A pair of “open” earbuds that allow you to hear the environment and music while exercising, that’s the idea behind the OpenFit earbuds from Shokz. But how good does this sound? We have subjected the instrument to the necessary listening tests.
Shokz (formerly AfterShokz) is known for its wireless headphones that work with “bone conduction.” This technology transmits sound through the jawbone through vibrations, which means, among other things, that your ears are no longer closed off from the surrounding environment. The solution is especially popular with athletes who, in addition to their fitness playlist, also do not want to miss the sound of an oncoming cyclist or car.
However, with these OpenFit earbuds, Shokz is expanding their range significantly. These are the brand’s first “regular” wireless earbuds, although the manufacturer points out the use of new technology for this purpose. “Air conduction” rather than bone conduction, according to Schocks. In practice, earplugs are placed directly above your ear, rather than in the ear canal. The earbuds then send the sound directly to your ears via DirectPitch technology. The idea is that you’ll have fewer “audio dropouts” this way. Your environment isn’t listening, and you enjoy clearer sound.
But how does that feel? You’ll immediately notice the brand’s sporty side in the shape of the earbuds, which have a soft silicone hook that attaches behind the ear cup. We thought that was a bit weird at first, and wondered how well it would work with glasses. But overall, the earbuds were very comfortable and stayed in place better than most traditional earbuds. You’ll have to make a real effort to make her fall. It’s also IP54 certified, so it can withstand dust and (light) rain showers.
The earphones are also very light at 8.2 grams each. It lasts about seven hours before needing to be recharged via the included case. It takes another 21 hours before the whole thing needs electricity. The case itself is also exceptionally light, especially considering the relative size of the hooked earbuds, which are quite compact. The caps stack in a Tetris-like fashion, making it easy to fit the case into a shirt pocket.
As mentioned earlier, the OpenFit headphones aren’t located directly in your ear, just on top of them. The idea here is that even semi-open earbuds like the 3rd generation AirPods or Nothing Ear (Stick) still close off part of your ear canal. That’s not the case with these versions, but it also means that the sound has to work harder to reach your ears.
In addition to DirectPitch, Shokz also uses a technology called “OpenBass,” which is supposed to provide deeper sound and better bass. These low tones actually work well, as we noticed during testing. Especially in a quieter room, you can enjoy clear sound, including good bass and higher tones.
However, don’t expect a slick sound. It is clear that the system is new and still needs some improvements. The open design means you’re more attentive to what’s happening around you, but we’ve noticed that we tend to turn up the volume whenever ambient noise appears. With a solution like this, your music (that’s the idea) has to compete with everything else, from birds and traffic to the tapping of your fingers on the keyboard. Noise leakage is limited, but it still happens. So don’t think you have complete privacy with these hats. Especially in quieter offices, colleagues may still be able to hear.
The best way to operate Shokz OpenFit is via your smartphone. The caps are equipped with a ‘multi-function button’, but in practice I was mainly able to pause the music using this button. The idea is that you tap once to pause, and hold to skip the track back or forward (depending on your left or right ear). This is, as is often the case with this type of operation, a matter of getting used to it, because during our testing, the device usually registered only that first click. However, we know of a few earbuds in which the miniature operation works flawlessly.
One incomprehensible click command also lets you record phone calls. Here you’ll find the only form of noise cancellation in OpenFit earbuds. AI will mute ambient noise while calling, so your voice becomes clearer. The AI works really well.
You can’t adjust the volume via the earbuds, and you’ll always have to use your smartphone to do so. For true lovers there is the Shokz application. This allows you, among other things, to adjust the equalizer and adjust your sound profile, but it is not mandatory. we appreciate that.
Due to their shape, the earbuds are well suited for both sports and everyday use, but in fact they are mainly interesting for active people. To block out the noise of a crowded train and thus focus, it’s best to use good noise-cancelling headphones. These Shokz headphones are perfect for cyclists or walkers and runners who want to safely walk the track, while their fitness playlist plays in the background.
The Shokz OpenFit headphones look good and are comfortable, with a well-thought-out design. There are more devices on the market with this type of design, but they are the best option in a fairly small space. You can find it in stores at a suggested retail price of around 199 euros. They come in black and beige.
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