These Sony LinkBuds rivals are safety-first open-ear wireless earbuds

Clear Audio Arc II
(Image credit: Cleer Audio)

Open-ear wireless earbuds are becoming ever more common – just check out the Sony LinkBuds (and LinkBuds S), Bose Sport Open Earbuds and Clear Audio Arc for proof. Now we have a sequel to the last pair – the Clear Audio Arc II – and they have a better battery life than the originals.

They'll last an hour longer from the buds, with eight hours of battery life to the originals' seven. Using the charging case will give you a total of 35 hours of run time before you'll need to juice it up, which is 11 hours more than the five-star ANC-toting Sony WF-1000XM4 (though 10 fewer than the industry-leading Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus).

Like the original Arc, they sit on your ears rather than burrowing inside them. This lets you hear what's going on around you, making you more aware of your surroundings. It's the opposite of noise-cancelling tech, and is especially handy if you're out running or cycling and want to keep your wits about you.

Inside are custom-tuned 16.2 mm graphene neodymium drivers that beam sound towards your ears. Their flexible hinge design exerts minimal pressure on your ears, which makes them more comfortable than some wireless earbuds, Cleer claims.

Bluetooth 5.3 – the latest version – gives you more range and a more robust wireless connection, while also letting you switch seamlessly between Bluetooth devices using the Multipoint feature. Support for aptX codecs means higher sound quality.

You can fine-tune the equaliser and access firmware updates through the Cleer+ app

IPX4 water-resistance makes them immune to rain and sweat, while touch controls let you change track and volume, access your voice assistant and answer calls.

The Cleer Arc II will launch in the first three months of the year, in graphite and warm grey finishes. Price? $149.99 (about £126, AU$222), which is $20 pricier than the original pair.


These are the best wireless earbuds going

Getting sweaty? You want the best sports headphones

And for runners: Best running headphones and wireless earbuds

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.