$ 79.95 from AfterShokz website (with free shipping in the US) or from resellers
AfterShokz is a series of open-ear headphones that use leg lines to transmit sound as vibrations through a user's cheekbone instead of using the more widely implemented method of air vibration through the ear canal. Read how this works on the product page. We tested AfterShokz Trekz Titanium model.
Although listening through bone management may seem like science fiction, it is a method that has been used for almost a century. Hugo Gernsback described a hearing aid called Osophone in 1923 and was granted a patent the following year. Ludwig van Beethoven used a primitive application of the effect to improve deafness by holding a rod in his moth and touching it on the piano. The phenomenon has also been used in highly specialized applications for the military, divers and sailboats. Google Glass uses this method when it communicates from the software / device back to the user.
The headset came neatly into a display with a warning and guidance, instruction sheet, warranty card (with serial number for online warranty registration), ear defense, storage / carrying bag and a charging cable. The units are available in five color paths: slate (gray / black); pink; sea (blue / black); ivy (green / black); Red. The review model was the slate version, which we found aesthetically pleasing and visually discreet in use. The tire material is a soft rubbery mixture with a comfortable tactile feel, which also dries clean quite easily. It's titanium for brightness and durability – the clue is in the model name!
The product's website has a link to a size guide tool. For smaller heads, AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini is available and is one inch smaller. The unit was very easy to set up and comfortable to wear. We used the option of connecting two devices (semi-) simultaneously, which is a useful feature when using a Mac / iPad while accessing an iPhone. The Web site provides several pages with instructions, advice, and troubleshooting tips.
The main use argument for these headphones is for circumstances when you do not want to plug in your hearing channels or sleeves over your ears. The lead-in technology allows you to hear ambient sound that is safer than isolating you from your acoustic environment. For many users, it will also be the added benefit of being able to use one of these headsets for longer than is possible with conventional air vibration models. The inevitable distance between sound quality and sound quality that is acceptable during sports and work environment activities has been handled very well.
The sound is clear and has a wider dynamic range than you might expect. We used the headset on a bike ride, for a workout, and in a homely environment where one-off calls with several people were needed. AfterShokz Trekz Titanium was robust and IP55 certified for environmental hazards such as water, sweat and dust. The unit was very secure when worn and we had all the confidence that it would be in place. The device can also be used comfortably with hearing aids and glasses (yes all three at the same time). The controls were easy to operate: This is useful because it would be safest to operate at the lowest acceptable sound level, thereby maximizing ambient noise awareness. Lower sound levels also minimize the tactile vibration that can be followed at higher levels.
We liked AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headset very much. It is highly recommended for all the different usage scenarios, and we believe that you will be equally impressed with the sound and functionality as much as we were during our tests. Check the support page for a local reseller who offers demos or use the 45-day money return policy on website orders. Ours comes nowhere except on our next outdoor adventure!
Our MyMac Review rating is 8 out of 10. A well-crafted product at a reasonable price for the fit, finish and functionality offered.