I’ve been fascinated by bone conduction technology for a long time and always suspected it could be a wonderful thing, especially for people with hearing loss, vestibular disorders, or hearing disorders like tinnitus.
Because with bone conduction headphones, the vibrations of sound are transmitted through the bones of the head or face directly to the inner ear.
So, I went out and bought the best pair of bone conduction headphones I could get my hands on: the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium.
So what’s it like? Well, let’s get into it.
My Video Review:
If you'd prefer to read my review, just scroll down!
The User Experience:
After several hours of listening to music and podcasts, I can safely say it’s a unique audio experience.
The biggest distinction here is the open ear design. Sound is transmitted as vibration through the cheek bones directly to the inner ear, leaving your ear canals wide open.
This makes for an interesting experience as you’re able to maintain situational awareness, which is a good thing if you’re like me and you like to listen to music as you ride your bike, or if you like to exercise outside.
Another big difference is that you can feel the vibrations on your cheek. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it sometimes adds to the experience, but at the same time it’s something you have to get used to.
Here’s the bottom line, they don’t sound as good as a set of quality headphones. As a self-proclaimed audiophile, that kind of thing is important to me. But they don’t sound bad either. In fact, they sound pretty good, surpassing my expectations.
I haven’t tried any other bone conduction headphones for comparison, but in reviews across the internet, the Trekz Titanium is unanimously the best of the best of what’s available for consumers.
There is plenty of bass, and the treble comes through mostly clear. At higher volumes, however, it can become somewhat distorted.
Also wearing glasses seemed to affect the sound quality a little bit. It was a little bit more difficult to get the transducer placement right with my glasses on. With my glasses off, there were no issues at all.
The Trekz Titanium are very light weight which ultimately makes them very comfortable wear. They wrap around the back of your head, over your ears, and sit just in front of your ears, pressing lightly into your cheek bones. I did not have any problems wearing them for an extended period of time.
The only possible issue here is that the wrap around headband will be bumped if you lay down with them on or sit back in a comfortable chair. I imagine wearing a jacket or clothing with a hood could be an issue as well. But they are otherwise very comfortable.
Now the Trekz Titanium also have some additional features that keep it in line with the latest generation of wireless headphones. They feature dual microphones for taking phone calls, volume controls, and buttons to pause or play the audio.
This feature is great for people with partial hearing loss, as it can make it much easier to hear the person you’re speaking to, than simply holding a phone to your ear. Call quality is great through the headphones, but on the other end, it's not perfect. My wife Megan said that it sounded like I was on speaker phone, though she could hear me clearly.
Pairing the Bluetooth was a breeze on both my Samsung Galaxy s8 and Macbook Pro. There is a multi-pairing feature as well that allows you to pair it to multiple devices at once, which nice bonus!
The headphones are completely sweat and weatherproof (though not waterproof), and the battery lasts about 6 hours on a single charge.
During exercise, minor adjustments are sometimes necessary to make sure the contact points are set correctly. Also, sound leakage is an issue at higher volumes, or in other words, people can hear what you’re listening to.
One other minor gripe is that when you wear them with glasses, it can affect audio quality and make it more difficult to keep the audio transducers in the right place.
All in all, I'm impressed, and I recommend them.
If you're someone who lives with hearing loss, or even if you just like to exercise outside, these are a fantastic set of headphones. It's a completely different audio experience than what you're used to, but that's not a bad thing.
In a lot of situations, it's quite nice to be able to hear what's going on around you.
And the price is entirely reasonable. The wireless version I reviewed here are only $100 on Amazon, and considering these are the best of the best when it comes to bone conduction music, it's a steal.
Though Aftershokz also offers a wired version for as little as $50 if you want to give it a try.
I hope you enjoyed my review!
If you have experience with bone conduction headphones, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!