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Cleer Roam NC Review

Verdict

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The Cleer Roam NC earbuds come with active noise cancelling technology and multiple earpieces. While they don’t offer the best audio, they’re an easy sell for anyone on a budget.

Pros

  • Earbuds look stylish
  • IPX4 water rating
  • Audio is good for the price
  • Inexpensive compared to other brands

Cons

  • ANC is undisguisable from Ambient mode
  • Touch controls aren’t intuitive
  • Charging case feels cheap and plasticky

Availability

  • UKRRP: £59
  • USARRP: $60
  • Europeunavailable
  • Canadaunavailable
  • Australiaunavailable

Key Features

  • ANC ANC and Ambient modes
  • IPX4 ratingWater- and dust-resistance rating

Introduction

The Cleer Roam NC are one of the most affordable noise cancelling earbuds on the market, featuring a sleek and discrete design and offering the choice of several earpieces to find the best fit.

However, the low price does become evident in the audio quality delivered by these earphones, which can sound a little underwhelming compared to other wireless earbuds we’ve tried. I used the Roam NC earbuds for two weeks – here is how I got on.

Design

  • IPX4 sweat-proof design
  • Multiple earpiece sizes included
  • Touch controls poorly executed
  • Charging case feels plasticky

The Cleer Roam NC earbuds come with multiple earpiece included in the box, which is ideal for someone like me with quite small ear canals. However, since they sport a corkscrew design, I did have to nudge them to stay in my ears while I was working out or doing other strenuous activities.

Unlike some other silicone plugs that wouldn’t remain in my ears, such as the Logitech Zone Wired earbuds, these stayed put for the most part, even if I do generally prefer the fit of hard plastic units such as the AirPods 2. The earbuds themselves look sleek and discrete in your ears, and since they don’t sport a stem design, I didn’t experience any issues with them catching on my glasses or earrings – which is a big plus.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the Cleer Roam NC earbuds was the unresponsiveness of the touch controls. This meant I often had to resort to using my phone to make any changes. I started by using the original controls, even customising them through the Cleer+ app.

Cleer Roam NC earbuds with the earpieces lined up and the charging case

However, I frequently struggled to pause my music or skip a track – either the press wouldn’t register, or the buds would do something random, making the Cleer Roam NC frustrating to use.

In addition, you don’t have the option to change volume or access your mobile assistant via the controls. Multiple times everything just stopped responding, only working again once I’d plugged the earbuds back into their case. In my experience, this is one of the worst aspects of these earbuds, especially when coming from the AirPods, where you can quickly pause a track then skip to the next one without issue. It was a massive downgrade in quality and ease of use.

The IPX4 water-resistance seemed to hold true, with a heavy yoga session and a rainy walk failing to result in any issues. Generally, the earbuds felt sturdy and expensive – although that can’t be said for the charging case, which feels incredibly lightweight and plasticky.

I was far more anxious about dropping the charging case over my AirPods 2 case, since the Cleer Roam’s case doesn’t feel sturdy enough to survive multiple drops without damage. Opening the charging case and the lid felt flimsy. Overall I’d have preferred more heft, especially since the earbuds themselves feel fine.

On a positive note, the charging case does feature a small light that indicates when the earbuds are charging or in use. However, the size of the light and how dim it is meant that I had to be in a dark environment to actually see it, which was particularly annoying during sunny walks where I wanted to keep an eye on battery life to see if it was getting too low.

The right and left Cleer Roam NC earbuds sitting on a desk

Features

  • The accompanying software is worth downloading
  • ANC can be customised but is underwhelming

Unfortunately, the Cleer Roam NC’s ANC isn’t that impressive, proving less effective than on other devices I’ve tried. In general, it was difficult to determine if it was even engaged.

ANC is turned on by default whenever you put the earbuds in your ears, and having tweaked the settings in the app, it did help to block out some surrounding noise. However, any loud ambient sound, such as traffic or people talking, remained audible. The transparency mode does let in more ambient noise, although I never felt the need to engage it since I could still hear plenty with the ANC on.

Clear Roam NC earbuds with the charging case and box on a desk

While it is possible to turn ANC on and off using the touch controls, since they worked so poorly, I’d have to use the app – which inherently meant I interacted with it less, as it proved less convenient to get into the app and register the earbuds each time.

