Creative has a wide range of variety when it comes to their products. They have affordable lightweight headsets, as well as expensive high-tier products that feature virtual surround sound and audio quality that is aimed to please audiophiles. With the SXFI Gamer, Creative attempts to put all the best aspects of their headsets into one product.
Not only is this lightweight comfortable, but also features powerful drivers that pack a punch. The awesome surround sound quliaty allows you to feel immersed, no matter whether you’re just chilling to music or if you’re fighting for the glory of Rome. As the name implies, this headset also uses Creative’s SXFI (Super X-Fi) technology. If you’re not familiar with the SXFI, here’s Creative’s description of it:
“Super X-Fi captures the listening experience of a high-end multi-speaker system in a professional studio, and recreates the same expansive experience in your headphones using computational audio intensive techniques to custom fit audio, for every individual, through a sophisticated Head and Ear-Mapping process.”
So, in other words: There’s some crazy black magic going on that will create optimal sound profiles based on your head and ear shape, providing a feeling of being surrounded by high-end-multi-speakers. The actual mapping might be a bit tricky, but the end results actually show impressive results.
Even though this headset is counted towards Creative’s more expensive ones, it still wears a very competitive price tag. There is actually a promo going on currently, making it available for $ 100,00 on Amazon and Creative’s website. Which is a nice cut down of the original price of $ 129,00.
Design-wise the SXFI Gamer is aiming for simplicity and taste. With exclusively curved lines, circles and ovals this headset shows an untypical gentle look when compared to other gaming headsets. Honestly, this is one of the rare gaming headsets that you can use when you meet up for a gaming session and for listening to music in public.
Even though the headset conveys a rather subtle look, it actually feels very solid in hands. Only high quality materials have been used, as seen on the kevlar-reinforced braided USB cable and the dark, leatherette headband and ear cups. One might say it’s a well rounded design with a nice, all-black matte finish.
The adjustable headband and the low weight ensure you to easily find your perfect fit. Every increment of the headband’s slider is associated with a number, allowing you to quickly reset to your favorite settings.
Color wise there aren’t any variations to choose from, which probably won’t be a big deal – especially since there are RGB lightning rings around both ear cups. These rings can be set to any color, allowing you to choose from 16 million different ones.
Concerning the buttons and switches we also have some things happening. On the front there is a button that allows you to cycle through different RGB presets. On the back there is a button to mute your mic, as well as the ‘SXFI’ button, with which you can change between the SXFI and the Battle Mode. There’s also a volume fine-tuning dial, which allows to easily change your volume to any point on the 100-point scale.
The headset as a whole is rather small, but due to the design still not particularly portable. You can’t rotate or fold the ear cups in any direction, making it rather unwieldy when trying to pack it up.
In case you want to use the attachable microphone, you can plug it in and easily bend it to any position you want via its flexible arm. The metal arm has just the right stiffness to stay in place, but also to be moved effortlessly when you quickly need to shove in some snacks.
One thing that shouldn’t go without mention is the teeny-weeny, red light at the tip of the mic. Well, it is there, and depending on the angle it’s also sometimes in your peripheral vision. And it might not seem like much in the beginning, but can actually develop into a nasty annoyance over time. It’s solid red when in use and blinks when the mic is muted. And yes, it can’t be turned off. A workaround here is to detach the microphone whenever you don’t need it.
Obviously everything except for the red light is cool so far, but the audio quality is where you’ll really grow to love this headset.
This baby comes with 50mm neodymium drivers, which provide a very rich bass in stereo, as well as in surround sound mode. You can choose between two different settings which are called Super X-Fi and Battle mode. The SXFI mode is the one tailored especially to your head shape and best for music, while the more directional-focused Battle Mode enhances the gaming experience.
During the tests, the accuracy of the 3D audio in the Battle Mode actually kind of surprised. Locating the direction of audio cues and isolating certain key elements in the heat of an chaotic battle was unexpectedly easy. The Battle Mode does have a priority on certain sounds that may be helpful during gaming and honestly almost feels like cheating in certain games. For example there is a focus towards gunfire and footsteps, giving you a slight edge in online gaming when looking for these sounds.
Like on any gaming headset, you can find an emphasis towards bass and low frequency sounds on the SXFI Gamer. This is pretty much the standard, but the SXFI manages to still keep all of the details even in a very wide soundscape. When listening to music you can hear a punchy bass, that doesn’t diminish the sound of strums or vocals. Creative did an absolutely amazing job with the audio quality here. This headset easily competes with more expensive ones on the market.
While Creative states that their detachable ‘CommanderMic’ is the best on a gaming headset, I can’t totally agree with that. The mic is loud and clear, but also adds an ever so slight metallic touch to your voice. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good mic and does it’s job, especially for in-game communication. However, if you have a high priority on how you sound to the receiving end, you might want to consider a separate USB microphone for your setup.
To get the Super X-Fi sorcery going, you need to install the app on your PC and your smartphone. You then start to scan your head and ears with the software, which might be a tad trickier than it sounds. After you’ve managed to properly scan your ears and head shape, the magic happens and voilà – you’ll have your individual, perfectly tailored sound profile. When you log into the software on your PC, you can now directly upload the profile to your headset.
Inside the software you can also play with the different RGB lightning settings. You can either choose a certain color for the RGB rings, or choose one of the existing patterns. However, it’s not necessary to fiddle in the software to do that. You can also simply click on the button on the headphone to cycle between static colors, a rainbow pattern, or to turn them off.
To connect the SXFI Gamer you can choose to do so either via USB-C or 3.5mm audio jack. The primary option is with the braided USB-C cable, which also comes with an USB-A adapter. This gives you actually a ton of devices you can connect this headset to. When you’re using the connection via 3.5mm aux you don’t get the full set of features like using the lights and the microphone.
Well, summed up there are some minor flaws to the SXFI Gamer. For example the software setup might challenge your patience a bit. Or the red dot on the microphone might slightly accelerate your descent into madness. However, at the end of the day this doesn’t take away from how good this gaming headset actually is.
Even though very simple, the overall design carries a remarkable amount of taste. A gaming headset that can be used in public is like finding a needle in a haystack, but the SXFI Gamer managed to pull it off.
Concerning the hardware, there is literally not a single thing to rant about. You can enjoy the powerful and clear sound on almost any device available. If you value great audio quality and intend to use your headset on multiple platforms, then you should definitely consider the Creative SXFI Gamer.