Product Review: Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones

Disclaimer: I received a set of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I was excited to try these headphones out because one of the main reasons I rarely listen to music while running is due to safety concerns. Logically, I know that the odds of a knife-wielding psycho popping onto the bike path behind me are small, but the fear is still real. Also, I’m often running in high traffic areas, crossing major intersections, or just needing to effectively share the path with other runners, pedestrians, and cyclists. It can be hard to respond safely and appropriately if you can’t hear the world around you.

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones use bone-conduction technology. This means that-wait for it-there’s nothing in your ear. That’s right. No hard, annoying, under- or over-sized piece of plastic wedged in your ear canal. This allows you to hear ambient sounds like cars, dogs, or knife-wielding psychos (I’m telling you, the fear is REAL. Too many horror movies I guess…) while still hearing your jams.

Aftershokz

 

Aftershokz are water-resistant, and offer LeakSlayer (TM) technology to make sure that the sound from the headphones doesn’t “leak” out to those around you. This tech is pretty magical. If I put the headphones on my face at a normal, completely audible volume level, and then take them off and hold them in my hands, I can barely tell that sound is coming out at all!

Photo Mar 18, 11 42 06 AM

With the headphones, you get a semi-rigid, padded case, little winged fit adjuster pieces (which I fortunately didn’t need), a mini USB charging cable, and some reusable ear plugs in a little plastic case. That way, if you are in a situation where you don’t need to hear ambient sound (think air travel), you can block it out with the plugs. It all zips together nicely in the case, and I can just throw it in my backpack or gym bag when I’m on the go.

Photo Apr 14, 12 02 46 PM

Set up was super easy–I charged them fully first, and was paired up with my phone and listening to my audiobook in a matter of minutes. When you power them up, you get a little “Welcome to Trekz Titanium” message, and then they tell you whether or not they have connected to your Bluetooth device. The connection is almost always immediate, and the signal is usually plenty strong, even if I walk a few feet away from my phone. There is a “multipurpose” button on one side that is used for stopping or starting playback, skipping songs, or answering/hanging up phone calls, and buttons for volume up and volume down. I found that the multipurpose button was a bit difficult to push; I really had to hold the headphones while pushing to avoid pushing them into my head.

These headphones are SO COMFORTABLE. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that no matter how well earbuds fit, after a while, having something in your ear is just plain uncomfortable. With these, there’s nothing there! I was worried about getting a headache due to the Trekz using gentle pressure to stay in place, but I’ve had them on for hours at a time and never gotten a headache.

The thing to keep in mind with the Trekz Titanium headphones is that you are meant to hear ambient sound. They are intended to offer you a safe way to both listen to music or whatever you want, and still hear any potential safety threats. Due to this design, it can be difficult to hear what you have playing over the headphones if you run through/past a noisy area. I experienced this multiple times when running on a busy road, or near a moving train. For me, this isn’t a super big deal. You just need to understand that that’s the way the Trekz are designed; it’s intentional.

Photo Apr 13, 7 54 36 AM

I only have a few small complaints about these headphones. Number one is that the loop that goes around the back of my head hangs down a bit low, and can sometimes bump into my hydration pack. I need to play more with how I wear them and possibly involve the little plastic wings to see if I can eliminate that issue. Otherwise, I almost don’t even feel them. Next, wearing the headphones plus a hat plus sunglasses can be a bit tricky, but usually I can manage without any discomfort, and I feel that this would be a problem with any over-the-ear headphone setup. Lastly, I wish the headphones gave an automatic battery update upon power-up. I’ve had other Bluetooth headphones that did that, and it helps to manage battery life better. You have to push the multi-purpose button in a special way to get a battery update on these, which I find annoying.

The only aspect of these headphones I didn’t have a chance to test was accepting or making phone calls, but based on the sound quality while listening to music, I have no doubt that the call quality and volume would be great.

On the whole, these are excellent headphones, especially if you like to run outside while listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. They retail for $129.99, which is pretty average for high-quality Bluetooth headphones. If you’re interested in picking up a pair for yourself, you can use the code BIBRAVE20 for 20% off!

Aftershokz will be sponsoring our Twitter #BibChat on Tuesday, April 19, so don’t miss it–our sponsors usually run a giveaway!

You can also read more about the Trekz Titanium headphones by checking out reviews by my fellow BibRave Pros:

Heather

Do you listen to music/podcasts/audiobooks while you run? Why or why not?

Advertisements

Product Review: Plantronics BackBeat FIT

Disclaimer: I received Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Over the last several months, I’ve moved away from running with music. It’s a safety thing for me–I’m usually running outside, and running solo, so I feel like I need to be able to hear cars, loose dogs, and other potential threats. As such, my need for headphones during the summer is pretty much nil. However, during the winter, I DO NOT RUN OUTSIDE. Pretty much ever. Unless I’m racing, which is also rare. In the frozen New England winters, I take it to the treadmill, and when I’m on the treadmill, I NEED music. But we all know that running with cords dangling is unpleasant at best, potentially dangerous at worst. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally caught my headphone wire while treadmill running, sending my phone/iPod flying and nearly tripping and falling. I’ve been casually perusing the market for wireless headphones for a while now, but I wasn’t ready to take the plunge.

