I first became aware of AfterShokz when I saw them being sold at the London Bike Show just over three years ago. I was sceptical as to whether the sound quality of wireless bone conduction headphones would be any good. I am one of those people who like good quality sound when playing music, regardless of what I am doing and so was reluctant to part with my hard-earned cash for these. Let me add that I do not use headphones when cycling; far too dangerous. But I do use earbuds when running as my regular routes are all off-road. My earbuds of choice were Bose SoundSport wireless earbuds. I have no complaints about them at all but was interested to see how hearing ambient sounds at the same time as my music would work. Would they sound like I was listening to the speaker built-in to my phone? In which case, no thanks.
But is it high quality sound? Really?
How do they work?
Here is the patter from the AfterShokz website
Bone conduction is a natural part of the hearing process—sound travels through your eardrums and bones simultaneously. We’ve taken the concept to the next level through a suite of proprietary audio technologies and design patents.
1. Our patented transducers create mini vibrations that travel through your cheekbones.
2. The sound bypasses your eardrums, traveling directly to your inner ears (cochlea).
The result:A reinvented listening experience, through an open ear design. Premium audio, situational awareness and extreme comfort—second to none.
Do they work?
The short answer is yes. And I have to admit I was very surprised.
After unboxing the headphones, I put them on pressed the play button expecting the worst. Just how bad could they sound? Would I be able to listen to them when running?
It turns out the sound quality is surprisingly good. Excellent in fact. They have an excellent range and, vital to me, an excellent bass tone. When the volume is balanced at the right level, the music does not drown out ambient sounds, and the ambient sounds do not drown out the music. In this way, I could hear traffic but also my music with a quality that was better than using an external music player. When running with otherwise, it is possible to hold a conversation (which proves I am not running hard enough but you get my point!).
But will I use them cycling? Probably not when out on my road bike as even listening to music would be one distraction too many on the open road. But off-road? Yes, I probably will.
Now, these are not cheap but, in my opinion, well worth the money. I only wish I has bought a pair before now.