they nonetheless handle to keep up the wonderful worth offered with the unique.

Ranking: 9/10
Value: $69

Right here’s What We Like

  • Good worth
  • Improved controls
  • Insane battery life
  • Balanced sound profile

And What We Do not

  • Cumbersome case



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