Aeropex Wireless Bone Conducting Headphones Review
We look at the improvements in bone conducting headphones for runners and cyclists.
The Aftershokz Aeropex headphones arrived in a smart box, and come complete with a pouch, charger and earplugs. So why would you want earplugs with headphones? Well, these are different from your normal earbuds in that they don't fit in your ear, but actually rest just in front of your ear against your cheekbones. They transit sound by vibrating against the side of your cheekbones. This is interesting because (unless you put the earplugs in) your ears continue to pick up ambient sound in the normal way. While this gives you a slightly less immersive experience when listening to tour favourite music, it means that those running or cycling on the road can hear approaching traffic and other road users, or can chat to their buddies easily. This is an important safety feature and surely worth a try.
Firstly, the headphones are super comfortable. Spared the nuisance of ramming buds into your ears, they rest gently and comfortably against your head just in front of the ear. If you are one of those people who finds an earbud irritating, then this will be a real relief. As they hook over the ear, you are also spared the worry of earbuds falling out, especially if you are running hard or moving around a lot. Initially there is a fear that they might wobble around, especially as they have a loop running around the back of your neck, but we tried them running on some fairly steep and rocky trails as well as tarmac, and had no issues at all.
We tried them on their own, while wearing glasses, and also wearing a helmet, and found no problems in any configuration.
The sound quality is great too. Once you get used to the slightly eerie feeling that the sound is coming from inside your head, they feel great. Only when turned up to very high volume and with some particular sounds did we even notice that the Aftershokz were actually vibrating against the side of the head. It was easy to turn on the music and still hold a conversation or hear car noise. It did mean that on the bike, at high speed the wind noise in the ears could drown out our favourite pod-cast, but only when really caning it at speeds over 45kph.
Operation is easy. They paired instantly with an iPhone via Bluetooth and we have also paired them with laptops for Zoom calls, iPads and other devices easily. There is a 'hack' for pairing with multiple devices at the same time, but we've not used that feature. The microphone works well with video conferencing, and we've even taken a couple of calls while out on the bike with no problems being heard (other than the obvious breathing/wind noise you would expect).
Battery life seems great. Thus far we've had them on 3-4 hour rides and only managed to get them to 'medium' charge level, so they should be fine for all but the very longest runs and rides. They are advertised as water resistant. We've taken them out on a couple of very hot days and also in some pretty heavy raid and so far the sweat and precipitation has had no impact we can tell of. The magnets charger is neat - with the magnets making it impossible to connect any way other than correctly. The
So, these seem to be a good set of wireless headphones - with the massive advantage that you can stay safer by hearing what is going on around you, and absolutely no discomfort from having a bud rammed in your ear for hours at time. We think they are a great step forward and recommend them highly.