Written by Mone Haen
About Me & How I Tested the Trekz Titanium Aftershokz Headphones:
I’m a generalist – capable of quite a few things, but an expert at nothing. In the warmer months, I run, ride (road and mountain bike), swim (pool and open water), yoga, and strength train. In winter, I substitute x-country and downhill skiing for the riding.
I’ve tested these headphones doing all of the above with the exception of swimming and downhill skiing. I’ve used them in my car, on a long plane ride for audiobooks and movies and lastly, I’ve utilized them while at work, in an office setting, as an auditory device as well as a headset for phone calls.
I’ve used both the minis as well as the original size. The review below addresses both as I found the performance to be identical with only the size/fit being different. With that in mind, here goes…
The only difference, as far as I can tell, between the original Aftershokz and the minis is the size of the band that wraps around the back of the head. I thought for sure that I’d love the minis even more than I loved the originals as I have a very small head for a grown woman (as evidenced by the fact that my 7-year old daughter and I can share hats). As a point of reference, my head circumference from the nape of the neck to my forehead is 21in, and around the crown of the head is 21.5in. I did notice that the minis were less bulky feeling than the originals, but it was really one of those things that I didn’t notice until I had something to compare. The originals worked fabulously for me and now the minis do too.
I noticed that both of my pairs of Aftershokz “softened” a bit after the first couple of uses. This is a good thing. With my first use of the minis, I noticed that the plastic band was a bit stiffer than my well-worn first pair and felt a little tight where they sat at the back of my cheekbones. After the first use, they seemed to flex a bit more and provide for a more comfortable fit. I wouldn’t say that I don’t notice that I’m wearing them, but I find them to be very comfortable.
Aftershokz for Active Shenanigans:
While I’ve used the Aftershokz for pretty much everything and will continue to do so, I’ll focus on a few activities to give a general idea as to performance and benefits.
First off, running…I love love love the Aftershokz for running! The ability to hear my surroundings while running is paramount to situational awareness and safety, but at the same time I love having the entertainment of music or audiobooks* while I’m out there. On the trails, the Aftershokz allow me to hear an approaching, fellow runner, mountain biker and even animals. I can keep track of my dog while on trail by the sound of her tags and I can even hear rustling caused by squirrels and birds – all without having to forgo music or audiobooks. While on the road, I have both audio and visual input of both vehicular and foot traffic which provides great situational awareness. In fact, I recently wore the Aftershokz for about 28 miles** while running the Reno Tahoe Odyssey. There were a few legs of the relay in which I had to run with traffic and at night, so they allowed me to have the motivation of the beat of the music while maintaining auditory input from the surrounding vehicular traffic.
The Aftershokz perform similarly while cycling with only one exception: at speeds in excess of 15mph I find that the wind obstructs the audio quality. With that said, I find the benefits far outweigh this one inconvenience. For most of my rides, the Aftershokz work beautifully. I use them to ride to and from work, mountain bike rides and on road rides. They work well with a bike helmet and with eyeglasses, but I find that I do have to adjust the position of my eyeglasses on occasion in order for the perfect helmet+Aftershokz+glasses combo fit.
Lastly, and parents will appreciate this, I use these regularly for early morning home workouts while my daughter sleeps. I have used them while on the treadmill in my garage and in my guest room/makeshift home gym to do morning yoga and strength training. I get my workout in, she isn’t disturbed and most importantly, she can’t sneak up on me and scare the living #@*&^ out of me when she wakes up and comes to find me (yes, she loves doing this but she has literally made me scream and pee in my pants, so I’m not stoked on it).
Aftershokz for Non-Active Use:
As I mentioned before, I use the Aftershokz often as a headset for phone calls while at work. The audio is clear and people whom I’m speaking to can’t tell the difference when I use these vs. a phone handset or regular headset. You can connect the Aftershokz to either your cell phone, or your computer (assuming you have Bluetooth) so you can use them with VOIP systems as well.
The one area where the Aftershokz don’t perform all that well is on a plane. The background, white noise on planes drowns out most of the sound from the Aftershokz; even at max volume. This can be very easily solved by using ear plugs in conjunction with them. Since the Aftershokz utilize bone conduction technology, you’ll eliminate the background noise with the earplugs but still be able to hear whatever is being broadcast through the headphones themselves. While the ear plugs defeat the benefit of hearing your surroundings, I’m pretty sure a motorist or animal isn’t going to sneak up on you while on a plane.
I love these things and I literally use them every day!
*Note – If you haven’t discovered audiobooks for long runs, I highly recommend trying them. I have, on more than one occasion, finished a 20-mile long run only to want to keep running so I can continue listening to a good book.
**Battery life is six hours of continuous play and it takes about 1.5 hours to fully recharge the lithium ion battery.
Stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports in Truckee to try out a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Headphones today!
Also available online from our affiliates by clicking one of the links in the article.
Mone Haen is a Truckee-based ultrarunner and regular TMS contributor