Here’s a comparison of Trekz Aftershokz Titanium vs SainSonic BM-7 bone conduction headphones, which look very similar. Both offer advanced Bluetooth connectivity. Both Aftershokz Trekz Titanium and SainSonic BM-7 headphones allow athletes to listen to music via your cheekbones – while keeping your ears wide open for ambient noise, such as motor vehicles. This video illustrates the whole concept of open ear headphones for athletes:
Earphones that leave your ears open have obvious safety implications, as noted in my extremely popular post about the safest headphones for cyclists. Both Aftershokz Trekz Titanium and SainSonic BM-7 are sports headphones aimed primarily at exercising outdoors, where you want to be able to hear cars and bicycle bells. They would not be a good first choice for the gym, where you probably don’t want to hear anyone else, and just want to be immersed in your own sound.
These Headphones Look Very Similar
At first glance, Aftershokz Trek Titanium and SainSonic BM-7 look quite similar. Both offer bone conduction technology, Bluetooth connectivity and built-in microphones. However, their price points are very different (see below). Is it possible that SainSonic offers the same quality as Trekz for a much lower price? This post compares Aftershokz Trekz Titanium vs SainSonic BM-7 Bone Conduction Headphones to help you decide.
Chart comparing Aftershokz Trekz Titanium vs SainSonic BM-7 Bone Conduction Headphones
|Weight:||1.27 oz (36 g)||1.44 oz (41 g)|
|Material:||Titanium||Manufacturer states they are a "metal alloy"|
|Build quality:||The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium just scream tough, rugged quality (as they should, considering the price). They are made of titanium, after all! I have had them for ages and they show no sign of wear at all. It helps that they are all one-piece – less things to break.||The SainSonic BM-7 look like they have a cheaper build, and they do have parts that can and do break, such as the rubber band glued into the neckpiece. I have not had them long enough to know how long they will last, but I have to say they don’t look like they are very rugged at all. They look like plastic, but the manufacturers state they are a “metal alloy.”|
|Appearance:||Sleek, sophisticated, quite low key||Quite similar to Aftershokz, but have a pulsating light on top of the earpiece, which makes them very noticeable. Fine if you like to be noticed!|
|Bluetooth capability:||Compatible with any Bluetooth device. Connectivity is absolutely excellent; it never drops the connection. You can walk into the next room without dropping the connection.||Compatible with any Bluetooth device. Connectivity is far from excellent. It is noticeably better indoors than outdoors. They tend to drop the connection if you turn your body in certain ways, or if you carry your phone in the wrong pocket, or get too far from your phone. This could be okay if you can adapt to this and learn how to carry your phone and move so that you don’t drop the connection. For example, if you wear your phone on an armband when running or cycling. If you prefer to carry your phone in your pannier, you are likely to experience frequent cutting out of the connection, which is extremely annoying (it’s like your phone has a stutter).|
|Bluetooth compatibility profiles:||A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP||A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP, GAVDP, AVDTP|
|Battery:||Rechargeable lithium ion||Rechargeable lithium ion|
|Charge time:||1.5 hours||Not stated, but is around 2 hours|
|Charging process:||Easily done with a non-proprietary micro USB cable.||Easily done with a non-proprietary micro USB cable. The cover for the charging dock seems a bit on the cheap side, and I will not be surprised if it snaps off after a few months. However, this would be a cosmetic detail that should not make a significant difference to the headphones.|
|Battery life:||The manufacturers claim 6 hours, which appears to be accurate. They have an auto-off feature to preserve battery life.||Not as good, but not bad either. They also have an auto-off feature to preserve battery life. The manufacturers don’t state how long the battery charge should last. My experience was around four hours. Of course, if you are only using them for a run or a bike ride, this will be plenty (unless you are an elite athlete).|
|What is the quality of the sound?||Like all bone conduction headphones, sound quality with the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is not quite as good as in-ear headphones. Essentially you are trading off a little bit of quality for safety.||Like all bone conduction headphones, sound quality with the SainSonic BM-7 is not quite as good as in-ear headphones. Essentially you are trading off a little bit of quality for safety.|
|How loud is the sound?||Aftershokz Trekz Titanium are not designed to be super loud, as they are designed to let in ambient noise. You can turn up to full volume without the vibrations becoming annoying, as they have “EQ presets to boost bass and reduce vibration on the go.”||SainSonic BM-7 are also not designed to be super loud, as they are designed to let in ambient noise. However, if you turn them up to full volume the vibrations on your cheeks become annoying. So if effect, they are less loud than the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium.|
|Sound leakage:||Like all headphones, they leak some noise. Like all bone conduction headphones, they tend to leak a bit more noise than in-ear headphones. However, it’s not enough that anyone around you knows what you are listening to. Aftershokz Trekz Titanium have LeakSlayerTM technology to reduce sound leakage.||Like all headphones, they leak some noise. Like all bone conduction headphones, they tend to leak a bit more noise than in-ear headphones. However, it’s not enough that anyone around you knows what you are listening to – except if they are at full volume.|
