If there has been one affordable in-ear phone that has managed to captivate an entire generation of young, entry level music enthusiasts and music lovers on a shoestring budget in India, that earphone would have to be Creative’s popular EP 630 ear buds.
Available since 2006, these little “in ear” earphones have always been on the top of the popularity charts and are still amongst the most sought after earphones in its price range here in India thanks to its affordable pricing and above average sound quality. (Please excuse us, if you happen to be in audiophile with lots of spare cash).
That said, it was high time Creative stop taking comfort in the laurels of the EP 630 and move on to newer and better products. And guess what? They have done exactly that!
That brings us to the latest offering from Creative. Known as the EP 660, you can immediately discern that these are successors to the EP 630’s. But successors to popular products usually have a hard time matching up to the “original”. Is the EP 660 a worthy successor to the EP 630? Let’s find out because we have a pair with us for review today!
One major gripe that people had with Creative when it came to the EP 630’s was the plain boringness of its design. It looked classy and all, but there was nothing that stood out there – except for that creative logo and that chrome strip. With the EP 660, Creative seems to give us a somewhat sexed up product with looks that are better than the plain jane looking EP 630. The earphones are a lot more “curvier” (If that’s what it is called!) than the EP 630’s and according to me, look far flashier. But hey, it still has a long way to before someone turns around, walks up to you and asks you “What model are those flashy earphones you have attached to your ears?” Users graduating from EP 630’s will however mostly appreciate the design change.
The EP 660’s are available in a host of color options. These include pearl white, cobalt blue, ruby pink and lime green. I got the lime green version which I found sort of “girly”. But hey, I am not one of those people who are fussy about the colour of their gadgets (no pun intended).
While I have no qualms regarding the build and finish on the EP 660, I thought Creative could have used better quality cables – especially considering the fact that these are selling for quite a premium over the EP 630’s which are still available. Like with the EP 630’s the EP 660’s cables too have the tendency to get entangled if you leave them carelessly inside your trouser/bag pockets etc. The cables are quite long – at 1.2 metres and most people should be happy with this length.
The specs of the EP 660 are quite similar to that of the EP 630. In fact, if we are to go by Creative’s own spec sheet, the only difference between these two seem to be the design change and the cable type with the 660 boasting of an phthalate-free cable while the EP 630 gets an Oxygen-Free Copper cable. The EP 660 boasts of 9mm Neodymium driver units which provide above average tonal quality to the earphones. The impedance is rated at 16 ohms while the frequency response is between 6 and 23 Khz. The 3.5mm input plug is gold plated.
While the EP 660’s are not targeted at an audience which would go to great lengths to ensure that they get the best sound quality from their earphones, the EP 660’s have performance that should impress most audiophiles out there – especially considering the price at which it retails.
I had the EP 660 for well over a month which was extensively used along with a host of different devices – ranging from a Motorola Xoom tablet to a Nokia E7 to a lowly Asha 200. Having used the EP 630’s for well over three years, the sound on the EP 660’s did not “shock” me. In fact, the sound quality and overall feel of the earphones was quite similar to its predecessor. Nothing surprising considering the similar specs.
The overall sound quality was satisfactory with the earphone managing to provide above average performance across various genres of music. The strong point of the EP 660 does seem to be the effortlessness with which it manages to reproduce the highs. However, if you prefer genres that are mostly mid range, this might just not satisfy you – thanks to its inherent eagerness for the highs. Bass performance was excellent – although I must admit that I have heard better on earphones in this price range. The main issue with the EP 660 here is that its lower priced EP 630 manages to provide similar bass performance at a lower price tag. When it comes to noise isolation, the EP 660’s are as good as its predecessor. The moment you plug them in, you are cut off from the rest of the world. Of course, you cannot expect them to perform as well as much more expensive noise cancellation enabled models.
One issue with in ear buds is the problem of getting the right sized ear buds. With the EP 660, you get two extra pairs of buds (just like most other Creative in ear – buds) that should manage to fit inside most ear canals out there.
The Creative EP 660’s are no doubt, great performing earphones at the price at which it retails. The earphones have an MRP of 1799 which is astronomical. But then, it is available for much lower price in reality which comes to around Rs. 1450 – 1500. The performance you get at this price range is excellent. But it would be too much to expect anything more from the 660’s.
The primary thing to notice is that Creative continues to sell the (still) popular EP 630’s – and as long as those awesome pair of earphones are still around, Creative might find it difficult to sell the EP 660’s with its higher price tag (This is a personal opinion and I have no sales figures to confirm my findings!). Months down the line, I expect the 660’s to come down to the price levels of the 630’s by when, these would make excellent value for money products!
So, should you get one if you have the money? Well you definitely should if you have been an EP 630 fan!