Product: Aftershokz Trekz Air
Where to buy: Amazon
This Aftershokz Trekz Air Review aims in providing a comprehensive analysis of all the major features and functionalities.
According to AfterShokz, these are Trekz Air’s key features:
- Durable and flexible titanium Frame and wraparound band
- OpenFit design allows you to tune in to your music or a call without tuning out the world around you
- PremiumPitch+ technology optimizes the sound and includes additional features like LeakSlayer technology, which helps eliminate sound leakage
- Sweat-resistant (IP55 rated to repel sweat, moisture and dust)
- Six hours of battery life for music calls
- Fully charges in an hour and a half, but a 15-minute charge provides enough boost to “get you through a long workout or marathon call”
- Dual noise-canceling mics help reduce surrounding noise and enhance speech clarity
- Voice Prompts guide you through power, pair, play and talk and more
- Improvements over Trekz Titanium: Reduced sound leakage, improved dual noise canceling mics, new antenna for improved Bluetooth connection, resigned bone conduction transducers deliver more bass
Some runners prefer music some don’t. The truth is that music is a major motivator for most of us. Get a pumped-up song with the right rhythm and your feet follow the beat almost effortlessly.
However, in order to be able to listen to your favourite music while running, a great pair of wireless headphones is necessary. Such is the Aftershokz Trekz Air. Impressive headphones introducing bone conduction technology. This means that you can pump up the volume while still hearing everything going on around you.
All runners have different needs. This means that someone would prefer noise isolation while running while another would not. However, most of the demands might vary depending on where we’re running or exercising. At a safe place, free from cars, whether you run on the track or on the treadmill or you’re working out in a gym, you would probably choose your favourite Jaybirds or Bose headphones.
However, in case of an outside run, blocking-out ambient noise can cause safety issues. If you’re running in an urban environment or commuting through busy streets, you do need to hear those cars and people around you to avoid collisions. Under these circumstances, AfterShokz is a great option.
Let’s take a deep dive.
Aftershokz Trekz Air is not your typical pair of headphones. It does not have earbuds going directly into your ear. Instead, there is a semi-rigid band that connects around the back of your head and suspends the speakers directly over your cheekbones. As the music plays, the sound waves do not go directly into your eardrums. Instead, it diverts through your bones.
What is bone conduction?
There are two alternative ways that you can hear sounds and voices. Air conduction and bone conduction.
Air conduction refers to outside sound carried, from the outer ear, by airwaves and transferred to electrical waves in the inner ear. Bone conduction delivers the sound conducted as a vibration through the bones of your face to the inner ear housing the organs of hearing and balance. This way, the sound waves are bypassing the middle – eardrum and outer ear and directly stimulating the inner ear.
How does it work?
In order to understand this, you should compare how your voice sounds when you speak versus when it’s recorded. Your recorded voice sounds different. Usually, it does sounds thinner because the recording is only picking up your air-conducted voice. You naturally hear your voice through air conduction and bone conduction. However, if you ask others, they say it sounds like you.
This technology has been around several years as a helping tool for those with hearing loss. You can even trace it back to Beethoven. He used his own adaptation of bone conduction, by biting down the composer’s wand that was touching the piano.
However, there’s a trade-off here. The quality and the richness of the sound won’t reach your favourite pair of Bose or Jaybird.
AfterShokz’s designs and technology have come a long way since the introduction of Trekz Titanium. Trekz Air is a compelling wireless sports headphone. It has a richer sound, with deeper bass, and more volume overall. The size is also greatly improved, as it’s much slimmer and 20% lighter than Trekz Titanium, weighing 29.5 grams. It’s much more comfortable to wear, especially over the ears. This way, in case of warm weather, you can wear them on with your sunglasses.
They can be referred to as head-back-buds and not neck-buds. The Trekz Air is solid and strong, still, they are flexible. Their titanium built allows them to be twisted and bendy. They can be worn around the neck or even shoved into a pocket.
