Today, I’m diving into a product that has piqued the interest of many of my followers: the Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction Headphones. For those unfamiliar with this technology, bone conduction headphones resonate sound directly through the bones of your skull, bypassing the eardrum. This is the best-selling model on Amazon so I figured this was the best choice for my foray into the genre.
Where to Purchase
I picked up my pair of Shokz on Amazon for about $130.
Shokz OpenRun Review
Unboxing and First Impressions
Shokz OpenRun are currently the number one bestseller in the open-ear headphones category with a 4.6-star rating among nearly 20,000 reviews. Inside the box, you get a warranty card, instructions, some other papers, and a charging cable.
First impressions matter, and the Shokz OpenRun comes with claims of being more comfortable than conventional earbuds. They are also touted as being IP67 waterproof and offering a secure, lightweight fit.
I followed the instructions, charged up the headphones, and found the device straightforward to pair with my phone. One button handles play, pause, and song skipping, while another pair of buttons adjust volume and power the device on or off.
Now, let’s talk about sound quality. Listening to a track on Spotify, my first observation was the sound quality is very midrange-centric. If you’re an audiophile looking for booming bass and crisp treble, this might not be for you. However, the bone conduction technology has its perks. It leaves your ears open, allowing you to hear your surroundings. This can be crucial if you’re jogging or walking outdoors.
Practical Tests: Walking and Sound Quality
I took these headphones on an extensive daytime walk, around traffic and other potential hazards for pedestrians. While I must admit the music quality wasn’t as rich as my regular earphones, the safety trade-off of being able to hear oncoming cars and cyclists was a plus. These headphones performed quite well for spoken audio, like podcasts, where the sound requirements aren’t as nuanced.
I also tested the buttons for functionality. Play and pause worked seamlessly, as did the button to skip to the next song. However, going back a track required a rather finicky triple-tap, something to consider if you often switch between songs.
Battery Life and Charging
Battery life is advertised at 8 hours. I drained the battery to test the charging time, which turned out to be exactly one hour, which seems quite acceptable. However, the charging cable is proprietary, which means if you lose it, you’re likely going to have to buy a new one from the manufacturer.
Using Indoors and in Bed
You can use these headphones in bed if you lie on your side, but they aren’t comfortable when lying on your back.
Comparison with Ray-Ban Stories
I compared these to Ray-Ban Stories, another open-ear product. While the Ray-Ban’s sound quality was comparable, they are also sunglasses, which makes them less versatile than the Shokz OpenRun. The Shokz also have a microphone feature, enabling phone calls, which worked reasonably well.
- Safety: Allows you to hear your surroundings.
- Comfort: Lightweight and unintrusive, especially for those who dislike earbuds.
- Battery life: 8 hours of use with a one-hour charge time.
- Good for spoken audio like podcasts.
- Sound quality: Lacks robust bass and crisp treble.
- Controls: The button for reversing tracks is finicky.
- Proprietary charging cable.
In conclusion, the Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction Headphones offer a unique way of listening that prioritizes safety and situational awareness. They’re particularly good for outdoor activities and podcasts but might not satisfy those looking for high-quality music playback. Whether these headphones are right for you will depend on what you value more: sound quality or the ability to stay aware of your surroundings.
Let me know your thoughts or if you’ve had an experience with bone conduction headphones in the comments below!