Creative Halo Review: A Lot of Entertainment in a Compact Bluetooth Speaker

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Creative Halo review
Creative’s Halo is a Bluetooth speaker with an impressive light show. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Creative Halo

I’ve reviewed several Creative Bluetooth speakers in the past, including the still-awesome Creative iRoar. Creative isn’t necessarily a name that you see on store shelves beside the likes of UE and Bose, but the company’s speakers have always been top notch and a great value for the money.

The new Creative Halo takes a completely different approach from the iRoar.

Portable and Affordable

The Halo is a compact Bluetooth speaker, measuring 6.9 x 2.8 x 4.3-inches and weighing just over one pound. Instead of a glossy piano finish, most of the surface is black cloth or rubber. There’s an unusual ring of mirrored plastic on the front face (more on that shortly). It’s portable—there’s even a handy, soft strap for easy carrying, although the speaker is not ruggedized or waterproof, so keep it dry.

Audio is powered by a pair of full-range drivers and a passive woofer. Connectivity is via Bluetooth 4.2 or a 3.5mm AUX input. It can be used as a speakerphone and the 2200mAh battery is rated at up to eight hours of music playback.

At $69.99, this is a much more affordable speaker than other Creative offerings like the iRoar and Roar 2.

Performance

While audio performance obviously pales in comparison to the much more expensive iRoar, the Creative Halo performed very well for a speaker that retails for under $70.

The bass isn’t exactly booming, but the low end is represented and high end notes were crisp. The speaker’s strong point is the mid-range, though. Vocals and guitars, in particular, come through very clearly. The volume gets loud enough to fill a small room nicely, and I was able to play at near maximum volume without the music falling apart from distortion and thrashing drivers—not many speakers can pull that off, even in much high price ranges.

With two full-range drivers, placed very closely together, you don’t get much in the way of separation or soundstage, but the audio projects well. Battery life is rated at up to eight hours, but you can expect to get less than that if you turn up the volume. In short, I’d say the Creative Halo is a decent sounding portable speaker that outperforms many in its class.

Unbeatable LED Light Show

Going back to that mirrored ring on the front of the Halo, its downside is that it’s an absolute fingerprint magnet. However, there’s a big payoff for that inconvenience.

Creative Halo review
The speaker is portable, lights can be controlled by a button or app. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Behind the plastic is what Creative calls an “Infinite Tunnel Light show”—rings of LED lights. They can reproduce 16.8 million colors, and there are 12 built-in effects ranging from colors racing around the ring (in a “halo”) to pulsing to the beat of the music or solid colors. You can cycle through the 12 pre-set effects using a button on the speaker. Or download Creative’s Xpectra app (free for iOS and Android) and you can fine tune and customize the lighting almost infinitely. The LED lights are this speaker’s namesake feature and, wow, they sure attract attention.

If you find the light distracting, it can be turned off altogether. But with so many options—some of them quite subtle and even relaxing—I can’t imagine ever doing so…

Should You Buy It?

I wouldn’t recommend the Creative Halo if you’re looking for audiophile quality sound. And while portable, it’s neither rugged nor water resistant. But for an affordable portable Bluetooth speaker with better than expected audio and one unbeatable light show, the Creative Halo is a great deal. In fact, I’d consider it for the LED lights alone…

Disclosure: Creative provided a Halo speaker but had no input into this review.

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