If the Aftershokz Bone Conduction Headphones look familiar it’s probably because you saw them at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012. We also previously talked briefly about them in our roundup of hot new headphones for 2012.
Environmental Awareness. These headphones have no portion that fits in your ear, which allows you to listen to your favorite song and still be aware of your surroundings.
Meets Unique Needs. If you have sensory aural hearing loss these headphones will be the right fit for you.
Reduces Chance of Noise Induced Hearing Loss. More and more people are being diagnosed with noise induced hearing loss, and much of this is contributed to younger generations blaring their music in their ears. The Aftershokz eliminate this concern.
New and Awkward. While bone conduction technology has been around for quite some time, combining bone conduction with sport headphones is still a newer idea, which means most people will find them a bit awkward.
Heavy In-Line Controls. Because these headphones are powered by bone conduction (essentially vibrations) they require you to charge a batter that resides within the in-line controls making it quite a bit bulkier than other cords. It does come with a sport clip, so that does help a lot.
Limited Use. While sports headphones are specifically tailored to increasing performance under training conditions, they can still be used for things like travel. With the Aftershokz you’ll be limited to where you can use these headphones depending on your environment.
Our staff Audiologist had a field day with these headphones. She was so excited to talk about bone conduction that we had to stop her from writing this review. Either that or you may end up bored to death (shh, don’t tell her we said that).
There are 2 different sport models of the Aftershokz:
- AS 300
- AS 301 (includes in-line microphone, this is the model we’re reviewing)
Bone conduction audio devices were originally designed for the hearing impaired and more recently for soldiers who needed to be tuned into both their environment and radio communication. So, the technology has quite a history.
What exactly is bone conduction? Bone conduction is the vibration of the bones of the skull to detect sound. With standard headphones, sound waves travel through the ear canal which vibrates the eardrum and sends the signal to the inner ear. With bone conduction, sound wave vibrations deliver sound by vibration of the bones of the skull which delivers a signal to the inner ear where it is heard.
Aftershokz is not the first manufacturer to bring bone conduction to the sporting world. Audio Bone also has a pair of bone conduction sports headphones that we’ve previously talked about, but Aftershokz is the first to deliver this technology with a decent sound quality.
The Aftershokz come with an in-line controller that is used to power on and off the headphones as well as volume control and an in-line mic (if you choose that option). There’s not much you need to do when receiving a call, as all music is stopped instantly. The in-line controller is a bit larger than normal because it houses the rechargeable lithium ion battery that powers the headphones. We didn’t do a ton of running with the headphones, but could easily see where the larger in-line housing could be kind of annoying if it started bouncing around a lot.
While the sound quality is decent, actually a lot better than the last pair of bone conduction sport headphones we tried, it’s still not quite the same as conventional earphones or earbuds.
At the end of the day bone conduction technology is nothing short of awesome. But for the same price you can get a much higher quality sound from conventional workout headphones.
- Sound delivery: bone conduction (typical headphones use air conduction)
- Connector: 3.5mm (standard)
- Compatible with iPod, iPhone, and MP3 players
- Water-resistant (sweat-resistant)
- Cable length: 51.2 inches
- Weight: 1.6 ounces
- Charge time: 3 hours
- Playback time: up to 15 hours (depending on volume level)
What’s in the Box
- Aftershokz Bone Conduction Headphones
- USB charger and extension cable
- Soft carrying case
Where to Buy
We tend to find the lowest prices on Amazon.