♦ Introduction ♦
Creative's Sound Blaster ROAR has taken America by storm. For a product to have roughly 700 reviews on Amazon-US achieving an average rating of 4.8, it's understandable why it seems to be selling so well.
Well, it's finally making its way to the UK and I was very excited to get the chance to review one of these and see what all the fuss is about.
The ROAR boasts portability and high sound quality by having two amps, one of which concentrates on the high frequencies and the other on the low to mids.
♦ Box Contents & Optional Extras ♦
- Box Contents: ROAR Speaker* | Micro USB Cable | AC Adaptor | Quick Start Guide.
- Optional Extras: AUX Cable
| MicroSD Card
There is also a carry case available (which doesn't seem to have a product page at the time of writing this review), though there are some major flaws with the design.
Whilst it's a nice tight fit and gives you access to the rear ports and buttons, it completely covers the buttons on the top and offers very minimal protection.
For a company to produce a well made speaker, it's unfortunate they couldn't make a case to match the quality.
♦ First Impressions ♦
The packaging has minimal imagary & text on the front & sides, with the main features neatly listed on the back giving it a nice clean look to it.
The speaker is about the size of a Harry Potter book and has a very simple yet stylish look to it.
♦ Features ♦
- 6000mAh Lithium-Ion Internal Battery:
Creative claim the battery can last up to 8 hours of playback after a full charge.
Whenever I'm using this speaker, I always seem to make sure this button has been enabled. It gives your audio that extra boost of depth and loudness which I'm very fond off.
This feature definitely gets a big thumbs up from me!
The TeraBass feature can be enabled by tapping the alarm button once. Apparently when playing audio at lower to medium volume levels it can lack that extra bass, so Creative have added this 'TeraBass' feature to give your audio that extra kick of bass.
A lot of portable speakers have this feature and the ROAR is no different. When you get phone calls from your Bluetooth connected smartphone, you can take calls hands-free using its internal microphone.
- Voice Recording:
The quality of the voice recording feature isn't exactly amazing. You wont find me replacing my Olympus recorder over this, because there is a huge difference in voice quality, Olympus being the best, however it's more than understandable.
If you really wanted to, you can use this feature to record your phone calls, that actually may come in handy sometime in the future, you never know.
This feature baffles me... I guess if you really wanted to get everyone's attention by giving them a huge headache, then this is perfect!
For me... I have no use at all.
- Bedtime Mode:
I actually think this idea is fantastic, though unfortunately it's only compatible via music playback from a MicroUSB.
You can activate the bedtime mode by first playing music/sound recording, then holding the play/pause button in the record section. One beep means the 15 minute mode has been enabled and two beeps for the 30 minute mode.
During bedtime mood, the volume will gradually gets lower and lower before it shuts itself off, how neat is that!?
- USB Port Charging:
If either the ROAR has enough "Juice" inside or is connected via the mains, you can use it as a power bank.
Obviously doing this whilst the ROAR isn't directly powered will drain its battery quicker.
- Features Overview:
It seems that Creative are trying to make the ROAR more than just a high quality speaker... Whilst it baffles me to why some features were included, some people may actually get some use out of them.
I guess as long as any extra features hadn't taken any product time away from the sound quality itself, the more the merrier, right?
♦ Audio Inputs ♦
I'm sure many will be pleased with how many ways there are to connect your devices to this speaker.
If your device has an NFC feature, you can use the NFC hotspot on the speaker for extremely quick seamless pairing, just make sure the NFC is enabled on the connecting device, otherwise it wont pick it up.
Alternatively you can just search for 'SB ROAR SR20A' on your Bluetooth enabled device.
So far I've connected the ROAR with my Android smartphone, PS Vita and my friends iPhone & iPad, all with great results.
One thing to note is that the ROAR has a Bluetooth Link Security feature with three different setting (the 'LS' feature can be found on the rear of the speaker). This basically controls how many people can connect to your speaker at one time.
The ROAR can support MicroSD cards up to 32GB. You can add a bunch of music files in MP3, WMA or WAV formats for playback. There is an option to repeat all in the order you've placed them on the MicroSD card or shuffle the music.
If you plan on using the voice recording feature, you will need a MicroSD.
By using an auxiliary cable, you can connect anything from MP3 players to a TV by sticking in an AUX cable from their headphone ports into the 'AUX In' port on the ROAR.
- Micro USB:
By using the included USB to Micro USB cable, you can connect the ROAR to a laptop or computer.
There's also a software download available on the Sound Blaster website which allows you to choose pre-set audio profiles. This software is available for both PC & Mac.
♦ Sound Quality ♦
This is what REALLY matters, after all it's a main purpose is being a portable speaker.
For what this speaker is and the price that it's available for, this produces outstanding sound quality.
Vocals are clear, the instrumentals are crisp and flipping heck.... You can really feel that kick of bass, just the way I like it.
♦ Overall Opinion ♦
The ROAR is a stylish and compact portable speaker which is versatile in connectivity and offers high quality audio output.
I think for it's price it delivers better sound quality than many would expect. I've owned a couple of high quality portable speakers in the past which are almost double the cost and this pretty much matches them in sound quality.
Obviously if you were to start comparing it to a speaker such as the Sony RDP-X900iP which is not only double the price, but is a non-portable speaker that has high quality magnetic-fluid technology, the bass difference would be in the favour of the Sony.
That said, it's not only myself which thinks highly of this speaker but my friends also. Obviously people have different opinions on audio, it's a very personal thing. But for me and many others, the Sound Blaster ROAR a winner in my eyes.
► Note: I received this product in exchange for an unbiased review.