After first showing off the Creative SXFI Gamer headset at CES 2020, Creative has brought it to Singapore, and it’s priced pretty astonishingly. With other gaming headsets going for S$200 to S$300, these are just S$179 and they offer Creative’s SXFI technology, opening up the soundstage for a wider, more immersive experience.
It’s as simple as getting your ears scanned with the Creative SXFI app through a phone and then logging into the same account in the SXFI Control application on the computer. The personalised profile will load up, and you’ll be able to toggle between the normal mode with effects off, SXFI mode and Battle Mode which is designed specially for FPS games.
Since I mostly play FPS games like Apex Legends, I left the headset on Battle Mode most of the time, and I can say that while you shouldn’t expect your performance to be much better, the headset definitely reveals more details like footsteps, gunshots and other ambient sounds with more accuracy and clarity than in the SXFI mode.
The SXFI mode is pretty good, if you’re playing games that are more cinematic or have plenty of dialogue and background music. Open-world RPGs do great with these headphones and of course, this mode works well with watching movies as well.
If you’re really looking to enjoy some music with these headphones though, it might be best to turn off the SXFI mode completely. While you do get a big expansion of the soundstage, you lose some of the bass and tracks that are more complex won’t be able to be fully enjoyed. That being said, this is a gaming headset, so nobody should be expecting audiophile performance out of it. For what it is, it performs very well for music in a pinch.
The other most important aspect of a gaming headset is the microphone, and I’m glad Creative went with a detachable mic for these. The arm itself is metal, meaning it bends and stays bent very well in whatever direction or position you like your mic to be in.
The mic itself works well, with no hissing and very little background noise picked up. The one thing I didn’t like about the mic though, is that when muted, the red light at the tip of the mic flashes. It’s distracting and definitely not something you want to be focusing on when in a gunfight. I feel Creative should have just gone with a solid red light instead, as most other manufacturers do. The light is in a prominent enough place that nobody would be able to miss it.
The modes can be toggled through a button on the left earcup, or through the SXFI Control application. Speaking of the left earcup, all of the physical buttons and inputs are there. A volume wheel, a mic mute button, microphone jack, USB-C and 3.5mm line-in ports as well as a button that toggles the RGB lighting on the headset.
The RGB lighting can be a bit divisive. It’s two simple circles around the earcups, and the colour can be customised in the SXFI Control application. Some people might not like the design, but I find it quite subtle and not too flashy.
The ear cups are made of plastic though, which does serve to keep the headset light and comfortable for long gaming sessions, even though it doesn’t feel quite premium. The adjustable slider in the headband is also numbered so you can figure out the perfect number the first time you put these on, and then you’ll always know which notch you need to set it to.
The earpads are pretty plush, but I found the lack of padding on the headband a bit odd. Granted, the headset isn’t heavy enough to really result in too much pinching at the crown of the head, but it would still have been nice to see a bit more thought put in there.
If you want to use the SXFI technology, you’ll have to use the USB-C to C cable that’s included in the box, but just in case your computer or laptop doesn’t have a USB-C port, there’s also an adapter in there for USB-A. Similarly, there’s also a 3.5mm cable in case you want to use these headphones with a Nintendo Switch, although SXFI won’t be available then.
All in all, these are decent headphones for gaming, especially when you factor in the price. Try not to expect too much out of them when listening to music, and everything will be fine.
More information about the Creative SXFI Gamer (S$179) can be found on Creative’s website.