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Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Mar 12, 2020 at 08:09 am
Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
6.7
Mixed Usage
5.9
Neutral Sound
7.5
Commute/Travel
7.9
Sports/Fitness
6.5
Office
4.8
Wireless Gaming
4.7
Wired Gaming
6.2
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks are truly wireless in-ear headphones suitable for those on the move. They're good for sports or commuting due to their portable and stable design. Unfortunately, they sound dark and dull. While the bass has added thump and rumble, it also lacks punch and body, which may disappoint fans of EDM and hip-hop. The 7-hour battery life might be a deal-breaker for those who work at the office too, although their unique 360-degree rotating case offers five additional charges.

Our Verdict

6.7 Mixed Usage

Okay for mixed usage. The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks are very portable, making it easy to take with you when you're on the go. They do an alright job of reducing noise such as talking around you. They're also decently comfortable, although their deep in-ear fit might not be suitable for everyone. However, if you're looking for a pair of headphones for neutral listening, these aren't it: while the bass will add some thump and rumble, it'll lack punch and body. The mids and treble are also reduced, so they aren't the best choice for more vocal-centric audio. Like most Bluetooth headphones, system compatibility is limited and the mic performance is mediocre.

5.9 Neutral Sound

Disappointing for neutral sound. The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks have a dark and dull sound profile. While the bump in bass adds thump and rumble, their sound profile still might not please fans of EDM, as it'll lack punch and body. Their reduced mids and treble will also make these earbuds less than ideal for listening to genres like classical or jazz.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
7.5 Commute/Travel

Good for commuting and traveling. While the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks don't have active noise cancelling, they do an alright job of reducing noise like chatter. They struggle a bit more with low sounds like bus and train engines, but they still will cut some of this noise too. Although reasonably comfortable and easily portable, they might not be the best choice for long listening sessions as some may find the deep in-ear fit fatiguing.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
7.9 Sports/Fitness

Great for sports and fitness. The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks are easily portable, lightweight, and fairly stable earbuds. They come with three sets of tips so you'll be able to find the best fit for you. They also have an IPX5 rating for water resistance, although we don't test this.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.5 Office

Acceptable for the office. These earbuds are decently comfortable however, their deep fit might not be suitable for everyone. The Clarity 101 AirLinks do a good job of reducing chatter at the office. If you need a little more isolation, you can also turn up the volume - these earbuds won't leak much sound so you don't have to worry about others hearing your music.

See our Office recommendations
4.8 Wireless Gaming

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks are Bluetooth-only headphones and aren't recommended for wireless gaming. They can't be used on the PS4 or Xbox One. While they can be used on PC, their high latency may slow down and frustrate your gameplay.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
4.7 Wired Gaming

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks are Bluetooth-only earbuds and cannot be used wired.

6.2 Phone Calls

Mediocre for phone calls. The recording quality of the Clarity 101 AirLinks is okay: in quiet environments, you'll still be understood but your voice won't sound deep or full-bodied. However, if you need to take calls in louder environments like on the train or in a cafe, whoever is on the other line with you might not be able to hear you so clearly.

  • 6.7 Mixed Usage
  • 5.9 Neutral Sound
  • 7.5 Commute/Travel
  • 7.9 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.5 Office
  • 4.8 Wireless Gaming
  • 4.7 Wired Gaming
  • 6.2 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Good passive noise isolation.
  • Unique rotating charge case.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Dull, dark sound profile.
  • Controls aren't very intuitive to use.

Check Price

Clarity 101 Airlinks
Unavailable
B&H

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

These earbuds are stylish, sleek earbuds. The silver Monster logo centered on the touch controls and the matte stability fins make these earbuds look sleek and minimalist. When on, these earbuds have a blue ring around the controls, which also gives them a slightly futuristic look.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
0.0 lbs

These earbuds are reasonably comfortable. As the Clarity 101 sit a bit deeper than regular in-ears, they can put a bit of pressure on the inner ear. The stability fins can also be uncomfortable for some as they don't sit flush to the ear but stick out.

6.1
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Okay
Feedback Mediocre
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks have mediocre controls that aren't very intuitive to use. Located on both earbuds, the touch controls have the same double-tap action for volume and voice assistant. While it should trigger volume control when you're listening to music, our tests opened voice assistant half the time we tried to change the volume.

