A portable speaker with FIVE drivers? Yep, that’s Creative’s Sound Blaster Roar, which is actually more than just a bluetooth speaker. Creative has been in the speaker game for a very long time, and Roar is a nice attempt at taking bluetooth speakers to the next level. In addition to five drivers, the speaker includes two amplifiers, has built-in NFC, USB Audio, different bluetooth security modes, micro-SD audio playing and recording, and a 6000 mAh rechargeable battery that you can use to charge any USB device.
The Roar isn’t your standard looking portable speaker. In fact, its design looks like it’s not intended to be portable. It’s short and wide and looks like a speaker you’d have in the kitchen. With that said, it’s still portable (and durable) enough to throw in a backpack. At 2.5 pounds it’s on the heavier side, but not unreasonably. The speaker is almost entirely metal grill. The back and buttons are soft rubber.
On the back and top of the Roar there’s a bunch of buttons, switches, and ports. Most of the buttons on the back are actually for playing music or recording audio when you plug in a micro-SD card. You can charge Roar via micro-USB, or even faster with the AC adapter cable. It comes with both cables. There’s a full sized USB port which allows you to tap into the Roar’s battery power and charge any device (phone, tablet, headset, you name it). You can opt-out of bluetooth and play music via the auxiliary input too.
The built-in 6000mAh battery can be shared between the speaker and any USB device you want to charge. The battery is rated to last 8 hours, but we found it to be a bit shorter. It depends on how you use the speaker.
Bluetooth security settings—that’s a new one for us! It’s really neat actually—there’s three settings for controlling how easy (or hard) you want to make it for others to connect. You can lock it down so no one can hijack your bluetooth connection, or you can basically put it into party mode so anyone can connect and crank out tunes.
Packing five drivers into a portable speaker is an impressive feat, and they’re powered by two separate amplifiers, one dedicated to high frequencies and the other dedicated to low. There’s two high frequency drivers on the front, an active 2.5” driver on the top, and two passive radiators pushing bass out the sides. It’s a lot of audio for its compact size.
Roar can effortlessly fill a large room with audio. It creates a very large soundstage and it definitely sounds like music is coming from a bigger source. The music is crisp and very well balanced. There’s fantastic bass for such a small device. Even at its loudest volumes it’s very clear. It will get loud enough to power a small party. The volume isn’t as loud outdoors, but it’s still respectable. There’s a Roar button on the top for toggling the audio enhancement. This button adds an enjoyable amount of bassy oomph to your music. It’s almost always preferable. If you’re an audio snob, you might find that the audio signature sounds processed, and not so natural, but most users may prefer this. Creative has always been one of the leaders in computer audio, so it’s no surprise that hooking this speaker to your computer via USB slew of options for enhancing computer audio.
Pricing in at $149.99 from Amazon, you get a lot of speaker for the price. The bluetooth streaming quality and range are great. You can even make and take phone calls on it using the microphone. NFC is convenient for pairing if you have an Android. We love the option of keeping music stored on the speaker with a micro-SD card — it’s a really convenient feature when you don’t want your phone powering a party all night. One of the best features is that it doubles as a 6000mAh USB battery. There’s also, of course, Creative’s fantastic audio signature. As of writing this, the Roar has a 4.8 out of 5 star review on Amazon based on 751 reviews, so don’t take my word for it. There’s a carrying bag/cover that’s sold separately. We wouldn’t recommend it as highly as the speaker; it makes most of the buttons completely inaccessible and doesn’t look so great.
The Good: Fantastic audio quality, Can play music from Micro-SD card, Solid Bluetooth range, NFC, Durable, Good looking, Can charge any USB device with rechargeable 6000 mAh battery, Built-in microphone
The Bad: No SD card or storage included, 8 hour battery life is medocre, Carry bag is poorly designed and sold separately