Full marks for Creative's tiny speaker that is big on sound

The Creative iRoar Go is small enough to be carried in a handbag.
The Creative iRoar Go is small enough to be carried in a handbag.PHOTO: CREATIVE

The Creative iRoar Go is mighty sound packed into a small body, at a wallet-friendly price.

It is called the Go because it is a lot more portable than previous generations - 40 per cent smaller and 25 per cent lighter. It is genuinely handy and small enough to be toted around in a handbag.

It also costs just $299, significantly less than the $528 of the last-generation iRoar.

The styling of the iRoar Go also looks more grown-up, which to me is a definite plus. The last iRoar was a gregarious teenager, with bright orange and bronze accents, and backlit buttons.

The new one has come into its own with matte silver highlights and understated buttons.

For the first time in the iRoar line-up, the speaker is also weather-resistant. The IPX6 rating of the iRoar Go means that it is splash-proof, though it cannot be immersed in water.

Performance-wise, the iRoar Go delivers punchy sound with its five drivers: a subwoofer and two high-frequency drivers in the front, and passive bass radiators at the sides.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $299

    DIMENSIONS: 54 x 192 x 97 mm; USB cable length: About 0.7m

    WEIGHT: 810g

    PLAYBACK SOURCES: Bluetooth, microSD/microSDHC, 3.5mm line-in, Micro-USB

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    OVERALL: 5/5

Particularly impressive is the speaker's SuperWide technology, which creates a massive sound stage when turned on. This is so wide that it can pass off as three speakers instead of one. During a product demonstration by Creative, I was convinced that the sound from a single iRoar Go came from multiple sources.

This means that in a pinch, it can be appropriated for gaming, although a single speaker is typically not the best for positional audio.

I tried it with the Battlefield 1 beta and found myself able to identify the general direction of gunfire and footsteps, although pinpointing an exact location was impossible.

What was great though, was the way that the iRoar Go handled Battlefield 1's menagerie of game sounds without letting any detail get lost in the mix.

Even in the heat of battle, I could hear everything clearly, from the metallic reload of my sniper rifle to the hoofbeats of horses as they charged up on me.

The iRoar Go can be controlled via a mobile app, which lets users choose between modes like SuperWide, Warm and Energetic. You can also create and save custom sound profiles.

On top of excellent audio performance, the iRoar Go is also packed with many features.

Besides having Bluetooth, NFC and USB connectivity, it can function as a voice recorder, battery pack and public address system when connected to a microphone (the adapter is included).

You get 12 hours of audio playback after each full charge using its proprietary AC adapter.

I wish that Creative had included Micro-USB charging as it would be a lot more convenient to juice up most of my devices using the same charger.

I also wish that the five rubber buttons on the front of the speaker were a little easier to press. As it is, they are sunk inwards and are not the most responsive.

That said, it is just nitpicking for an otherwise brilliant product. For anyone looking to buy a portable wireless speaker, the Creative iRoar Go should be at the top of your list.

  • Verdict: The Creative iRoar Go is a value-for-money, feature-packed speaker that delivers a great audio experience.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2016, with the headline 'Full marks for Creative's tiny speaker that is big on sound'. Print Edition | Subscribe