Cleer Enduro ANC Headphones
A few years ago, the Cleer Flow, then Cleer Flow II headphones, displaced my aging Bose headphones Quiet Comfort IIs when I traveled. Well, I’ve been on the ground, and as much as I love the Cleer Flow IIs, they are a bit more headphone in terms of size than I need for Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, or Google Meet. Now, when I want a good music experience in my office or a completely sealed-in video conference sound envelop, I don my Cleer Enduro ANC headphones and get down to work.
What we like
We live in a wireless world. But sometimes you need a wire to discover the best audio experience. Cleer has always recognized this for a slice of their product catalog. The Cleer Enduro ANC headphones not only offer top-of-the-line wireless connectivity but also support wired connections via a USB port.
The headphones were ready to pair out of the box. They support Google Fast Pair 2.0 for Android, as well as NFC for proximity pairing.
With headphones, drivers rule, and Cleer didn’t skimp here, with the same 40mm Ironless Drivers from the Flow line. The firmware implements Bluetooth® 5.0 with aptX™ for very good sound when streaming music and a great experience with video conferencing because of the low latency designed into the system.
The world is not only wireless but also seemingly endless. I have days that start with an 8 am call for an early evening UK meeting and end at midnight with an early morning call to Vienna. During the blur of calls, several times I’ve reached for headphones only to find I forgot to charge them after the last video conference. The Enduros push out that worry by days, not hours, with a 60-hour battery life with ANC—and longer without.
And if you do forget to charge them, worry not, they also support fast charging, with 10 minutes of charge turning into 2 hours of playback. I’m not sure if the Enduros comply with the laws of thermal dynamics, but what works works—and everyone needs headphones they can rely on these days.
Unlike touch devices where the gestures often require memorization, the Cleer Enduro ANCs use buttons for power, volume, and ANC control. The power button pulls multiple duties, such as invoking a digital assistant or answering a call over the headset’s two microphones. Holding down the button invokes conversation mode, which is a good feature when walking up to a cashpoint or talking with a flight attendant.
The Enduros use a USB-C port for charging, and for wired connections. The package a USB-C to 3.5mm audio connector for hooking the Enduro ANCs to a traditional audio port. The cable makes high-resolution audio available as it eliminates the need for compression. Also in the box is a fabric travel bag and an airplane adapter for the less modern planes still in service.
As much as I love the very personal and portable earbud experience, nothing rattles the bones like over-the-ear headphones as the bass shakes through the human skull like an organic subwoofer. I listened to the usual suite of music I use for headphone evaluations and found the Enduro ANCs wide stage and dynamic range great for all types of music, and its crisp mids perfect for video conferencing and learning videos. They also offer plenty of bass for those seeking a more resonating experience.
ANC worked very well, even when no sound was playing through the headphones (which is great for writers concentrating on the next word). The world became a muffled blur of distant sounds. Playing music put the outside world even further out of my auditory reach.
These are beautiful headphones: sleek brushed metallic against either a light gray or navy matt finish. The cups are clearly labeled. Earcup cushions, along with the headband cushion, make for comfortable wear even after many hours.
To fine-tune your listening experience, the free Cleer+ app on Android and iOS controls ANC without the need to touch the headset. A slider offers more control over ambient input than does the on/off switch. The app also includes EQ customization if you have a personal preference you wrap yourself in audio.
The outstanding battery life and serious ANC at a reasonable price make the Cleer Enduro ANC headphones a great value—one of the best ANC headphones on the market, budget notwithstanding.
What could be improved
A lot of tradeoffs are made during design. The Cleer Enduro ANC headphones now run at about the same price as the Flow IIs, but those headphones were $50 more at launch. Beyond the headphones, the Cleer Flow IIs also included a nicer case for travel. Any suggestions I make will likely increase costs but here goes.
I would love to see bigger ear cups comparable to the HyperX Cloud II Wireless Gaming headphones. The new Alpha headphones, which show as coming soon on Cleer’s website, look like they offer bigger earcups.
Some earbuds come with 4 microphones and background noise cancelation for the mics. This should be standard for WFH-ready headsets.
Finally, I have some older JBL headphones that charge from USB through the 3.5m jack. Though I don’t like that as the only charge option (because I worry a damaged or lost cable will send those headphones to Valhalla) but trickle charging the Enduro ANCs when connected to a wire would be nice plus-up feature.
Cleer Enduro ANC Headphones: The Bottom Line
Cleer Enduro ANC Headphones demonstrate the power of the global technology market. A few years ago headphones of this caliber would come from a very small group of major brand names. The cost of components makes quality available to smaller vendors that not only expand the market but challenge assumptions about the design-value equation. Cleer not only meets expectations garnered by more established, household name brands, it often exceeds them—all at a good price for the features and build quality. Cleer made all the right choices, from USB-C to Bluetooth® 5.0 to aptX™. Highly recommended.
Cleer provided the Enduro ANC Headphones for review. Images courtesy of Cleer.
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