The Cleer Enduro ANC is one of those pleasant surprises that’s all too rare in tech. Not because of a lack of manufacturer pedigree — Cleer is an audio veteran — but because the Enduro ANC is a $149 set of over-ear cans that, despite its low price, is one of the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy.
Colors: Navy, light gray
Battery life (rated): 60 hours with ANC
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Size: 7 x 6.6 x 3 inches
Weight: 10.6 ounces
While unlikely to have the Sony WH-1000XM4 shaking in its earcups, there’s more than enough here in terms of sound quality, ANC effectiveness and especially battery life to make Cleer’s effort worth your cash. Keep reading our Cleer Enduro ANC review for the full verdict.
The Cleer Enduro ANC has also had a great showing in the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 Audio categories: on top of winning the Best headphones for battery life award, it also earned Highly Recommended accolades in the Best noise-cancelling headphones and Best over-ear headphones awards.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Price and availability
The Enduro ANC is available from Cleer itself in addition to Amazon, B&H and Crutchfield. Expect to pay the standard $149 MSRP wherever you look — or, to put it another way, one-third of the Apple AirPods Max.
Interestingly, $149 is also exactly what you’d pay for the Urbanista Miami, another recent pair of noise-cancelling headphones with big battery life promises. The Enduro ANC doesn’t match the Miami’s wide range of colors, though you do at least get a couple of choices: navy blue with gold highlights, or light gray with silver highlights.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Design
Aesthetically, the Enduro ANC hits the mark. While I’m not personally fond of the earthy shade chosen for the navy model’s headband and earcup padding, the blue itself looks good, especially with the tasteful gold trim. And, while constructed with a lot of plastic, its matte finish could let it pass for aluminum at a distance.
It’s a little more practical than the Urbanista Miami, too. It’s slightly lighter and can fold flat for easier carrying or storage, something the Miami can’t do.
The Miami does have the advantage of coming with a hard carrying case, as opposed to the Enduro ANC’s canvas carrying pouch, though at least that’s part of a decent accessories package that also includes a charging cable, detachable 3.5mm cable and a flight adapter.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Comfort and fit
Thankfully, in addition to being more stowable than the Miami, the Enduro ANC isn’t as tight around the head either. This makes for a more easygoing fit, one that’s aided further by an easily adjustable headband and earcups that can both rotate and pivot.
That said, the Enduro ANC lacks the airiness of a design like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. I believe I don’t have particularly substantial lugs, but the Enduro ANC’s earcups still teetered on the line between snug and cramped, and the imitation leather padding isn’t very breathable. When I took the Enduro ANC off after a solid two hours of listening, I did feel a certain relief even if I was never in outright discomfort or pain.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Controls and setup
Cleer has gone for a simple four-button arrangement on the Enduro ANC. It’s pretty flexible, though: the power button combines play/pause, answer/reject/hang up controls for calls and track skipping all at once, depending on how many times you press it in succession. The ANC button is also multifunctional, able to summon Google Assistant or Siri as well as cycle through ANC and Ambient modes.
Long-pressing the latter also activates “Conversation Mode,” which engages Ambient mode for as long as you continue holding it. It’s a very handy feature for when you suddenly but briefly need to listen out for something, and manually cycling through sound modes would take too long. Just be aware that although it silences music playback while active, Conversation Mode doesn’t fully pause the track — so you may need to skip back a bit if you missed a good part.
The Bluetooth pairing process kicks in as soon as you turn on the Enduro ANC for the first time, and is appreciably straightforward. Especially so if you can take advantage of Google Fast Pair 2.0 (see the “App and features” section below). Alternatively, you can plug in the bundled USB-C to 3.5mm cable, which has the added benefit of unlocking Hi-Res Audio compatibility.
The Enduro ANC can’t handle lossless playback wirelessly, but does support the aptX Adaptive codec, which is one of the better-quality Bluetooth standards.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Sound quality
The Enduro ANC practically shares a soundstage with the Urbanista Miami in general terms: they’re both bass-heavy, but not to the extent that the mids and trebles get rolled over.
The result is a fun-sounding pair of headphones that belies its low price by creating a very satisfying sense of depth. Royal Blood’s stomping “Boilermaker” demonstrated the benefits of this sound profile to rock songs, while the sumptuous double bass on Billie Holiday’s “Blue Moon” did the same for jazzier fare. The uncountable layered synths in Carpenter Brut’s dark, electronic “Turbo Killer” also showcased the Enduro ANC’s versatility, switching smoothly between the track’s racing riffs and spacious, church organ-inspired breaks.
