The market is full of affordable TWS earbuds but normally miss out on some higher-end specs. Audio brand Cleer has brought out the Roam NC which costs £59.99. The Cleer Roam NC tries to break the mould with the following spec:
- Ambient mode
- IPX4 Rated
- Qualcomm aptX
- Charging case
- Compatible with Cleer + App.
WHO IS CLEER?
American brand Cleer originated in San Diego back in 2012 and have years in the audio industry creating products that offer a passion for the ultimate listening experience. They design products that deliver uncompromising performance and exceed expectations. Over the last few months, we have reviewed the Cleer Flow II, Cleer Goal, Cleer Enduro ANC, Ally Plus and Ally Plus 2.
The Cleer Roam NC as you might expect are made using plastic on the buds and the charging case but even though that is the case you can see thought has been put into the design from the little things like the logo on the buds to the angled shape of the buds that offer a good fit and the including of angled or rounded eartips.
I also found the buds and the charging case to be lightweight perfect for when you are on the move (5.2g per bud & 45g including charging case). The charging case is very simple in design with a USB-C charging port on the side of the case and a single LED indicator that lets you know when the buds are on charge or when the case needs charging. Inside the case you have magnets holding the buds in place and even after a shake test they survived and stayed in the case.
Moving to the buds they are compatible with both Android & iOS users which will please anyone considering buying some budget TWS. The buds as mentioned are made of plastic and come in two colours sand or graphite options. The buds offer 5.8mm, custom-tuned dynamic drivers which when listening to music is enhanced with the use of the Cleer+ app for when you need to adjust the EQ. When making calls you have a 2 microphone design but I will discuss the audio performance when taking calls shortly.
The buds come with an IPX4 rating for water/Sweat resistance that is ideal if you get caught in the rain or have been using them for a hard workout in the gym. The controls of these buds are via touch control and they are reasonably sensitive considering the cost. The controls include:
- Single Tap – Play/Pause + Call Answer/Call Finish
- Track control – double-tap the right bud for the next track and triple tap the left bud to go back a track.
- Volume – Double-tap and hold the right bud to increase volume or left to decrease volume.
- Ambient Mode– press twice on either bud.
Now you can make adjustments to the touch controls via the Cleer+ app which might be worthwhile as the current setup is a little tricky to remember and I found I was turning on the ambient mode instead of skipping track which is annoying but not impossible to master.
Moving to the battery life Cleer offers you 5 hours of playtime with two additional full charges coming from the charging case.
The only slight issue I have is the charging case only indicates when fully charged or when the battery needs to be charged via the LED. What you don’t get is an indication of the % of battery life left in the case of buds unless you via the Cleer+ app.
The bonus you do get is that quick charge option which with just 5 min of charge you get 1 hour of playback.
In terms of sound quality, the Cleer Roam NC features 5.8 neodymium drivers that come with Qualcomm aptX codex which offers a higher quality sound. I found the need to have the volume at nearly 85% just to get some enjoyment from these buds, the issue with that is it decreases the battery life.
I have been testing these on my trip to work in London and have been listening to a wide range of music to see how they perform and on the whole, the mids, highs and lows all performed well and did not offer issues with distortion even when using the buds near max volume which was most of the time. I also found the vocals when listening to something like “Alice Murton No Roots” to be really clear. You get a warm sound that is not too muddy and when required the bass does not disappoint. When listening to something like Collabro – A Million Dreams the track is very detailed with the instrumental coming out clear the whole time and the vocals come out so crisp its just a shame you need that volume up high.
If you want to increase the bass or adjust the treble you can do via the Cleer+ app that allows you to adjust the EQ.
The Cleer+ app also allows you to switch between the ambient and noise cancellation modes via a handy little slider on the app and set the touch control for the voice assistant.
Speaking of the noise cancellation I travel on the train most days and when am listening to music I want to block out what others around me are saying. I found the noise cancellation to be quite weak and actually did not block much-unwanted noise out which was a shame I could not really tell the difference between ambient mode and noise cancelling.
Moving to the fact you can receive calls on these buds that is where the real disappointment came from when listening to who I was speaking to I had no issues. However, when I asked my friend how I was sounding his feedback was not as positive he said there was a lot of echo and even a little tiny in places, not a nice sound.
The Cleer Roam NC are not a bad pair of buds for those with simple needs and a limited budget then they do well. I like the fact they are IPX4 especially now am hitting the gym on a regular. I found the fact I had to increase the volume to nearly 85% causing the battery to decrease to about 4 hours of playtime per charge a little off-putting.
I found touch controls also a little confusing there are lots to remember and I found myself turning the ambient mode on/off instead of skipping a track. I also was not a fan of the way to increase/decrease the volume it was simply just annoying and forgot at times how to do it via the touch control and found myself reaching for my phone to control the volume.
The fact the noise cancellation was also a bit on the weak side I feel you will find better buds on the market but if your looking for a pair of buds to just do the basics well then the Cleer Roam NC are worth considering my only hope was they increase the battery life as they are nice and comfy even for long periods of use.
- Design: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
- Audio Performance: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
- Battery: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
- Value for Money : 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5.0 stars – 4.25 Stars
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