9.5
Design
Portability
L 1.5 "
W 1.1 "
H 0.7 "
Volume 1.2 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

These earbuds are very portable. Their small, sleek size makes it easy to take them with you, and they should easily fit into most pockets.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 3.7 "
W 1.2 "
H 1.1 "
Volume 4.9 Cu. Inches

The case of the Clarity 101 is unique: to open it, you have to turn the black knob until the earbud compartment clicks into place. It has a 360-degree rotation so it doesn't matter what side you turn from. The earbuds are magnetically kept in place and while the case is completely made of hard plastic, it seems very sturdy.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

These earbuds feel very well-built. While they're all made of plastic, they're solid and could take a few falls without suffering too much damage. They're also rated IPX5 for water resistance, although we don't test this.

7.5
Design
Stability

These earbuds are fairly stable. The stability fins don't really improve the stability of these earbuds as they don't sit flush with your ear but stick out. However, the three included tip options should help to find a better fit if you need them to stay put in place.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks headphones
  • 3x tip sizes
  • Charging case
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
3.08 db
Treble Amount
-4.48 db

The sound profile of the Clarity 101 is dark and dull. The slight emphasis on bass adds rumble and thump but it's not enough punch and body for fans of EDM and hip-hop. The treble is also noticeably weak, which makes these earbuds poor for genres like classical and jazz that rely on instruments like the violin or flute for their melody.

9.9
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.03 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Clarity 101 is almost perfect. Once you find the proper fit and seal with one of the three included tips, you'll likely get consistent bass and treble response every time you use these earbuds.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.4
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.2 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
18.08 Hz
Low-Bass
0.89 dB
Mid-Bass
-2.88 dB
High-Bass
-1.89 dB

The bass accuracy performance of these earbuds is great. You'll get a little more thump thanks to the bump in the low bass; however, the dip in the mid to high bass will lack punch, warmth, and fullness.

6.7
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.35 dB
Low-Mid
0.02 dB
Mid-Mid
-4.47 dB
High-Mid
-5.72 dB

The mid accuracy performance is okay. The negative tilt of the mid-range will result in leads and instrumentals getting pushed to the back of the mix. Leads and vocals may even sound weak and distant.

2.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
10.42 dB
Low-Treble
-10.23 dB
Mid-Treble
-9.05 dB
High-Treble
-9.7 dB

The treble accuracy performance of the Clarity 101 is terrible. The negative tilt which starts in the mid-range continues into the treble range, making these earbuds sound dull and dark. Leads and vocals will lack detail and although the rise in mid-treble will reduce the dullness overall, the treble will still be weak.

7.2
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.66 db
Dips
1.86 db

The peaks and dips performance of the Clarity 101 AirLinks is acceptable. The peak in the low bass will provide some rumble and thump while the immediate dip between mid to high bass will reduce the overall warmth of your audio. Another peak in the low mid clutters instruments in relation to the bass range. The deepest dip in between the low to mid-treble also reduces the clarity of notes from leads and vocals found in this range.

9.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.26
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.2
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.24
Weighted Phase Mismatch
1.11

The imaging performance of these earbuds is excellent. The group delay response, although it slightly peaks in the low bass above the audibility threshold, the rest of the group delay response falls below the audibility threshold, which should result in a tight bass and a transparent treble production. Our unit's L/R drivers were also well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase so there were no gaps in the stereo image: objects, like voices or footsteps, were accurately placed. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

0.6
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.4

These earbuds have a poor passive soundstage. Just like other in-ear headphones, these headphones are unable to create a spacious, out-of-head soundstage by design: the pinna or outer ear needs to be activated by different resonances. Since the in-ear design bypasses the pinna altogether, the soundstage will feel small and within the listener's head. The Clarity 101 are also closed-back, so their soundstage also won't feel as open as that of open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App

The Clarity 101 don't have a virtual soundstage feature.

7.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.426
WHD @ 100
0.203

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is decent. While there is a peak in the low treble and again in the high treble, this might not be noticeable to all listeners. The frequencies otherwise fall within good limits, which should result in clear and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.2
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks' results are only valid for these settings.

However, we were unable to determine the firmware version. If you own these headphones and know where to find it, let us know in the discussion section below.

Isolation
7.6
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-21.86 dB
Bass
-8.19 dB
Mid
-21.55 dB
Treble
-37.12 dB

The noise isolation of these earbuds is good. While they don't have active noise cancelling, they can slightly muffle low sounds like the rumble of planes and car engines. However, they do a better job of cutting noise like chatter and high-pitched hums like ACs.

9.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
22.88 dB

The Clarity 101 have superb leakage performance. Low bass sounds like rumbles or thumps will be the most of the leakage but even then, this is below the noise floor of most offices, so your coworkers shouldn't notice it.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

These earbuds have an integrated microphone.

