Shokz Openrun: the bone conduction we like | Review
For years I have looked at the world of bone conduction headphones with skepticism and have never had the chance to try a pair. Thanks to Shokzan American company pioneer of this technology, I had the opportunity to try the model Openrun and I can say with certainty that in addition to being amazed, I also completely changed my mind.
SPECIFICATIONS AND PACKAGING
- Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
- Drums: lithium polymer, up to 8 hours of battery life, standby 10 days
- Refill: magnetic induction cable, fast charging in 1.5 hours
- Codec: SBC
- Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
- Microphone: 2 units with noise cancellation, sensitivity -38dB ± 3dB
- Protection system: humidity detection system
- Degree of impermeability: IP67
- Material: titanium
- Weight: 26 grams
In the sales package, in addition of course to the headphones, we find the charging cable magnetic (USB), a carrying bag and a sports headband.
HARDWARE AND DESIGN
The design is the classic one of the a bone conduction: it is a “single block” that joins the two vibrating pavilions through an arch that will be positioned adjacent to the neck. The inner soul of the Openrun is in titanio while the coating is in a rubbery material (probably silicone) hypoallergenic that did not give me any kind of irritation or problem whatsoever.
The weight is equal to 26 grams and although they are not portable like normal in-ear headphones once worn it is essentially like not having them: there is no need to adjust their position as they will naturally rest on our ears and they will always be in the correct position regardless of our movements.
In addition to the pins for magnetic charging, they are also present 3 physical buttons. On the left pavilion there is a single multifunction button that allows us to control the music or our voice assistant, while on the body of the right side we have the two buttons to lower and raise the volume (one of which is also dedicated to switching on and off) .
The build quality is excellent and after almost a month of use they are not present no signs of use or scratches. The feedback of the physical keys is good even if the multifunction key could be characterized better; not bad as I have always controlled the music via watch or smartphone.
Brief premise: as I have already anticipated I have always looked with skepticism this type of products. In my aerobic training sessions (often long), I have always used sports in-ear headphones with the “transparency” mode, but I have never felt very comfortable with it so much that I have often opted to do without it.
Let’s start with perhaps the most important thing: the sound quality. I had low expectations, and working in the world of music and music production for years you can understand that I have quite high demands. On the other hand, for the type of product and technology it is clear, I found that the quality is essentially excellent perfect for sports and training. It is clear, the bass will never be deep and the highs defined as in a pair of in-ears, but once you get used to it I assure you that running or training in it will simply become a pleasure. Don’t underestimate the fact that you will have both ear canals free: so even at maximum volume you will be aware of what surrounds you.
Are they perfect? Obviously not: at high volume the vibration can be slightly annoying and the lower frequencies are not reproduced properly. It’s a limit of this technology and anyway I assure you that I have never needed to keep them at such high volume. Another big advantage they have over the in-ear is that the hearing experience remains unchanged and constant: there is not that classic “mini-vacuum” that we feel every time we hit the ground with our foot during the race.
As for comfort, as already mentioned before, once worn I always forgot I was wearing them. They are light but above all they rhyme standing still in the position they should be in for the duration of the workout. I was skeptical given their shape and the habit of using “normal” headphones but I had to change my mind very quickly.
I wore them mainly in my road running workouts, but I also had the opportunity to use them on a bike and even with a helmet and sunglasses the comfort remains unchanged. If I have to find a flaw, the rear arch design should be revised as looking upwards it will touch the neck and the headphones will move. However, nothing serious or affecting the user experience.
AUTONOMY AND CONNECTION
The Openruns connect via to our devices via the Bluetooth version 5.1: it means that in addition to being very energy efficient we will also have a range of up to 10 meters. I used them mainly with my main smartphone and with my sportwatch: both with the Garmin Fenix 6 and with the Google Pixel 6 I don’t have never had connection problems or audio quality. The quality of calls and microphones is also good: I only saw them in difficulty in case of strong wind or a particularly noisy surrounding environment. However, in these cases there are very few headphones that are able to do well.
Excellent battery life which is confirmed online on 8 hours declared and also the fast charging which in 10 minutes will give us over 1 hour of autonomy.
Before the conclusions, a necessary clarification: I read many user reviews that define this technology as “junk” as the sound is audible even from outside without resting it on our bones. No, there is no hidden speaker inside but it is simply this technology: the vibrations obviously produce a sound and it is slightly audible even from outside. The difference is striking if you also use devices with external speakers such as some bike helmets.
I don’t want to go around it too much, I am extremely satisfied and enthusiastic about this product that made me completely forget about any other type of headset during my workouts. I recommend it to all runners and cyclists (and sportsmen in general) who want listen to music optimally during their workoutswithout having to give up the security of having both ears free.
You can buy the Openrun on Amazon in 4 different colors at a recommended price of € 139.95.