I’d recommend having a play with the ANC settings, since out of the box I didn’t find that audio with ANC on sounded much different to regular audio. I tested this in several environments, from sitting next to chatting co-workers, walking through loud shops, and playing music from my laptop in the same room – the difference in sound was negligible.

I preferred using the Cleer Roam NC buds indoors; on windy days, it would be near-impossible to enjoy listening to music. Anyone hoping to run or cycle with these buds may be better considering a different option, since the wind noise can be pretty severe, to the point where I stopped wearing the Cleer Roam NC outdoors altogether.

Cleer Roam NC earbuds inside the charging case that's open

The Cleer+ app, while pretty barren in terms of features, did prove useful for the sound equalizer and the ANC toggle. One bugbear with the app is that you need to register your earbuds every time you want to adjust the settings, which is a little annoying, although not the end of the world.

I’d definitely recommend having the Cleer+ app to hand (available on Google Play and iOS). As well as allowing you to tweak the sound to your preference, you can also check the battery life of each earbud. Doing this through the app is more reliable than checking the case, which shines white when the battery is above 80%, and red whenever it drops below that point.

In terms of battery life, Cleer claims that the Roam NC can last up to five hours, and can go 15 with the charging case. I found this to be mostly true, plus I could get an hour of playback following 15 minutes of charging, which was perfectly reasonable for me.

The top of the Roam NC earbuds in their charging case

Sound Quality

  • Decent overall audio
  • 5.8mm neodymium drivers

In terms of actual sound quality, these are perfectly decent-sounding earbuds. Much of the music I played through the buds sounded pretty natural, without becoming too muddled. They’re less impressive for bass, with my AirPods 2 doing a much better job; although it was possible to listen to deeper tunes, they were found to be lacking in depth.

The equalizer feature in the Cleer+ app is a must-have, since out of the box the Cleer Roam NC’s audio can be pretty underwhelming, with a lot of the higher and lower notes becoming muddled. Following some adjustments to the equalizer, I managed to improve the audio, with Forest Whitaker’s Bad Books sounding far sharper on the higher notes, with the bass presence more natural.

Pair of Roam NC earbuds on a desk

Separation between music and vocals is decent, and most of the time it is possible to hear distinct audio coming in from the left and right earbuds. High notes sound good without ever being harsh, with mid-notes veering towards the warm.

There isn’t much in the way of texture here – anyone looking to experience every note of a song might be better looking at the Sony WF-1000XM4 or Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. However, for the price, the Cleer Roam pleased – although I wouldn’t buy these buds expecting incredible ANC performance.

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Should you buy it?

You want an affordable pair of earbuds While they don’t tick every box, for less than £60 the Cleer Roam NC offer a balanced experience without muddling the audio.

You want good noise-cancelling The ANC here is lacklustre, and you can find better options elsewhere – although you’ll need to spend a little more.

Final Thoughts

The Cleer Roam NC won’t serve for those looking for the best audio quality at an affordable price; the disappointing ANC combined with the lack of depth in some songs did leave me wanting. If Cleer rolled out a firmware update and fixed a few niggling issues, such as the unreliable touch controls, the Roam NC would be a much easier sell.

Nevertheless, for under £60 these buds aren’t to be sniffed at, and will be just the ticket for anyone interested in a decently balanced and natural experience when listening to music.

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Tested for a week

Tested with real world use

Tested with a range of audio files and streaming services

FAQs

How do you charge the Cleer Roam NC earbuds?

The charging case features a USB-C connector via which you charge the earbuds.

Full specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
IP rating
Battery Hours
Weight
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Driver (s)
Noise Cancellation?
Connectivity
Colours
Frequency Range
Headphone Type
Voice Assistant

Jargon buster

ANC

ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) uses an array of microphones in a headphone to detect the frequency of the sound coming at the listener, with the ANC chip creating an inverse wave (i.e. opposing sound) to suppress any unwanted external noises.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth - named after 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth who united Denmark’s tribes into a single kingdom - is a method of wireless transmission that allows for the exchange of data between devices over short distances.

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