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Two minute review
Shokz (formerly known as AfterShokz) has long been at the top of our guide to the best bone conduction headphones, and the OpenRun Pro are the best sounding headphones yet.
The main difference between these new headphones and the Shokz OpenRun (originally called the Aeropex) is the addition of new bass transducers to the pads that direct vibrations to your auditory nerve.
The upgrade is felt the moment you hit play, and opting for bone conduction over in-ear headphones no longer means making big compromises on sound quality. It’s especially impressive if you like heavy music that is way richer than other bone conduction headsets.
The disadvantage of the new transducers is that they vibrate more clearly on your skin. It’s little more than a tickle, but if you prefer to work hard at the volume it can get annoying over time. All bone conduction headphones suffer from this to a certain extent (this is almost inevitable due to their function), but the additional bass is particularly noticeable here.
The other upgrades here are small but thoughtfully designed. For example, the control buttons for setting power, volume and songs are now slightly larger so that they are easier to press when wearing the headset. Shokz has also moved the charging port on the OpenRun Pro so that it no longer takes up the same area as the buttons and is easier to use.
Like the recently updated OpenRun, the OpenRun Pro also has a quick charge function that allows you to enjoy an hour and a half of playback after just five minutes of charging. a game changer when you forgot to charge it and it’s time to hit the gym. If you rely on melodies to get you through a workout, they are highly recommended.
Price and release date
- Most expensive Shokz so far
- Pre-order now
- Final shipping date not confirmed
The Shokz OpenRun Pro was announced at CES 2022 on January 5, 2022 and was available for pre-order from the company’s website same day for $ 179.95 (approx £ 130 / AU $ 250). This makes them the most expensive headphones in the Shokz range.
By comparison, the Shokz OpenRun (originally known as AfterShokz Aeropex) cost $ 159.95 / £ 149.95 (about AU $ 240) when it landed in October 2020. At the end of the budget, the Shokz OpenMove started for $ 99.95 / £ 79.95 (approx. € 140),
At the time of writing, Shokz has not yet announced when OpenRun Pro will ship, possibly due to a global chip shortage.
- Bigger keys than OpenRun
- Relocated magnetic charging port
- Waterproof class IP55
Shokz found a design that works, and OpenRun Pro doesn’t deviate from that formula. Following the same OpenFit scheme as the company’s other headphones, they have a pair of pads that sit on your cheekbones and vibrate the sound to your auditory nerve, keeping your ear canals open. These pads are connected by a flexible yet resilient titanium band that keeps them securely in place while running without ever squeezing (a problem we sometimes had with the cheap Shokz OpenMove).
A large button on the left pad allows you to take calls using the headset’s built-in microphone, and the right pad has multi-function controls for power, volume, track and battery status.
The OpenRun Pro are only available in black at the moment, although Shokz tells us that more colors are on the way in the coming months.
At first glance, the new headphones look almost identical to their predecessor, OpenRun, but there are some key differences. First, the controls are bigger, making it easier to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and turn the headphones on and off without seeing what you’re doing. If you hold down the volume down button during playback, you’ll know whether the performance is high, medium, or low.
Second, the charging port was moved. Like the OpenRun, the OpenRun Pro uses a proprietary magnetic charging cable that is much easier to plug in than the clunky micro-USB used by older models. On the newer model, however, Shokz moved the charging port so that it no longer aligns with the control buttons, which makes connecting the cable easier.
Otherwise, the two headsets are very similar. The OpenRun Pro are very light and comfortable, even for long runs, and their lightweight titanium construction ensures that they never give in when you move.
They have a waterproof rating of IP55, which means they’ll be fine if you sweat profusely or run in the rain but aren’t suitable for swimming. For this you need waterproof headphones like the Shokz OpenSwim.
The sound quality of the Shokz OpenRun Pro is extremely impressive. The new bass transducers really make a difference and the overall result exceeds anything we’ve seen with bone conduction headphones in the past. When we run, we mostly enjoy a rock and metal playlist, and the OpenRun Pro is the first model that really does justice to heavy music. It’s still not on par with traditional top-of-the-line headphones, but the gap is definitely getting smaller.
The disadvantage of the extra bass is that you can not only hear it, but also feel it it’s like a more distinct hum on your face that pulsates with every beat. All bone conduction headphones produce this effect to some extent at high volumes, but it is particularly noticeable on the OpenRun Pro.
The feeling isn’t uncomfortable, and if you don’t turn up the volume it’s nothing more than a tickle, but wearing the headphones while you focus on work can be a distraction.
Another common problem with bone conduction headphones is noise leakage; With no silicone gasket between the transducers and the outside world, it can be easy for people nearby to hear your songs, audiobooks, and phone calls. Turning up the volume on the OpenMove Pro may annoy colleagues in a quiet office, but if you keep it at a moderate level, it’s the least leaky Shokz headset we’ve tested so far.
Despite the improved bass, the ambient sound is still clear thanks to the open-ear design. Many noise-canceling headphones have a “transparency” mode that sends external noise to your ear through a microphone, but this does not provide the same directional perception as bone conduction headsets.
When AfterShokz announced it would change its name to “Shokz” in December 2021, it also launched a new version of its Aeropex fast-charging bone conduction headphones. This is a feature carried over to OpenRun Pro, and five minutes of charging while you change your clothes and put on your running shoes gives you 1.5 hours of playtime.
When the OpenRun Pro is running low, a voice will warn you that it is time to charge it. You will receive two notifications before the headset turns off. So when you are near your home or at your desk, there is time to plug them in.
A full charge will keep your music going for up to 10 hours (a value that was achieved in our tests), which is the most impressive battery life of any headset tested so far. If you’ve turned off other bone conduction headphones because of the short playtime, the OpenRun Pro is definitely worth trying out. You might be pleasantly surprised.