Published on September 27, 2013
AfterShokz Sportz 2 Headphones
Some runners swear by the benefit of running to the beat, others swear at those wearing headphones – especially during races. There are undoubtedly some inherent dangers to plugging in during the run, not least the reduced ability to hear danger sounds like traffic or the near-silent approach of cyclists. But AfterShokz Sportz 2 Headphones offer a ray of hope to those who want to listen to music but still keep their senses about them.
The key to their success is simple: rather than plugging into (and therefore blocking) the ears, AfterShokz use bone conduction technology – the kind used by ‘special forces ops’ apparently – to deliver sound through the cheekbones to the inner ear, leaving the way clear for riders to hear traffic and other crucial audio cues. The ‘phones are kept securely in place by a rigid, but perfectly comfortable headband, and the buds sit just in front of the ears.
The Mark 2 model of the AfterShokz Sportz features an admirable 21 improvements over the earlier device (already an impressive product); sleeker, with a reflective safety strip thrown in for good measure, the aesthetic improvements continue through to the in-line controller, which is now smaller and far less of an ugly box.
On test RunningMonkey found them perfectly comfortable (they weigh in at around 45g), though arguably slightly less so than tiny, discreet in-ear options, with only the in-line volume controller causing a bit of bounce. The sound quality is more than reasonable too; using bone conduction is never going to produce a truly ‘rich’ sound so the result is a little tinny with both ends of the scale damped out. But, in all honesty, running is never going to be the perfect environment for listening to your favourite tracks.
The AfterShokz Sportz M2 use a rechargeable (via USB) lithium ion battery that promises up to 12 hours use from a three hour charge, though we found this was generally closer to eight hours depending on volume and conditions.
Retailing at a slightly hefty £49.96 (plus VAT), they remain an excellent option if you’re determined to listen to music on the run whilst sensibly keeping safety in mind. Details and online purchase at aftershokz.co.uk