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I liked the Cleer Enduro 100 headphones the moment they emerged from their slightly complicated, but classy packaging. The styling and colors are unique and attractive, and more importantly, they sound very, very good. The feature set is also state of the art.
My one caveat is that one tester—the one with the big head in the picture next to this review’s byline—found them somehwhat uncomfortable to wear for very long listening sessions.
The Cleer Enduro 100 are packed with the latest tech features, including Bluetooth 5 with its longer range, greater bandwidth, and native handling of Apple’s AAC codec; aptX HD codec support for high-resolution and low-latency audio playback; and Google Fast Pair 2.0 for quick connections with Android devices. You can also invoke Siri on iOS devices with the push of a button.
Throw in a Type-C USB port and NFC pairing, and I can’t think of anything—apart from active noise cancellation, which would put these cans in a different category—that the company missed. I’m sure I’ll hear from you if there is.
Style is in keeping with the best of the times as well. Cleer opted for two unusual but elegantly attractive color schemes: slate and putty, and putty and tan. The headphones are decently light at around 10 ounces, a 10-minute charge via the USB-C port promises 13 hours of playback, and a three-hour charge will supposedly see you though 100 hours. I can tell you they got darn close to that just sitting around switched on without me listening to them; in fact, after two weeks under light use, they were still running on the charge they had right out of the box.
As far as the actual sound-producing devices, the speakers are a 40mm non-ferrite design. For more on that, and the hysteresis not using iron supposedly prevents, read my Dali Rubicon 6 loutspeaker review.
Cleer outfits the Enduro 100 with three control buttons and a power button. The outer two are used to increase and lower volume, while the center multi-purpose button is used to switch to the next track in your playlist (double-click), the previous track (triple-click), and to invoke Siri on an iOS device (press and hold). There’s also also a status LED, and while the unit will pair automatically for the most part, you can also force pairing by holding the power button, or use the NFC surface on the back of the left ear cup.
While the Enduro 100 don’t have a dedicated 3.5mm jack for a cable, they do offer wired listening via the USB-C port, and Cleer puts a Type-C-to-3.5mm cable in the box. There’s also a USB-Type-A-to-Type-C cable for charging. Cables might seem quaint, but they’re a must for airplane entertainment systems and for listening to uncompressed audio—be it in the studio or elsewhere. You also get a drawstring pouch to carry the headphones and cables in.
Speaking of airplanes, the Enduro 100 don’t offer active noise cancellation, as I mentioned earlier, and they don’t block as much ambient sound as in-ear headphones will. I personally consider active noise cancellation, which tends to negatively affect overall frequency response, low on the features totem pole. I’ve done just fine with regular headphones on planes. If that’s a must-have feature for you, cross these off your list.
Sound and comfort
I already described the Enduro 100 as sonically pleasing, but to take it a bit further: There’s an ear-saving dip in the mid-range, solid if not spectacular definition in that same range, good top end, and pleasantly exaggerated bass. Pleasant as in not imitating a subwoofer, but bumping tastefully to the level that I, and most of the world enjoy. That said, the other tester did point out the lack of an “extra bass” switch. Kids.
To me, the Enduro 100 sound as good as anything in their price range, and they’re arguably as good as more than a few much more expensive competitors. I have a lot of capable headsets at this point, and there are none that I’d rank as supremely better for casual listening.
My only slight issue with the phones was with the fit and overall comfort. The Enduro 100’s stiff headband pressed the cups against my head with a bit too much force for the amount of padding and ear well depth provided. My ears were touching the speaker grills in several spots from the get go. For 20 or so minutes, the sonic goodness reigned, but my outer ears and the top of my head slowly started to take notice.
By way of comparison, the Sony MDR-XB950’s that I normally use sit on my ears like butter. The pressure from their band is mild, and the cushions are extra tall and soft, so my ears hardly ever make contact with speaker grill. Hear me, Cleer?
To be fair, the second tester that did a few days testing for me had no issue with the comfort, so humans with smaller heads—or perhaps just more hair—will no doubt find them perfectly comfortable.
Great looks, great sound
When it comes to style, sonic goodness, run time, technology, features, and price, Cleer absolutely nailed it. They stand out from the crowd, and you could pay a lot more for headphones that don’t sound nearly as good or last nearly as long on a charge. My only mild caveat is the fit, which won’t be an issue for everyone. Buy a pair from a retailer with a good return policy and give them a long listen to find out.
Jon Jacobi is a musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time computer enthusiast. He writes reviews on TVs, SSDs, dash cams, remote access software, Bluetooth speakers, and sundry other consumer-tech hardware and software.