The FLOW II set up Cleer Audio as a model price taking discover of with a powerful efficiency. Sound high quality is impressively clear and articulate, noise cancellation is great and the function set – together with built-in Google Assistant – is sweet for the value. They’re not good, however they’re an important shout for a pair of noise-cancellers south of £300
- Clear, articulate sound
- Ironless drivers sound nice
- Glorious noise cancellation
- Robust wi-fi connection
- Complete set of options
- Cumbersome design
- Construct high quality could possibly be higher
- Gentle discomfort throughout lengthy prolonged listening classes
- Review Worth: £249
- Google Assistant
- Hello-Res audio suitable
- 40mm Ironless drivers
- aptX, aptX-HD, LDAC
- 20 hours battery life
Cleer Audio are relative newborns within the audio market being based in 2012, however they’re not novices. Of their ranks are ex-Sony and Harman Kardon/AKG workers, so that they have pedigree within the audio division, and you’ll’t get anyplace within the headphone market with out good sound.
There’s greater than a whiff of Sony’s award-winning WH-1000XM3 headphones, with the FLOW II using the identical noise-cancelling chip.
However that’s to not say that the FLOW II are mere Sony imitators. They’ve gone down their very own path in some areas, and if the efficiency of the FLOW II is any indication, they’re a model price maintaining a tally of.
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Cleer FLOW II design – Cumbersome and a bit flashy
The FLOW II stands out from different cans with big earcups and a flashy petal design. There’s additionally no escaping the truth that they’re carrying a little bit of bulk too. They make the wearer appear to be one of many Cybermen from Physician Who.
At 327g, they weigh greater than the B&W PX7, however due to the plush underside of the headscarf they don’t weigh on the top. The clamping drive is tight sufficient, although general construct high quality could possibly be higher. There’s not quite a lot of flex within the headband, which results in some lower than reassuring cricks and creaks from the body.
The design of the headphones aren’t the perfect for mammoth classes, both. A number of instances I’ve felt minor discomfort beneath the earlobe, however the extra I’ve used them the extra I’ve change into accustomed to the match. Others could really feel completely different.
Obtainable in two finishes (gunmetal and light-weight metallic), the FLOW II are concurrently eye-catching and understated. I discover the ring petal impact on the ostentatious aspect, however they might fare higher with those that like their headphones to have character. In a market the place the vast majority of headphones can look related, the FLOW II do their damnedest to liven issues up.
Positioned on the left earcup are the multi-function touchpad in addition to buttons for energy, ANC and Google Assistant. The structure is well-thought out and accessible by hand, with GA and ANC buttons simply identifiable due to little tabs. Additionally on the left-hand aspect is a 3.5mm jack, with a USB-C connector on the best.
The headphones might be folded flat or inwards for carry in a tough case. Contained in the case are equipment corresponding to 3.5mm and USB-C cable plus an adapter for airplanes.
Cleer FLOW II options – Nearly every thing you’d want at this worth
The FLOW II’s function record is fairly complete. Most can be acquainted, however one is exclusive to Cleer.
The FLOW II makes use of Ironless drivers (40mm), which is made up of 20 layered, magnesium magnets positioned inside the driver’s diaphragm that convert the incoming sign into sound. Cleer has cottoned on to one thing right here, with much less distortion obvious than different headphones I’ve examined just lately.
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On the left earcup is the multi-function contact pad. A swipe up or down adjustments quantity; double faucet initiates play and pause, whereas swiping throughout skips ahead or again. In case you’re dealing with a telephone name a press on the touchpad solutions or rejects calls. It’s all very responsive and I’ve not encountered a problem working it within the time I’ve had the FLOW II.
For fast pairing the FLOW II helps Google Quick Pair for super-quick connection on Android gadgets.
If Google Assistant is put in it’ll detect and hook up with the FLOW II as soon as the GA app is opened. The microphones will key in in your voice whenever you press and maintain the Google Assistant button to ask questions (press as soon as to fetch GA). The implementation is ok, however GA isn’t all the time the quickest when responding to a question.
The noise-cancelling chip is Sony’s HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Having worn them on two aircraft journeys and round each London and Glasgow, the quantity of noise decreased is great, leaving me blissfully unaware of my environment.
