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Creative WP-450 Wireless Bluetooth Headset review: Creative WP-450 Wireless Bluetooth Headset

Creative's $120 wireless headphones offer good sound but have a few small drawbacks.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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5 min read

Creative has, according to our count, at least four wireless Bluetooth headphones in its current product lineup. The two top models, the WP-450 and WP-350, have very similar specs on paper but have different designs and prices.

Creative WP-450 - headset
7.0

Creative WP-450 Wireless Bluetooth Headset

The Good

The <b>Creative WP-450</b> headphones are reasonably priced on-ear Bluetooth headphones with a built-in microphone for making calls and an 8-hour battery life. They offer comparably good sound quality for Bluetooth headphones.

The Bad

The less expensive WP-350s may be more comfortable for some users; the on-ear design makes your ears steamy in warm weather.

The Bottom Line

The Creative WP-450s are good Bluetooth wireless headphones, but the step-down WP-350 model is a better deal.

I reviewed the WP-350 earlier this year and gave it a positive review, highlighting the fact that it delivers a lot of bang for the buck. That model can be found online for just less than $70 while the swankier WP-450 headphones (reviewed here) go for around $120.

The first thing you notice when you compare the two models is that the WP-450 seems to have the better design. Its earcups appear to be better padded and the headband also appears sturdier. The WP-350 folds flat while the WP-450 folds up. Neither ends up being all that compact in the folded state. Both come with simple protective carrying bags.

The WP-450 folds up but not flat. Sarah Tew/CNET

After trying each one on, I was surprised to find that I thought the WP-350 was the slightly more comfortable headset. For starters, it's a bit lighter and its headband has some padding on the top while the WP-450's doesn't. I suspect the WP-450 will hold up better over time, but it just felt like it was clamped a little too tightly to my head and it was a bit uncomfortable after about 20 minutes. Of course, people's heads and ears vary in size, as does comfort level from person to person. I did test the models out on a couple of other CNET editors; one found the WP-450 more comfortable while the other gave the slight nod to the WP-350.

Both models are on-ear (meaning they sit on your ear, instead of surrounding the ear). They're not as comfortable as competing on-ear wired headphones like the Bose OE2i or the Sennheiser HD 238i models, and my ears did get a little steamy on warmer days.

I was able to achieve a tight seal on my ears, and the WP-450 earcups do a decent job of shutting out the outside world (depending on your ear, you will probably get a tighter seal with the WP-450s than the WP-350s, but that's partially because they simply fit tighter on your head). I can't say I felt all that stylish wearing them, but they're attractive enough and are a notch up in the style department from the WP-350s. That said, they do extend out more from your ears.

While they offer a bit more flair than the WP-350s and look a little pricier, there's nothing terribly fancy about the WP-450 headphones.

The buttons are well placed and easy to operate blindly. Sarah Tew/CNET

The WP-450 headset has a slightly different button scheme than the WP-350 model has, but both are pretty well thought out. The volume button is conveniently placed on the inner lip of the right earcup along with the track forward/back button, so they're easily found by touch. You shouldn't have to fumble around or remove the headphones to raise and lower volume or answer and end calls, and, yes, there's a built-in microphone. Of course, if you're using a smartphone to stream audio, you'll most likely use the virtual buttons on the device rather than the hard buttons on the headphone to control audio playback.

As with most other models of Bluetooth headphones I've encountered, pairing your smartphone, tablet, or other Bluetooth-enabled device with the WP-450s is easy enough, though you'll run into an occasional snafu. Also, expect to have some dropouts now and again; that's par for the course for Bluetooth, which has a range of about 30 feet.

Performance
Like the WP-350 pair, the WP-450s sound quite decent for Bluetooth headphones. They offer decent clarity and deliver a good amount of bass and also play loud. I was expecting a little bit more because they cost close to twice as much as their step-down sibling. Their sound seemed a little pumped up, which some people may like, but I thought the WP-350s were a little warmer and easier to listen to over longer periods.

In going wireless with Bluetooth headphones, you usually have to give up some sound quality because Bluetooth compresses your music and has a tendency to flatten out fidelity. You'll experience some of that with these headphones, although they do feature the aptX codec, which is supposed to improve sound quality. The iPhone 4S doesn't support aptX (both the headphones and the device you're streaming from have to support aptX), but I did try the headphones with the Samsung Galaxy S3. In listening to standard MP3s, I didn't really notice a difference. I then ran some lossless tracks though the headphones and noticed a slight improvement, but I wouldn't say these headphones are good enough to really deliver a refined listening experience. Creative's own $99 Aurvana Live headphones sound significantly better and are more comfortable, but that's a wired over-the-ear model (sorry for the apples-to-oranges comparison, but I thought it worth mentioning).

You charge up the headphones with an included Micro-USB cable. Sarah Tew/CNET

While I wasn't blown away by the sound, I thought the WP-450s sounded better than a lot of in-ear Bluetooth headphones I've tested and delivered similar sound quality to the pricier AKG K830BT headphones (also an on-ear model). I also thought they were superior to a pair of JayBird Wireless SB2TR Sportsband Bluetooth headphones I had in-house.

As far as using the WP-450 as a headset for making calls, it seemed to perform a bit better than the WP-350 model. You can hear callers quite well but because the microphone is housed in the right earcup, it's a little far from your mouth. My test callers said my voice slightly muffled but was "fine" overall. They could hear me, I just didn't come across entirely clearly. (Note that I was indoors, not outside.)

Finally, battery life is rated at around 8 hours on a single charge, which is a standard spec for Bluetooth headsets. I was able to use them for 5 days straight on my daily commute without having to recharge, and I travel a little less than 2 hours a day.

Conclusion
Since I liked Creative's WP-350 Bluetooth headphones, I naturally assumed I'd like the step-up WP-450s even more. However, that didn't prove to the be the case.

I did like the WP-450s and they're comparatively good Bluetooth headphones, though I didn't feel they offered much of an advantage over the WP-350s, whether in terms of sound quality, comfort, or build quality.

Overall, the WP-450s' sound is a bit beefier than the WP-350s', you get a tighter seal with them, and they seem sturdier overall. But I found the WP-350s more pleasant to listen to and a little more comfortable. In other words, the WP-450s are solid Bluetooth headphones but I can't recommend you run out and buy them over the WP-350s, which I consider a better deal overall.

Creative WP-450 - headset
7.0

Creative WP-450 Wireless Bluetooth Headset

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 8
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