I tried a pair of bone-conducting headphones a few years ago. The idea behind them caught my eye and I found the technology quite interesting. Unfortunately, the sound didn’t capture my ears. They were barely passable. Fast forward a few years. Will the Trekz Titanium pass muster? Read on to find out.
At $129.99 the Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones are at a similar price-point to many headphones targeted to the active music-lover. Like other sports headphones, they have a sweat-proof coating that will keep them going even if your active style ends up with them dripping wet. They aren’t waterproof but they won’t short out if they get damp. Unlike many sports headphones, however, they don’t block sound from reaching your ears. That makes them far safer than headphones that isolate you from the world while you go out for your morning jog.
Here’s what the company has to say about them:
“The lightweight and comfortable Trekz Titanium wireless stereo headphones are the safest alternative to traditional sport headphones and earbuds. Bone conduction technology, an open ear design and a suite of convenient features deliver premium music play and crystal clear calling without compromise. Designed with athletes in mind, Trekz Titanium are sweatproof, secure, and will allow you to hear your surroundings – no matter where life takes you.”
The headphones look fairly similar to many of the sports headphones we have reviewed. They have what appear to be earbuds that are connected to one another with a semi-rigid band that goes around your head.
On one of the “earbuds” there are controls that let you turn the headphones on and off, let you pair them and control the volume. They are fairly intuitive. The headphones charge in 1.5 hours, have a standby time of 10 days, and can play music for up to 6 hours of continuous use. They weigh in at just 1.27 ounces and also have microphones so you can use them to make and take calls.
The difference between these headphones and the ones we have previously reviewed is that the earbuds aren’t actually earbuds. When you put the Trekz Titanium on your head the “hook” by each “earbud” wraps around your ears. The “earbuds” sit on your head slightly forward of your ears. That’s where the “magic” happens.
What first appear to be stubby earbuds are actually the “speakers.” They sit on your head and vibrate. The vibration, in turn, is transferred to your head and the “sound” travels to your ear and lets you “hear” them. The vibration isn’t silent and, as a result, when I wear the Trekz Titanium and put the volume up, Raina is able to hear a bit of what I am listening to. It is rather faint to her but it is strong to my “ears.” And it works!
As AfterShokz explains: “Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds.”
And that’s really the key here. The headphones let you listen to music but your ears remain completely unobstructed. The result is the ability to listen to music while you run while leaving your ears open and able to hear the surrounding area. That, in turn, is far safer than headphones that completely isolate you from your surroundings.
- Titanium wraparound headband is lightweight and flexible for durability and portability
- OpenFit design ensures maximum situational awareness and comfort during long-term wear
- PremiumPitch+ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
- Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and convenient multipoint pairing
- LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage
- IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust, and moisture, from workouts to wicked weather
- Enjoy six hours of continuous music + calls on a single charge
- EQ presets boost bass and reduces vibration on the go
- Dual noise canceling microphones exclude surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech
- Audrey Says voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk
- Hassle-free 2-year warranty
Inside the package:
Also included with the headset and carrying pouch is a USB to microUSB cable for charging.
So the real question is, “Do they work?” The short answer is, “Yes! Yes, they actually work!” The long answer is that they do exactly what they promise but they will not be the headphones you turn to when, for example, sitting on the couch at home and listening to music without disturbing the people around you. In other words, from an audio perspective, they are a huge improvement from the bone-conducting headphones I tried a few years ago but they are not audiophile-grade headphones. They are specifically designed for people who want to enjoy their music with the safety of being able to hear their surroundings. When considered from that perspective they are a home run.
So, if you are a runner or a biker or you work out in a place where you want music but also want to remain alert these $129.99 headphones are ideal.
You can check out the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Comfortable; Easy to use; Sound surprisingly good; Sweat resistant; Leave you fully aware of your surroundings.
What Needs Improvement: Sound not quite as good as traditional headphones.