High-quality wireless headphones, the kind that go over your ears instead of into them, can get quite expensive. But when you’re aiming to be affordable AND high quality, without cutting costs on the important features, can you make it work?
That’s what the Cleer Enduro ANC headphones set out to do – and they’re quite successful at it (up to a point). These over-the-ear earphones offer very crisp sound with rich beefy bass, impressive Active Noise Cancellation, and incredible battery times of up to 60 hours.
As expected, the lower price point means you don’t get things like touch controls, and they’re not the most comfortable pair out there – but do the pros outweigh the cons?
Quick Look – Cleer Enduro ANC
What are they: Over-ear wireless headphones with active noise cancellation, a built-in microphone for calls, and a 60 hours battery
Value For Money
- Excellent audio quality
- Active Noise Cancellation works very well
- Lightweight and mostly comfortable
- Amazing battery life (60 hours)
- Easy to use app for granular controls
- Buttons can be a bit confusing at first
- Look and feel a bit plasticky
- Can get a bit painful after long hours of use
Features and Specs
- Driver unit: 40mm Ironless Drivers
- Battery Playing Time: 60 hours
- Full charging time: 3 hours
- Quick Charging: 10 Minutes for 2 hours of use
- Wired ports: USB-C, (Comes with 3.5mm adapter)
- Bluetooth Version: 5, Qualcomm QCC5124 chip
- Audio Codecs: AAC, aptX Adaptive
- Extra Features: Quick conversation mode (by pressing a button), Voice Assistant button, Ambient mode, available in 3 colours
Very impressive over-the-hear headphones that provide a well-balanced sound with just the right amount of bass, and Active Noise Cancellation that truly works. They’re also quite affordable, if you’re willing to forgo a few extra features.
Table of Contents
Who Are The Cleer Enduro ANC For?
While it sometimes feels like tiny true wireless earphones are all the rage these days, they still struggle to replace big, over-the-head headphones that cover your ears and engulf you with the music (or the film you’re watching).
Cleer Audio has been around since 2012, specialising in personal audio equipment like earphones and speakers – and their products usually toe the line between top-quality and affordability.
And the Cleer Enduro ANC sit at that spot beautifully – the sound quality is truly impressive, but the two distinct features are the excellent Active Noise Cancellation, which uses two microphones to “cancel” outside sounds, and the lengthy battery times – you can use the headphones for up to 60 hours without needing a recharge.
And, at a suggested retail price (as of this writing) of £149 ($149 in the US), they’re not exactly cheap – but they’re very affordable, especially when you compare them to some of the competition.
Yes, costs were cut here and there – especially with the build quality, comfort and controls – but for many, those should not be a deal breaker.
Using The Cleer Enduro ANC
Size and Comfort
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Enduro ANC is how lightweight they are, at 280 grams. For headphones that have to sit on your head – that’s important.
The earcups are a bit on the small side, but they’re quite comfortable and don’t pressure your ears too much.
The headband padding is a bit lacking – it’s disappointingly thin, and if you don’t have a whole head of hair, that part can get a bit painful after more than an hour of use, which is a shame for headphones that can keep on playing for hours on end.
The design is a bit of a mixed bag – they look nice, and are quite similar to the Cleer Flow II (which is a more expensive model from the same company), but overall look – and mostly feel – plasticky. That’s not a deal-breaker for me, but it does make me worry a bit about the build quality and the longevity.
In the box, you get a soft carrying bag, a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, a 3.5mm audio adatper (for hard-wiring the headphones, if you want), and an in-flight adapter (for those pesky two-pin earphone sockets that some planes have).
The physical buttons are placed on the left earcup, and they’re easy to find with your fingers since they have different shapes and ridges.
Pairing and Controlling
The initial pairing was smooth like butter, in part thanks to the Bluetooth 5.0 support. There’s also an NFC pairing feature – so if your phone supports it, you just place it next to the earcup, and the two devices start talking.
The left earcup has one small LED light that lets you know what the earphones are doing, the battery status, etc. The LED Behaviour part of the manual looks like instructions for morse code – which is understandably the case with just one light. But worry not – if the batteries somehow get under 10%, you will hear an audio warning.
Since there are no touch controls, everything is done via the 4 buttons. They’re easy enough to find when you have the headphones on, but with most of the functions reliant on just one button (Aptly called ‘The Multifuncion Button’), things can get a bit confusing.
That main button is used to turn the headphones on and off, it’s also used for play/pause (single press), then for next track (by double pressing), previous track (triple pressing), AND for hanging up a call (long press).
The buttons above and below are the volume controls, and there’s also a separate ANC button, used to toggle the noise cancellation modes or to activate a voice assistant on your phone.
A long-press on the ANC button also puts the headphones into “Conversation Mode”, which is a fancy name for turning the music off and the Ambient mode on – so you could hear a person talking to you. I still think it’s easier to just take the headphones off your head, though…
Active Noise Cancellation On The Enduro ANC
This is a place there the Enduro ANC really shine. Active Noise Cancellation is the buzzword of the earphones market these days, but many pairs – especially the cheaper ones – don’t really deliver on it.
That’s not the case here, thankfully. The Enduro ANC uses two microphones on the earcups to “take measurements and process information to react instantly and cancel ambient noise”. Combine that with the physical seal created around your ears, and you get excellent noise cancellation, especially at this price range.
They’re excellent at blocking white noises – like those you get during a train ride or from a plane engine – but also things like kids screaming around you or people talking.