|Will they block out ambient noise?||No, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium are designed specifically to keep you safe while walking, running and cycling by letting in ambient noise.||No, SainSonic BM-7 are designed specifically to keep you safe while walking, running and cycling by letting in ambient noise.|
|Are they good for phone calls?||Yes, but if you are going fairly fast on a bike, you will battle to hear.||Yes, but if you are going fairly fast on a bike, you will battle to hear.|
|Microphone sensitivity:||-40dB +/- 3dB||-42dB +/- 3dB|
|Voice communication:||The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium use a recorded human voice to communicate with you to tell you important things, such as “Welcome to Trekz Titanium. Connected.” When you first switch on, the voice is loud – I jumped the first time. Other than that, I love the voice communications.||The SainSonic BM-7 also use a recorded human voice to communicate with you to tell you important things, such as “Power on” and “Headphones connected.” When you first switch on, the voice is loud – I jumped the first time. Other than that, I love the voice communications.|
|Button control:||Easy and efficient, easy to learn||Easy and efficient, easy to learn|
|Comfort:||Take a bit of getting used to, as the titanium is quite firm. However, you will soon stop noticing you have them on. They are nice and large, so you won’t have a problem with head size.||Pretty comfortable, but not quite as comfortable as the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, and they do fit a bit smaller than the Trekz. Some SainSonic users complain that the rubber band in the inside of the neck band pops out, but this has not happened to me.|
|Fit under bike or ski helmet:||These fit just fine, as you can drop the band below they helmet level.||SainSonic fit pretty well also, although they are slightly bulkier.|
|Do they stay in place?||Aftershokz Trekz Titanium stay in place perfectly. You will never have to stop exercising to plug them back in again, as happens a lot with in-ear headphones.||SainSonic BM-7 stay in place perfectly. You will never have to stop exercising to plug them back in again, as happens a lot with in-ear headphones.|
|Waterproof?||Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is designed as a sports headphone, with a rating of IP55. The second number (5) refers to the waterproof rating. A “5” indicates these headphones can withstand low pressure water jets from any direction. This means that they should be safe from sweat damage, and also from heavy rain. It also means you cannot go swimming with them, or wear them in the shower. It is a higher rating than the number 3 rating for the SainSonic BM-7.||SainSonic BM-7 is designed as a sports headphone, with a rating of IP53. The second number (3) refers to the waterproof rating. A “3” indicates these headphones can withstand water spray at any angle up to 60 degrees from the vertical. This means that they should be safe from sweat damage, and also from heavy rain. It also means you cannot go swimming with them, or wear them in the shower. It is a lower rating than the number 5 rating for the Trekz.|
|Dustproof?||Aftershokz Trekz Titanium have a rating of IP55. The first number (5) refers to how well the object can withstand ingress of solid objects. A “5” indicates these headphones can withstand dust well enough that their operation will not be affected by dust.||SainSonic BM-7 is designed as a sports headphone, with a rating of IP53. The first number (5) refers to how well the object can withstand ingress of solid objects. A “5” indicates these headphones can withstand dust well enough that their operation will not be affected by dust.|
|Storage:||Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones come with a great quality, hard-sided storage box that I use to store all my headphones.||SainSonic BM-7 headphones come with a mediocre quality.|
|Warranty:||2 years; after sales is reputed to be excellent, although I have not had occasion to use it.||2 years; after sales is reputed to be excellent, although I have not had occasion to use it.|
Bottom Line on Aftershokz Trekz Titanium vs SainSonic BM-7 Bone Conduction Headphones
If you are happy to figure out the connectivity optimum zone, and don’t mind being the flashiest person on the bus with the flashing whooshes on your ear pieces, and are willing to take a chance on how long they will last, and you don’t have a very big head, then SainSonic BM-7 offer safe, open-ear bone conduction sports headphones at an extremely reasonably price. If you prefer to be less noticeable and want top quality, then you should probably pay the extra for the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium.
Here’s SainSonic’s promotional video about their BM-7, where you can see them in action, as worn by a triathlete:
If this is the first time you are trying bone conduction headphones and you are not sure you will like them, then it might be a good bet to start with the cheaper SainSonic BM-7. However, bear in mind that as the build and sound quality is somewhat lower, it might not give you a very good first impression of the technology.
As the old saying goes, you pays your money and you takes your chances! But you can’t go far wrong when you take your chance with safety-first open ear bone conduction headphone technology. Good luck!
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