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Cheap and Happy Computer Soundbar – Review Geek

  • 7/10

    • 1 – Absolutely Hot Garbage
    • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
    • 3 – Strong Flawed Design
    • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
    • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
    • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
    • 7 – Good but not the best in class
    • 8 – Fantastic with some footnotes
    • 9 – Close and take my money
    • ] 10 – Absolut Design Nirvana

  • Price: $ 40

      Creative Stage Air Soundbar

    Share mini soundbar, partial portable Bluetooth speaker, Creative Stage Air is a somewhat unusual merger of known features. At a budget price, you shouldn't expect perfection in any way, but it's easy to forgive a device that just gives you back $ 40. This is how we continued with this cute looking soundbar.

    Here's what we like

    • It's cheap
    • Easy to use
    • Low profile size

    And what we don't

    • Sound quality can be better
    • A little big for a portable Bluetooth speaker
    • A little small for an audio bar

    Small Yet Mighty?

    Designed to live under your monitor, Creative Stage Air is really lightweight weighing two kilograms, and you can easily carry it with one hand. The idea behind it is that it is also a social entity. You can easily take with you to a friend's house, for example, or you can take it to a party thanks to the built-in battery.

    The audio output is not large enough for a large collection, but if you just want a little extra oomph when looking at or listening to friends, it's pretty appealing. And because it is intended to improve the speaker experience when using your laptop or desktop computer, it puts on a good show.

      Creative Stage Air
    It's not much longer than a 13-inch MacBook Pro Jennifer Allen [19659016] For the price you don't get much in the box. There is the sound bar itself that measures only 16 x 3 x 2.75 inches, along with a micro-USB and 3.5 mm cable. Both of these are just a little over half a foot long so expect to purchase longer cables separately if you want to do something more advanced than just drop it under your computer screen, such as placing it under your TV.

    It is predominantly plastic with a glossy surface and matt sides. It will not set the world over with its appearance, but it is subtle and easily blends with your other devices. There is a metal grill that covers two dynamic drivers, along with an oversized passive radiator.

      Creative Stage Air side buttons
    Jennifer Allen

    On one side there are four rubberized buttons. On one side there are four rubberized buttons. Expect to have to look carefully at what the descriptions are a bit uncomfortable to discover, plus it loves to attract dust. One is power, along with Bluetooth connectivity and volume control. It would be nice if the buttons were a little easier to distinguish from each other, but when it came to volume control I usually stood by using which device I had connected to. It is one of the things that would feel like a bigger issue if Creative Stage Air costs more than it does.

    Connection Options: Not for Shabby

      Creative Stage Air
    Did we mention that it loves to suck up dust? Jennifer Allen

    Creative Stage Air has three physical inputs. There is USB-A to connect a flash drive for instant playback. This is one of the things that seems useful but is quite limited. When connecting a USB device, it just starts playing all the files in the order they appear on the flash drive. There is no way to skip, go back or control music playback with a company app or anything else. While you can't expect much from a device without a screen, some basic button-based functionalities would be nice. Still, if you just want to dump a giant pile of music on a flash drive and let it play without worrying about someone living in the Bluetooth range, it's useful.

    In addition, there is the 3.5 mm input that comes with the very short cable but is useful for connecting a lot of things (even more if you buy a longer cable). Then there is the micro-USB socket that is there to charge the battery. The battery capacity is 2200mAh, so it is possible to take a while with Creative, which gives a maximum battery life of about 6 hours. Expected it to drop to about 4 hours if you turn up the volume.

    Like anything with the word Air in the title, Creative Stage Air also suggests via Bluetooth. It is fairly standard and soothing. Connecting it to my phone took seconds, and there is always the possibility to connect it to your computer in that way as well. The downside for some here is that it is Bluetooth 4.2 and only works with the SBC audio code which is not the best of codecs, but it is not something that most users will notice. Basically, if you know what that means, you are probably already spending much more on your speakers than the price of this one.

    Medium Sound

      Creative Stage Air
    Jennifer Allen

    Given the size and price tag attached to Creative Stage Air, it will not set your ears on fire. It has dual 5W drivers inside, so the output is not high, but it does the job when it's close. It is pretty hard to listen to, but the passive radiator helps something to make lower notes more noticeable.

    Don't expect big tweets or strong clarity. This is not a speaker to listen to the more subtle shades of a track. I tested it on a friend's homegrown album, and it failed to extract quieter moments especially well. But for something that is sweet and light as a good recorded pop or rock track, it does the job well enough. It is another moment where you appreciate the price and let it go.

    Unlike other speakers and headphones, there are no options to tweak or adjust, but it will never be an audiophile's first choice. [19659035] Daily use: Steady Going

      Creative Stage Air and cables
    Yup, the supplied cables are short. Jennifer Allen

    Creative Stage Air will not be the type of device you buy to showcase your sound capabilities, but it does not make a bad investment for those who have a budget. Everyday, I found that it was quite respectable for those times that I wanted to stream music through my laptop or iPhone quickly. Accidental testing on my TV reminds me that my grown-up Sony audio bar was a better option, but it also costs three times the amount of Creative Stage Air and comes with its own subwoofer.

    Instead, Creative Stage Air works best at close range. Sitting in front of the desk or computer is where it is strongest, which can explain the super short cables. But that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate being able to use it as a portable Bluetooth speaker when moving around the house. In the summer I can see that it is useful when I want to listen to music in the garden even though it is a bit big for a normal portable Bluetooth speaker.

    Offer a little of everything

    Creative Stage Air is a tricky to define. In an ideal world, it is too large for an ordinary portable Bluetooth speaker and not quite robust enough, but it is possible to take it into your garden or somewhere where it cannot be easily damaged. In an ideal world, it would be a more powerful sound bar, but it has a price tag that makes it smaller than many pairs of headphones currently costing.

    It's a worried middle class between the conventional audio bar and the Bluetooth portable speaker, but that doesn't mean it's not worth some users. If you need an extra speaker to increase the sound quality of an old or small TV, this is perfect. Similarly, if you are not an expert in sound and you are on a tight budget, this will easily enrich your desktop or laptop experience.

    Creative Stage Air is almost the perfect example of "you get what you pay for" but it's a little better than that. There is no reason why you should not choose one.

    It's cheap
  • Easy to use
  • Low profile size
  • And what we don't

    • Sound quality can be better
    • A little big for a portable Bluetooth speaker
    • A little small for a soundbar

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