Ameya DalviOct 19, 2020 17:54:35 IST
The two products that we have for review today have been creating quite a buzz lately in the midrange TWS segment. We have seen true wireless earphones take giant strides this year in terms of sound quality and battery. The Sony WF-XB700 TWS that we reviewed a few months ago, set the bar high in the sub-10K price range. Lypertek Tevi and Creative Outlier Air claim to at least match Sony’s performance if not outperform it at a good 30 percent lower price point. Time to verify those claims.
Lypertek Tevi Review
I will confess I hadn’t even heard about the brand Lypertek till a few months back, and then suddenly there were a bunch of people in the tech circle talking about it. So we decided to get them for review and see (or hear) for ourselves. The Lypertek Tevi arrived in a smart looking capsule-shaped case with a fabric exterior very similar to that used by Sennheiser for their TWS buds. The case has four white LEDs to display the quantum of remaining charge.
The buds are quite light and fit snugly in the ear, even during jogs or workouts. With the right sized silicone eartips, they provide good passive noise isolation. The earbuds do not have a striking appearance, but their build quality is pretty solid, and are IPX7 rated water resistant. Strangely, despite being fairly compact, they tend to stick out of the ears.
The Lypertek Tevi is Bluetooth 5.0 compliant and supports SBC, AAC and Qualcomm’s aptX codecs. While pairing, the earphones choose the best available codec, and don’t let you manually select one or disable them. Pairing them with the phone for the first time was slightly bumpy, as each earbud tends to connect with the phone individually, and one of them was struggling to pair. But it worked after a couple of attempts, and it was smooth sailing thereafter. There was no issue with the wireless range that goes past 10 metres with a clear line of sight and up to 6 metres with a concrete wall in between.
One major design flaw that’s prevalent in majority of TWS earphones is present here too — the placement of the physical multi-functional button. It is present right at the back of the buds. It is a perfectly good spot for touch controls, but not for a physical button. So everytime you push it without remembering to hold the bud with another two fingers, things get uncomfortable for the ear. Thankfully, it is not stiff and can be pressed with minimal force. The multifunction button primarily lets you adjust the volume, jump to the previous or next track, play/pause tracks and answer/end calls.
Each earbud is fitted with a 6mm Graphene driver to handle the entire frequency range. The sound signature of these buds is closer to neutral and does not favour a particular frequency band. The mids and highs are handled wonderfully, with great detail in sound. Unlike most earphones, the lows aren’t boosted, and that tends makes the sound a little bright. Though the tuning tries to be neutral, the lows could have been handled better. The weaker than usual bass is something an average buyer may not enjoy, unless they know exactly what they are buying.
If thumping bass is not your thing, and sound clarity and detail is more important, you will love the Lypertek Tevi. The soundstage is quite good too and so is the instrument separation in complex tracks. One thing I missed here is wear detection, meaning there is no sensor that pauses the audio if you remove the buds from the ear; something I expect in earphones priced upwards of 5K. I had no complaint about the call quality, with both parties being perfectly audible to each other with very little ambient noise seeping through.
Now comes the best part — the battery life. The company claims a figure of 10 hours of play time for the buds on a full charge, and another whopping 60 hours for the case when listening to them at 50 percent volume on the SBC codec. In reality, they go on for a shade over 8 hours at 70-75 percent volume level on aptX, which is quite impressive. What’s even better is that the case can charge them 6 times over, taking the overall battery backup to in excess of 55 hours, which is quite phenomenal. The charging case can be charged by any USB Type-C charger. If you don’t have one, the necessary cable is bundled in the package.
The Lypertek Tevi is priced at Rs 6,999 with a one year warranty, and you can occaionally find them for 10 percent off. These are not your usual pair of earphones with a V-shaped sound signature or enhanced bass. They try to stay as neutral as possible. In comparison to the Sony WF-XB700, these are probably at the opposite end of the spectrum. Nothing wrong with either. If you like thumping bass, better go for the Sony. If detail in audio is more important, the Tevi is a great option. The crazy high battery backup in an added bonus. If you prefer a middle ground with a good balance between the two, say hello to the Creative Outlier Air.
