Creative SXFI Carrier Review

Creative SXFI Carrier Review

The Creative SXFI Carrier is a high-end Dolby Atmos compatible soundbar. It offers Creative Super X-Fi technology and has a fairly compact design.

Small size makes placement easy even if you don't have a huge living room, and (most importantly) if you want an audio installation that sounds but doesn't see. The separate subwoofer has an average size, however, but it is an element that can usually be easily hidden.

Installation and first calibration are very easy, and the sound quality offered by this soundbar is really of a high level .

The price, € 999 of the list, makes the SXFI Carrier a competitive soundbar in its market range, it being understood that we are talking about premium products, with generally quite high prices. In fact, it is not easy to find lower prices among soundbars with Dolby Atmos.

Unfortunately, it is not a "smart" soundbar and does not offer functions such as AirPlay 2 or Chromecast.

At the moment, however, together with the SXFI Carrier Creative it also offers the SXFI Theater headphones, a product that alone would cost € 200 euros. If you are interested in the bundle, then you can have a nice savings and the SXFI Carrier becomes a budget soundbar - or close to it.


Like many modern soundbars, SXFI Carrier also has two main elements : the actual soundbar, and the wireless subwoofer. Two parts that must work together to achieve the desired sound quality.

It measures 880 x 128 x 76 mm, while the subwoofer is 225 x 430 x 450 mm, while the weight is 3.5 Kg (12, 8 kg for the subwoofer). Included in the box are wall mounting brackets - but it will easily fit on any piece of furniture given how small it is.

The allocation of ports is very generous: there are three HDMI 2.1 (two in, one out), one of which is eARC compatible; Toslink optical connection, 3.5 mm jack input, input via USB-C (if you have a device without a jack output). Also present at the appeal is a USB-A port, and a second 3.5 mm jack connector for connecting headphones. In short, whatever you want to connect, you will have no problem with this Creative SXFI Carrier.

Support for the Dolby Atmos standard means that many important features are not visible, starting with the seven different speakers that make up the soundbar itself. Each is driven by a DSP amplifier, to produce a sound on par with the previous Creative SXFI Sonic Carrier, but it was twice the size and cost a lot more. The subwoofer instead has a 10-inch driver that can produce very powerful bass.

At the top of the soundbar is a set of controls for the volume and the input source, along with a button to activate the SXFI function.

The upward facing speakers are immediately noticeable, and play a fundamental role in creating the Atmos effect. As well as those that "point" to the outside (right and left ends). Three others are oriented forward, for as many channels. The feature set is impressive.

The remote is also packed with features, although you won't actually use it very often. Maybe from time to time, to change inputs or adjust the bass.

There are six audio presets, which make everything very simple. But the most attentive will be able to create customized and perfectly calibrated presets for every situation. For example, we created one for watching movies with headphones and Super X-Fi, and another for listening to music from the Aux input. It is not a necessary effort, but discerning listeners will surely appreciate it.

Installation and use

Creative has improved its mobile app, making everything easier, and now the smartphone is enough to do all the configuration of the SXFI Carrier. The simplest thing to do is to connect the TV via HDMI eARC: everything will work smoothly, whatever the device in use (streaming, satellite decoder, console….). Dolby Atmos starts automatically, in this way, whenever possible.

The only thing missing is the "smart" part. This Creative SXFI Carrier has Wi-Fi or Ethernet, does not support Chromecast, nor can it be managed with Alexa, Google Assistant or other similar systems. Nor is it compatible with Apple AirPlay 2.

We were able to overcome this obstacle by plugging an Amazon Echo into the rear jack port, though: we could play music through Alexa, if nothing else. But the soundbar had to be in AUX mode for this invention to work. As a result, we couldn't use Alexa to turn the volume up or down while watching a movie.

Maybe that's not a big deal as so many TVs have Alexa and Google Assistant built in, but we still would have liked the Creative SXFI Carrier was a little more connected.

The subwoofer is exclusively wireless, meaning you can't connect it with a cable even if you want to. However, the wireless connection works flawlessly so it shouldn't be a problem.

Audio performance

The SXFI Carrier is designed for the two parts to work synergistically: the soundbar cannot reproduce practically not at all the bass frequencies and the subwoofer… well it's a subwoofer. Only by combining them you get a complete and dynamic audio spectrum. You can also understand the compact size of the first and the considerable bulk of the second.

The subwoofer, in fact, generates considerable vibrations, powerful enough to be heard through the floor.

The positioning of the sounds, courtesy of Dolby Atmos, it works quite well: the signals bounce in different directions, also exploiting the ceiling, creating a discreet surround effect.

The key word here is "discreet". It is not bad, in fact considering that it is a soundbar it is excellent. But there are some impassable limits if you don't want to physically place 6, 8 or even more speakers in the room. That said, when you watch a movie you can feel really immersed, and if the term of comparison is the sound of the TV alone then the leap forward is enormous (apart from perhaps the case of the Panasonic JZ2000).

There are several modes to choose from. Superwide didn't convince us very much, but maybe that's because it's designed to “enhance” content originally recorded in stereo, with a wide dynamic range; jazz and classical for example. This mode should emphasize stereo separation, but the actual result could vary a lot depending on the source.

Quant Super X-Fi technology, it gives its best with the right headphones, and is therefore It's good that Creative offers you free by purchasing this soundbar.

Using Bluetooth you can hear music from your smartphone, for example YouTube, but we wouldn't mind a wider codec support. Carrier supports SBC Bluetooth audio, but not AAC or aptX.

Sure it's a device designed primarily to pair with a TV, but we know people end up using it for TV as well. music, so why not go the extra mile?


The Creative SXFI Carrier is an excellent soundbar. It installs easily and takes up little space, but it can deeply upset (and for the better) the experience when watching TV, whether it's movies, TV nights, sports or other. You really feel "inside" the show.

The sound is too powerful, but also clean, with a wide and dynamic sound spectrum.

Unfortunately, some smart functions are missing, such as the connection Wi-Fi or integration with modern voice assistants. That's a pretty serious gap in 2021.

For some, the audio performance will be enough to justify the $ 1000 price tag, but if you're looking for a soundbar that's also a smart device, then maybe you should look elsewhere.

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