The soft silicone cover along with the cautious positioning of the electronics indicates that the Trekz Air can withstand heavy use. They combine very durable materials with excellent positioning of the various components. The Trekz Air sit comfortably at the top of the jawbone within a small dimple area. They deliver a great, delicate, yet careful and clever design. They are also waterproof, IP55-rated.
The key design feature that makes Trekz Air stand out is that they’re not actually earphones, but speakers allowing you to hear what’s going on around you. AfterShokz calls this ‘OpenFit’. It also offers a mute button as a further safety option to cut out the music in case of an emergency.
The buttons on the right side let you control playback and volume. However, they are quite small and a little hard to operate by feel, but they do their work.
Hands-free calls are also available on the Trekz Air. Speakers are equipped with noise-cancelling microphones to minimize noise interference in order to improve voice quality.
The headphones come along with a set of foam earplugs that you put into your ears. If you bother jamming your ears with them, surprisingly enough, improves the sound quality. It becomes louder and boosts the bass.
A female voice, called Audrey, guides you easily over the set-up.
The controls are fairly simple. On the right-hand side are volume buttons. Every press, to increase or decrease volume, sends a tone to the speakers to notify you that action is taken. When you reach maximum volume a higher-pitch tone is sent.
On each side, there’s a small fingertip-sized housing keeping the Trekz Air firm on the back of the head. They also include batteries and controls.
In a quiet environment, people nearby can hear what you’re listening to if your music is at a high-volume level.
So how is the sound quality?
Sound quality is good enough for the gym or the office; much better than the AfterShokz Titanium. However, might be disappointing for someone who prioritizes sound quality.
If you use them in a busy city center or in a crowded place then you’ll probably observe that volume and bass levels really aren’t high enough. In case you put them on full volume, you start to feel the vibrations in your cheekbone, that is a bit discomforting.
If you turn up the volume of approximately 80%, where you feel a vibration, the sound level is adequate. However, it’s not as loud as a standard in-ear headphone.
Contrariwise most manufacturers, AfterShokz is promoting situational awareness, by using bone conduction. However, on the market, more popular are noise isolation and cancellation headphones.
The slim size and the lightweight design are probably the cause of the short battery life. Both wireless models, Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium, offer at least six hours of continuous music and calls on a single full charge.
If you’re a heavy user, hitting the gym daily or setting out for a run, then you’ll probably find yourself charging them overnight every 2 or 3 days. Factor in occasional phone calls, and some YouTube videos then charging frequency increases.
However, the quick-charge mode saves you precious time. It lets you charge the Trekz Air for just 15 minutes in exchange for an hour of battery life. Quite useful if you charge them while you’re getting ready for a run or a workout.
You have also to take into account that keeping volume at a high level, directly impacts battery life.
If you want headphones to last multiple uses with a single charge, you’ll probably be disappointed. Still, the battery can easily last a marathon for nearly every type of runner.
Trekz Air is a unique proposal in the field of headphones. It’s excellent for indoor use, like the gym or the treadmill, or outdoor, if you’re out on a run in the countryside.
The Trekz Air offers a great, slim, lightweight, yet futuristic design. It provides a great fit, steady and stable. Perfect for running or bicycling. Detailed and precise positioning of the speakers and components. You can even combine sunglasses and a baseball cap while wearing the Trekz Air without any problem.
However, the Trekz Air, in noisy environments, does not deliver extreme sound clarity. On top of that, the volume level is barely adequate to cope with the background noise. After all, the underlying technology is bone conduction speakers. This means they are really designed to do the opposite of most noise isolation or cancellation headphones.
Battery issue is another constraint that has to be addressed before going ahead with the purchase. However, battery life is a natural limitation that’s caused by a clever lightweight design that’s truly unique.
- Unique design
- Comfortable & stable fit
- Flexible & lightweight
- Helps situational awareness
- Volume level constraints
- Sound quality limitations
- Limited battery life