This is not a full review; watch Techmoan's video (embedded below) for that as it tipped me from 'interested' to 'purchase'. This is how I find Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones work for my very specific needs. I had briefly tried an earlier Aftershokz model (Air), a year or so ago, and not committed due to a few limitations: volume, battery life and water resistance.
So what changed?
The new Aeropex model is very similar to previous but improved several specs:
|Battery life||6 hours spec, 2 hour charge Lithium Ion||8 hours spec (& actual), 2 hour charge Lithium Polymer|
|Volume||Thought marginal for cycling after a limited test due to wind noise||So far confirmed OK in airspeed up to 70km/h|
|Water resistance||IP55 (Water-resistant)||IP67 (Waterproof)|
|Charge connection||USB > Micro-USB||USB > Custom Magnetic|
Using the Aeropex
Fit, sound and use
The units are light and fit my ears/head fine. I wear glasses all the time and was a bit concerned the ear hoop/specs clash would be a problem. The transducer is in front of your ear but the 'hoops' go over the top. Because the sound is transmitted to your internal ear via bone conduction your ears are left open and there is none of the discomfort or isolation of in-ear or over-ear headphones.
If I put the Aeropex on first and then the spectacles it's fine but my frames have fairly 'straight' ear loops so test before buying. Will certainly be taking my Aeropex when trying new frames.
I find them fine when sitting/active but when laying down, head on pillow, the rear headband is annoying.
The big button on the left transducer is great for rapidly start/stopping play, accepting and terminating phone calls. The mics are fine for general call use, even while cycling at modest pace, <25km/h, until wind noise wins.
Small +- buttons on the right transducer control power on and volume. Pressing the + button while play is paused gives an audio low, medium, high indication of battery level. Both controls are easy to use one-handed while on the go.
Aeropex are superb for voice/podcast, my prime use. They do a respectable job with music but are a little 'bass light' compared to tightly coupled earbuds. If you really crank them up there is an, odd at first, tingly tapping on your head with deep bass. In general use it is barely noticeable, soon forgotten.
Aeropex charge cables use a custom magnetic connection on the headset to standard USB. Unlike other premium brands (yeah that's you miserly Apple & Samsung) Aftershokz include TWO cables in the box. This, combined with the 8 hour life, removed any real concern about keeping the unit powered up. I leave one cable bedside for overnight charging, the other in the supplied carry case so readily accessible. Because of the battery life I have not yet needed to 'top-up' charge, even when using them for a working day of travel.
The Bluetooth connection is fine, both to my phone and Surface PCs, but my old S7 Edge phone does take a bit of a hit compared to using wired phones. I get about 6 hours podcast playing vs 7-8 with wired phones.
In the past I used a single earbud to listen to podcasts while cycling. To date have used the Aeropex for both solo recreational rides and commuting. The band connecting the 'pads' doesn't interfere with my helmet band (Giro Cinder MIPS) and the ear loops are ok with the straps.
I have tried in 'airspeed' up to about ~70km/h (60km/h downhill into ~10km/h headwind); had to bump the volume near max but could still hear both podcast and ambient traffic noise clearly. On a normal commute, ~25km/h into the prevailing evening westerly wind, medium volume is clearly audible and you still hear all the ambient noise. Nice for those brief 'traffic light catch-ups' at bike path crossings.
With none of the wind noise concerns of cycling they are great for walking and hiking. The fit is firm, but not uncomfortable, so there is no concern about them moving around. Of course you still have the ears clear for ambient noise which makes bush walking so nice. I don't do running but, presume, would be fine for that.
I occasionally do the single earbud thing to listen to podcasts while working. Aeropex have totally taken over for that and allow you to listen without the 'shut off' barrier earbuds or headphones imply. Only thing is they are so comfortable I tend to forget have I them on (when not playing) so have been known to wander into meetings still wearing them!
I love using noise cancelling headphones for flying, still on a favourite old Bose Quiet Comfort set from 2004/8, but took the Aeropex on a recent short domestic flight. On their own they did OK against the internal noise of an Airbus A320 but there is another mode for noisy environments. Aftershokz include a pair of foam ear plugs and with them in place, and the ambient noise muted, coupling of the Aeropex is enhanced and I could use a much lower volume setting.
I was working in a public space, scanning a trading store, and could listen to a podcast but also have seamless chats with customers & staff encountered while scanning.
I also found them good in the rental car, no hassle plugging your phone in or pairing to a strange vehicle. If stupid enough to leave your phone in the rental car the Bluetooth disconnecting once 10m away reminds you before it is too late...
If you like podcasts or music but want to remain connected to the real world get them. They are not perfect for every use case but I have found superb for active use.
I work for a retail group which sells Aftershokz but purchased mine, with our standard staff discount.