Bluetooth 5.0 is a relatively new technology, which boats superior sound quality and improved codec support over its previous versions. Newer mobile phones come with it as standard, as do most new headphones. But for those of you who are still rocking older hardware, you don’t have to miss out. The Creative BT-W3 Bluetooth 5.0 Audio Transmitter is here to help, as long as the device you are using it with supports audio transmition over USB.
On the box, the Creative BT-W3 says it works with PC and Mac hardware, as well as PS4s and Nintendo Switches. There’s no mention of Xbox compatibility, so we didn’t test it. We did however plug it directly into one of our PS4’s front USB port and can confirm it did work.
Inside the box you get a USB Type-C transmitter, as well as a USB Type-C to USB Type-A adapter so you can still take advantage with hardware that’s not quite caught up to the the seemingly new USB standard.
So, what’s so special about the Creative BT-W3 for your audio experience? Well, it is able to use several different codecs which will enhance your audio experience depending on what you’re listening to. If you’re watching a movie or playing a game, you’re going to want to use the low-latency aptX mode which offers latencies as low as 40ms. If you’re listening to music, then switch the device to aptX HD. Be warned though, your headphones need to be aptX compatible. In total, there are four codecs: aptX LL, aptX HD, aptX, and SBC.
Setup for me was a relatively painless affair. I used the BT-W3 with a set of Creative Aurvana headphones, and once the dongle and headphones were in pairing mode, they pretty much found eachother straight away. This worked for both my PC and my PS4. Unfortunately, I don’t own a Nintendo Switch so can’t comment on that.
There’s also an included microphone dongle that plugs directly into the base of the PS4 controller, so you get some decent voice too. And to be honest with you, it sounds just like a standard microphone on a gaming headset would. I didn’t get any complaints from people I played with online, but it’s also not going to be a substitue for having a condenser microphone on your desk either. This whole setup is really designed for people who like to sit back at a distance, like a living room setup for example, and it saves you trailing your USB headset across the floor using USB cable extenders.
And I must say, for the most part, the audio transmitter works surprisingly well, and depending on the codec you choose, the LL codec gives you excellent latency, so you hear your game sound at the same time as the action happens on the screen. For music though, it doesn’t matter too much in terms of latency. Stick the aptX HD codec through the transmitter, and you can enjoy some wonderful range from Bluetooth 5.0 around the house, as well as high-res 24bit audio from the likes of streaming service Tidal, or something similar.
The Creative BT-W3 is priced pretty fairly too here in the UK. I found it on the Creative website at around £34.99, which is pretty fair I think for the ability to stream high-res audio over Bluetooth from a device that wouldn’t usually be compatible with aptX or even Bluetooth 5.0. For more information, head over to the Creative website.