Thankfully, the BibRave Pro program offered me an opportunity to test the Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones recently. I was aaaallll over that. I immediately liked the design–over the ears to help them stay put. Two excellent color choices. And lots of built in safety features that have runners and other athletes in mind.

About Plantronics BackBeat FIT (Courtesy of the Plantronics Website):

  • Flexible design to help them stay put during various activities
  • Reflective finish for increased visibility
  • Pi2 nano-coating adds invisible liquid repellant properties
  • 8 hours listening time, 6 hours talk time, 14 days standby time
  • On-ear controls for calls and music
  • Included neoprene armband, which turns into a storage case for the headphones
  • Eartip design directs audio into your ears while still allowing you to remain aware of your surroundings

My Experience with Plantronics BackBeat FIT:

First Impressions:

  • Love, love, love the color!
  • Really nice packaging
  • Surprised by (and pleased with!) how flexible and light they are

Photo Jul 14, 6 01 49 PMSurprisingly, I had no trouble connecting the headphones to my iPhone. The instructions were clear, and I was able to listen to music right away. At first, I had trouble with the volume controls–they weren’t super intuitive, and I ended up blasting myself at full volume more than once on the first run, but after that, I did fine. These headphones were incredibly comfortable; in fact much more comfortable than I’d dared to hope for. The ear piece sat securely in my ear without moving or slipping, and the ear hooks kept them in place. They didn’t make my ears hurt like many earbud style headphones I’ve tried, which is a huge bonus. My only complaint from this initial run was that my ponytail bouncing against the part of the headset that wraps around behind my head was REALLY annoying–I could hear each thump through the headphones, as well as feel it pushing against my ears. I mitigated this issue on later runs by either securing my ponytail under a headband, or securing the headset under a headband.

My second run in the headphones was the very next day, and I was already much more comfortable with the volume controls. My phone connected to the headset right away, and I was able to set out on my morning run with little to no extra effort. I really liked that when powering the headphones on or off, you actual get an audible confirmation from the headset in your ear, so you don’t have to guess. It also lets you know how you’re doing on battery power, which is incredibly helpful.

On Sunday, I was able to test out the “liquid repellant” properties. I decided to go for a run without checking the weather, and emerged from my apartment to find that a light rain was falling. I pressed on, figuring I might as well just get it done, and ran though some showers with no problems at all. With about 1 mile to go, the skies opened up and it started POURING. Not wanting to tempt fate, I whipped the headphones off and stuck them in my shirt for the remainder of the run. Even though they got fairly wet, they are still in perfect working order, so I can vouch for the fact that they are quite water resistant.

backbeat-fit-green_phone-casebackbeat-fit-green_caseThe headphones also come with a neoprene armband that is reversible–when turned inside out, it becomes a handy, compact storage case for the headphones and the included charging cable. As an armband, it’s fairly good. Not the most comfortable, but not what I’d consider uncomfortable. It’s a good size (although I do have a fairly small phone, the iPhone 4s), and the little slip pocket in the back is perfect for my apartment or car key. I’m certain I could also fit a packet or two of Gu in there if I needed to. I have slight concerns that repeated turning could cause the seams to bust, but so far, they seem to be holding up well.

The only function of these headphones that I haven’t had a chance to try yet is accepting phone calls. I’ve only had them for a week, and intended to have Ben call me while I was out for a run, but never got around to it. I’m sure that as I continue to use them, I’ll be able to use the call function, and I’ll give an update on that when I can.

Overall

I think I’ve found my perfect running mate in these headphones. The sound quality is great, and the volume range is pretty impressive. I keep it turned down fairly low when I’m running outside for safety reasons, but judging by how well I blasted myself when adjusting to the volume controls, I’m confident that I’ll be able to get enough volume out of them to drown out gym chatter when I have to take my runs to the treadmill this winter. The easy pairing with my phone is great for me because I’m not super tech-savvy, and they are incredibly comfortable. At $129.99, they’re certainly not inexpensive, but I’ve always been of the opinion that you get what you pay for. You might be able to find some cheaper Bluetooth headphones, but I doubt they’d work as well as the Plantronics BackBeat FIT.

If you’d like more information about the Plantronics BackBeat FIT, check out some reviews by my fellow BibRave Pros:

Angie | Samantha | John | Jeremy | Danielle | Brandon

Also, Plantronics will be sponsoring our Twitter #Bibchat tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 9 pm EST. They’ll be giving away THREE pairs of BackBeat FIT headphones–Don’t miss it!

Have you ever tried wireless headphones? Which ones do you use?