Sunday, June 23, 2024

AfterShokz TrekzAir – review

These superbly designed bone conduction headphones improve on previous attempts but still fail to muster enough volume for travel

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If you’ve never come across bone-conduction headphones before, here’s a quick summary: instead of sending music into your ear, a couple of bone conduction transceivers – which are about the same size as earbuds – sit close to your ear and transmit sound waves into your cheekbones, which bypass your eardrum and go straight to your cochlea, your inner ear. Cripes.

Bone collector

TrekzAir are not AfterShokz’s first attempt at bone conduction headphones. That honor goes to its Titanium product, which were slightly heavier and not as comfortable as the AfterShokz TrekzAir. Weighing just 30g, TrekzAir have the most comfortable fit for a pair of headphones that TravGear has ever come across. They never move, and when you wear them it feels like you’re not wearing headphones at all. Now that’s proper immersion.

Great design

TrekzAir use a combination of the use of titanium for flexibility, and a soft silicon covering for comfort and grip against your face. Those transceivers sit just at the top of the jawbone in a small depression, which is extremely clever design thinking. The TrekzAir are really flexible, so can be shoved into a pocket very easily for travel, and they’re also waterproof.

Lack volume

However, what the Aftershokz TrekzAir lack is volume. There’s enough bass, and there’s more clarity than on the previous attempt at bone conduction, but when these wireless Bluetooth headphones are out in the wild –  busy shops, train stations, and airports –  it can be hard to get fully immersed in music.

Open your ears

After a decade where headphone manufacturers have been pushing noise isolation and noise cancellation technology to get us all fully immersed in music –  and completely separated from our surroundings – these open-ear headphones are a new take on how we should experience sound. They have to be heard to be believed. They may not perform that well in busy, loud environments, but the TrekzAir are fantastic around the office, allowing you to hear the conversations of colleagues as well as the audio playing on your computer or phone. The TrekzAir are still not the finished article, but bone conduction is definitely here to stay.

Price as reviewed: UK £149.99 / US $129.95