Sunday, June 11, 2017

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones

I came across these headphones while searching for a regular pair and became intrigued at the technology. Bone conducting...does something like this really work well? I bought a pair late last year and have been using them off/on in various locations, so I think now I can accurately report back on their performance.

To get it out of the way, yes, the tech does indeed work. You can put foamies in your ears, put this on, and you'll be able to hear music, Youtube videos, have phone conversations, etc. The unfortunate part is that even though you can hear, what comes out does seem "odd" and muffled. I guess that goes along with the whole biological, evolutionary development of one's real ears and how they function vs. this newfangled tech.

The main positive for this device is that you can hear stuff through the headphone, albeit with only 70% clarity, while fully hearing the rest of your environment with no problem. So if you're in an office environment, you'll be able to listen to music but still hear the phone ring or if a co-worker comes around and starts chatting. Additionally if you're outside and it's not too noisy, you'll be able to be situationally aware.

The main negative is two-fold. First, as I already mentioned, the clarity of the sound leaves a lot to be desired, so if you're a picky music listener and care about quality and clarity, these aren't the headphones for you. Secondly, if there is any sort of background noise you're screwed. Some examples of these noisy environments are airplanes, cars (especially at freeway speeds), outdoors with a lot of people, outdoors with any yard machinery, outdoors with wind, etc. Your first instinct when you can't hear the music through these headphones is to turn up the volume to try to make the vibrations greater to offset the real noise entering in through your ears, but then your ears will start hurting and that whole process seems unhealthy.

So yeah there you go. Unless you have a very specific use case for this device, I'd vote to pass on it. It's good that it exists, but I personally want to listen to good quality music when I'm in the mood vs having mediocre sounds come through.