Hands up who likes running to Dizzie Rascal or Dua Lipa? If yes, then the latest headphones from bone conduction pioneers AfterShokz probably aren’t for you. For those of us who spend our weekends listening to Neil Young on vinyl where booming bass isn’t so fundamental, they’re well worth exploring.
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The USP of AfterShokz is that you don’t need to put them in your ears, with transducers sending micro vibrations via your cheekbones to your inner ears. The clear benefits are you can hear other road users on urban streets, the ring of bike bells on shared paths, and we’ve even started wearing ours at home so we can hear what walls our kids are climbing while still enjoying our best of grunge playlists.
On the move, you’ll need to take your phone out with you, but the linkup to Spotify via Bluetooth is painless and stayed free from dropouts. The crispness of the sound when alone in the trails is genuinely impressive for the more entry-level price point, although city centre running saw Crazy Horse and co compete with the sound of Lidl lorries. Good for safety, less so for hearing the intricacies of 12-minute guitar solos.
Surprisingly decent sound clarity aside, other boons are the lean 29g weight, the wireless nature and the ability to answer calls – if you have to – mid-Fartlek. It took us time to master the location of the buttons, but track skipping was soon swift. Battery life is 6hrs in continuous play and the sweat resistance is welcome.
Verdict: not for the bass monsters, but a smart entry to bone conduction tech, 85%