Some people feel that it is not safe to ride a bike or run on the street while wearing headphones. Well, the good news is that the Aftershokz Sportz M3 Mobile Bone Conduction Headphones provide a way to listen to music while still keeping your ears open to the sounds around you. This makes these headphones ideal for cyclists and runners. Listen to this reviewer who tried these headphones out on a run in Central Park in New York:
We have had a similar response to these headphones – we love them for their safety aspect in letting you hear everything around you. Note in the tweet below how the ears are not covered. The Aftershokz headphones are modeled by Maggie, my long-suffering wife and co-blogger. Her ears are so much prettier than mine, it’s hard to believe they are basically the same organs!
Bone Conduction Technology
The Aftershokz Sportz Headphones use bone conduction technology to allow you to keep your ears open to ambient sound, while hearing your music through your cheekbones. The Premium Pitch Transducers offer superior stereo sound. Billed as offering a Safe, Comfortable, Responsible Open Ear Experience, these Aftershokz Sportz Headphones are pretty much perfect for cyclists and runners.
This has to make the Aftershokz Sportz safer to wear than in-ear headphones options. These days, I always wear Aftershokz headphones while riding, and my in-ear headphones when off the bike. However, I must admit that I have switched up to the more expensive Aftershokz Titanium headphones, simply because they are cordless, and I am a clumsy klutz. You can read about those in my post about choosing the safest headphones for cycling.
Here’s another video about Aftershokz Sportz headphones – billed here as the safe, comfortable way to stay connected (I agree):
Battery life on the Aftershokz Sportz Headphones is a startling 12 hours, so they can last you all day. They are billed as sweat resistant. There is a microphone to allow you to make and take calls.
The Aftershokz Sportz are shipped with a neat little hard-sided zippered storage case.
I use it to carry all my headphones around. I switch from Aftershokz to Plantronics after I finish my bike ride to work. I have a review of my Plantronics Backbeat Fit headphones here.
Once you open up the case, you find the Aftershokz Sportz Headphones, the instructions and the micro USB charging cable.
The instructions are very easy to follow. An initial charge is recommended, after which you are good to go.
The headphones loop behind your head with a rubbery band, and loop over your ears. They stay in position very well. They are controlled with a small controller on the cord. There is a built-in microphone so that you can make calls while on the go. The orange button is for receiving and ending calls.
Quality of the Aftershokz Sportz Headphones
First off, the quality overall is simply amazing for cutting-edge-technology headphones that cost less than $50 at Amazon. Amazing.
Of course, the sound and finish quality is not the same as headphones that cost double (Plantronics) or triple as much (JayBirds). However, with those two you are also paying for Bluetooth technology. That is probably the main reason that these Aftershokz Headphones are close to comparable in quality to the more expensive headphones, even though they cost a fraction of the price. Of course, you will be hearing music via vibration instead of sound waves, so it is a different experience.
Finish quality is about 85% compared to the Plantronics and the JayBirds. Sound quality of the Aftershokz headphones is also not quite as good as with more expensive headphones, but I won’t quantify it, as sound quality is so very subjective. It is acceptable quality stereo sound, though. I have no problems with it at all. I do not miss my more expensive, in-ear headphones when I am wearing these headphones.
The entire Aftershokz heaphones unit is small and compact. I find it easiest to transport it in the little case.
Using the Aftershokz Sportz headphones on a bike
To use these headphones on a bike, I clipped the controller to the top of my undershirt, then ran the cord under my undershirt to my phone, which was in the back pocket of my pants. This worked well, keeping the controller close at hand, and the cord out of my way. It was easy enough to access the controller when I needed it. I did find the controls were harder to recognize by touch alone than with my JayBirds or my Plantronics headphones. The controls are quite flat, and so are easier to access when you can actually look at them. Of course, you can do this at stop lights, if you want.
Using the Aftershokz Sportz headphones on a bike or while walking is much like listening to the radio in a car, with the windows open. Your ears are still 100% in touch with your surroundings. I did find there were times when the traffic noise tended to drown out the headphones, but then I did not have them at full volume. Obviously, you are in a situation where different noises are competing. This does not make for such an immersive listening experience as with JayBirds headphones. However, for many cyclists and runners the extra safety will no doubt be worth it.
Bottom Line on the Aftershokz Sportz Headphones
Even though they cost less than $50, these are truly great headphones. They deserve a Bike Gold Star, because they offer a cheap way for cyclists and runners to enjoy music while still being in tune with their surroundings.
Note: If you are looking for BLUETOOTH (cordless) open ear headphones, please see this post, which compares Trekz Aftershokz Titanium vs SainSonic BM-7 bone conduction headphones. The latter are extremely cheap – half the price of the Aftershokz.
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