Shokz upgrades its bone conduction headphones with extra bass

Image: Shokz

Wireless earbuds work effectively as noise-blocking earbuds when crammed into your ears, and while that’s great for cutting out distractions, it’s not so great when it’s safer to hear what’s going on around you. Shokz’s solution to the problem was to skip the ears altogether and deliver sound through a user’s cheekbones, and the latest generation, the OpenRun Pro, promises extra bass performance you can feel.

Even intermediate-level wireless earbuds now offer features that help you become more aware of your surroundings by using built-in microphones to amplify sounds around you. It’s a handy feature when you’re out for a run, or even just wandering around a busy city, as you can hear cars and other hazards while still enjoying your music. The problem is that amplifying ambient noise often sounds very unnatural and unpleasant, so most don’t use it or only use one earplug.

Image: Shokz

Shokz’s (formerly AfterShokz) own solution to the problem has always been a clever one. Instead of blowing sound waves through the ear canal, it sends them through the wearer’s cheekbones using a pair of vibrating transducers placed right in front of the ears. The approach still delivers music to the eardrums, but leaves the ears themselves wide open to pick up ambient sounds naturally instead.

Not every manufacturer of headphones targeting athletes takes this approach because the sound delivered via bone conduction is not as rich or full as through earbuds or over-ear headphones, and it often lacks the low frequencies that make listening to music sound. can make it so enjoyable. That’s a drawback Shockz specifically addresses with its new OpenRun Pro Premium Bone Conduction Sport headphones that feature the company’s ninth-generation transducer technology and a new feature called Shokz TurboPitch that introduces bass boosters so lower frequencies are heard and even felt more prominently. Shokz also introduces for the first time a companion mobile app with two EQ settings: “Standard” for music and “Vocal Booster” for making voices clearer while listening to podcasts.

Image: Shokz

Other upgrades include larger hotkeys on the OpenRun Pro headphones and a relocated charging port. Unfortunately, a proprietary charging cable is still required and this is another accessory you never want to lose. With an IP55 water and dust rating, the Open Run Pros also work great when worn in the rain or through heavy sweat, but as with many gadgets, you want to avoid an accidental submersion.

Battery life is estimated at 10 hours of playback from a full one hour charge. But if you only have five minutes to finish them if they die unexpectedly, you can still expect an hour and a half of playback after that. The new Shokz OpenRun Pro Premium Bone Conduction Sport headphones are available for pre-order starting today from the Shokz website for $180, in black only. If you prefer an alternate color, you’ll have to wait until later this year.

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