If you’ve ever used bone conduction headphones in the past, you’ll know that they’re a pretty different experience from conventional headphones. So here’s how they work: small transducers vibrate, pushing audio waves through your cheekbones, totally bypassing your eardrums.
AfterShokz, a specialist brand for bone conduction headphones, has just announced that 2 models are now available in Malaysia: the AfterShokz AEROPEX bone conduction headphones, along with the swimmer-centric AfterShokz XTRAINERZ.
The main difference between the two is that the AEROPEX headphones can be connected to a smartphone, like a conventional pair of wireless headphones, while the XTRAINERZ operate as a standalone music player, with 4GB of onboard storage.
Pricing and availability
You can purchase both models from The Marathon Shop, along with authorised retailers throughout Malaysia. The AEROPEX retails for RM739 while the XTRAINERZ is priced at RM699, with both models available now.
As for colour options, the AEROPEX will be available in Lunar Grey, Cosmic Black, Blue Eclipse, and Solar Red. Meanwhile, the XTRAINERZ is available in Black Diamond, Sapphire Blue, Ruby Red, and Aquamarine. In the box, you get a charging cable, travel pouch, as well as, of course, the bone conduction headphones.
AfterShokz AEROPEX and XTRAINERZ Specs
As mentioned, AfterShokz’s AEROPEX headphones are essentially, a pair of wireless headphones. They connect to your device via Bluetooth 5.0, and rest on your cheekbones—with a band around the back of your head. AfterShokz says that the smartphone can be as far as 10m away from the headphones, as well.
They’re IP67-rated for water resistance, which means that they can withstand submersion of 30 minutes in one metre of water. As for battery life, AfterShokz promises up to 8 hours of music and calls, along with 50% less sound leakage compared to the Trekz Air.
The XTRAINERZ, on the other hand, can store up to 1,200 songs on its 4GB of storage, with support for most common audio file formats, including MP3, WAV, AAC, and even FLAC. It has up to 8 hours of battery life as well, although you can’t make any calls on the XTRAINERZ—seeing as you can’t connect a phone to the headphones.
The XTRAINERZ is also clearly targeted towards swimmers or those who indulge in water sports, with a water resistance rating of IP68. This means the headphones can be immersed in 2m of water for 2 hours.
For both the AEROPEX and XTRAINERZ headphones, AfterShokz says that the OpenFit design ensures that wearers can still maintain “situational awareness” whilst listening to music, which basically means that you still hear what’s going on around you even when music is playing—remember, the sound waves bypass your eardrums, and reverberate through your cheekbones and skull.
AfterShokz also says that they’ve improved sound quality over past iterations, with both pairs of headphones featuring “PremiumPitch 2+”. This supposedly improves the quality of bass tones, with bone conduction headphones generally lacking the oomph that most users would be accustomed to with conventional headphones.
Having had a short time to experience the headphones at the launch event, I’d have to say that they do sound reasonably good for a pair of bone conduction headphones. However, compare them side by side to a more conventional pair of headphones, and the difference is night and day. Then again, it is pretty interesting to have “positional awareness” while using the headphones, especially if you’re using them while running/jogging. And with the XTRAINERZ, you can listen to music while swimming.