Although the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones aren’t designed to give you studio quality sound. Saying that, there are some great features and some quite surprising results I’ve had from my time with them. The other day I had a woolly hat on to keep my ears warm as I cleaned my bike. The Trekz didn’t sit underneath it so I put them over the top of the hat. The sound was just as good as if the hat wasn’t there! It’s not a recommendation to use them like this, but it made me happy, because I could still listen to my music as I worked.
Most important is the ease of use. You press one button to turn the headphones on, a voice then tells you they are on. If you hold the button you will then be alerted that the pairing process is taking place. Providing you have your phone’s Bluetooth switched on this will happen shortly thereafter. Once paired you can make and receive calls, hear alert sounds from your phone as well as listen to music from any Bluetooth enabled device. I connected them to my iphone, ipad and a Windows 10 laptop and all connections were quick, strong and easy. Volume control and call answering are also managed by buttons on the headset. Aftershokz state a six hour battery life and this sounds about right. Charging is by USB with a blue light coming on once they’re fully charged. In use there aren’t any obvious flashing lights like you find on some Bluetooth headsets.
I found it tricky at first to find a place where the headphones just sat naturally on my head. That’s not to say they weren’t comfortable, quite the opposite. I sat them in slightly different places each time because there seems to be quite a wide area that the headphones are effective in. The shape of the headband to the rear of your head also gives a good amount of adaptability for different head sizes and shapes.
There’s also a pair of adaptors in the box to allow fitting for smaller heads, we didn’t need to use these even on my seven year old though. I feel it necessary to point out that there is an acclimatisation process. It does take a little while of wearing bone conducting headphones to get used to them. This is due to the pressure being on your jawbone instead of in your ear like a conventional headphone.
Fortunately (or not because it’s one of the reasons for the relatively high price) the inclusion of ‘titanium’ in their name isn’t just an empty proclamation. These are made from titanium and that’s why they are so light. Once you get used to them it is quite easy to forget they’re there. After the first few uses, once you take them off you can feel a tingle; especially if you’ve had them on for a few hours like I had. This might not even be the headphones as much as the feeling of vibrations passing through your jawbone.
I found myself wearing the Trekz around the house whilst my phone was charging. They have great connectivity and only started cutting out if I went to the end of the garden or in the garage. They also allow you to answer calls and the call quality is easily as good as a purpose built wireless phone kit. I’ve also been using the headset when I’m on the indoor trainer.
My current indoor trainer is quite noisy as it consists mostly of a large fan. For this reason I used the earplugs that Aftershokz thoughtfully included in the box. Obviously this does go against the idea of leaving your ears free to hear, but if you are only going to buy one set of headphones then you want them to be useful in as many different situations as possible. The earplugs do work. They cut out the ambient noise and the sound is still conducted through your jawbone. It’s not quite as neat a solution as my noise cancelling headphones, but it’s not far off. Incidentally the Trekz are still working fine despite getting very damp with sweat. They are rated IP55 which means they provide some protection against dust and they’re sealed against water spray from any direction.
The Aftershokz Trekz aren’t for everyone. They aren’t going to give you the best sound; they do leak a bit of noise despite having ‘leakslayer technology’ so using them on public transport may not make you very popular. And they wouldn’t be great for a noisy gym where the open ear would actually be a disadvantage (although the included earplugs may help here). The gym music and the grunts and clangs of weights would drown your tunes out. These headphones are really good for both cycling and running though. You can have music and even answer calls whilst on your workout, but still be able to hear traffic and talk to your buddies along the way.
Once on they stay put, so there’s no fiddling to pop them back in your ear and they fit well under a helmet too. I also found them great as a general headset to wear about the house. I could listen to music, connect to my laptop to watch tv or films and answer calls all completely hands-free. I’ve found them very handy to pop on and have hardly used my noise cancelling wired headphones recently. The price is quite high, but they do feel robust and well made compared to cheaper headsets I’ve seen. My 7 year old has been using them and not managed to break them either.
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