Creative Zen Aurvana review: Creative Zen Aurvana

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MSRP: $99.99
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Lightweight, durable, and low profile; comfortable fit; good noise-blocking capability and balanced clean sound.

The Bad Should come with foam earbud option and 1/4" adapter jack

The Bottom Line If you need lightweight and quality in-ear earphones for under $100, check out the Creative Aurvanas, which match up quite well against the Shure E2cs.

7.5 Overall

With in-ear headphones all the rage now, it didn't surprise us when audio-centric Creative Labs joined the fun with the launch of its own Zen Aurvana in-ear earphones. Already available in Asia a few weeks before their U.S. launch, the $99 "anti-iPod black" pair are extremely lightweight (0.46 ounces) and low profile, and they sound quite good--if they fit in your ears properly (Jasmine's earholes are too small for the Aurvana).

For me, that's not a problem. You get two pairs of three different-size silicon earbuds, the rubbery kind. Though I prefer foam tips, the medium size fit quite well, passively blocking ambient noise (by 90 percent, according to Creative) and delivering clean, balanced sound. Indeed, the high-end sounds come through crystal clear. The Aurvanas have a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz and a sensitivity of 115dB and 20dB at noise blocking. Bass is surprisingly solid (for this listener anyway), and overall performance is good, or as good as a pair of $110 Shure E2Cs, which are bulkier than the Aurvanas. While we prefer the sound of the Shure E3cs, the Aurvanas cost half as much.

It all comes down to comfort and sound, and the Aurvanas rock if you don't mind spending a C-note for your headphones. The 4-foot cable doesn't easily get tangled and the earbuds are so light that you can let one hang out of your ear if you need to monitor the outside world. They match up quite nicely with the Zen Vision:M or Zen V Plus. In this price range, we also like the Ultimate Ears Super fi 3 Studio, which stay securely attached to your ears.

The Aurvanas include a Y-junction slider for optimal cable management, and they ship with the mentioned earbuds, an airplane adapter, an ear-gunk cleaning tool, and a travel case.

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