Shokz OpenRun Pro review | CNN underlined

Forgetting my headphones for a workout is like forgetting my sneakers – what’s the point? You probably don’t need research to tell you this, but music increases the benefits of exercise and decreases feelings of fatigue, according to a 2020 study published in Frontiers in Psychology. What’s more, people reported enjoying their workout more when they were listening to music than when they weren’t, according to a 2019 study published in the journal Psychology of Sport & Exercise.

Outdoors, however, streaming your music through headphones can drown out important signals from the world around you, leaving you at the mercy of inattentive drivers, oblivious cyclists, or distracted walkers on their phones (it’s wild out there- down). So where is the happy medium?

The Shokz OpenRun Pro Open Ear Headphones use bone conduction technology to deliver sound not through the air, but through your cheekbone. Yes, your cheekbone. In standard over-ear or in-ear headphones, sound vibrations travel through the air along the ear canal to the eardrum where your brain processes these vibrations and interprets them as sound. Bone conduction technology bypasses the eardrum and sends these sound waves directly to your cochlea, or inner ear, via the bones in the upper part of your cheek and jaw.

These headphones let you hear ambient noise clearly, whether it’s nearby traffic or the comments of your workout buddies. And while many popular headphones – including the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro – now offer a “transparency” mode that uses a microphone to transmit external sound to your ear, it’s not quite as clear as keeping your leads auditory wide open to your surroundings.

For the ultimate outdoor athlete

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are ideal for those who want to hear their surroundings clearly when training or racing outdoors. You’ll get better sound quality with traditional workout-focused headphones like the Beats Fit Pro, but Shokz’s headphones are the better option for those who prioritize safety and comfort.

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For me, the most important feature of any training technology is that it enhances training, not distracts from it. And I barely remembered wearing them, often leaving them long after I got home. At 29 grams, they’re super light (about three grams lighter than my distance running headphones, the Beats Powerbeats).

The titanium elastic band, which clings to your ears, didn’t pinch, even with oversized sunglasses, a hat, or both layered. Despite feeling barely there, they didn’t move during any workouts, not even during high intensity interval training when I was bouncing around on my rooftop deck with dumbbells.

I usually run in the streets rather than on a path or race track, so when I’m wearing traditional headphones, like my Beats, I have to be hyper aware of my surroundings visually, since I can’t always hear what’s going on around me. In the OpenRun Pros, I could not only hear the cars coming behind me, but also the sound of bicycle tires, the conversations of people I passed. I was even able to hold full conversations with my running partners without having to turn down the volume, which I can only do in my Beats if I unhook a pair of headphones and tuck it into my sports bra. Ambient noise was crystal clear, unlike when I tried to use Transparency mode on my AirPods Pro, which made my ears sound clogged, like I was still detached from my surroundings.

Ashley Mateo/CNN

Another useful feature is fast charging, which gives you an hour and a half of juice after just five minutes of charging – ideal for someone who forgets to charge them beforehand but can’t imagine breaking a sweat without a soundtrack. At the end of a 6 mile run, my headphones were still on a “medium” charge, but I managed to do two strength workouts, a 7 mile run and a final 12 mile run before I got a warning saying that the battery was “low”.

On a single charge, the OpenRun Pro lasts up to 10 hours – longer than any effort even the most enthusiastic amateur sports enthusiasts will undertake – so you’ll never have to worry about losing your sound in the middle of the run. ‘coaching.

Ashley Mateo/CNN

To improve sound quality over previous iterations, Shokz added two bass boosters to the OpenRun Pro’s cheekbone pads, which adds more depth to your listening experience. I listen to very low-pitched music while working out, and nothing in the sound has interfered with my training. However, I noticed that the more I turned up the volume (the right pad has controls for power and volume, while a button on the left lets you change tracks, play/pause the music, engage a voice assistant, and receive calls), the more likely I was to feel vibrations against my cheek. It didn’t bother me, but it can tickle a bit if you’re not used to it.

Ashley Mateo/CNN

The sound is noticeably thinner than what comes out of more traditional helmet speakers (much like streaming music from your phone or computer rather than a stereo system) – which is to be expected when you’re not delivering of sound directly into your eardrum. When I run into my Beats or AirPods, for example, the sound is fuller and richer, like I’m completely immersed in them.

FYI: That doesn’t mean these protect your hearing; hearing loss stems from potential damage to the inner ear, so you shouldn’t get into the habit of blasting your volume to 100%.

Ashley Mateo/CNN

If you’re looking for a safer way to listen to music while working out outdoors, the Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones raise the bar for open-ear technology with better-than-ever sound quality. When it comes to ambient noise, they trump even more expensive mainstream headphones with transparency features, like current favorite workout headphones, the Beats Fit Pro.

A comfortable fit and lightweight design make these headphones barely noticeable, the biggest compliment for anyone who wants to stay focused on their workout. And while the battery life will probably last longer than any sweat session you’ve planned, the quick-charge feature is a genius for those not used to fully charging afterwards. each workout.

If you’re someone who enjoys exercising outdoors, this can literally save your life. Staying aware of your surroundings can help you avoid accidents and stay alert to danger, and the OpenRun Pro offers a way to stay connected without covering your ears. And while they never sound as good as what you’ll get from our top wireless earphone picks like the Beats Fit Pro and Jabra Elite 7 Active, you won’t have to completely sacrifice audio quality. They are a perfect choice for anyone looking for safety and comfort over the best sound.

Beats Fit Pro Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

lester 1.02 ounces 0.18 ounces per bud 0.49 ounces per bud
ambient noise Yes (via open design) Yes (via transparency mode) Yes (via open design)
Active noise cancellation Nope Yes Nope
Battery life (nominal) Up to 10 hours Up to 6 hours Up to 8 hours
Quick Charge 1.5 hours from a 10 minute charge 1 hour from a 5 minute charge 3 hours from a 30 minute charge
Water resistance IP55 IPX4 IPX4
Colors Pink, Black, Blue, Beige Black, White, Sage Grey, Stone Purple Black
Price

$179

$199

$199

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