An impressively specc’d open-ear headphone with an audio efficiency that exceeds expectations, the Cleer Arc II Sport are a high quality instance of how this sort of headphone has progressed ahead in just some years. They’re costly, with cheaper alternate options accessible for many who can’t match Cleer’s asking value.
- Snug sufficient to put on
- Safe match
- Higher than anticipated audio efficiency
- Stable battery life
- Spatial consciousness always
- Poor noise isolation
- App options really feel slightly redundant
AudioHelps Snapdragon Sound for lossless audio over Bluetooth
DesignOpen-ear model for listening to the setting across the wearer
IPX5 scoreLarger safety towards water, rain, and sweat
Open-ear headphones are gaining traction and one of many manufacturers on the forefront of bringing it to a wider market is Clear with its Arc headphones.
The unique Arc confirmed up at a CES present in a unique kind, and when it was formally launched it had undergone a sporty rebrand. It didn’t rating too nicely on this website.
However now the Cleer is again with the Arc II Sport, which firmly locations them within the sports activities/exercise market with their over-ear hook and open-ear design. Has Cleer realized its classes from earlier than? Listed below are my ideas.
- Snug to put on
- Design not affected by wind noise
- Spatial consciousness always
Anybody acquainted with an over-ear hook design for wired or wi-fi earphones will discover the Arc II Sport adheres to the identical ideas. Wedge it in-between your ear and head and it’ll discover a nook to settle into. The place it differs is there’s no earbud/tip to insert into the ear, however a speaker on a hinge that fires audio into the ear.
There are benefits and drawbacks, however in essence these are earphones for individuals who wish to preserve a connection to their environment slightly than reduce themselves off from it.
In case you do intensive actions indoors and out (like working alongside busy roads), the notice the Arc II Sport gives is a boon for observing your setting. The damaging is the sensory overload from competing noises.
There’s little level in utilizing these for the commute – I discovered in public areas that it may be too overwhelming. On a bus I felt it (someway) exacerbated the sharp sounds of doorways swinging open. In busy areas I can nonetheless hear music, which is to the Arc II Sport’s credit score, however I can by no means totally take pleasure in it. Sporting these headphones makes me conscious of how loud metropolis life could be.
Having taken them on a number of runs, I’ve not had a difficulty with wind noise, even when getting a full blast of it within the face. There may be an Enhanced Anti-wind Noise setting within the Cleer+ app however I don’t imagine it’s wanted. I’d go so far as to say it has little or no impact.
They’re strong in consolation phrases – I didn’t assessment the earlier mannequin so can’t examine – however they really feel safe as soon as positioned at 14g per earbud. Whereas they weigh greater than a typical earphone, it’s not as in the event that they’re weighing down on my ears. I’ve discovered they will pinch, however I feel that is extra right down to sporting glasses, the arms of each typically get in the best way.
There are faucet controls, and so they’re alert and responsive even throughout runs. Often, I discover I’ve to decelerate to make use of faucet controls, however it’s not troublesome to find controls for cease/begin playback or skipping forwards or backwards. They’re simpler than I anticipated to make use of.
A press and maintain on every bud can activate a cellular machine’s voice assistant, and that’s it. There’s no quantity management, which is a disgrace for health targeted headphones. It must be simpler to lift the amount than fish your cellular machine from a pocket.
Colors embody this fetching purple pattern and a black (and purple) end. They’re rated to IPX5, which implies they will cope with water, rain, and sweat.
The case doesn’t seem like rated for IP safety, and although Cleer would have you ever imagine it’s slim, it’s additionally huge, like a worn-down bar of cleaning soap. It seems nice – there’s a pleasant cloth cowl to it, although aesthetics apart my first thought is to place it in my bag for runs. I don’t prefer it jangling about in my pocket.
- UV charging case
- Stable battery life
- App options have little impact on efficiency
Like LG’s Tone Free UT90Q, the charging cradle helps UV sterilisation to take away micro organism. Who is aware of how a lot micro organism it removes, however it gives some peace of thoughts for the germaphobes on the market.
Cleer asserts the buds and case have sufficient capability for 35 hours of playback – 8 hours in every earphone, and 27 within the case. Having streamed a Spotify playlist for an hour, I acquired 90% general on Android and within the Cleer+ app, the left bud fell to 90%. That will recommend 10 hours at 50% quantity.
One other try, this time nearer to max quantity over two hours noticed it fall to 70%, which is nearer to 7 hours. In both case, that’s not too shabby.
There’s no point out of wi-fi charging however quick charging is included with 10 minutes offering an hour of playback.
Bluetooth assist equates to SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive and aptX Lossless, the latter signifies that the Cleer Arc II Sport assist Snapdragon Sound. To get one of the best audio efficiency from these headphones, I’d recommend pairing them with a) a high-quality music service akin to Qobuz or Tidal and b) a supply machine that helps Snapdragon Sound.
Having Snapdragon Sound as a part of the specs appears like overkill for a sports activities targeted headphone, however I’m not complaining – until its addition has added to the premium value. Bluetooth multipoint, for connecting to 2 units directly, can be included.
The wi-fi efficiency is sweet with aptX Adaptive onboard. Strolling by a not-too-busy Waterloo station, there weren’t any sign interruptions. I haven’t skilled many elsewhere except for some bizarre interference at a sure spot in Streatham that impacts each headphone I exploit there.
The decision high quality for these headphones is respectable. Vocal high quality is okay, however voices can sound a bit muffled and at a low degree. It may be tough to listen to what somebody is saying in noisy environments – I discover it’s worse on my finish as I genuinely can’t hear what’s stated. The Shokz OpenRun Professional Mini provide higher name high quality than this mannequin, I really feel.