When my poor cat came into the room, howling at me for food (it’s been 25 minutes since his last meal), I haven’t noticed him at all, until I happened to turn the music off (worry not, he was promptly fed, again). Mind you, this means the headphones are also likely to block car horns – so be very careful when you use them outside.
The other side of this equation is the Ambient mode, which does the reverse – it amplifies outside noises. So if you’re walking outside, and you want to be very alert to things going on around you, this could be helpful.
It generally works, though sometimes it amplifies outside sounds TOO much, and cars (or people) sound closer than they actually are. It’s not a fun way to listen to anything, but it can be useful if you insist on listening to loud music near a dangerous road.
When I reviewed the Cleer Flow II, I complained that there was no ‘Off’ button for these sound modes. You could either turn the ANC on, or the Ambient mode on, with nothing in between.
I’m happy to say this has been fixed here – and you can switch between ANC / Ambient / and OFF. If you use the smartphone app, you can even control the level of ANC/Ambient.
The Cleer+ App
If you connect the Enduro ANC to your phone, you can also install the new iOS/Android app, and use it to control specific aspects of the headphones.
The app can be used to control the level of noise cancellation and how much you want to hear outside noises (or turn it all off completely). You also get an Equalizer, so if you like your super-heavy bass, you can change that (it’s a shame you can’t save any custom preferences, though).
And you can also use the app to change some useful settings, such as the auto-off duration and even the Bluetooth name of the headphones.
Sound And Music Quality
Many headphones these days go for the well-balanced sound. That’s not a bad thing, of course, especially for those who want to hear exactly what the artist was aiming for – but it can get a bit bland.
The Enduro ANC do a nice job of mixing accurate balanced sound with some oomph.
Listening to ABBA’s Take A Chance On Me, the bass is beefy and rich without any distortion even on high volume settings. The acapella intro shines with the singers’ vocals, while the rest of the song demonstrates some lovely mid frequency guitar and synth riffs.
All together the headphones complement the lavish production, and even the somewhat hidden baritone saxophone is well presented through the choruses.
Moving on to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, the energetic arrangement really gets a chance to flex its muscles with the bass guitar and piano chords thumping their way with enjoyable low to mid frequencies. Elton’s vocals are well balanced and stand out sounding powerful and clear.
All in all, the Enduro ANC’s sound is pretty exciting, and sounds great for both mellow and edgy music. The noise cancellation enhances the sound even further, helping you lose yourself inside the soundscape.
That being said, while there are even better-sounding headphones out there, they usually cost a lot more – so, for the price (and even somewhat above it), these present excellent value for money when it comes to the audio quality, especially if you’re a bass fun.
Phone And Video Calls Quality
The Enduro ANC can also be used for phone calls (when paired with your phone), and – yes – for Zoom and other video calls (either on your phone, or on your computer).
When I used them for phone calls, the sound was quite good, and people on the other end were able to hear me quite clearly.
The same can be said for video calls, though I would usually recommend to turn both the ANC and Ambient modes off when you’re doing a video call. Otherwise, you either don’t hear yourself (which is a bit disorienting when talking to others), or you hear outside noises too loudly. But when all the ‘tricks’ were off, video calls worked well.
Watching TV And Films With The Enduro ANC
While I often watch films (on my phone or a connected streaming device) with tiny wireless earphones, it’s never the same as watching (and listening) with big headphones that ‘seal’ you inside the film.
As expected, the Enduro ANC sound quite good when you watch a film or TV show with them.
Surprisingly, though, the sound was a bit weak – when I watched Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the sound was clear and speech was easy to understand, but the music and effects were a bit lowkey, especially during the big action scenes.
So these won’t make you feel like you’re in an actual big cinema (like some headphones do), but they do a decent job. Plus, there were no lag or lip-synch issues at all, thanks to the low-latency chip.
Cleer Enduro ANC Battery Times
I mentioned this quite a few times in this review already – and yes, the battery times really do promise up to 60 hours of listening.
Of course, your mileage may vary, as actual use times depend on the volume levels you’re using, whether ANC is on or off, etc. – but however you look at it, these headphones can last you a full holiday, even if you’re somewhere in the mountains without any electricity.
It takes three hours to fully charge them (from zero), but there’s also a Quick-Charge feature that gives you two full hours of usage after just 10 minutes of charging. You can’t, however, use them while they’re charging.
Do note that while the Enduro ANC automatically turn themselves off after 30 minutes when there’s no audio signal detected, they DON’T turn themselves off automatically if the ANC is turned on (so you could use them just for the ANC, on a train, for example). That behaviour, however, can be changed via the app.
Bottom Line: Are the Cleer Enduro ANC Worth It?
With so many price levels for headphones these days, it’s hard to compare them. But the bottom line should always be whether the sound quality is good, whether the features you need are there, and whether the value for money is decent.
The Cleer Enduro ANC tick most of these boxes: the sound quality is very good (and then some), they have most of the features one would look for these ways – especially the excellent ANC (but no touch controls and a plasticky build), their battery lasts forever, and… they’re quite affordable, when you look at what you’re getting.
So, are these the best-sounding headphones out there? No. But are you getting excellent performance nonetheless, with warm sound, rich bass and generally more than what you’re paying for? That’s a Yes.
Note: The Cleer Enduro ANC were supplied by the manufacturer for this review. As always, this did not influence my unbiased opinion of the product.