Design wise, the Aurvana X-Fis look good, with a wide, solid headband that easily adjusts – the adjustment doesn’t slip too easily either, which is something I’ve encountered with other over the ear headphones. There’s a good degree of padding on the top of the headband keeping things comfortable on the top of your head, while the padding around each ear cup is also plentiful. I found the size and shape of the ear cups just about perfect – they covered my ears completely, without putting any undue pressure on the soft tissue around the edges of my ears. As already mentioned, I wore these headphones for the best part of nine hours without being caused any discomfort.
The left cup hides the battery compartment, which is always a preferable design to having a battery holder hanging from the cable. Talking of the cable, it’s a completely detachable design, and Creative bundles two cables in the box so you can add an extension, depending on how far away you are from your source device. It’s also worth mentioning that the plug at the end of the cable is tapered, so it will fit into the iPhone’s awkwardly slim socket.
On the right cup there’s an analogue volume wheel, which is handy if your source device is out of reach. There’s a sliding power switch, and then three toggle buttons for Noise Cancelling, X-Fi Crystalizer and X-Fi CMSS-3D – each of the three sound processing components can be activated separately or concurrently. The switch and all three buttons glow blue when active – will we ever see the end of blue LEDs?
The Aurvana X-Fi headphones come with a hard carry case, which although reasonably large, is fairly slim and should fit in your hand luggage. As well as the headphones and cables you get two AAA batteries to get you started, along with a double plug aeroplane adapter and a full size headphone jack adapter.
Battery life is pretty good – I managed to get over ten hours of use out of a single set of AAAs. And unlike the Bose noise cancelling headphones, these can be used even if you run out of battery power – albeit without the active noise cancelling and X-Fi features.
The Aurvana X-Fi headphones can be found on the street for around £139, which some may consider a lot of money for headphone, but considering the technology that Creative has squeezed into these, it really isn’t. This price places the Aurvanas well below popular noise cancelling headphones from Bose, while offering a greater range of features. If, like me, you spend a lot of time trapped in a flying pressurised cylinder, the Aurvana X-Fi headphones shouldn’t be considered a luxury, they’re a necessity.
I hate flying, I really do, but these headphones really did make the long flight home from Las Vegas considerably more bearable. The noise cancelling is impressive, while the X-Fi CMSS-3D works well when watching movies, helping to create an immersive experience and block out your surroundings. As with all active noise cancelling headphones, the sound quality isn’t going to appeal to an audiophile, but in an environment with excessive ambient noise you’ll be very happy to have them. Put simply, I won’t be getting on a plane without these headphones in my hand luggage.
Score in detail