I’ve been trying these out for about 2 weeks, using them for both cycling and running, listening to hip hop, indie and podcasts (Marathon Talk and Talk Ultra, I recommend both), also used at work when I need to hear if someone talks to me.
Having started to wear earphones when running, it was getting a bit tiresome having to keep pushing them in again so I was looking for something a bit different. The guys at Frontrunner were kind enough to offer these to me for a couple of weeks to try.
First impressions when opening the box were good. They felt nice and the instructions are easy to follow. Connecting to my phone was quick and charging to full power didn’t take that long. Putting them on felt strange. I could feel the band on the back of my neck and on the top of my ears. I put this down to not being used to them and hoped I’d get used to it. Once connected, I pressed the button on the side of my ear and it played straight away. It continued to play, on a quiet setting, whilst my daughter was talking to me and I could hear every word.
My first outing was on my bike the next morning. I used to wear earphones when cycling to work and back, but due to a few near misses and some car horns, I decided I should maybe stop. It was nice to just press a button on the headphones and set off. Rather than having to mess about with a wire, press play and the put my phone in my bag. It’s only a little thing but made setting off very easy. The neck strap did rest on my neck a bit, and when I turned my head it did make a difference to the sound, but I got used to that very quickly. The sound quality was good (I’m no expert on this but it sounded good to me). When flying down Ecclesall Road I could hear the wind and it did dull the sound a bit, but I think that’s not a bad thing as when going at speed it’s good to hear what’s going on around you. It was raining on my way in and that didn’t affect anything, the buttons that I used still worked. All in all, good first impressions.
For running with them, I decided to try a podcast. Once again, I could feel the neckband. I hoped I’d get used to it as I did when on the bike. No problems connecting again with my phone in my Flipbelt, just one press on the ear button and off I went. It was strange listening to a podcast with people talking, it was just like hearing a conversation going on next to you. I had no problem hearing it all my way to work, even though it was a bit windy. I do sweat a bit when running but this didn’t affect the sit of the headphones. It was a steady hilly run with a couple of strides thrown in and the headphones stayed in place well. On getting to work people started to talk to me when I got through the door, it was nice to be able to hear them and to be able to stop the podcast without having to get my phone out. Another successful outing with the AfterShokz.
I have done several more runs and rides with the AfterShokz and I’m very happy with their performance. I have only run/rode before with in-ear earphones so I don’t have lots to compare these to. I have had feedback from 2 other runners, 1 who put them on for about 2 minutes and said he didn’t like them because of the neck band and them sitting on the cheek bone didn’t suit him. The other runner, who normally uses the big headphones, really liked them and she is looking to buy some now. I also really liked them. They do vibrate on the cheekbone when it’s a tune with heavy base, but I kind of liked that.
Final thoughts are positive. I could hear what I wanted to hear as well as the outside world. I would recommend them, but if possible try them on in the shop before you buy them. As for price, they sell for about £100, the wired ones for about £50. Are they worth it? Well, it’s becoming more unacceptable to wear headphones in races as you can’t hear the marshals, some races say they will disqualify you if you are caught with head/earphones. These are acceptable though and recommended by English Athletics.
For more information about Aftershokz check out their website www.aftershokz.co.uk