Cleer Scene Review
One of the best-sounding speakers currently around £100
The Cleer Scene is caught short when it comes to features, but it’s one of the best-sounding speakers currently available around the £100 mark.
- Clear, spaciously detailed sound
- Distinctive looks
- Solid battery life
- Waterproof design
- Can sound a little strident at higher volumes
- Lack of stereo pairing might be a miss for some
- UKRRP: £99
- EuropeRRP: €119
- Waterproof ratingIPX7 rating means it can be submerged in water at a depth of a metre for 30 minutes
- SpeakersFeatures dual 48mm dynamic drivers and passive radiators of sound
In the years since Cleer Audio arrived on the audio scene, it has positioned itself as an affordable alternative to the likes of Sony and JBL, and its latest speaker brings the expectation it’ll be yet another value-added performer.
Not every product from Cleer has worked, but that hasn’t stopped it from trying different approaches, whether it’s the Arc open ears or Crescent wireless speaker, its products tend to be a little distinct from the pack, particularly in visual terms.
The Scene wireless speaker is aiming to take on the budget Bluetooth speaker market, which is not short of options; the aforementioned JBL has several options along with Ultimate Ears and Soundcore. Can the Cleer Scene upset the established order of things? Here are my thoughts.
- Waterproof design
- No carry strap or lanyard
- Side-firing passive radiators
The Cleer Scene’s form is a sort of cylindrical shape. I say sort of because its curvaceous and swooping lines also give it an angular look, one further embellished with side-firing bass drivers at either side and a hidden central base on the speaker’s underside.
In short, the mix of opposing materials gives it the kind of unconventional looks that feels like a Cleer product – the Scene has a bit of a sci-fi look to it, much like the Crescent wireless speaker did.
The top surface features a wraparound fabric covering, while the core of the speaker is made from hard plastic. It’s easy (at least for my large hands) to hold it in one hand, and that’s the only means of carrying it – there’s no carry strap or lanyard. If you’re not carrying, this is a speaker to shove in a bag.
The fabric wrap is coarse to repel water droplets, and at IPX7 it is certified to be waterproof; able to be submerged in water at a depth of a metre for 30 minutes. That level of protection is useful if the speaker accidentally falls into a pool, or if you want to use it near the beach.
It matches the spec of the Tronsmart T7, though as it doesn’t offer any surefire protection against dust, the Cleer can be considered weaker in that department than the JBL Flip 6 or Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 (both IP67).
On the top surface (or brow) are buttons for playback, volume and microphone that don’t require much of a nudge. Hold down on the volume buttons and you can skip forwards or backwards. Around the back are power and Bluetooth buttons, either side of a tab that conceals the 3.5mm auxiliary input and USB-C port.
Right on the bottom of the speaker is an LED strip that shows current volume levels. Its placement isn’t all that conducive to viewing unless you’re further away from the speaker. What saves this aspect of the design is that it’s bright, so unless you’re hovering directly over the speaker it can be viewed from pretty much all angles (aside from behind, of course).
Colours include this grey version and a distinctive racing red finish.
- Built-in microphone for calls
- No stereo pairing support
- Up to 12 hours battery
Features aren’t numerous for the Cleer Scene with a built-in microphone that supports echo and noise cancellation to keep voices clear during calls. Press the mic button to turn it on and off but confusingly (or I’m just dim), there’s no way to indicate whether it is actually on or off.
Battery life is reportedly up to 12 hours, though don’t take that to be exactly 12, as the rate at which the internal battery drains depends on the type of music you listen to (bass can have an effect) and volume.
When performing a battery drain by listening to a Spotify playlist for an hour, the Scene lost 10%, though I don’t believe Android was showing the exact figure. In any case, around 50% volume appears good enough for 12 hours, so lower volumes should offer even longer battery life. Charging is through the USB-C port on the rear of the speaker.
Bluetooth support is version 5.0, and it has AAC support (and likely SBC too).
Aside from the 3.5mm jack to plug in an external device (say a portable music player), that’s it for the feature list. No app support, no stereo pairing with another Scene. What you see is pretty much what you get.
Actually, that’s a slight lie. Turn the speaker on and you’re greeted by a power-up chime that, for the first few notes at least, sounds like Take My Breath Away from Top Gun. There’s a similar inauspicious jangle when the speaker is turned off, and to be honest I rather like it. It’s similar to JBL’s funky start-up sounds and it gives the Cleer a fun, not to be taken too serious, character.
- Clear, detailed audio
- Very good with vocals
- Can sound a little strident at higher volumes
Armed with dual 48mm drivers and passive radiators, at first blush the Cleer Scene’s performance radiates a little warmly. It’s not, however, slow or languid in its delivery, as it has a driving sense of energy about its performance. The Scene snaps and rips into songs with a high tempo, but can slow it down too and play the quiet moments as well. In essence, it’s a fun listen, and when you’re outside that’s partly the reason you want a wireless speaker.
Push the volume up and the Cleer Scene does show up some unwanted traits. Listening to Linkin Park’s Meteora 20th Anniversary album and despite that (slight) warmth and richness I mentioned, it can exhibit some sibilant traces with Chester Bennington’s and Mark Shinoda’s vocals.
But in general, the Scene puts in a very good, dynamic performance with vocals – slightly more dynamic than the cheaper Tronsmart T7, although that speaker gives voices more weight – and the Cleer preserves the vocal performance of singers by planting them in the middle of the soundstage and relaying with welcome levels of clarity.
With Imagine Dragons’ Enemy there’s good organisation of vocals and the track’s more synthesised elements. There’s no sense that instruments are shrouded or obscured by voices, and at times there’s some decent depth to be found in soundstage the Scene conjures up.
What’s also good about the Scene’s audio is its performance across the frequency range. Higher frequencies are bright, detailed, and varied with GoGo Penguin’s Atomised, more so than the more expensive and neutral-sounding JBL Charge 5. While at the other end of the frequency range there’s a firmness, weight and enjoyable punchiness to bass that doesn’t seek to become the driving force of the performance.
With high levels of midrange clarity, instruments are infused with impressive sense of naturalism and detail – a track like Emily Rose’s Seven Moons is spaciously described and finely detail – and allied with fluid sense of rhythm that can swing from gentle or energetic, the Cleer Scene impresses with many music genres.
I found the Cleer Scene to be a fun, entertaining Bluetooth speaker, but also one with an impressive sense of clarity and precision for its price. It’s well worth an audition for any outdoor trips.
Should you buy it?
If sound is the priority:
The Cleer Scene’s performance is ladled with clarity and detail, as well as an infectious sense of fun. It’s a Bluetooth speaker that sounds much better than you might think.
If you like to connect and pair with other devices:
Stereo pairing and Bluetooth multipoint appear on a few other speakers at this price, so there’s an argument to be made that the Cleer carries less convenience than others.
Granted there’s plenty of competition at the budget level of the Bluetooth market, but the Cleer Scene puts in a distinguished audio performance that marks it as one of the best-sounding efforts I’ve listened to around the £100 mark.
It’s not got much going for it on the feature front. It can be used to take calls but there’s no app support, no stereo pairing (a feature some its price rivals do carry) or Bluetooth multipoint.
But what you hear is arguably the most important aspect, and in that respect the Cleer Scene puts in a rewarding performance.
How we test
We test every wireless speaker we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested across two months
Tested with real world use
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The Cleer Scene is 21cm wider, 8.5cm deep and 7.5cm tall, so it is fairly big for a portable speaker. It doesn’t come with a strap or a lanyard so carrying it or putting it in a bag is the only means of transporting it.
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