Laptop Mag Verdict
The Cleer Enduro ANC gives you enticing sound and extensive playtimes at an unbeatable price.
Best-in-class battery life
Adequate noise cancellation
Bold, customizable sound
Awesome wireless features
Multi-level transparency mode
Some bugs in the system
Companion app needs more features
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Cleer is a California-based brand that has released solid audio products over the years. The Flow series, which consists of two wireless ANC models, has earned favorable reviews, giving consumers premium sound and noise cancellation for under $200. In an attempt to expand their market presence, Cleer launched the Enduro ANC, a more affordable alternative that carries over signature hardware from its pricier siblings, while introducing new jaw-dropping hallmarks.
- Our expert picks for the best noise-cancelling headphones, per budget and style
- Check out our Apple AirPods Max review
- …and our Bose 700 review
The sound on these headphones is bold and dynamic, while noise cancellation is up to par with what Cleer has given us in the past. However, battery life is what gives the Enduro ANC its charm, which, at 60 hours, crushes the competition. Cleer updated the design to be lighter, though the trade-off is a less premium look. Also, lingering bugs and a lack of extra features might sway you to look elsewhere. Still, at its current sale price, you’d be passing up on one hell of a noise-cancelling deal.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Availability and price
The Cleer Enduro ANC was originally listed at $149.99, but is currently marked down to $129.99 and is available at major online retailers like B&H and Crutchfield. It is also on sale on Cleer’s website. Available colors include Light Grey and Navy. Bundled with the purchase are a 3.5mm audio cable, airline adapter, carrying pouch, and USB-C charging cable.
These headphones are geared toward listeners who prioritize playtime and want decent noise cancellation for cheap. Budget models like the Anker Soundcore Like Q30 ($80) make for fair competition, and though the Enduro ANC outperforms category leaders like the Bose 700 ($400) and AirPods Pro Max ($549) when it comes to battery life, these pricier offerings come with more functionality.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Design and comfort
Aesthetically, the Enduro ANC appears more attractive in photos than it does when unboxed. It’s a step down from the Flow series, having swapped out the carbonated plastic frame and unique details like the interchangeable metallic rings around the earcups for “high-grade” molded plastic and rose gold accents. The end result is a less appealing design. One positive is that these materials make the headphones lighter (10.22 ounces), though that’s only in comparison to the Flow (11.28 ounces), as opponents like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000xM4 each weigh less, at 8.95 ounces. Furthermore, they look big and clunky on your head.
Build quality is OK, meaning the Enduro ANC won’t break if it falls to the ground or if you sit on it. There is no IPX rating. In other words, these headphones aren’t waterproof or water-resistant. The headband is flexible and slim, plus the earcups swivel inward to lay flat on your shoulders or collapse for convenient storage in the carrying pouch.
The pliable design gives these headphones a pleasant comfort and fit. Wearing them for several hours daily, I never felt fatigued or weighed down. The memory foam padding felt gentle on my ears and skull. Also, the yokes are lengthy to accommodate most head sizes, and adjusting them to the proper setting keeps the headphones stabilized on your head when moving around.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Controls and digital assistant
I’ll assume that cost factored heavily into Cleer’s decision to go with physical buttons over touch sensors. There are pros and cons, but all that matters is that the controls work well, for the most part. In addition, you have a full suite of media controls at your disposal, which can be activated through long-press and single-, double-, and triple-press gestures.
A multifunctional button is flanked between the volume buttons to play/pause music, answer/end/reject calls, skip forward/back track, or power on/off the headphones. There is also an ANC button that enables multiple features, including active noise cancellation, Ambient Mode, Conversation Mode, and the digital assistant. All buttons are easily locatable and properly sized, plus they produce great tactility to ensure users that intended commands are executed.
I would have loved to see on-ear detection to automatically pause music when taking off the headphones, but its absence is not a deal-breaker.
Firing up the voice assistant on my Android devices presented some issues. The first time I tried using Google Assistant, I was shown a pop-up screen that asked if I wanted to use a different app with the two options being Cortana or Cleer Connect, the latter being an older app used primarily for the brand’s wireless speaker. This seemed like a bug at first, but then I realized the app was still installed on my phone, so I deleted it and was given the option to select Google, which enabled Google Assistant.
There was some latency when enabling the feature; it took about 2 to 3 seconds to turn on. After that, Google Assistant registered commands and inquiries accurately with Cleer’s mics demonstrating solid speech recognition. Siri didn’t give me any hassles whatsoever when using it on iOS/macOS devices.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Active noise cancellation
The Enduro ANC gives you tenable noise cancellation that can compete with other low-priced models like the Soundcore Life Q30, but not big dogs like the 700, AirPods Max or WH-1000xM4. It was good enough to provide several peaceful moments around the house.
My wife was imperceptible every time she entered and left our home office. Common distractions like appliance timers, doorbells, and loud TVs didn’t draw my attention either. When posted up next to my infant as he rode on his electronic swing, the headphones silenced all of the mechanical sounds, but not his grunting. Any chats that the missus had with him were also muffled — not completely muted.
The Ambient Noise feature works incredibly well and offers 10 levels of transparency. As you would expect, starting at the lowest level decreases ANC, while raising it to the max allows for more environmental noise to enter the soundscape. If you’re the type who likes hearing what is happening around you, then these headphones are an ideal pick. There is also Conversation Mode (hold down the ANC button) that mutes playback to hear and communicate clearly with people without having to take off the headphones.
