One of the products that Creative Labs had been touting for a while was their Roar wireless speaker system. I missed the chance to take a loot at it during CES back in January, so I was very happy to receive one in the mail a little while ago. The Roar was intended to bring as much audio power and clarity as possible to the wireless speaker market – which is now flooded with cheap Bluetooth sets featuring glorified headphone driver units in them.
Weighing in at about 2.5 lbs and measuring about 8 inches by 4.5 inches by 2.2 inches, the Sound Blaster Roar is a stout competitor in the category. It features a dark gray body with silver, chromed accents and light colored typography, giving it a very classy appearance. Intriguingly, much of the Roar’s body is made up of speaker grating, raising the question of just how many speakers reside within its housing. The solution to getting a lot of space-filling sound out of the small Roar was to allow the bass and sound to not only funnel out through the front of the unit but also out the sides of the Roar as well. This helps create the volume of sound that Creative touted so much. The system works exceptionally well to that end – if you are hosting a party and need to fill the room with your favorite jams, the Roar will do so in spades.
This is also due, in part, to the fact that Creative Labs as stuffed not one but two amplifiers into the Rorar. One amplifier is connected to the bass driver while the other is connected to the mid-high drivers. Some might call this overkill, but you have to hear just how loud and clear the Roar comes in to fully-appreciate this design choice. In addition to playing music, Creative has integrated a speakerphone function into the unit so that you won’t miss out on calls while your phone is linked with it. The speakerphone features are great and work as one expects. I don’t generally use Bluetooth speakers for this purpose but the fact that it is there is a nicety.
The best use we found for the Creative Sound Blaster Roar wireless speaker was to connect it up to our theater system. I use an iPad Mini w/Retina to send video to an HD projector via an HDMI / Lightning adapter. The iPad Mini is also connected to the Sound Blaster Roar via Bluetooth and, in comparison to some other speakers I have used for this purposes, works incredibly-well. The sheer amount of sound coming from the Roar filled the room and no one in our audience missed any of the action. We have tried several other Bluetooth speakers for this role, but most fall short of putting out enough sound for everyone to hear clearly. The Roar is now my speaker of choice for room-filling sound.
Going a step further, Creative has added what they call the “Roar Button” to the unit that, when pressed, instantly amplifies the volume of the sound by a large factor. If you need to fill a banquet hall with sound, I suggest you press this button. It was too much for a small office or home environment – seriously. Additional features include the ability to insert a Micro SD memory card which allows you to play music and record audio (even phone calls) and the incredibly-cool “Creative Multipoint” technology.
Creative Multipoint allows you to link two different Bluetooth devices to the Roar at the same time. A toggle switch allows you to go back and forth, playing audio from either source. I love having my iPhone and iPad Mini with Retina linked to the speaker and, usually, that is not a possibility. This makes it so easy to have both and I am unsure as to how they have pulled this feat off – maybe there are two Bluetooth transmitters inside, or it is somehow accomplished with the Bluetooth 3.0 standard, etc. I don’t know – but I do know it works and is pretty darn cool. Other connectivity options include NFC as well as a 3.5mm input jack in case you go “old school”. The Roar’s internal, rechargeable battery can even be used as a portable charger for your USB devices, making it very hand when out on the road for a spell.
The Creative Sound Blaster Roar retails for $199 dollars and, while not a cheap speaker system, is more than capable of going head-to-head with wireless speakers from the likes of Bose. The Roar has plenty of audio oomph while at the same time providing clarity at the mid and high ranges. The Roar will be available soon over at Creative Labs’ official web store.
[easyreview title=”Creative Sound Blaster Roar Wireless Speaker Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”5″ ]
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