AfterShokz OpenMove Evaluation: A Good Entry Level for Bone Conduction Headphones

AfterShokz OpenMove Evaluation: A Good Entry Level for Bone Conduction Headphones


Score:
9/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Scorching Rubbish
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Execs, Tons Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Sufficient to Purchase On Sale
  • 7 – Nice, However Not Finest-In-Class
  • 8 – Improbable, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Cash
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Worth: $100
AfterShokz OpenMove on fitness model
AfterShokz

If you happen to haven’t tried bone conduction headphones but, it’s best to: they’re a wonderful strategy to take heed to music or the spoken phrase whereas retaining conscious of your environment. AfterShokz might be the best-known vendor of those devices, and it has a brand new mid-range set of Bluetooth headphones: the OpenMove.

This is What We Like

  • Straightforward operation
  • Comfortable for lengthy durations
  • USB-C charging
  • Water resistance

And What We Do not

  • Battery life might be higher
  • Stickers are fairly ineffective
  • Play button is small and thin

This set is the most affordable at the moment offered by AfterShokz, however nonetheless a bit exterior of impulse purchase vary at $100. Nevertheless it’s a notable enchancment over the pair I’ve used for years, the Trekz Titanium, thanks to some design tweaks and a few strong design decisions. If you happen to don’t want extra superior options, notably swim-proof water resistance, it’s a wonderful buy for anybody within the class.

Why Bone Conduction?

Earlier than we get into the assessment, a short primer. Bone conduction headphones allow you to take heed to your audio whereas retaining your ears clear, in a position to hear the sounds round you with none impedance.

Aftershokz Openmove earpad
Michael Crider

That is notably helpful whereas exercising—biking or jogging close to a busy highway might be harmful whereas carrying standard headphones. Ambient sound heard via microphones isn’t sufficient (and it appears like crap if you happen to’re transferring quick sufficient to get a breeze, anyway).

The OpenMove, like all bone conduction headphones, rests a vibrating transducer pad between the entrance of your ear and your temple, leaving your ear canal clear. It sends vibrations immediately into the tiny bones of your inside ear, bypassing your eardrum itself and letting you hear the whole lot round you with virtually no interruption.

A Worthy Improve

The OpenMove makes use of AfterShokz’s commonplace structure: a skinny band, small pads for the transducers, quantity up and down on the suitable “bulge” behind your earlobe, and a play/pause button on the left pad. There’s a USB-C charging port hidden behind a silicone cowl on the suitable facet. After having used the Trekz Titanium for years, I used to be in a position to decide it up immediately, however even newcomers ought to discover little to no studying curve.

AfterShokz Openmove USB-C port and cable
Michael Crider

The USB-C port is a large improve right here—I have kind of a thing about MicroUSB getting used on new gadgets as of late. It’s particularly notable on this newer, cheaper mannequin as the more expensive AfterShokz Aeropex makes use of a proprietary adapter cable.

Different design decisions are a bit odd. The play/pause button has gone from a giant finger-friendly triangle form to a small bar, built-in with the ornamental strip that runs down the facet. It’s effective, however a bit more durable to search out whereas I’m driving my bike. The bundle additionally included 5 pairs of stickers for putting on this strip, which I declined to use—I’m not seeking to flip heads with these headphones. Fairly the other, in reality.

Aftershokz Openmove decorative stickers
Michael Crider

In any other case, the headphones are just about the identical as I bear in mind. The band feels a bit stronger than the silicone one on the Trekz Titanium—it looks as if there’s extra sturdy metallic in there. And I recognize that three completely different equalizer settings can be found through button instructions, although nobody’s shopping for bone conduction headphones for wonderful audio high quality.

The OpenMove are IP55 water-proof, which suggests sweat or rain, however not swimming. To get extra highly effective water resistance, you’ll want both the Aeropex ($160) or the standalone Xtrainerz ($150). (Solely the latter is rated for full swimming immersion.) They appear to be improved in nearly each means over the older AfterShokz Air—USB-C charging, Bluetooth 5.0, similar battery life and water resistance—for $20 much less.

Utilizing the Headphones

Truly utilizing the OpenMove is simple, when you’ve paired it the primary time. Activate the facility, and it’ll mechanically connect with as much as two gadgets. The standard is suitable, although nowhere close to as clear as even a pair of low-cost wired buds—however then that’s not the purpose. As a result of I largely take heed to audiobooks and podcasts, it serves my functions fairly properly. I used to be in a position to have hands-free cellphone calls with out concern.

The headphones are fairly mild and comfortable, way more so than the outdated Trekz Titanium design, thanks to completely flat transducers that sit flush along with your pores and skin. I discovered myself forgetting that I used to be carrying them even hours after placing them on. The silicone-wrapped band appears like a high quality pair of glasses. That mentioned, it may be difficult to make use of them whereas carrying glasses or a masks, however it’s doable.

AfterShokz Openmove closeup on ear
Michael Crider

Generally, the OpenMove would die as a result of the battery life is barely six hours—not nice when in comparison with the tiny batteries present in fashionable actually wi-fi earbuds. However because of that USB-C charging port, I used to be by no means in need of a cable for a fast increase.

If you happen to plan to make use of bone conductive headphones round others frequently (and also you would possibly need to as a result of the power to listen to via your common ears is addictive), remember that they are often fairly noisy.  Folks standing near you, say, in a line on the financial institution, will be capable to hear a few of the sound they make. They’re not increase packing containers, and fewer obnoxious than, say, full-sized open-back headphones. However I discovered myself decreasing the quantity after I needed to be round others.

A Worthy Funding

I’ve gotten to the purpose the place the OpenMove are my most-used set of headphones, exterior of the total around-the-ear set I exploit after I’m at my desk. They’re that handy and comfortable. The power to obviously hear what’s round me has solely grow to be extra essential as we’ve all needed to deal with social distancing.

Aftershokz Openmove with phone
Michael Crider

Had been I to vary something on this set, it might be a barely longer battery life and a play/pause button. However these are comparatively minor quibbles. If you happen to’re seeking to get into bone conduction headphones and also you don’t want a set that’s utterly waterproof, the AfterShokz OpenMove ought to be your first alternative.

Score: 9/10
Worth: $100

Right here’s What We Like

  • Straightforward operation
  • Comfortable for lengthy durations
  • USB-C charging
  • Water resistance

And What We Do not

  • Battery life might be higher
  • Stickers are fairly ineffective
  • Play button is small and thin



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