- Close to neutral sound signature.
- Detailed sound with good soundstage
- IPX7 water resistant
- Excellent battery life; over 55 hours with charging case
- Support for aptX codecs
- Good call quality
- Can get a bit too bright for comfort in certain tracks
- Low end frequency reproduction (bass response) could have been better
- No wear detection
- Poor placement of multifunction button
Price: Rs 6,999
Creative Outlier Air Review
The Creative brand name brings back a lot of pleasant memories from the past, right from their high quality sound cards for the PC to one of the first wired in-ear monitors I used — the EP-630. The Outlier Air are their midrange true wireless earphones, that are similar to the Lypertek Tevi in more ways than one, but not in sound signature. These too are Bluetooth 5.0 compliant and support Qualcomm’s aptX codecs along with SBC and AAC, and automatically choose the best codec available. The wireless range is similar, and here too, both buds connect individually, though the pairing was seamless right from the first attempt.
Again, the physical multifunction button is placed right at the back of each earbud, something that I am not very fond of. Everytime you press the button, you tend to push the buds more into your ear, and put unwanted pressure on the ear. And to make matters worse, the buttons on these Creative buds are a much stiffer than those on the Tevi. I have no issues with physical buttons over touch controls, but I wish more manufacturers start putting the button at the side of the earbuds instead of at the back, like in case of Sony WF-XB700. The buttons let you answer/end calls, play/pause tracks, go to previous/next tracks and increase or decrease the volume. If you can press them hard enough to register.
These IPX5 rated buds are slightly unusual in shape and look a tad bulky. It may take a little while getting used to their presence in the ear, but they are quite light and do not cause any discomfort. They fit nicely after a bit of adjustment, and stay in place during jogs and light workouts. The passive noise isolation is passable, but not as good as the Tevi with either of the three pairs of included silicone tips. No wear detection here either. They have a ring of light around the circumference that glows red when charging and blue when paired. The aluminium charging case is quite cool, with a sliding mechanism, but be doubly sure that the buds are attached firmly in place when you put them back in the case, else they won’t charge or may not even disconnect.
Despite their bulk, each earbud hosts a tiny 5.6mm Graphene driver, but the little drivers punch way above their size class. The default sound signature of the Creative Outlier Air is warm, the bass is punchy but well controlled, and does not hamper the lower mids. The highs are sharp and distinct without being sibilant. There is ample clarity in the vocals, and the midrange response is fine, but a little recessed. I don’t think the slightly boosted low end frequencies have anything to do with that; it’s just the way they are tuned.
Instrument separation is more than decent, and the sound stage is one of the broadest in the segment giving you this wonderful illusion of space. There’s a good amount of detail in the sound too, though not at the same level as the Tevi. Most importantly, the overall sound output is quite enjoyable. Yes, I like my sound a little on the warmer side, rather than neutral. And if you like it that way too, you will enjoy the Creative Outlier Air output. You don’t have to opt for earphones with a neutral sound signature just because your self-proclaimed audiophile friend says so. Sound preference is a subjective matter. To each his own.
The call quality here is decent, at best. Both parties are perfectly audible to each other, but the audio feels a touch boomy. Some ambient noise seeps through too, a bit more than the Tevi. The battery life is impressive, with the buds clocking a shade under 9 hours on a full charge. The charging case can charge them twice more, taking the total battery backup close to 27 hours, which is not as insane as the Tevi, but more than respectable. The case has a USB Type-C connector for charging and the cable is provided in the bundle, in case you don’t have a Type-C charger.
The Creative Outlier Air sells for Rs 6,999 with a one year warranty. For that price, it’s an impressive pair of TWS earbuds that will appeal to a broader audience looking for a good balance between thumping bass and sound clarity, and of course, solid battery backup.
- Warm yet detailed sound output
- Sound signature will appeal to a broader audience than Tevi’s
- Support for aptX codecs
- IPX5 sweat and splash resistant
- Comfortable to wear despite being a tad bulky
- Very good battery life; close to 27 hours with charging case
- Mids feel a bit recessed
- Button placement, stiffness is far from ideal
- Average call quality
- No wear detection
Price: Rs 6,999