Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air Wireless Headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review , find and write race reviews!
Use discount “TRUCKER” for a bonus trucker hat with purchase of the AfterShokz Trekz Air at http://bibrave.aftershokz.com/.
My background with wireless headphones:
Before I head into the review of the AfterShokz Airs I think I should let you all know my background with the use of wireless workout (sport) headphones. In the past I have used the Jabra Sport (twice), Jaybird X2, Jaybird Freedom, AfterShokz Trekz Titanium and at least two others of which I cannot remember the name of the brands.
So when I make statements and comparisons during this review, please keep in mind that I have tried many different brands and different models of wireless sport headphones. I am not basing this on first impressions, but on years of running/lifting/playing sports/biking with this type of headphone.
During the review of this product, I plan to talk about four main categories (sound quality, connection/microphone, fit/feel, runner safety) and then a listing of features and specs. So with out any other delay, let’s get thing going.
Sound Quality: 8/10
The AfterShokz Trekz Air is a “unicorn” in the headphone market right now. By using the bone conduction technology, they take the sound directly into your head. This technology packs quite the punch when it comes to the quality of the audio. The vibration of your cheekbones and the sound it carries through your auditory system is really remarkable. Every note or word is crisp and clear without blasting your ears.
With that said, if you want to compare the sound quality of these headphones to those of a $300-400 pair of Bose, then no they will not compare. However, if you are comparing them to the sound quality of other $150-170 wireless headphones and they will hold their own with any other brand.
The highs are high and the bass will literally shake your face. This is a different experience, and something you’ll need to get use to as you try them out for yourself.
With all this said, however, there are some drawbacks to the sound and technology used on these headphones. Due to the design and technology, your ear is left completely uncovered. This is great for safety, and is one of the reasons to think about purchasing the product. However, this means that if you are in loud areas, the sound will get drowned out.
I experienced this while I running on busy roads, although the sound usually could still be heard in
this setting — but only after I put the volume up to the highest setting. This could
be a bit much to handle if I was listening to something with high bass. The other setting where this became a problem was in the gym.
I teach at a local high school, and so I take advantage of the gym and weight room attached to the school. With the
young athletes and coaches in the weight room with me, they almost always put the music at a volume level that is, frankly, unhealthy. In this setting, there is just no way that the headphones can perform, and that is not their fault, everything has limits.
The headphones come with a pair of earplugs for these types of settings. However, I have never been able to get a pair of earplugs to stay in my ear, and these were no exception to that rule. But these earplugs could be a solution for you if you encounter something similar to me.
The Airs connected almost immediately to phone and not once became an issue once they were paired. I was surprised by how easy it was to get them set up and running. This part of technology is getting better every year.
Once connected, I had to test its limits, and, let me tell you, I was impressed. I got a good 50-60 feet of connectivity with no issues or dropouts. I was able to connect to my phone on the second floor of my house to the headphones from my basement as I worked out. That means it traveled about 25 vertical feet, and across the house, through walls and floors and had no issues at all. Color me impressed.
Part of connection to me is the electrical connection. These things, simply, rock! I got between 8-10 hours of use each time I charged them up. That is ridiculous. And one of the downfalls of previous wireless headphones I’ve had is how they deal with water. I am a very sweaty dude, and so there is going to be water whenever I workout, that’s just a fact. Except for the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium (eaten by my cat) and the Jaybird Freedom (still using), every other pair of wireless headphones has died because it couldn’t handle the moisture. These Airs have been the almost exclusive headphones for 50+ hours of use, and they haven’t shown any issues or even warning signs. They are great for connection.
The only reason I cannot give a 10/10 on this category is because of the microphone quality. Although the mic picks up my voice easily, multiple people complained about either distant or tinny quality to my voice while speaking on them for phone calls. So although the mic picked up all the words, the quality of the sound given to my speaking companions caused a slight downgrade.
What can I say? These are some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. With the open-ear design, you can legitimately forget they are on. In fact, I used these headphones during my plan periods to listen to audiobooks
while I graded or created plans. On more than one occasion I would have to turn off the sound for someone coming in, or another reason and I forgot to take the headphones off before the beginning of my next class. Since you can hear anything and everything else, and they are so light, they just didn’t come off.
The design uses an almost spring-loaded back strap that secures the over-ear pods to the side of your face. So these things aren’t going anywhere. Simply put, they are the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. I mean heck … even my 4-year-old child loved wearing them!
Runner/Workout Safety: 10/10
One issue I’ve had as a runner is how to stay safe while on road and while running. Living in a city of 280,000+ people, and spread out in a suburban sprawl, means that most routes are going to involve other people, bikers, and, most important to be weary of, cars. Lots and lots of cars. So one thing I’ve always been concerned with is how to stay safe on my runs while still getting some audio entertainment. Above all, I would love to run with a partner, and if I have than chance, that’s my audio entertainment. However, that’s not possible for 90% of my runs. So I want something to which I can listen during the workout.
I’ve found the solution in these headphones. They provide the audio input while keeping my ears open to take in my surroundings. This means I can hear that car approaching behind me, or hear the biker call out “on your left” while on the bike trail. Or even more awesome (for me), hear the birds/wind/water while running on a trail. The ability to provide great sound while also staying attuned to your surroundings is a great thing.
Conclusion: 36/40 Outstanding!
Overall, the Trekz Air are some of the best headphones I’ve ever worn, and definitely the top bluetooth headphones I’ve run in. Their combination technologies, fit, comfort and safety make them well worth a try. Do you like running in nature, and audiobooks? Well why not enjoy both at the same time? Or perhaps you run at 4am and it’s dark outside. You don’t want to head out there oblivious to your surroundings. These are the answer.