Creative Sound BlasterX Katana review: Amazing audio in a sleek gaming soundbar
Creative created a soundbar as sharp as the historic sword it's named after.
Buying a TV or monitor in 2018 may leave you with poor speakers, or none at all if you choose one that requires you to plug in some external sound system. Should you want to really improve your game, both on PC and console, you need a solid sound setup.
This usually involves headphones or a speaker and subwoofer configuration, but the latter has the potential to cause a few issues with installation. Creative has an answer for gamers with the Sound BlasterX Katana, which is slim enough to fit below a TV or desktop monitors and sounds mighty impressive.
Costs $297Bottom line: Creative has created a stunning sound system for gamers, but it comes at a price.
- Sleek design.
- Excellent sound quality.
- RGB lighting.
- Huge subwoofer.
You'll love how sharp the Creative Sound BlasterX Katana sounds
Creative named this soundbar the Katana, after the sword, but it really should have been called the Swiss Army Knife as it doubles up as a Bluetooth speaker. Out of the box, the soundbar is joined by a large subwoofer, which can be placed out the way. The soundbar is light, wide and slim — everything you want in a soundbar. This makes it ideal for installation beneath a TV or monitor. It's also easy to spot the Katana resemblance.
The subwoofer is a simple slab of plastic, and while the soundbar shares the same material in manufacturing, Creative added a metallic finish that makes it look like it earns the $300 price tag. Everything is both sturdy and well designed, however.
When it comes to sound, the soundbar makes use of not only the attached subwoofer, but also two tweeters (shooting out the front) and two midbass drivers (one on either end). The most important part about any sound system is the quality of the audio, and the Katana produces some excellent vibrations.
Whether you're rocking to some Def Leppard, listening to classic beats in GTA V, or analyzing footprints in PUBG, you'll hear everything clearly. It's also surprising just how loud the Katana can go for such a small soundbar. It won't blow you away if you're already used to premium sound systems, but if you're moving up from budget or mid-range speakers and headphones, it's a big difference.
On the rear of the soundbar, Creative included numerous connections. There's a microphone jack, headphones jack, AUX jack, optical, USB (for flash drives), and micro USB for a PC. It's possible to have the Xbox One X, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and a Windows 10 PC all connected simultaneously.
The included remote makes it easy to switch between connected inputs, manipulate volume levels, bass, and the LEDs. Usually with gaming accessories and products these days, you're either met with an obnoxious design or excessive RGB lighting. I've already gone over the attractive design of the soundbar, which you'd see the most, but there's also subtle lighting found underneath — and if you don't like it, you can quickly disable it.
Creative managed to get it right where it matters most with the Katana, but given the company's history in the industry that shouldn't be a surprise.
You'll dislike very little about this soundbar
The price is likely to be a hurdle for many gamers. It's difficult to shout about a speaker system that costs about as much as a console or GPU for a PC, but the Creative Sound BlasterX Katana really is worth every penny.
The subwoofer is also massive. You may find it difficult to find a place for it to reside, particularly if you're installing the Katana in a tight space.
Should you buy the Creative Sound BlasterX Katana?
Absolutely, as long as you're OK spending $300 on it. The Sound BlasterX Katana is an excellent package for gamers, whether you're on the desktop or a couch in front of a TV. The Katana produces some killer sounds and looks the part without going over the top. Handy features are also present, including numerous inputs, Bluetooth connectivity, and RGB lighting.
I was taken aback by just how powerful the sound output of this soundbar is. It's a little on the expensive side, but if you have the available cash to spare, it's well worth it. You won't regret the purchase.
Sharp sound in a sleek package.
Creative is a familiar brand to anyone who enjoys top quality audio for enjoying music, games, and movies. The Sound BlasterX Katana is a fantastic companion device for any gaming or media setup. It's expensive for a very good reason.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.