Product Review : AfterShokz Bluez 2 Bone Conduction Open Ear Wireless Headphones
As someone who likes to run whilst listening to music, I was keen to try out the AfterShokz Bluez 2 bone conduction open ear wireless headphones. Being used to wearing ill-fitting ear buds which are continually falling out, need adjusting and getting very sweaty, these sounded like they could be the ideal solution.
One of their key selling points has been the safety aspect though. If you like to run, cycle, or any other activity where you would like to listen to music but need to maintain that level of awareness of what is around you, then this could be the solution you're looking for. As a town runner, I'm keenly aware of keeping that spatial awareness of other traffic and road users which, to be honest, with the traditional earbuds often leaves you lost in your own little world and at risk of potentially fatal accidents.
The technology used is called Bone Conduction. It works by sending sound waves through the pads placed on your cheekbones. These mini vibrations then transmit the sound into your inner ear. It did feel strange initially, especially at the high volumes, but soon you really didn't become aware of them.
Sound quality was a pleasant surprise. Certainly not as good as your high end Bose or Beats headphones but then never expected that as that's not the point of them. You have to expect a little trade off in sound clarity which is more than made up for in safety and comfort.
The Bluetooth connection was very easy to set up and reliable unlike some other Bluetooth enabled devices I've used. It is powered via USB cable, giving about 6 hours worth of use. The controls on the headpiece are easy to use whilst on the run, including volume, pausing, skipping tracks and answering and hanging up calls.
For a variety of uses, the Bluez 2 headphones really proves a winner. Yes, there's a slight trade off in sound quality, but that's more than made up in terms of comfort and more importantly awareness of your surroundings.
Available in wireless and wired (phone enabled and not) options.
- Andrew Gordon