Creative SXFI Theater Headset Review
While I’m apt to always purchase headsets with universal uses – i.e. I can take it with me to work for music, I can play using my Switch, and can have great audio with my Xbox – there are situations were a single headset performs a single feature so well, that I’m fine making the investment in order to have a superior experience. That’s where I landed when reviewing the Creative SXFI Theater headset. While it’s not as universal as other headsets, when using it via my Xbox One, playing games and watching movies, it was an experience that was a treat to my ears!
The SXFI Theater is using Creatives exclusive SXFI technology to produce a fantastic audio experience, and we will get into that more later. When I initially said that this headset is pretty one dimensional, I wasn’t kidding. To take full advantage of Creatives amazing technology, this device will need to be paired wirelessly with the dongle to your Xbox One / PC / PS4 / TV and likely never move from the room you use it in. And that is perfectly OK.
The build quality is top notch, as are all Creative products. The headband is rigid enough to provide support, but not too rigid as to cause issues when wearing it for long periods of time. The ear cups are incredibly breathable – which is good for someone who sweats as much as I do – and the easy to access buttons on the ear cup were in the perfect spots.
The wireless dongle that comes included creates a seamless pair between your device and your headset, and while some folks love their Bluetooth connectivity – which would make this product more universal in my opinion – a wireless connection allows for a lot less latency, which is much better when experiencing games and movies. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to take, however, as I have so many other great Creative products to take on the go!
While the headset does boast an excellent 30 hour battery life on a single charge, it’s the SXFI tehcnology that will make this headset stand out from the competition in this price range (about 199.99 CAD). What is SXFI? A few years back, we sat down virtually with Creative techs as they walked us through what it is, and how it’s setup. Here is a bit from that:
The term that is being used to describe the edge that the SXFI Theater has over its competitors is called Holographic Audio. While hearing this phrase for the first time might conjure images of Star Trek-ian technology, Holographic Audio, when broken down to its simplest form, is the next level of directional and distance-accurate surround sound.
It does this by simulating a virtual room that can be customized by the user, which allows sound to be heard in its most naturally replicated form. While this may sound unnecessary and complex, many users who have tried it have been absolutely blown by the difference.
As with all things, there is an adjustment period to experiencing this revolutionary type of surround sound. Creative estimates that it takes the brain roughly 30 minutes to adjust to this new way of hearing audio. As we have become so accustomed to hearing digital sound in one way only, it takes this time to reorient itself to the more natural SXFI sound.
This type of technology holds a huge amount of promise in the gaming industry, as it can allow developers to design games knowing that players will be able to locate sounds with pinpoint accuracy, both by direction and distance, in a way that has never been so natural.
The Creative SXFI Theater even allows customization based on ear and face structure, both of which have a significant impact on how our brains receive and interpret audio cues. This customization is done through the SXFI App (available on Google Play and the App Store), using an advanced Ear & Head-Mapping process.
While this can be a slightly tedious process, if the reviews are anything to go by, your investment will be well-rewarded with a natural audio experience like you’ve never experienced before.
The Creative SXFI Theater takes all of this great technology and wraps it up in a fantastically comfortable and sleek headset, to create a phenomenal audio experience. Whether watching movies or playing games, the quality of both the audio coming into the headset, as well as the microphone audio going out to my friends, was phenomenal.
While the set is ultimately geared at watching films and TV, it can be used in a gaming setup, which was a nice added touch. While I could see why Creative may have wanted to just focus on the film and TV side of things – hence the name Theater – I think by giving it some versatility, they also made it an easier purchase on consumers.
Ultimately, however, Creative also has the SXFI Gamer headset, which connects via USB and provides an even better experience for gaming, albeit one that tethers you to your console or PC of choice. While we will love that headset for competitive online matches of Call of Duty, the Theater will end up being a bit more universal, especially for those playing games 10-15 feet away form their televisions.
While the price might seem high for many, the comfortable fit and the SXFI technology makes this headset incredibly worth it. While setting up the SXFI might be a bit tedious to compelte, the end result is easily the best audio experience I’ve ever experienced. This technology from Creative is not a gimmick. It is the real deal, and it’s worth the extra money!