Being outside presented greater ambient challenges. While joggers and barge work that took place on the waterway in front of the house went unnoticed, landscaping tools (e.g., leaf-blowers, lawnmowers) were highly perceivable, along with high-frequency sounds like car horns and whistles. Wind resistance was another problem, as brisk conditions and the slightest breezes created a whooshing effect that hindered performance.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Audio quality
To see the Enduro ANC carry the same patented 40mm Ironless Driver technology that was featured in the Flow II is impressive. These headphones deliver engaging audio with deep bass that increases when listening in ANC mode.
Funkified classics like Kool & the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” had me toe-tapping right from the start. Lows were impactful, as kick drums knocked hard and Don Boyce's growling ad-libs added a percussive layer that complemented the rhythmic production. I was also stunned by the reproduction of certain instruments; the syncopated guitar riffs remained steady and prominent throughout the entire track.
Jumping into bangers like DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” elevated the low end, which resulted in both positive and negative feedback. As much as I enjoyed the boom-filled sonics that Swizz Beatz’ intense production provided, the cymbals and marching band horns were recessed. The background vocals on the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” also suffered greatly and were heavily veiled over the iconic bassline.
That’s not to say the Enduro ANC isn’t capable of handling mids and highs. In fact, orchestral-heavy recordings sounded great when listening with ANC off. I pulled up a Jazz playlist and enjoyed some nice depth on tracks like Yusef Lateef’s “Love Theme From Spartacus.” The oboe was wonderfully played and reproduced, while the piano notes were sonically serene.
Cleer included an aux cable for old schoolers who still enjoy listening to music in passive mode; just remember to toss your iPhone dongle into the carrying pouch. Going this route will boost the bass and volume levels, but I would resist the urge to hit max volume because it can harm your hearing. The headphones don’t bleed out sound at a high level, though be mindful that blasting music might disturb whoever is around you.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: App and special features
Cleer+ isn’t the most feature-laden app out there, but at least it’s something. I do love its clean appearance and simple navigation, along with notable details like the battery level indicator and music player on the homescreen.
As for what’s available, let’s begin with the Ambient Noise Control setting. It has a toggle to turn the feature on/off and a slider to adjust the transparency levels. Below that is an Equalizer to tweak the sound profile to your liking. The learning curve is more complex than the basic EQ most competitors offer; you can adjust five different kilohertz (kHz) levels to achieve preferable sound output. Other EQs keep it simple with Low, Mid, and High settings. After playing around with it for a bit, I decided to stick with the default setting (flat) out of convenience. That probably wouldn’t have happened if there were some presets to play with or the option to create multiple profiles.
Rounding out the app’s feature set is a visual user manual and Auto Power setting to put the headphones in sleep mode when inactive during a certain period of time. I can think of 5 to 10 more features that Cleer should consider adding in the next firmware update like control customization, Google Assistant integration, and a Find My Headphones option.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Battery life
60 hours of playtime? With ANC on? Damn, that’s a lot of battery life for any pair of noise-cancellers. This is considered double the industry-average time. By comparison, that is twice as much playtime on a single charge as the WH-1000xM4 (30 hours) and triple that of the 700 (20 hours) and AirPods Max (20 hours).
It’s been about two weeks of testing and I’m still at 30%. In fact, I left the headphones powered on overnight by mistake and the battery levels barely dropped when picking them up the following morning. My low-battery anxiety wouldn’t allow the playtimes to drop any lower, so I juiced up the cans and was surprised to see a quick charge netted me 2 hours on a 10-minute charge. The technology isn’t as powerful as what the Bose 700 (15 minutes = 3.5 hours) or WH-1000xM4 (10 minutes = 5 hours) generates, but this is still substantial.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Call quality and connectivity
You can expect decent call quality with the Enduro ANC performing best indoors. A few clients shared favorable feedback, highlighting clarity and volume during business calls. I also enjoyed clear-sounding calls from my wife as she took the baby out on neighborhood strolls. When the roles were reversed, she mentioned it was difficult to hear full sentences and pointed out several distractions on my end such as whisking cars and wind.
The Enduro ANC operates on Bluetooth 5.0, but you also get some cool features that expedite the pairing process. Google Fast Pair 2.0 is available, which instantly recognizes the headphones when enabling Bluetooth on Android devices, along with multipoint technology to connect to two devices simultaneously and NFC to tap-and-pair when placing the left earcup on the back of compatible smartphones. All of these features work superbly.
The range is the only disappointment on the connectivity end. You’ll get about 30 feet of wireless listening, a distance that is pretty mediocre for Bluetooth 5.0-enabled headphones. Instead of audio stuttering when out of range, the Enduro ANC automatically drops the connection, or at least that’s what the audio prompts confirmed several times. The good news is that stepping back in range will automatically repair them to your last recognized device.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Verdict
At $129, it’s impossible to resist the Cleer Enduro ANC. These headphones give you solid overall performance and long-lasting playtimes that won’t require recharging for weeks. The sound is warm and punchy, though the emphasis on bass does veil mids and highs on certain tracks. There are also some cool wireless features (e.g., multipoint technology, NFC) that most luxury models don’t offer.
For Cleer to meet this attainable price point, compromises had to be made. The design isn’t as sophisticated as the Flow models, and despite being lighter, it’s bulky and looks huge when propped on the skull. App support is always appreciated, granted, more features are needed to compete with Anker, JBL, and Sony’s apps. And there are still a few bugs that require attention.
These are not the worst drawbacks to deal with, especially when considering the battery life and sound these cans give you for the price. This is why the Enduro ANC gets Laptop Mag’s strong recommendation.