These open-ear running headphones are the perfect AirPods alternatives for athletes
Tired of struggling to deploy the ambient temperature sensing feature on your running headphones while you pound the pavement? Or do you find the fit of your AirPods 3 a little less secure than you’d like when running? Cleer Audio may have what it takes with its new Arc open-ear wireless headphones, because they don’t cover your ear canal at all.
But before we all nod wisely, note that these aren’t actually bone conduction headphones. Cleer explains that its Arc headphones use an “ear-hook hinge design” that allows the open-ear units to sit above the ear canal, funneling audio directly into your ears through speakers. custom 16.2mm graphene neodymium tubes that “beam” to your ears. The company says this unique, comfortable pinch-free design allows you to maintain spatial awareness while still enjoying your music. The promise? Complete reconnaissance of your surroundings while enjoying the playlist that will inspire you to achieve a new personal best of 5 km.
Bluetooth 5.0 with higher quality aptX streaming support is also built in (as well as the old vanilla Bluetooth SBC) and the Cleer+ app lets you adjust the EQ and customize music playback , as well as update the firmware.
Cleer Audio Arc is available now in your choice of Light Gray and Midnight Blue. The headphones come with an integrated wireless charging carrying case and are priced quite aggressively at $130 / £130 (around AU$190).
Opinion: Cleer’s innovative approach is one to watch
There is definitely a gap in the market for headphones that don’t need to be inserted into the ear canal (which some users may find disconcerting or even claustrophobic, especially when running around in crowded environments) or s Sit at the top of your cheekbones so the vibrations can travel through your jawline.
The lack of in-ear insertion is why many people prefer the classic AirPods over other options (including the AirPods Pro) – especially since it makes it easier to hear your surroundings, which which is obviously ideal for running and exercising. This last idea is also at the heart of Sony’s weird Linkbuds, which we really liked in our full Sony LinkBuds review.
Unlike some of the best bone conduction earphone designs, Cleer also gives you on-ear touch controls that let you adjust volume, skip tracks, play, pause, answer, and mute. end calls on the go.
The only fly in the ointment here is the claimed battery life. Cleer Audio Arc boasts a standard (but not exceptional) seven-hour battery life – enough stamina for your long-distance run, but maybe not enough for those long-haul flights. Then again, you only get six hours from the AirPods 3 (or five with Spatial Audio enabled)…
Patrick Huang, CEO and President of Cleer Audio, said, “Our engineering and design team has outdone themselves with Arc. Its solid over-ear design, great sound performance, and sleek aesthetic design have made it one of my favorites now.”
Without putting Cleer’s Arc to (above?) our ears to test these claims, it’s impossible to vouch for sound quality at this time. Any avid runner (including ourselves) will probably tell you they’re looking for exactly something like this, so we’re definitely intrigued…