When you think of headphones for sports and exercise, maybe you think of a lightweight pair of headphones or some sport-focused earbuds with over-ear hooks such as Powerbeats Pro. But what about bone conduction headphones?
The AfterShokz Trekz Air are wireless bone conduction headphones with an open-ear design, allowing you to remain fully aware of your surroundings as they do not obstruct your ears, making them great for exercise or for use in the office. The headphones feature up to 6 hours of listening on a single charge and an IP55 dust and water resistance rating.
AfterShokz Trekz Air
The AfterShokz Trekz Air feature a lightweight design and are available in a handful of colour options, for this review I have the slate grey colour of the headphones. The headphones have a two-tone design, with the colour option being carried through the band design with the inner sides of the headphones and batteries having a black finish.
The headphones sit on your head thanks to the titanium headband which applies a little bit of clamping force to ensure that they stay in place. Despite using the term “clamping force” I found this to be comfortable and thanks to the headband going around the back of your head it is easily adjustable vertically so you can get a comfortable angle, the only disadvantage of these is that they are one size fits all. The headphones are also incredibly lightweight, at only 30 grams, so you can forget that you are wearing them and can focus on the task or workout at hand.
The headband design then wraps around the ears, providing a secure fit, which has the bone conduction element of the headphones as well as some microphones. The left side of the headphones has a multifunction button which can be used for track and call controls and on the right-hand side, just in front of the ear, are the volume buttons, with the volume up button doubling as a power button, as well as a micro-USB charging port underneath a rubber flap.
Overall, the headphones are designed for their purpose. Their lightweight build allows them to be comfortable and the headband design which wraps around the ears provides a secure fit as well.
Of course, these will feel different to regular headphones when you first put them on, but their design characteristics make them fade away and prevent them from being distracting. As someone who has not used bone conduction headphones before, I was impressed with how pleasant these were to wear.
First and foremost, these headphones are no match for a pair of in-ear earbuds, they will provide far better sound quality than these headphones – but these headphones have a specific purpose because of how they sound. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to try other bone conduction headphones, so this is my perspective of these headphones as someone who is predominantly a user of regular-style headphones and earbuds.
The OpenFit design of the headphones allows you to be fully aware of your surroundings as they do not obstruct or sit within your ears, making them great for use during outdoor sports or exercise, such as running or cycling, or if you need to be aware of your surroundings during work. Despite the open design of the headphones, sound leakage is minimal with only the high end of a song being audible from close-by.
The headphones have clear high-end frequency sound, which makes vocals sound great and the headphones great if you listen to a lot of spoken word content or listen to podcasts. The mid frequencies also sound good, but I do wish that they were a little more pronounced, unfortunately, there’s no companion app for these headphones but you could adjust the EQ in your music app of choice.
The bass is okay, but nothing to run home about, no pun intended, it’s nice to have but the lack of it does result in a sound that I would class as tinny as I am quite used to using normal headphones and earbuds. This lower-end of the sound frequency makes its way through the bone conduction, so if you have a bass-heavy track playing and turn up the volume, you can feel the vibrations on your jaw and ears – an odd sensation but also quite novel at the same time.
I found the immersion of the headphones to be fantastic. As the headphones sit around your ears, the sound is also coming in from around your ears, not from within your ears, so the stereo listening experience is quite fantastic as it sounds like the music is around you. I found the volume to be good for my use-case, listening at around 50-60% although I could see the possibility of some users wanting a little more headroom if they are in a noisy environment.
Overall, I was impressed with how the AfterShokz Trekz Air sounded, considering they are bone conduction headphones that sit around your ears. They sound great for spoken word content and provide clear vocals for tracks and you should be fairly happy as long as you aren’t expecting a huge amount of bass.
The microphone quality of the headphones is good, the microphones have some aggressive background noise reduction which should come in handy if you need to take a phone call whilst on a run, however this can sometimes be overly aggressive and impact how the microphone picks up your voice. The microphones managed to pick up my voice to a good volume and it also sounded clear.
The headphones are one of AfterShokz more affordable options, so the features are a little limited in comparison to some of their higher-end models. The headphones feature a Bluetooth 4.2 connection, which I would like to see be updated to Bluetooth 5.0 in a future revision of these headphones. The headphones also feature an IP55 dust and water resistance rating which makes them great for use during exercise.
The headphones also come with some accessories, including a silicone rubber carrying case and earplugs within the box. It’s nice to see that a carrying case has been included to protect the headphones when not in use.
The AfterShokz Trekz Air feature up to 6 hours of listening on a single charge, although this will vary depending on your listening conditions and volume. When it comes to charging up the headphones, that is done over a micro-USB connection and will take around two hours. It’s a shame to see that there is no fast-charging capability or USB Type-C connectivity on these headphones, although that could be added in a future revision if AfterShokz updates the headphones.
The AfterShokz Trekz Air are headphones for a very specific user, someone that wants to be able to listen to music or podcasts but needs to be fully aware of their surroundings. I think this makes the headphones great for those that do outdoor sports such as running or cycling as they allow you to listen to music but also be safe and allow you to have additional situational awareness in comparison to what a standard pair of headphones or earbuds would give you.
Although the sound quality won’t match a pair of headphones or earbuds, I do think that they sound good considering how they can provide sound through bone conduction and I was impressed by how immersive the sound was in regard to the stereo listening experience. If you want to listen to music and be aware of what’s around you, these are a great choice for under £100.
The AfterShokz Trekz Air bone conduction headphones are available to purchase on Amazon.
AfterShokz Trekz AirAfterShokz Trekz Air
- Lightweight construction.
- Open-ear design.
- Reasonable sound quality.
- Outdated Bluetooth 4.2 connection.
- No fast charging capability.
- Bass could be stronger.