Cleer Audio Arc: Interesting.
To innovate should be every product designers or engineers goal but unfortunately there are so many products that are created to innovate for the sake of innovation, like a wifi enabled salt shaker.
Sure, it's a step forward, but in what direction? How useful is this product and are we actually creating a product that solves a problem or solves it better than everything else?
How many things can you guys recall that you find to be totally superfluous?
I have been a fan of Cleer Audio for a while now, in fact, I featured some of their stuff in my what’s in my bag blog post. They have now come out with a new product called the Cleer Arc. In all honesty, this is one that had me initially perplexed and immeasurably skeptical, however, after using the Arc for a while now I have some interesting thoughts and impressions.
Cleer Audio Arc
First and foremost, what the fuck is this product? Essentially, it is a true wireless earbud that sits on the edge of your ear canal, not the inside. Coupled with some rather clever driver angles and software the drivers in the earbuds create this bubble of sound around you without impairing your ability to be aware of your surroundings.
If you are anything like me, the first thing you may think of is how novel these are, but nothing more, and sooner than later, the novelty will rub off. Let's see how accurate this initial impression is.
I tried these for the first time with my dear friend and resident personal audio expert, John, sitting outside a cigar shop on a beautiful summers day. I popped them on my ears and played One Republics I Ain't Worried.
Cleer Audio Arc
I shit you not, I felt like I was in a movie.
The experience was really rather strange, it feels as though the sound is just emanating from around you rather then a definable source. I could still hear everything around, hold a conversation and engage with my company but have my favourite tunes flooding my ears, it was a total trip!
Is the sound quality amazing? As far as I'm concerned, anything that is unable to create a sealed environment to pressurise or doesn’t have massive fucking drivers will always struggle to create a sonorous event.
The sound quality is okay, but in my opinion, you dont buy these to be blown away by the sound, you buy these because you have a set of requirements that no other product can fulfil. The more time I spent with them I realised that runners and cyclists would benefits massively from using these, you can enjoy your tunes while also avoiding getting run over, I can testify I have now done 100+ miles on a bike with these and they have transformed my rides.
Cleer Audio Arc
Another situation I found it very useful was the office setting. Once again, you can enjoy your music without disturbing those around you and if you work in a collaborative environment you want to hear if someone is calling your name.
In terms of the boring stuff, the battery life was great, no issues there, aesthetics is always a subjective thing but I found the look of these to be very neutral and non offensive, but I'm sure there will be people out there that may hate it or conversely, absolutely love it. What I was very impressed with was the Cleer+ app, extremely intuitive and pairs seamlessly with whatever device you are using, be it Apple or Android.
All in all, it is great to see Cleer pushing the boat out and trying new and interesting things out and I for one am here for it! I hear there is an Arc II to be released soon, I am looking forward to seeing what tweaks they have made.