A highly popular compact portable by Creative. The Creatve Sound Blaster Roar has been touted as THE portable speaker at the under $200 price range.
The speaker feels weighty and solid in my hands, encased in a dense metal acoustic grill, and a combination of 5 powerful drivers and subwoofer, driven by 2 amplifiers.
Rated at 8 hours battery life, the Roar has NFC pairing, speakerphone, mini-USB port so that you can plug in your mobiles to charge, a Mini SD Card slot (which lets you play music on it like an MP3 player, complete with control buttons on the back) and even a voice recorder! This voice recorder is a really useful feature! Useful for recording a......
*Points at tree* LOOK! A BIRD! What, no bird? Ok let's move on.
One feature of the Roar that may or not be useful is the 'ROAR' mode. Just like the sergeant that kicks you in the butt when you're not running fast enough, push the 'ROAR' button located on top of that speaker and it squeezes out that extra volume for you. Trying to conserve battery life could be why Creative didn't just build the box to play that much louder in the first place.
As you are reading this, you could probably tell already that this speaker doesn't piss me off so much like the more expensive Harman Kardon Esquire Mini. I'm amazingly calm and composed as I type this. Pairing up my phone up with it is jiffy (even though I didn't use NFC) and the connection remained quite stable throughout. Now that I've survived talking about features, on to the sound!
First test track I used was my standard. The same track I use to compare most speakers. The Roar is often touted to have really great bass response. It didn't disappoint. Bass guitar and bass drum in "Have a good time" by the Brand New Heavies sounded full and tight. The trumpets blew bright and clear with a little bit of air. The drum kit sounded snappy and energetic. I'm accustomed to a bit more instrumental separation though, but overall the music was enjoyable to listen to. As is common with most speakers under $200 there was totally no sound-staging to speak of. No spaciousness and the music felt very boxed in.
I needed to listen to vocals to paint a better overall picture, and so far, the Roar seems to have most of the right brushes.
The second track I used was 'Heaven', a classic 80's rock song by a much younger Bryan Adams. Mids sounded a little muffled but overall quite okay. I expected to feel a bit more bite in his vocals due to the way rock vocals were recorded in the 80's, but the Roar made Bryan sound too harsh and grainy. It actually got harsh enough that I needed to turn the volume down a bit. That made it so much more listenable and I began to enjoy the music better.
Whatever design award Creative has won for this product is justified. Look no further if you want good value for money. Although the feature set was average and I found the voice recording feature rather useless for me, the sound quality is above average for a speaker at this size. And SOUND quality is really what I'm after when I buy speakers. Creative would have won me over as a fan if they did away with useless features and keep working on the sound quality.
LP verdict, "Confirm BUY. You won't regret!"