The ARC II are the second generation of wireless sports earbuds by Cleer – they’re overall an improvement on the previous version with one flaw they share in common.

Built For The Gym

Competing in the mid-to-premium range the Cleer ARC II come in a fabric charging case that measures approximately 11 x 8 x 2 centimeters and weighs 130 grams with the earbuds inside. The ARC II come in red and black versions, and you get a modest 27 hours of battery life from the case and each earbud has about 8 hours on a full charge.

Inside the case though, just behind the earbuds, Cleer have also added a UV light to kill bacteria and sterilize the earbuds. The light is focused on the back of the earbuds that have the most contact with the inside of your ear – so it’s not sterilizing them completely, but it’s a nice touch, especially for earbuds covered in your sweat.

cleer arc ii

The ARC II are also IPX5 rated, which means they’re waterproof against light splashes of water and sweat, so they should be fine if you go running in light rain.

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Open Ear Design

When you put the ARC II on, they distribute all of their 14 grams well. The hook that rests over your ear takes on a lot of the weight but isn’t the most flexible and the back end of it is a bit heavy. Usually earbuds don’t have electronics in this part of the design, it’s just rubber and plastic. But since the ARC II are open – meaning they don’t touch your ear canal, some of that weight has to be distributed in the hook so they balance well on your ear.

Not having earbuds in your actual ears makes for a very comfortable listening experience and a unique one. First, you hear everything around you but the SnapDragon sound, which gives you some spatial audio, does a good job of not making the inside and outside feel jarring.

cleer arc ii

The sound quality is crisp, with impressive bass, and surprisingly good audio quality, considering these earbuds aren’t physically blocking out external sounds. Using the Cleer + app you can also adjust EQ and set the touch pad controls from their defaults, single tap to play and pause, double tap for the next track, or triple to go back. A press and hold on the right increases volume, while a press and hold on the left decreases it.

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In the Cleer + app, you can set motion controls, so you can use your head to take and reject calls or scroll through music (a feature that works inconsistently).

The Pain Point

Overall though, the ARC II have made me a fan of the open back earbud design when it comes to sports earbuds. There are advantages of being able to hear the world around you, runners this is great outdoors, and there’s less fatigue on your ears by not having something sticking into them. The ARC II are more comfortable than most sport earbuds but can fatigue your ears quickly after an hour or two, limiting the amount of time you can use them in one go.