Creative  - Creative Halo


Creative Halo: a musical orb with a small voice

Aprox. 137€ - see price -

See specifications

The manufacturer Creative is customary of multicolored luminous skins on its audio products for PC. Here he is now trying to install a strip of RGB LEDs in a portable speaker, called Halo. Let us see with what dexterity the latter manipulates sound waves as well as light.

Positive points

Light effects very well done.

Clean sound of midrange treble.

Good stereophony.

Full Bluetooth controls.

Bad points

Made very short in bass.

Power reserve a bit low.

Our review


The construction of the Creative Halo is not particularly impressive, but is nevertheless very satisfactory. Its speakers and surround are covered with a good quality fabric, while the control panel on the top is made of a rubbery plastic rather pleasant to the touch, and less messy than one might fear.

But it is obviously the oval surface surrounding the front speakers that immediately catches the eye. When the speaker is turned off, it takes on the appearance of a mirror; when it is on, it reveals the light effects which are the main reason for this speaker.

These light effects are particularly successful, as attractive "in real life" as they are in the photo. The Creative Xpectra application, available on iOS and Android, allows you to choose between a multitude of different light effects and customize the colors of a large number of them as desired.

It is obviously possible to ask these effects to animate in rhythm with the music broadcast, but this mode of operation suffers from a very frustrating limitation: the perception of the rhythm of the music broadcast is dependent on the level of listening. and only works effectively over an extremely limited volume range (around 50% of the maximum volume). As long as you prefer to use your speaker at very low or very high volume, this synchronization function simply does not work. Pity ...

! [] (Music: Veronika's Dream by Floex)

Compatible with Bluetooth 4.2, the Halo has perfectly exhaustive controls - navigation between the tracks is effected by a long press on the volume control buttons. It is fully compatible with the AVRCP Bluetooth profile, and therefore capable of unifying its volume control with that of the source device - comfort always appreciable. On the other hand, there is unfortunately no possibility of connecting it in multipoint to several sources simultaneously.

The use in hands-free kit is possible, thanks to the presence of a microphone of correct quality, but almost devoid of noise reduction: do not therefore hope to use it other than in a quiet environment. ! [.] (signal normalized to -1 dB at peak)

The connection is completed by a single auxiliary input, on a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack. Note that when using wired, the speaker can maintain a Bluetooth connection with a mobile device, thanks to which it is therefore always possible to control the light effects.

Despite the inevitable overconsumption caused by RGB LEDs, we measured a battery life of around 9 hours with the light effects activated; it is therefore better than the 8 hours promised by the manufacturer. A value that is not impressive, but remains satisfactory in use. Note that when the battery reaches approximately 15% of remaining charge, said light effects are automatically deactivated to preserve the last drops of available energy as much as possible.



The lighting of the Creative Halo is certainly very well done, but it has a major drawback: it takes up space in the body of the speaker; many places. Unsurprisingly, the quality of the sound reproduction suffers.

We had already encountered a similar situation with the JBL Pulse 3: a speaker whose generous size required us to put it in our comparison of transportable speakers, but whose acoustic elements were confined in a volume approaching rather that of a portable speaker - with corresponding sound performance. Transpose everything to a lower category, and here we are faced with the case of the Creative Halo: it is a portable speaker whose performance is that of an ultra-portable. A conclusion which is justified in two points: a very short bass extension, and a more limited power reserve than what we were entitled to hope for.

Regarding the first point, the above frequency response measurement speaks volumes. Below 200 Hz, no salvation: the bass notes and the kicks are only heard through their harmonics, and are completely deprived of their seat. A passive bass radiator is however present at the rear of the enclosure, but it has far too little energy and freedom of movement to do its job in a really convincing way.

As for the second point, it mainly results in a limitation of the dynamic which occurs as soon as you raise the sound level of the speaker above about 50%, and which is in the form of an effect quite unpleasant pumping. Harmonic distortion can also start to point its nose, and cause a small excess of sound aggressiveness, due to its combination with the sensitive highlighting of treble extremes around 10 kHz.

Apart from these two grievances, the Halo nevertheless achieves a quite honorable performance. At a reasonable volume, it produces a very clean sound, perfectly balanced in the midrange. As for the excess energy in the high frequencies, it is all the more surmountable as the said frequencies are very directive, and it is therefore enough to be located a little in height relative to the enclosure - which is the case in the vast majority of daily uses - so that it is considerably lessened. We also appreciate a frankly surprising stereophony given the proximity of the two speakers: the separation of the channels remains perceptible up to more than a meter away.

Latency in Bluetooth is just over 230 ms: this is above the average of portable speakers, and too much to be able to watch a video comfortably - unless of course you can compensate for this difference in the settings of the reader.



Everyone will of course have their opinion on the relevance of the lighting of the Creative Halo, but it is clear that these are of a particularly convincing visual effect. Too bad, however, that their presence is at the expense of the quality of the audio reproduction, a bit tight for a speaker of this size.