Creative’s new noise-cancelling headphones offer Sony-like features for less

Creative Zen Hybrid headphones on a green background
(Image credit: Creative / TechRadar)

Gaming and audio favorite Creative has unveiled its latest pair of noise-cancelling wireless headphones, the Creative Zen Hybrid – and they don’t look half bad.  

Supposedly capable of blocking "up to 95% of ambient noise" with their Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology, Creative’s newest cans boast two 40mm full-range Neodymium drivers – the same size found in the Apple AirPods Max – to deliver high-quality audio for less than $100 / £100. 

The Zen Hybrid headphones also bear more than a passing physical resemblance to Sony’s WH-1000XM4 over-ears, and although it's too early to say whether they'll join our ranking of the best wireless headphones for the price, the specs are impressive, and they could certainly prove some of the best cheap headphones in 2022. 

The Creative Zen Hybrid headphones share another feature with Apple’s AirPods Max and Sony's wireless headphones: an Ambient Mode (read: Transparency Mode) that filters in just the right amount of outside noise to keep you aware of traffic and nearby conversations. 

The headphones come equipped with a neat foldable design and carry pouch, too, making them a great daily-use option for those always on the go. 

Creative Zen Hybrid on white background

(Image credit: Creative)

In terms of battery life, the Creative Zen Hybrid offer up to 27 hours of juice when ANC mode is enabled, or up to 37 hours of battery life when ANC is disabled – either way, those are pretty impressive figures considering the comparable battery life of most premium wireless headphones (which aim for around 30 hours in both cases). 

What’s more, Creative says its latest cans will benefit from super quick charging speeds – you’ll apparently get an almighty five hours of listening time from just a five minute charge.

Naturally, at $98.99 / £99.99, we don't expect these wireless headphones to set the world alight in the audio department compared to more expensive models – you won’t find the same market-leading quality here as you would with premium headphone equivalents from Bose, Sony or Apple, for instance – but it’s refreshing to see a brand packing in an impressive number of high-end features for such a low price, especially as the cost of living continues to rise in 2022. And if the sound quality matches other headphones for this kind of price while delivering all of the above, Creative could be on to a winner.

The Creative Zen Hybrid headphones, which will begin shipping on June 8 in the US and June 17 in the UK, are available to pre-order now from the brand’s official website

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.