In something of a growing trend, we have reviewed quite a few truly wireless headphone sets recently with more in the pipeline. Of course, the number of recent reviews is just a reaction to this fast growing market segment where wireless headphones are getting better, cheaper, and more available. Our latest review unit is the $150 ALLY from Cleer Audio and they sound fantastic. So good, in fact, that they are almost my favorite truly wireless set. What holds them back? Read on to find out.
The Cleer Ally are, in my opinion, the perfectly designed completely wireless earbuds. They are compact with a couple of small wings that hold them perfectly in your ears and soft rubbery tips for a comfortable fit. There are multiple sizes in the box for different sized ears but I found the standard sizes to be perfect. The Cleer Ally are also IP5X rated for water resistance so feel free to sweat away at the gym while wearing them.
The review unit Cleer Audio provided is black but they are also available in a brilliant metallic red. There’s an LED ring on each earbud that glows red, blue, or white to indicate connection status, pairing mode, and battery level.
There are no physical buttons on the Cleer Ally earbuds, rather they use capacitive pads for control. Tap to pause, answer calls, reject calls, etc. Not having to press a button and push the headphones into your ear is the way to go on these types of units. No pain but all the functionality. A nice feature that I haven’t seen on any other earbuds is that they auto-pause when removed from your ears. It’s a nice to have feature that helps to set the Ally apart.
There’s also a carrying case that acts as a portable charger for the earbuds. It’s a compact grey box with a clear lid. The lid is held in place magnetically. Cleer also includes a little fabric pouch to hold the case. The one problem, in fact my only problem, with the Cleer Ally is that the case charges via microUSB. In 2019 that’s just unacceptable. Truly wireless headphones are perfect for travel, commuting, work, etc. but it’s a royal pain to have to worry about having a special charger just for headphones. The tech world, minus Apple, has gone USB-C and it’s time for the whole of the industry to get on board.
PERFORMANCE – BATTERY
Cleer states the Ally will get up to 30 hours (10 in the earbuds and 20 from the case) which is about as good as it gets for wireless earbuds. It’s really hard to validate 30 hours of usage since headphones are typically used off and on and not straight through. I can say that the Cleer Ally last a long time. With my usage I could make it a week or two between charges. And with a five minute charge you can get an hour or so of additional playback.
PERFORMANCE – AUDIO
The Cleer Ally headphones sound absolutely fantastic. They support SBC, AAC, and aptX codecs over BlueTooth 5.0. They have a 5.8 mm driver and support the full audio range of 20-20,000 Hz. To my old ears the Cleer Ally are the clearest, purest sounding wireless earbuds I’ve used.
To try and maintain some consistency between my headphone reviews I have put together a short list of songs that encapsulate diverse musical styles. My thoughts on how those songs sound with the Creative headphones are below.
Led Zeppelin – Fool In The Rain (2012 remaster): Fool in the Rain sounds absolutely amazing on the Cleer Ally headphones. Every note is there for the hearing and they sound great.
Humble Pie – 30 Days In The Hole: Again, the Cleer Ally headphones absolutely deliver on Humble Pie’s classic. Everything is clear. The voices are bright and warm.
The Piano Guys – The Cello Song: The Cello Song sounds fantastic on the Cleer Ally headphones. You can hear every scrape of bow against strings.
Harry Roy – Wah De Da De (Remix): The recording quality of this 1930’s near-classic isn’t the greatest but the remix sounds great through the Cleer Ally earbuds.
Even at $150 and the higher price end of the wireless headphone market the Cleer Ally earbuds are a great choice. They sound amazing – better than any other wireless headphones I’ve tested. They sound so good that they almost make up for use of microUSB as the charging solution. If the lack of USB-C doesn’t bother you like it does me then I highly recommend you check out the Cleer Ally wireless headphones. You won’t regret it.