Advertisement
Advertisement

Aftershokz Mobile review

Kat Orphanides
19 Jun 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
70
inc VAT

They’re not exactly high fidelity, but these bone conduction headphones make it possible to hear the traffic while you run

Advertisement

The Aftershokz bone conduction headphones are designed to allow runners, cyclists and other active types to listen to music while still being able to hear everything that goes on around them. They also have a built-in mic and double as a hands-free headset. We've reviewed bone conduction headphones before, but those were for use underwater. While standard headphones work - like speakers - by making the air vibrate to carry sound, bone conduction headphones use the bones of your skull to transmit the sound to your inner ear.

Aftershokz Mobile

The bone conduction transducers - which take the place of traditional headphone earpieces - rest against your cheekbones just in front of the ear, close to your mandibular joint. A plastic band joins the transducers, hooks over your ears and rests behind your neck. Just for once, we found this to be a perfect fit on our narrow size 7 skull, but it may be a tight fit for larger heads.

Each transducer has an 18mm rubber pad that clings to your face. Although they're primarily designed to shake your bones, the pads are basically little speakers and you can hear sound coming from them through the air as well as through your skull. The air-conducted sound overlaying the more resonant bone-conduction makes the headphones sound tinnier than they should. It also means that these headphones are entirely unsuitable to wear on public transport - or even in the gym - without seriously annoying those around you.

Aftershokz Mobile

Sound quality isn't amazing, but it's clear enough and even has some bass. It's just rather unfortunate that the headphones sound their best if you block your ears. We also got better sound conduction when we wore them under a helmet. Either way, we wouldn't use them to listen to music in favour of, for example, the Soundmagic E10 earphones, but your priorities are different when you want headphones to use while training. We were very pleased to be able to hear the sound of traffic - and even conversations between passing pedestrians - as we ran; having that awareness of your surroundings can be a lifesaver.