I’ve always had mixed feelings around headphones. I am nowhere near an audiophile, nor do I want terrible audio quality. I’ve also never wanted to shop around for noise canceling headphones because being able to hear my surroundings is important to me. Then AfterShokz sent me a pair of their bone conducting headphones, Trekz Titanium. The headphones don’t have earbuds that go in your ear, instead the “headphones” use your cheekbone to deliver music to you. The bone-conducting audio isn’t new, partly because it hasn’t worked well and packaged as neatly as Aftershokz has done it. The headphones lay on the outside of your ear with a flexible cable connecting the two “earbuds” together. The titanium’s are amazing for anyone who wants to hear the ambient noise because there aren’t any earbuds to obstruct your ear canals.
Once you’ve slipped the headphones on you’ll connect them to your phone or music player via Bluetooth. Once you’ve booted up a music app or podcast app you’re able to listen without any problems. While the audio quality isn’t anywhere near high-quality headphones, it still sounds above your generic earbuds. I had a few cases where I thought the music playing was happening around me and not being played through the titanium. Listening to talk radio or a podcast on the headphones isn’t a problem either. You’re able to hear everything and sometimes it sounds like they’re talking to you.
It’s safer to use
The interesting part of the bone conducting is the headphones don’t use your ear drum. This means even at full blast you’re not going to damage your eardrums. Aftershokz claims there are dozens of studies to support this, but I was unable to find any directly linking the bone conducting headphones as a better choice. Aftershokz goes after earbuds for ‘promoting’ and the direct cause of eardrum damage. We all know your parents told you to stop blasting your music before you go deaf, but we never really listened. While I don’t fully understand how bone-conducting audio works, I do understand this assertion of being safer than earbuds is a pretty fair claim. That means blast your music or podcast as loud as you want! The only problem I faced when blasting my music is the vibrations from the headphones made the audio sound terrible, and the vibrations were just annoying.
How the headphones feel and look
Having to wear the headphones over your ears and around your neck looks annoying, and it is. Not only did I get questions about what they were, but they also fit weird and made the top of my ears sore. I am constantly fiddling with them, even weeks after I got them. They shift or the back cable catches on your jacket. I also had constant questions of where the earbuds are, or how they worked, or even if they were real. I didn’t mind answering these questions, but it did get tiresome quickly.
Overall the feeling of the headphones isn’t what I would want. I would prefer earbuds that didn’t bother my ear or catch on the back of my shirt. I also choose the color blue, which stands out against my hair, so next time I’ll grab the black to better blend with my hair and not to draw attention.
The headphones fit weird, but then again it might just be my head. The fact that I’m able to wear the headphones and still hear everything around me is amazing. I’ve been listening to music and listen to conversations which aren’t possible with earbuds in. The price tag of $129 makes the headphones even more appealing as many headphones that are half way decent are that price.
While I would change minor things like how the cord hangs on your neck, and the color, I’m extremely happy with how they work. It’s perfect for me, and I think they are great for anyone who runs on busy roads and wants to hear cars approaching. It’s also great for travel; you’re able to listen to music and still hear your flights being called or talk to the gate folks without having to turn your music off.