The nice people at Creative sent me an Airwave HD to review last week, i’ve been putting it through its paces. It does remind me slightly of the JBL Charge that I saw at the #harmandads event, although it doesn’t have the charging facility of that, it does also have NFC pairing, something lacking from all the JBL portable speakers.
The Airwave HD is available in black and red, I was sent the black variant, it’s in the shiny piano black that nearly everything comes in these days (i.e. dust magnet!). Still it looks very sleek and seems to fit in well with everything else on my desk. The unit is very weighty, I imagine it’s to do with the battery inside. The retail price is £129.99.
On the back ot the unit you have a Micro USB socket which you can use to charge / power the device, and there is also a 3.5mm Aux In port should your source not be Bluetooth enabled. There is also a smallish Bass Port too. Above the sockets you have the area where you ‘tap’ the phone to enable the NFC pairing.
On top you have the controls, from left to right you have a Mic (so you can use it is an amplified Hands Free Device), a power switch, a volume up and down toggle, a Bluetooth Button (used for pairing, and also pausing music and answering calls), and on the end is an LED to show the power status.
The Airwave has voice prompts which are fairly common these days, I honestly hate them, you switch it on and have a robotic lady saying ‘POWERING ON’. It’s certainly not as loud as the voice inside the JBL Soundfly, but I just don’t understand the point, it makes listening to music in the office a bit less discreet. Thankfully the pairing ‘noises’ are fairly inoffensive and are nice chimes, compared to the screams of ‘JBL SOUNDFLY IS CONNECTED’ that you get with the Soundfly.
Also I’ve noticed that the volume control has mind numbing tiny increments when turning the volume up or down, you have to press the button like a loon to get the right volume. I’m all for precision, but this is just crazy!
Right – to the important stuff, how does it sound? Well actually not too bad at all, it’s got a bit of punch to it especially at higher volumes, the sound was slightly flat though. It’s very difficult to put my finger on, but there was just something missing. Please don’t get me wrong, if you’re out and about and want to put on some tunes, it is fine and perfect for the job, but just one my desk it didn’t feel quite there.
On the subject of being ‘out and about’ the battery is FABULOUS, it really is! In these times where batteries don’t seem to last as well as they should, the Airwave HD will make you very happy. I could probably squeeze about 8 hours out at a moderate volume, and 7-8 hours if you were being a bit louder. I would say your phone would probably die before this does!
All in all it’s a great little device for portable music, it’s got a bit of welly behind it and the amazing battery will keep the party going all night. It’s a great addition to any desk if you want to listen to some music and take a few calls too, I’m going to be sad to see it leave mine!
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Creative Airwave HD