Cleer Roam Sport Review ANC Earbuds With aptX Adaptive

Friday, October 21, 2022

Cleer's new Roam Sport stay true to Cleer's brand name featuring a "clear" lid charging case, which stands clear from the competition! Roam Sport is based on the original Cleer Roam NC so, it shares many similarities, as well as upgrades over its predecessor.
Roam Sport comes equipped with touch controls which support 5 gesture controls: single tap, double tap, double tap (hold on 2nd tap), long press (1 second) and long press (2 secs) for controlling various functions: next/previous, mode switch (ANC ON, Ambient ON), play/pause, calls (answer, end, reject) and voice assistant. The touch controls are responsive, requires a light touch on the faceplate.

Roam Sport come with a sizeable charging case which has curved sides, flat top and bottom and a clear lid that showcases the earbuds. Plus point of having a bigger case is that the earbuds are easy to take out from the charging dock. The hinge lid is weak and wobbles but closes securely with magnets.

The Roam Sport earbuds weigh 5 grams each, including the wingtip which weighs 1 gram. The Roam Sport charging case weighs 42 gram - 6 grams heavier than the Roam NC charging case. The Roam Sport case is 7cm long so, it is 1.5cm longer than the roam NC case. The height and width of the Roam Sport case is the same as the Roam NC (2.5cm thick x 3.5cm high). 

Opening the roam Sport case triggers automatic pairing, allowing you to pair and connect the Roam Sport earbuds inside the case. Once paired, the case will automatically power off the earbuds when taking the earbuds in and out of the case (there is a 4 second re-connection delay). Other than, the earbuds can be easily switched seamlessly from stereo to mono listening without bluetooth cutting out.
The Cleer Roam Sport earbuds come with mobile app support (Cleer+), which is available to download for Android and iOS devices. The Cleer+ app has no review ratings on Play Store but experienced no issues during testing. Like many earbud mobile apps, the Cleer+ app requires some permission (e.g. location), as well as okaying a user agreement, which isn't typical of most mobile apps. Other than that, you are not required to sign up for an account in order to use the app, which connects to the Cleer Roam Sport earbuds automatically. 

From the Cleer+ app, you can adjust the strength of ANC and how much ambient sound comes into the earbuds, as well as check battery level of each earbud (not the case). There is also a 5-band graphic EQ built-in, as well 5 preset sound modes. You can also swap around the double tap and triple tap gesture control functions. There is no option to remap the buttons to functions of your choosing and no in-ear function for auto play/pause. ANC turns on automatically when powering on the earbuds, which is convenient but there is no way to override it via the app.  

In the battery department, the Roam Sport earbuds support quick charge and have a 2-hour charging time. With ANC ON and medium high volume (75%), the Roam Sport earbuds manage 5 hours of battery life and extra 15 hours with the case. With ANC OFF, the Roam Sport buds can hold around 7 hours.  

Roam Sport uses the same custom 5.8mm dynamic drivers with flat neutral sound signature as Roam NC but the audio quality is noticeably higher resolution when listening via aptX Adaptive. Most newer Android phones support it but iOS devices do not support aptX Adaptive natively; hence it automatically defaults to SBC codec.
Roam Sport is equipped with beamforming microphones - one located at the top of the earbud and the second located at the end of the earbud stem. Calls are clear As far as Ambient sound, it works great. It can be adjusted further for situational awareness and closer for talking to people in the gym, coffee shop, etc. 

Potential deal breakers
  • No Bluetooth AAC (ideal for iOS)
  • Limited button remapping
  • Double tap (hold on 2nd tap) gesture cannot be remapped
  • Basic app functionality
  • iPhone users won't benefit from aptX Adaptive since it is not supported by Apple iOS
  • No low latency game mode
  • No in-ear detection on-board the earbuds
  • Unintuitive double tap gesture, requires holding on the second tap
  • IPX4 water resistance - below the standard IPX5
  • Unintuitive single battery led on charging case
  • No wireless charging
  • Doesn't support multipoint 
  • More expensive than Roam NC
  • Bulky charging case
  • Wobbly hinge lid
  • Earbuds require the use of wingtips at all times due to the body shell design, which is okay but the wingstips have a proprietary design that will make it difficult to replace with third party wingtips. The eartips, in the other hand, can be replaced with third party ones very easily by slipping the bore of the eartip over the tiny notch sticking out of the earbud nozzle.
  • Double tap (hold on 2nd tap) for controlling volume isn't the most convenient for controlling volume - long press or single tap is far easier.

Selling points for Roam Sport
  • Adjustable ANC/Ambient sound
  • USB-C charging  
  • Soft siliconized wingtips
  • Bluetooth 5.2 chip supports SBC and aptX Adaptive
  • Quick charge (5 mins=1hr playtime)
  • Beamforming microphone technology beams the microphone pickup directly at the mouth
  • Absolute bluetooth volume for controlling phone's volume remotely
  • Built-in graphic EQ
  • Secure "slit fit" eartips
  • Earbuds can be paired whilst inside the case
  • High passive noise isolation - improves the active noise cancelling performance
  • Hassle-free wingtip attachment and removable- takes 2-3 seconds
Accessories included with the Roam Sport: premium USB-C charging cable with rubber plugs, silicone tips and different size wingtips. The wingtips have a flexible stem and are designed to cover the bottom half of the earbud. The top half of the earbud (faceplate) is made of matte plastic. Roam Sport stock eartips have a bowl-shaped flange; while the Roam NC tips have a mushroom shaped flange.
If you're wondering whether to get the Roam Sport or Roam NC, consider this. Similar beamforming mic technology and call quality, similar ANC performance as Roam NC, same IPX4 rating, same quirky cooking pot stem bud design, same feedforward ANC system, similar driver hardware and integrated audio equalizer and no multipoint connection (same as Roam NC). The Roam Sport do cost more money but include more features such as a newer bluetooth 5.2 chipset with SBC and aptX Adaptive codec (Roam NC only supports aptX). 

 The battery performance  is slightly better for Roam Sport (5 hours more than Roam NC). The most notable differences are the wingtips included with Roam Sport which maximizes the secure fit. Roam NC does not have wingtips but they still benefit from a secure fit, thanks to the stem-concha fit and rubberized body. You can buy the Roam Sport from Cleer Audio and amazon when they become available. Check out the review of Cleer ARC open back earhook earbuds

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