Creative rolled out the Katana V2 gaming soundbar in early 2022, offering a decent mix of features that include Bluetooth 5.0, a brushed metal finish with RGB lighting at the bottom, USB-C connectivity, and decent EQ customization. I still use the Katana V2 in my bedroom with the XGIMI Aura laser projector, and it is a fantastic option for my use case.
The brand is now introducing a smaller version of the soundbar called the Katana V2X. Not much has changed here, with the key difference being a smaller subwoofer that houses a 5.25-inch driver — the regular Katana V2 has a 6.5-inch driver. The soundbar portion is virtually unchanged, and other than a slightly different finish, it's the same as that of the standard V2.
Creative hasn't altered the dimensions either, and to its credit, it offers the same exhaustive suite of connectivity options on the V2X. That includes Bluetooth 5.0, HDMI ARC, optical and aux in, USB-C and SXFI out. Creative's Sound Blaster acoustic engine is intact as well, as is the gaming-focused Scout Mode that lets you hear far-away enemies with better accuracy.
The soundbar portion of the V2X uses the same dual 2.5-inch mid-range drivers along with dual 0.75-inch tweeters on the sides, and while the overall system produces 90W RMS — 36W less than the V2 — there isn't a noticeable difference in sound quality. If anything, the subwoofer is taller and thinner, and that makes it an even better option for small rooms.
I like the design of the V2X a little better as the polished finish looks sleeker, and the size of the soundbar means you can easily slot in underneath a monitor or TV. You get the same set of buttons to change source, adjust volume, and power the soundbar on or off. The best part is that the RGB lightbar at the bottom of the soundbar is intact, and you get to customize the lighting effects based on your preferences or turn it off if you want a cleaner look. I like this feature quite a bit, and while it is a bit of a novelty to have RGB lighting on a soundbar, it looks very cool.
Coming to the sound quality itself, the Katana V2X is just as great as the standard V2 at gaming, music, and TV shows. I said that the Katana V2 is one of the best-sounding soundbars for under $500, and the same holds true here as well. Sure, you're getting a little less power, but the Katana V2X still manages to deliver an engrossing sound that works really well across a variety of sources.
The full EQ customization is wonderful as well, and this feature stays true to Creative's beginnings in the audio industry. The brand's virtualization tech also makes a tangible difference when using a headset paired over USB-C, and if you intend to use the V2X for gaming, features like Battle Mode and Scout Mode come in handy.
My only issue with the soundbar is Bluetooth connectivity. You'll need to use Creative's mobile app to manually connect your phone with the soundbar, and that tends to get annoying. But once a device is connected, I didn't see any issues playing music with the Pixel 7 Pro.
Overall, Creative did a brilliant job ensuring it didn't leave out any features on the Katana V2X, and considering that the soundbar retails for just $279 — $50 less than the standard V2 — it is a stellar value. Choosing between the two comes down to the use case; if you want a soundbar for your gaming rig or intend to use it in a small room, the Katana V2X is the better choice — you still get excellent sound here, and the subwoofer is great for small to medium-sized rooms.
If you're looking for a soundbar to use with a TV or home theater, you'll want to get the Katana V2 instead — it continues to be among the best budget soundbars.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.