If you are looking for an inexpensive Bluetooth and USB speaker that provides decent sound quality and looks great on your desk, look no further. The Creative Stage Air is a Bluetooth soundbar that is designed to sit unobtrusively under your desktop monitor. It is made to fulfill most computer speaker needs, plus it is portable, meaning you don’t need to only use with your computer. You can pair it with a smartphone via Bluetooth or even plug in a USB thumb drive with music on it for simple playback. (*Disclosure below.)
While the Creative Stage Air is billed as a desktop device, the fact that it is battery-powered and very light weight makes it a great little speaker to have around the home. It’s portable and only weighs 2 pounds. It looks like an expensive soundbar that you might find under a high-end HD TV, but at a fraction of the price. Measuring only 2.75” high by 3″ deep and 16″ long, the design, however, makes it ideal for placement right below a monitor on your desk.
On a fully-charged battery, the Creative Stage Air speaker can run for about 6 hours. The playback, of course, is governed by how loud you have the volume set – the louder the volume, the shorter the battery. But for 6 hours of estimated playback, that is a pretty decent amount of time working or studying.
It’s charged up via a micro-USB. One thing to note, the included cable is quite short in length so you may want to dig through your pile of cables to find a longer cable to make your life a bit easier. You can simply charge the 2,200 mAh internal battery using the USB port on your computer. Charge time to fully recharge the battery is about 2.5 hours.
Speaking about power, let’s focus on the speakers themselves for a minute. Housed within the short yet long sound bar are two full-range drivers (that handle the lows, mids, and highs). Total output is 10W but has a peak power of 20W. The two drivers are nicely housed and protected behind a metal mesh grille.
While you can control the volume of Bluetooth playback via your connected device, on the side of the Creative Stage Air are some big buttons for Power, Volume Up and Down, and Bluetooth.
On the backside are the various ports. There is a micro-USB used for charging up the internal battery, a 3.5mm AUX-in port so that you can connect non-Bluetooth audio devices, and a USB port. Contrary to what you might think, you cannot use the USB port to connect to a device like a laptop. Instead though, you can plug in a USB mass storage device (like a thumb drive) and use the Creative Stage Air as a stand-alone music playback device. For most playback, however, I would recommend using Bluetooth.
The Creative Stage Air uses Bluetooth 4.2 and has a fairly decent range from the source of about 33 feet. Remember that obstructions like walls will reduce the range a bit. But, in most cases, you will pair the Creative Stage Air to your laptop or PC via Bluetooth.
The Stage Air’s have an automatic battery saving feature. If no sound is detected for 15 minutes, they will automatically shut off to preserve the battery.
So, how is the sound of the Creative Stage Air? I found it to be pretty decent. Remember, there is no dedicated bass speaker for this, just two full-range drivers. With that in mind, I found that at medium volume levels, the sound quality, particularly the highs and mids, to be pretty good. I did find that as I cranked up the volume to higher (and highest levels), that the bass dropped out a bit and was even a bit distorted or under-powered. But at regular volumes, the sound quality was good. And you have to remember one thing, these are inexpensive speakers.
How inexpensive are they? The MSRP for the Creative Stage Air is $49.99. As of this writing, on the Creative website, they are listed at $39.99. And on Amazon, they are currently listed for $39.97. In my opinion, this is a great price for the speaker you are getting. The sound is solid, the fact that it has a built-in battery to make your sound portable is a win-win as well. But don’t expect thunderous bass, in order to keep the costs low, Creative elected to have just two drivers and not a dedicated bass. Still, it’s a great speaker for a college dorm room, a kid’s room, or an office.
Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: If you are looking for a low-priced, decent performing, Bluetooth speaker that fits nicely under your desktop monitor, look no further than the Creative Stage Air soundbar speaker. It does a solid job for day-to-day audio tasks.
- Price Point
If you are looking for a low-priced, decent performing, Bluetooth speaker that fits nicely under your desktop monitor, look no further than the Creative Stage Air soundbar speaker. It does a solid job for day-to-day audio tasks. You can be streaming music from your Bluetooth-enabled device in literally seconds by just pressing the pairing button on the Creative Stage Air. Or you can optionally plug in a USB thumb drive with music already on it. Playback is 6 hours which is quite good. Charge time does take a bit using the micro-USB cable. On high volumes, the bass is a bit weak but with regular playback, the sound is pretty decent. And you can’t beat the price point!
- Great price
- Easy to connect to Bluetooth
- Lightweight and portable
- Perfect for a child or student
- Can’t connect USB to computer for audio playback
- Bass is ok but bottoms out at high volumes
- Included cables are quite short