Going out with headphones is controversial. Not surprisingly, many people point out the need for some distraction on long rides. It may be a podcast that spends time, or it may be music that helps a little motivation when you need it most. And, of course, some point out that you need to be aware of your surroundings while you’re outside. But as technology advances, some companies are finding solutions for both sides. Wherever you stand in that debate, indoor riding is so prevalent that there is a whole new need for headphones while riding a bike.
Each use case has its own challenges, which are important. If it’s outside, the biggest problem is maintaining awareness of the environment, but there are also issues with battery life, the potential for losing expensive earphones, and the comfort of helmets and sunglasses. There is a sweat problem inside and it’s a microphone quality virtual stress test for those who use it. You have one option to adopt your own technical solution to the problem.
Aftershokz Aeropex headphones appear in the list The best headphones for cycling This is because it uses bone conduction technology. At the end of 2021, the company changed its brand name and announced Shokz OpenRun Pro as an update. You are now ready to spend enough time on this new option and share our thoughts with you. If you like to ride indoors or outdoors while listening to music or talking to people, keep reading to see if this is the right product for you.
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Design and aesthetics
When it comes to the concept of bone conduction headphones, there’s really only Shokz, formerly Aftershokz. There are other smaller players, but in reality, Shokz is the choice. The brand is actually dialing into the system, and OpenRun Pro reflects a combination of these same technologies and some new innovations designed to address previous shortcomings.
If you’ve never used or seen a set of Shokz bone conduction headphones, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. The form factor is a wireless Bluetooth 5.1 system with bands connected on both sides. The band is titanium, but all have a soft touch coating. Therefore, the details of the internal structure are only important to understand that it is light and strong and there is considerable spring.
When the band ends behind your ears, you’ll find a square housing. There are no external details on the left, but controls and a magnetic charging port on the right. The control is a long press for power as well as multipurpose volume up and down. When off, press and hold further to put the OpenRun Pro headphones into pairing mode. There is also a status light there, but it stays off unless the power is low or paired.
As you continue to move forward, the headphones will move over your ears. The shape of this bridge over the ears is one of the changes from the previous version. It’s a bit more rounded now, but otherwise the security balance is the same, but there’s only a partial way for the headphones to get on your head. So yes, this bridge hits the top of the ear, but it weighs very little because of the spring action from the band behind the head.
The final piece of Shokz headphones is the two pads that touch the top of the jawbone, technically the transducer. These are special sources that make them unique from typical headphones. The transducer is in front of the ear, not above or in the ear, there are no speakers, and there is a smooth place to vibrate. On the left side, there are many features that allow you to call voice assistants, pause tracks, and skip tracks. However, it should be noted that both units clearly have speaker grills.
It turns out that there is no big difference between a speaker that vibrates the air and a transducer that vibrates the jawbone. Vibration is vibration, and bone conduction headphones still have some sound leakage. OpenRun Pro attempts to counter this by creating openings on the four sides of the transducer. On the ear side of the headphone core, sound is transmitted toward the ear. Next, the other three sides have the ability to emit sound in opposite phase. The two sounds interact and try to achieve anti-phase cancellation. This design also means a slight downgrade of the waterproof rating to IP55.
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There are two important and clear ways to look at Shokz OpenRun Pro. We are cyclists and this review is all about using headphones on your bike. In that respect, these are runaway successes. The previous version was already really good, but there were some challenges that this version overcomes.
OpenRun Pro is 20% smaller than the previous Aeropex, which is a big problem for bikes. The space they compete in is the same as the space occupied by the back of the sunglasses and the holding of the helmet. There is very little space there, and making the headphones a little smaller will greatly help you stay comfortable all day long.
Traditionally, I was a little sullen about riding outdoors with headphones. I like listening to what’s going on, but I also like taking time for a little quiet meditation. Then I started using OpenRun Pro, which completely changed the way I do things. Your ears remain fully open so you can hear what’s going on. Given that the eardrum sounds are competing, it’s still a bit difficult to understand that someone is talking to you, but the car coming isn’t a problem at all. Press the multi-function button once to pause the music.
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But I always carry my headphones with me. In that respect, these are upgrades. It can be difficult to hear wind and fan and drivetrain noise both indoors and outdoors. Aeropex was big enough to work at full volume. If OpenRun pro is loud enough and you’re looking at something loud inside, you can switch the EQ to audio settings via the companion app, and it’s easy to listen to conversations at intervals. Another problem inside is that sweat can easily kill your headphones. These were slightly downgraded to IP ratings, but they were still fine with sweat handling and didn’t suffer from short outdoor downpour.
Another consideration for headphones is to use them away from your bike every day. On that side, expectations need to be adjusted a bit. Sound quality does not exactly match headphones of different designs at the same price. You may not be able to find studio-quality music when you’re working hard on your bike, but you may find that you’re missing them at other times in your life. OpenRun Pro is better than its predecessor, but without sound insulation, it wouldn’t match. This has been greatly improved, but the sound is still hollow compared to.
Mike is disappointed and can’t adjust his expectations in that regard. It is a multi-point noise canceling microphone and works fine. It actually works better than many cheap competitions and remains clear enough to work with fans aimed at your face during internal intervals. The problem is that it’s half-baked and lacks clarity of better options. Despite transmitting sound through bone conduction, the microphone remains a standard system that does not utilize bone conduction. It’s feasible, but it feels like an exceptional mic opportunity is within reach, and this doesn’t get there.
Elsewhere, charging and battery life are more complicated than good or bad. A 10 hour battery is sufficient for most long rides, but not all. A full charge is exceptional one hour after death, and a quick charge is just as impressive with a five minute charge to an hour and a half listening time. Unfortunately, the unique charging adapter is a hassle at home and doesn’t work when you’re on board. In most cases, this is fine, but I’d like to make sure it has a standard USB-C port and a small size or long battery life.
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I spent a considerable amount of time discussing the strengths and weaknesses of Shokz OpenRun Pro. They are far from perfect and have problems with microphones, charging cables, and sound quality. Nonetheless, nothing else can match the performance on a motorcycle. Not only that, but outside the bike, I use it more than most other headphones, for essentially the same reasons I use it on my bike.
You can use OpenRun Pro to stay part of your environment. Otherwise, you can hear the traffic conditions and hear the voices of other riders without fear of losing your earphones. When you’re in the trainer, you can listen to movies, music, or Zwift racing teammates, but you can also listen if your family comes out to ask questions. Staying away from your bike means you can play video games and watch something on your TV without disconnecting from your family. When someone talks to me, I can hear their voice. Choose different headphones only if you need isolation for the best sound quality or concentration. If you want to use your headphones while riding your bike, there are some good options, ShokzOpenRun Pro is one of them.
|Ease of pairing||Obviously you can enter pairing mode without breaking the manual, but the latest smart pairing technology is not supported||8/10|
|Sound quality||Decent, but there are dents, strangely not the point of these headphones||6/10|
|comfortable||You can find a room in the limited space occupied by the helmet and sunglasses, and you can comfortably spend a 6-hour ride. Even if it is light and small, thank you.||9/10|
|Battery life||10 hours is halfway. Some true wireless headphones are in significant proximity. Charging is a hassle.||7/10|
Technical Specifications: Shokz OpenRun Pro
- price: £ 159.95 / $ 179.95
- Waterproof rating: IP55
- Bluetooth version: 5.1
- Battery life: 10 hours
- charging time: 5 minutes-1.5 hours use, 20 minutes charge-60% of full battery, 30 minutes charge-90% of full battery, 1 hour charge-100%
- weight: 29 grams
- Color options: Black, blue, beige, pink