6.8
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
250.34 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.97 dB
HFE
6088.74 Hz
Weighted THD
1.442
Gain
-5.58 dB

The recording quality of the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks' microphone is okay. While you'll still be understood, your voice won't sound deep or full to the person on the other line. Your voice might not also be picked up well if you're whispering in a quiet environment like a library, either.

5.6
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
7.88 dB

The noise handling of the Clarity 101's microphone is disappointing. This microphone struggles to separate background noise like car engines or traffic from speech. If you need to talk to someone, you'll be heard best in a quiet environment.

Active Features
6.0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
7.3 hrs
Additional Charges
5.0
Total Battery Life
43.8 hrs
Charge Time
1.5 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port micro-USB

The battery performance of these earbuds is fair. At just over seven hours of continuous battery life, these earbuds should get you through most of your work day. If you do need to charge them, the case comes with five additional charges and is charged with a micro-USB cable.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks have an app but can only be used to play music. It's also only available on iOS. Because this app doesn't offer features specific to the Clarity 101 AirLinks, we don't consider this a companion app.

Connectivity
6.8
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
161 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
244 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
47 ms
Android Latency
264 ms

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks don't support multi-device or NFC pairing. Like most Bluetooth headphones, the PC latency is high so they might not be the best choice for binging TV shows or playing video games. The high latency on Android also makes them less than suitable for videos or games. They have impressively low latency on iOS, though. However, your mileage may vary during regular use since apps on both iOS and Android both seem to compensate for lag.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks are Bluetooth-only earbuds.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

These earbuds can't be used wired.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks aren't compatible with the PS4 and can only be used on PC with a Bluetooth connection.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No

These earbuds aren't compatible with the Xbox One.

2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB

The Clarity 101's case holds five additional charges and charges via micro-USB.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks are unremarkable truly wireless earbuds. While their 7-hour battery life is similar to other truly wireless earbuds currently on the market, their 360-degree rotating case is a unique, standout feature. However, their dark, dull sound profile lacks punch and body and isn't as well balanced as other headphones such as the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. They also don't have a companion app with product-specific features. If you're still shopping around, take a look at our recommendations for the best truly wireless earbuds, the best earbuds and in-ear headphones, and the best Bluetooth earbuds.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless are much better-performing earbuds than the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless. While the Anker's battery life is slightly less than the Monster's, if you're charging the Anker one earbud at a time, you can still listen to audio. The Monster also don't have a companion app, but Anker's app support comes with 20 preset EQs, making it easy to find the right sound profile for you.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better Bluetooth in-ears than the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless. The AirPods Pro are more comfortable for most people, have an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature to help block out more noise, and a much better-balanced sound profile. The Clarity 101 AirLinks still isolate a decent amount of noise passively, though, and the lack of ANC helps give them a couple of extra hours of battery life too, but their dark sound profile can be a deal-breaker.

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless
Unavailable
B&H

The Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless are more versatile Bluetooth earbuds than the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless. Mobile gamers will appreciate the Razer's unique low-latency 'Gaming Mode' on iOS and Android, but the earbuds don't provide very good value otherwise since they have a poorly balanced sound-profile and mediocre fit. The Monster earbuds don't have the most balanced sound, either, but aren't as boomy, have a much longer battery life, and isolate more noise.

Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 and the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless are quite differently designed, so they each have their own pros and cons. The Monster earphones have a more traditional in-ear design that's not always the most comfortable, but provides good bass and isolates quite a bit of noise. The AirPods, however, have an open-back earbud design that struggles to produce much bass and lets a lot of ambient noise in, but is more comfortable to many people.

SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless are slightly better performing earbuds than the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless. The SoundPeats have a sound profile that's more balanced than the Monster. The controls on the SoundPeats are also fairly limited as they lack volume control but they offer decent feedback. However, the Monster's unique rotating case is more sturdy and magnetically holds the earbuds in better.

Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless are better performing earbuds than the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks. If you like running and working out, the Jaybirds are designed with stability in mind. Unlike the Monster, the Jaybird also have a companion app with a parametric EQ and presets to customize your sound profile. However, the Monsters are better suited for passive noise isolation.

Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless are better sounding earbuds than the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless. The Bose have a well-balanced sound profile compared to the Monsters. However, the Bose have a semi-open back design so they don't isolate noise well, unlike the closed-back Monster.

+ Show more

Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless Price

Clarity 101 Airlinks
Unavailable
B&H

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