Admittedly, I couldn’t hear much of a difference between Master-quality Tidal tracks over a wired connection and lossy Spotify songs over Bluetooth, so if you’re a Hi-Res audiophile it’s worth paying more for higher-end headphones. But the Enduro ANC has no drastic weaknesses: no narrow soundstage, no muddied low-end, no cracking around the high frequencies. This would be a good pair of headphones for $149 even without ANC.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Active noise cancellation
Still, ANC is a great addition. Indoors, it significantly cut down the noise of my kitchen extractor fan, and with music playing I couldn't even hear the click-clack of my mechanical keyboard. It wasn’t particularly effective at silencing the sound from the TV, other than making it very slightly quieter, but since most noise-cancelling headphones’ ANC tech often struggles with inconsistent sounds like speech, this was no surprise.
Outdoors, Cleer’s noise cancellation proved effective against passing cars and trains. And Ambient mode is even better: the microphones picked out voices with ease while leaving the background noises I was less interested in hearing, like air conditioning units, in the background. Some cheap ANC headphones simply use their transparency modes to boost any and all noises, but the Enduro ANC had a firm handle on what I actually needed to hear.
Sadly, there is one big catch: wind noise. With ANC enabled, the onboard mics are disappointingly prone to piping whistling noises into your ears, just as the Urbanista Miami was. The only workarounds are to live somewhere with better weather than I do, or to listen without ANC.
At least switching ANC off doesn’t hurt sound quality, though. Ambient noise can filter in but you won’t lose any detail or bass response.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: App and features
The Enduro ANC is compatible with the Cleer+ app (Android and iOS), a simplistic but highly usable app. In addition to simply letting you switch ANC on or off, the Ambient Noise Control section also includes a slider that lets you choose one of 10 sensitivity levels for Ambient mode.
That’s useful, and I appreciated how activating the slider automatically switched the headphones to Ambient mode — or ANC, should you slide it all the way to the left. As the earcup button makes you cycle through modes until you reach the one you want, this could be a faster alternative (along with Conversation Mode) if your phone is already in your hand.
There’s also EQ customization — another generous inclusion for the price — and a fun little option to rename the Enduro ANC, AirPods-style. This only seems to affect how Cleer+ refers to the headphones, though; personalized names don’t appear anywhere in the source device’s OS.
The Enduro ANC itself supports Google Fast Pair 2.0, which can streamline setup with Android phones by having your handset present a notification as soon as it detects the headphones in pairing mode nearby. This only applies for initial setup and admittedly, I never saw this notification, possibly because I already had my Bluetooth menu on-screen when I powered up the Enduro ANC for the first time.
In any case, the left earcup’s NFC tag provides a much cooler connectivity trick. This lets you connect — or disconnect — a phone just by pressing the handset against the headphones, and it worked perfectly for me every time. If I previously disconnected while a track was playing, the system was even smart enough to automatically resume the song after I tapped to reconnect.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Battery life
I mentioned big battery life promises earlier, and they don’t come much bigger than Cleer’s: the Enduro ANC is rated for a spectacular 60 hours of ANC playback. Even the best over-ear headphones don’t come close to that, with or without noise cancellation.
Is it too good to be true? As it turns out, yes, though the Enduro ANC is anything but a letdown. With ANC enabled, the volume at 50% and connected via Bluetooth, I got a total of 50 hours and 15 minutes from a single charge. That’s more than twice what the AirPods Max and Bose 700 can manage, and even the stalwart Urbanista Miami runs dry in a few hours less.
As far as I can tell, the Enduro ANC is the longest-lasting pair of noise-cancelling headphones we’ve tested on Tom’s Guide. The only downside is a lengthy empty-to-full recharging time of 3 hours, though you can get 2 hours of playback time from a quick 10-minute charge.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Call quality
The Enduro ANC also makes a serviceable calling headset. When using it for a standard phone call, I apparently sounded clear and sharp — perhaps with less bass to my voice than usual, but there was nothing that made me hard to understand. Likewise, the microphones picked up indoor background noise, but not to the extent that anything overpowered my voice.
Outside, wind noise evidently was less of a problem for calls than it is for noise cancellation, and I’m told I still came through clearly even with the additional ambient sound. Is the Enduro ANC one of the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls? Not quite, as you can get mics with better noise isolation, but it’s a respectable performer.
Cleer Enduro ANC review: Verdict
Even if it is weak to certain weather, the Cleer Enduro ANC feels like something special. And that’s despite it launching only a few months after the Urbanista Miami, another pair of ANC headphones that impressed despite a low price.
But the Miami is, outside of that singular feature/price combination, a pretty basic set of cans, and still lacks a mobile app. By contrast, the Enduro ANC offers more control, extra features, a more portable design and even better battery life, all for the exact same price.
We’re not saying another, even better alternative won’t come along, but for now the Enduro ANC might just be the best-value pair of noise-cancelling headphones on the market.
- More: We’ve tested the best turntables for playing and ripping vinyl