Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review

The first wireless earbuds with solid-state drivers mostly live up to their sonic hype

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 in charging case held in hand
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Creative’s Aurvana Ace 2 earbuds with xMEMS drivers offer better sound quality than dynamic driver buds, but they lack certain fundamentals.


  • +

    Clear and engaging sound

  • +

    Gorgeous design

  • +

    Loaded with premium audio tech

  • +

    Useful music presets


  • -

    Low battery life

  • -

    Unimpressive ANC

  • -

    Some standard functions missing

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Price: $149 / £164 / AU$229
Colors: Translucent black & copper
Battery life (rated): 6 hours (earbuds); 24 hours (charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 (codec support: AAC, SBC, aptX Lossless)
Durability: IPX5 (earbuds only)
Size: 2.55 x 1.93 x 1.06 inches (charging case)
Weight: 1.64 ounces (earbuds + charging case)

There's been a buzz around solid-state drivers for earbuds ever since news broke of xMEMS Labs developing the cutting-edge audio tech. One of the first earbuds makers to adopt the new tech is Creative (a computer audio staple perhaps better known for its range of sound cards in the 1990s), which has integrated the technology into its next-gen wireless earbuds.

Although not a regular brand among the best wireless earbuds, the company recently won me over with its Creative Outlier Pro ANC, which rank among the best earbuds under $50 that beat the AirPods on sound. Now, it's ushering in solid-state drivers with the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 as the company's new wireless earbuds flagship.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 in their charging case with the lid open on a stone surface

(Image credit: Future)

Fitted with all-new xMEMS drivers, these buds promise to bring greater resolution and detail to all kinds of audio. The technology is also engineered to enhance active noise cancelation, lossless codecs, and spatial audio performance, which are prime features found on many of the best wireless earbuds. A heavy focus on audio seems to have forced Creative to compromise key areas though, including battery life and ANC. Are these forgivable flaws for the latest wireless earbuds to join the market and introduce a new technology? Read my full Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review to find out.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Price and availability

The Creative Aurvana Ace 2 wireless earbuds are on sale now priced at $149 / £164 / AU$229. They're currently only available to buy through Creative's website, but we expect to see them available via online retailers soon. 

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Design

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 bud held in fingertips showing vent at the back of buds

(Image credit: Future)

Much like Beats did with the Studio Buds+, Creative took a page out of Nothing’s Ear 1 design playbook to give the Aurvana Ace 2 the translucent treatment. The dark see-through design complements the copper accents above the buds’ microphone and inside the charging case. Small details like the LED at the bottom and visibility of the internals add to the product’s alluring appearance.

Build quality is just as impressive. Hard plastic makes up most the Aurvana Ace 2’s composition. It’s durable enough to withstand the daily abuse you’ll put these buds through. IPX5 water-resistant coating protects the buds from moisture damage. The charging case feels nice in hand, though it lacks the sturdiness of other competitors. Leaving it on rough surfaces will accumulate scratches and scuffs.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Sound quality

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 earbuds with smartphone testing sound quality

(Image credit: Future)

Given the hype, do the new xMEMS drivers sound better? I’ll say this: the audio architecture isn’t a massive game-changer, but it’s a noteworthy upgrade that’s bound to improve sound quality over time.

The Aurvana Ace 2 feature a lively soundstage that produces articulate audio and well-balanced frequencies, feeding my ears a satisfying mix of boomy lows, natural mids, and crisp highs. Jazz classics like Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” demonstrate this well. The somber piano notes and soulful vocals were equally emphasized, while the airy drum snares in the background were transparent, which is something I’ve rarely picked up on when testing similarly priced rivals like the superb Sony WF-C700N.

Creative sound app for Aurvana Ace 2

(Image credit: Future)

Contemporary music sounds even better. There’s some fantastic instrumental separation present on The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give It Away.” The iconic bass riff extends wide and echoes nicely in between strums. Snares slap hard without coming on too aggressive. Anthony Kiedis’ fiery vocals even blend well over the percussive-heavy production. Hip-hop tracks also fare well. N.W.A.’s “Alwayz Into Somethin’ had wavering synth sounds that flourished over the melodic mid-range bassline.

There are 15 well-engineered EQs available in the Creative app. The Flat preset is the default and complements most music genres, but if you’re sticking to just one genre, you can’t go wrong selecting the corresponding preset.  

The Creative's aptX Lossless capabilities means it can handle close to CD-quality audio (16-bit/44.1kHz) streamed from compatible Android devices. I played tracks across the best music streaming services and noticed zero lag. Tidal sounded the best, no matter the streaming quality, though the clarity on MQA (Master Quality Authenticated 24-bit/192kHz) songs were pitch-perfect. 

Creative’s low-latency mode performs better than 90% of the market’s other options and is mandatory for video watching. Most YouTube clips and Netflix shows I watched in standard mode suffered serious audio delays until I toggled the feature.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Active noise canceling performance

Noise cancelation on the Aurvana Ace 2 is subpar, which is a shame considering how effective the technology was on the Outlier Pro ANC. It’s fine for minimizing common daily distractions (e.g., AC humming noises, chatty co-workers, dog barking). Besides that, the feature struggles to block out most mid- and high-frequency sounds; light breezes and my son’s cries were highly transparent. Thankfully, the Ambient Mode is worthy of use, raising situational awareness by capturing ambient noises and vocals at a high level. 

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Call quality

reviewer seated outside wearing Creative Aurvana Ace 2 testing call quality

(Image credit: Future)

Credit goes to Creative’s powerful six-mic array, which also serves well for voice calling, at least in certain environments. According to clients, my voice was loud and clear during indoor calls, but echoed in spacious environments (e.g., lobby) and had a hissing effect when pronouncing “s” words. Outside wasn’t any better. My wife could hear the beeping sounds from a construction truck being used several blocks away, as well as speeding cars and wind.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Battery life

Creative Aurvana Ace 2

(Image credit: Future)

The minimum battery life for noise-canceling buds is about 6 hours with ANC on and 8 to 12 hours with ANC off. These buds fall short of those numbers, holding just 6 hours per charge with noise cancelation disabled. I got about 4.5 hours of ANC use, which is disappointing. The wireless charging case holds up to 24 hours. A 10-minute quick charge equals 1 hour of listening time. By comparison, the AirPods Pro 2 hold between 5.5 to 7 hours, depending how you use the buds, with the MagSafe charging case getting you up to 30 hours and a 5-minute Fast Fuel charge generating 1 hour of playtime.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Verdict

First impressions are everything, and if the Aurvana Ace 2 are any indication of where solid-state earbuds are going, then the future looks bright for the sub-category.

It’s hard to complain about sound-first earbuds equipped with the latest audio technologies and noise cancelation, even if the latter doesn’t perform at an elite level. However, there are other buds with similar audio specs, as well as more battery life and functionality at similar or lower price points.

Does that mean you should dismiss the Aurvana Ace 2? Not if sound is your main priority. These buds have the sonic prowess to satisfy sound-driven consumers unwilling to splurge on more costly wireless earbuds with audiophile sound. You just have to live with their shortcomings.

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Alex Bracetti

A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such as Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Magazine. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.

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