There’s an app that graphically seems nice with its black and gold presentation, however I don’t suppose many will use it. There’s a graphic/proportion illustration of battery life, and the headphones additionally maintain monitor of your steps – you’ll be able to set a objective for what number of steps to do – however if in case you have a cellphone or a smartwatch this feels redundant.
There’s a collection of EQ presets that features a customized five-band EQ however with some I can’t hear a lot of a distinction (with classical music, the flat and classical EQs sound the identical). I can’t fathom what the Sensible Sport EQ does as a result of nothing modifications there both. Others can upset a monitor’s steadiness (Pop could make voices sound synthetic) so I see no purpose to waiver from the Flat EQ.
Contact controls could be customised, however once more, it’s slightly nugatory as there are not more than three choices to decide on in play/pause, skip ahead and skip again. There’s a toggle for an Anti-loss reminder that’s not a ‘Discover My’ characteristic however a reminder the headphones could also be lacking (as an example, if one falls off). There’s a ‘Sedentary Reminder’ perform that’s successfully a chime telling you to rise up off the couch.
Lastly, there’s Movement Management, which works in follow however is vulnerable to mishaps. Sporting the Cleer at a bus cease and trying to my proper to see if the bus was coming is identical movement for skipping tracks. Think about how lengthy it took earlier than I disabled that characteristic.
Sound High quality
- Spectacular stereo picture
- Bass exceeds expectations
- Not the sharpest or most outlined sound
Whereas I’m not sizzling on the app, I’m a lot hotter in regards to the sound high quality, which is much better than I anticipated. With bone and air conduction headphones, producing sufficient bass has been a difficulty however that’s an issue the Arc II Sport jumps over.
They will produce a large quantity of bass with real depth and punch that provides pleasure to music. The place on bone conduction headphones bass could be perfunctory, with the bass beat in Elaine’s Fading Away, the Arc II Sport summons a lovely quantity of weight to the low frequencies; whereas with Busta Rhymes’ Contact It there’s respectable selection to description of bass beats within the monitor so it doesn’t come throughout as one-note.
There’s a restrict to its bass efficiency. Even with Contact It, the Cleer Arc II Sport can battle to increase the bass to offer it the sort of depth and wallop you’d get from a real wi-fi pair like Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds II, and with Kingdom’s Financial institution Head there’s respectable heft (for an open-eared headphone), however it’s not essentially the most outlined efficiency. However what the Cleer can do may be very commendable for an open-ear headphone.
Much more spectacular is the stereo picture that the Cleer produces, much better than I’ve heard on bone conduction headphones such because the Shokz OpenRun Professional mini and Inventive Outlier Free. It’s huge and expansive with a real sense of left and proper channels together with depth to the soundstage – I can level out the position of devices and vocals inside the soundstage whereas with different headphones of this sort there’s a fuzzy sense of definition and readability.
Having stated that, the Arc II Sport aren’t the clearest or most detailed performer. They provide up a bit sharpness throughout the frequency vary, Anderson Paak’s vocals in Hearth In The Sky or Jorja Smith’s in Addicted tackle a clean however nonetheless detailed presentation. There’s a heat to the Cleer’s efficiency that obscures a finer sense of element within the midrange, however I discover myself not too bothered as a result of the tip result’s a efficiency that engages. You wouldn’t suppose these had been open-eared headphones from the efficiency they provide.
The highest finish of the frequency vary isn’t rendered within the brightest vogue with GoGo Penguin’s Raven, the shortage of sharpness and definition might be most felt on this space; the piano notes in Atomised from the identical band additionally really feel rolled off. Nevertheless, there’s nonetheless good readability and variation to excessive frequency notes, if not the extension and definition that would make treble notes stand out with extra precision.
Nonetheless, the Cleer Arc II Sport winningly makes their case as one of many best-sounding open-earphones in the marketplace – just like the Sivga S01, the Cleer’s audio efficiency exceeds expectations.
Must you purchase it?
For his or her impressively realised audio efficiency: I haven’t examined too many bone or air conduction headphones, however of those I’ve, the Cleer Arc II Sport are simply one of the best executed when it comes to the audio.
There are cheaper choices: In case you’re on the lookout for an open-ear/air conduction headphone, then a less expensive choice is to have a look at the Sivga S01.
The Cleer Arc II Sport are a well-conceived and executed pair of open-ear (or air conduction) headphones with excellent sound, a powerful spec, and cozy design.
I’m not keen on the app’s options, with many not affecting the ensuing efficiency. Name high quality is an space that’s tough in noisy areas the place it’s as onerous to listen to the opposite particular person as it’s to listen to your self. Travelling with these headphones and it’s more durable to listen to music totally if you happen to’re not in a quiet place.
Issues like these spotlight that Arc II Sport are targeted on a particular a part of the market – the clue is within the title – so these aren’t on a regular basis use headphones.
This makes the worth of £199 / $189 a steep ask for some. If the Cleer are too dear, take a look on the Sivga S01, JBL SoundGear Sense or the Soundpeats Run Free Lite as an alternative.
How we take a look at
We take a look at each set of headphones we assessment completely over an prolonged time period. We use business commonplace exams to check options correctly. We’ll at all times inform you what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to assessment a product.
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Examined over a number of weeks
Examined with actual world use
Higher Bluetooth assist (v5.3, aptX Adaptive, Snapdragon Sound), Bluetooth multipoint for connecting to 2 units directly and prolonged battery life.
Cleer Arc II Sport
SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless, Bluetooth LE audio
16.2mm Neodymium Dynamic
20 20000 – Hz