The FLOW II share the WH-1000XM3’s similar knack of nipping conversations within the bud. Although the Sony nonetheless feels more proficient at blocking out noise, for those who’re of the anti-social persuasion, they’re an important software in opposition to the remainder of the world.
Cleer has clearly cribbed from Sony’s playbook with Dialog Mode. It’s Fast Consideration Mode by one other identify, however you place your left hand as a substitute of your proper on the earcup to briefly let noise in. A faucet of the ANC button prompts Ambient Mode and Cleer’s utility of it’s efficient, filtering in what’s round you however not on the expense of music ranges.
The FLOW II has proximity sensors that cease playback whenever you take them off and restart music whenever you put them again on. The implementation works higher right here than on the Kygo A11/800, responding rapidly and precisely.
Battery life is 20 hours with Bluetooth and ANC activated. Full cost from a depleted battery is beneath two hours, with ten minutes of cost offering two hours of playback.
Audio assist consists of SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD and LDAC, which is Sony’s proprietary codec for transmission of Hi-Res audio over Bluetooth. Bluetooth is 4.2, not the latest 5.zero variant.
The power of the FLOW II’s wi-fi connection has been very spectacular too. With ANC engaged, I’ve glided by way of busy terminals corresponding to Waterloo, Victoria, Kings Cross and Canary Wharf they usually’ve not been knocked out of their step. There have been instances the place the FLOW II have randomly disconnected, however oddly it’s been within the relative quiet of a house or workplace.
One closing observe is that there isn’t a app. There’s no approach to customise noise cancellation, alter ambient mode ranges or test battery life on a tool. For the latter you’ll be able to take a look at the LED behaviour on the ability button to decipher how a lot is left.
Cleer FLOW II efficiency – A clear and articulate performer
One of many benefits Cleer states in utilizing Ironless drivers is that distortion is low. Your ears ought to expertise much less fatigue when listening to audio, so in idea you possibly can take heed to the FLOW II with out a lot discomfort.
The FLOW II are the primary large-sized pair of headphones I’ve listened to with Ironless drivers and my greatest takeaway is how impressively clear and clear the audio is, in addition to how easy it sounds.
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A pay attention of Alexandre Desplat’s Little Girls rating and the impact is of the FLOW II plucking the element out and putting it straight into your ears. Each instrument is granted house to breathe in addition to loads of readability, with the FLOW II expressing themselves in an articulate and interesting trend.
Dynamically they’re assured, conveying a very good sense of vary. The Ironless drivers are maybe the brighter aspect of impartial nevertheless it’s by no means a problem. I’ve listened to loads of Linkin Park tracks (and loudly) and it’s to the FLOW II’s credit score they continue to be composed and aren’t overpowered by the quantity different headphones crumble within the face of.
If something the give attention to brighter spectrum of sound permits the FLOW II to extract loads of element from the treble and midrange. There’s an important sense of constancy within the brass devices of Regimental Brothers from Hans Zimmer’s Dunkirk, and there’s a powerful sense of breadth and scale, with a soundstage that’s vast and spacious.
In comparison with the WH-1000XM3 they lack the heft and energy of that pair, and aren’t as impactful with bass both. There’s additionally much less immediacy in comparison with the Marshall Monitor II A.N.C, however the FLOW II affords a extra considerable sense of element, particularly when it comes to treble.
Do you have to purchase the Cleer FLOW II?
Cleer has drawn up a really persuasive argument with the FLOW II. They’re comfy to take heed to; noise cancellation is spectacular, and the sound is impressively clear and analytical. Construct high quality could possibly be higher although, they usually’re a cumbersome pair of headphones.
There are alternate options. Sony’s WH-1000XM3 have fallen to £270. Total they eke out extra efficiency, have a extra discreet look and profile, and are extra comfy to put on for prolonged classes.
There’s the Marshall Monitor II A.N.C to think about too. At the moment out there to pre-order, the noise cancellation is simply as spectacular because the Cleers, they’re extra transportable, function Marshall’s interesting design and supply an pleasing sound.
That mentioned the Cleer FLOW II affords every thing you’d need from a pair of wi-fi headphones. They’re a really achieved pair and an important shout at this worth.