Published on March 1st, 2017 | by Greg0
Creative’s Katana Gaming Soundbar: A New Category?
It’s a great time to be a gamer- a brand new console, the Nintendo Switch, is coming out this week- and with it, a new generation of games. Traditionally, this time of year can be a bit slow, but we’ve had AAA releases across multiple platforms like a new Resident Evil and For Honor, plus Playstation exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn. A new season of Overwatch began today for FPS fans, a new Halo strategy game is out, and there’s something for just about everyone on every system to enjoy. All the more reason to add some gear to your setup, and improve your sound- and with today’s product, especially if you are a PC gamer.
The new Creative Katana Gaming Soundbar is an unusual gaming-focused twist on a classic item, bringing multiple speakers into a compact form factor, adding a separate subwoofer component for bass response, and designing the entire unit to be loud and bold. Inside, you’ll find dual 1.3″ tweeters, two 2.5″ up-firing midbass drivers, a 5.25″ center driver and three amps as well- all totaling up to 150 watts of peak power. They call it ‘the wold’s first true Under Monitor Audio System’, and it aims to solve the twin issues of monitors lacking decent built-in speakers and most computer speakers being pretty underwhelming (often 2.1 systems with little range).
It looks little like a traditional soundbar, which is definitely the point. For starters, Creative added 49 individual programmable colored LEDs, in what they call the Aurora lighting system. And you could use it with a TV or larger A/V system, but it’s built for use with a monitor on your desk. We have a 24-inch monitor and it fit perfectly underneath, but there is certainly plenty of flexibility- and speaking of which, there are plenty of connectivity options from optical to micro-USB, regular USB, 3.5mm, though notably missing is HDMI. There’s even Bluetooth, should you want to connect your laptop or mobile device. We liked the included remote control, the variety of EQ presets for you to play around with, and a software program with even more configurability should you connect to your PC. Virtual 7.1 sound (via the Ultra Wide immersion setting) is especially nifty.
We’ve seen and loved plenty of Creative products in the past, from sound systems to bookshelf speakers to waterproof Bluetooth models. This one is unique, taking up less space than bulky desktop speakers and able to put out plenty of volume with solid spatial dynamics to help you in-game and good separation to make music and movie richer. And while we would have loved to see a way to sync music to the lights, the Katana certainly packs a punch, and is quite sharp looking (pun intended). Available now, online and in stores, expect to spend around $299 for the Creative Katana, the easiest way to improve your PC gaming experience in one box.