The X-Fi HD comes in a very attractive looking box that does well to show off the product. On the front there are indicators showing the components used, technologies included and application of use. On the side and back of the box Creative go further into the features and in particular on the side show a diagram of the ports, giving users a list of suggested applications. The X-Fi HD has includes functionality across a wide spectrum of devices. Further down the page we will consider such devices.
The X-Fi HD packaging, bold and attention grabbing
Inside the packaging, included you receive the following: Sound Blaster X-Fi HD, 1/4" to 3.5mm converter, USB cable, quick start leaflet, installation CD with bundled software. The software bundled is very comprehensive, providing the end user with a means to tinker with every feature known to the X-Fi HD. Below is a list of the included applications on the disc:
* Creative Media Toolbox (Full version)
* Creative Console Launcher (Unicode)
* Entertainment Console
* Creative Audio Console / Audio Control Panel
* Creative Volume Panel
* Creative Software Auto Update
* Creative Sound Blaster Properties x32 (Windows Vista only)
* Creative Sound Blaster Properties x64
* Creative Information System
* Online Registration Client
Inside, the bundle featuring drivers, software, USB cable, cable converter
Out of the packaging the X-Fi has a strong impression right away. For such a small device it is certainly gutsy in character. Looking over the top of this USB device, you can see the Creative logo engraved in the centre, sound blaster and THX certified logos are also present in each corner with an LED power indicator placed towards the front.
The X-Fi HD from an aerial view
Casting our eyes on the front of the X-Fi HD, surprisingly there are 1/4" ports for the headphone and microphone output. So if you are a gamer, or quite possibly not a gamer the headset/headphones you use cannot be used directly into this unit. You will need to use the conversion cable. Creative are limiting its usage by just offering 1/4" support, especially as the converter only allows for a single 3.5mm cable to be plugged in. So its headphones or microphone. Not both.
Further along there is a nicely crafted volume control knob. This knob has no cut-off at start or stop - it will turn infinitely.
The front of the X-Fi HD with 1/4" output
Around the back of the X-Fi HD there are a number of ports. From left to right we have GND port for connecting to a turntable. Immediately next to this port are phono ports - Line in/Line out this could be used for linking to a cassette player unit. Again there are a further phono ports, this time line out and this could be used for a set of speakers (only when used with the conversion cable, 3.5mm does not fit here) next up we have the optical input and output ports typically used for home theatre setups and then lastly the USB socket that must be used in order for the X-Fi HD to have power. So if you want to use any of these deivces with the X-Fi HD you will need to have this plugged into another USB enabled device - typically a computer. Subsequently a wide assortment of devices can be plugged into the X-Fi HD, thus offering a lot of functionality. It's just a shame there are no 3.5mm ports.
The rear of the X-Fi HD, showing all the available input/output ports