Creative iRoar Go Review: Introduction
Choosing a Bluetooth speaker nowadays can very much be a pain in the ass. With what seems like thousands of options to choose from finding a good one not as easy as you would hope.
Tinny sound, poor build and bad battery life not loud enough, weak bass are all usually top of the consumer complaints. Portable Bluetooth speakers have always been about compromises but Creative hope that its new version of the iRoar Go can solve a lot of past issues.At the same time as addressing all these issues, they also seek to offer a whole other level of bonus features so you can do more for your money.
We have had the iRoar Go in the office for 2 weeks not and it's time to get the review done. What we want to know is can it live up to its lofty promises on the spec sheet and how well it stacks up against the other competition on the market in 2017.
Creative iRoar Go Review: The Tech Specs
On paper, the Creative iRoar Go looks absolutely jam packed full of tech and tricks. Feature wise it is definitely one of the most advanced portable Bluetooth speakers we have seen to date.
More than just a Bluetooth speaker the iRoar Go can be used in many different ways. It can play mp3 and FLAC files, operate as a voice recorder, Bluetooth speakerphone for calling, a portable battery pack and an external USB soundcard.
That's a lot of features crammed into such a small chassis and to top it all of the speaker is also water resistant rated to IPX6 meaning it's perfect for going on camping and beach trips.
There are 5 separate diaphragms in the unit that each perform their own task when it comes to the sound quality. Two tweeters work in tandem with the central subwoofer and side mounted radiators to pump out the beats. To up the power Creative have even decided to use 2 separate amp units instead of the more common choice of driving via a single amp unit.
Some other cool tricks that the iRoar Go has up its sleeve are the use of what they call Superwide technology. The simplification of this is that you can place the speaker in a variety of positions on in a room and it will change the way you hear the music, adding both width and depth. Now any speaker placed against a wall or in a corner will usually sound louder and fuller but Creative have actually designed the iGo.
Presets such can be found on the creative app that you can find on the google play and apple app stores as well as some other tweaks that further enhance the listening experience.
Design and Build
The iRoar is a good looking little unit and you can see the evolution of the Roar speaker line throughout. A rectangular slab I was actually very surprised to see how compact it actually is given that I expected a far larger unit given all the features that it has to offer.
Material quality is great and whilst it doesn't feel quite as robust as the Minirig or as refined as the Bang & Olufsen units I would have no worries as to the long term durability of the speaker.
One thing I absolutely love about the iRoar is the incredible amount of control you have over playback and other settings. We have recently reviewed the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1, Beoplay P2 and the Minirig Bluetooth speakers and all of them are sorely lacking when it comes to physical hands on controls.
Up top, you find the Playback buttons (skip forward/back, play/pause). You also get a record button and playback for if you wish to dictate to the unit and record voice memos etc. A shuffle button is another nice option for when you are playing music directly off a Micro SD card.
One of our favorite functions of the iRoar Go is the button up top labeled "ROAR". Press this button and the unit comes alive sound becomes dramatically fuller, they side radiator speakers begin to shake and the bass becomes instantly more prominent.
The front of the iRoar also has some buttons and here you will find the Power button, volume up and down, Bluetooth call functionality and a source switch button.
That's a lot of buttons and it's perhaps one of the best features of the speaker that you don't have to go digging through your phone to access all this functionality.
Just as is the case with the buttons Creative have also provided a whole lot of useful port options on the speaker, all of which, can be accessed from two waterproof rubberized flaps on the top right.
From right to left, you get the following options to connect.
- 15v power port for charging the speaker.
- 3.5mm Aux in port to directly connect your source.
- A 5V/1A DC out port (USB type A) for charging external devices (Yes the iRoar can be used as a portable battery pack)
- A micro USB port
- A micro SD card slot
I must say I can't think of any other portable Bluetooth speakers this small that houses so many advanced connection options.
Given its size, the Creative iRoar Go manages to produce quite a full and weighty sound. I will admit that after the testing was done I hardly ever found myself using the speaker without the "Roar" function turned on and I suspect that's what most people who buy this speaker will also do.
Without the Roar option enabled the speaker sounds clear and precise but quite flat and with a minimal bass response. With it enabled it's a whole other ball game. This speaker becomes a beast.
The unit comes alive both in the physical and aural sense. The side plates start to vibrate like a mini Devialet Phantom. The room fills with sound and all tracks become much more punchy and engaging.
Mids and highs are both very clear and are distinctly separate from being muddied by the low end. This is probably due to the separation of the drivers and amplifiers. As I previously mentioned the iRoar GO actually has two amplifiers. One that handles the low end and another that handles upper frequencies. This means that the sound is much clearer than you would find on other similarly sized speakers.
It also means that the iRoar can get loud..... super loud. Distortion is reached at the last few notches of volume but by that point, I would say you are getting well beyond the realm of how loud you want the volume in an average sounding room.
The Superwide thing is also not a gimmick. The speaker sounds wider and more spacious than most other speakers in the portable category and it makes it great for watching movies on a laptop or iPad. The sound is much more realistic especially when you compare it to mono speakers but I would say even some larger stereo Bluetooth speakers would struggle to keep up with this kind of performance.
Competition Creative iRoar Go vs...
Both those units feel absolutely stunted when you put their feature sets up against Creatives little banger and the sound is only just a couple of notches below those excellent speakers.
So this means it comes down to a choice of all out sound (best in class Minirigs + 50hr battery life) vs Every feature you could ever want + still very good sound. Ultimately the choice will come down to how you intend to use your unit but either one of these is up there with Bluetooth speakers.
The Creative iRoar Go is a hell of a lot of speaker for the money. I would go far as to say it's the best value portable Bluetooth speaker on the market today. We were most impressed with the highly adaptable nature of the design, the super wide sound, and superb build quality.
Whilst not the absolute pinnacle of sound quality in this price and size point it is in no way a slouch. The fact that it is so packed with bonus features means we can certainly recommend you check out the iRoar go if you are in the market for a loud, stylish and advanced speaker to use on the go.
All in, the Go is a great continuation of Creative's Roar speaker line.
To find out more about the Creative iRoar Go and other products please feel free to visit the Creative website.