The Aeropex from Aftershokz is a sophisticated headset with leg guidance with most of the same disadvantages
As someone who swears by over-ear noise canceling headphones, I love Aftershokz & # 39; s new Aeropex more than I thought I'd do. These are bone-conducting headphones, which means that you don't put them in your ears. Instead, the Aeropex rely on fingertip-sized transducers to push sound through the left and right sides of your cheekbones. The transducers vibrate while playing music, just like a driver in an earplug, except that this vibration finds its way to your inner ear by taking an alternative route through your skin and bones.
This design is the biggest advantage of the headset or the biggest lack depending on your needs. This is an excellent fit for people who want to stay present, whether it's safe while cycling down the street or just to hear someone calling in the office. Compared to being completely immersed in my over-ear Sony 1000X M3 noise-canceling headphones, the Aeropex does not give me the feeling that I am stepping out of a sensory depriving room when talking to people.
These are also supposedly useful for people who have lost some hearing. Because they work by bypassing your eardrum, you may be able to hear your music better than other headphone models that you place in or around your ears.
Bone-guided headphones are nothing new, and although this is the first new Aftershokz product since 2017, the Aeropex have many of the same errors as the Trekz Titanium that we tested three years ago. I find it almost impossible to concentrate on work while wearing them. In the gym I can hear my music, but I can also perfectly choose the sounds of slamming weights, people who growl while they train and the energetic mix that plays over the speakers of the gym. These headphones are not made to block noise, so this is no surprise. Wearing earplugs is a decent but imperfect solution to this problem.
Aftershokz claims that the new transducers have a better sound quality than its predecessors, although I only tasted the Trekz Titanium once. Because it was in a busy exhibition space, I could not give a fair analysis. Listening to music with the Aeropex generally sounds hollow and flat compared to traditional earplugs, which have the advantage of a tight seal and a minimal distance between the speaker and the eardrum. Yet I am surprised with the sound quality here. There is some depth in the midtones and treble, so rock and pop music and other genres that usually put more emphasis on those frequencies sound reasonable. But if you need a thumping beat in your music to keep you motivated, these are simply not the headphones for you.
The Aeropex transducers that produce the vibrations are more compact than in earlier models and Aftershokz claims that they vibrate less and also leak less noise. After wearing them for about five days, I only had a few moments when the vibration became a little too much. It was either a matter of turning up the volume, which is almost necessary if you want to hear your music in a loud room, or listen to a podcast filled with some deep voices. It's hard not to notice the vibration in the beginning, but the effect disappeared as I spent more time with them.
Sound leakage, on the other hand, seems to have improved. I can't hear them at a medium to high volume three meters away, and none of my office colleagues have commented on my strange taste in music (unless they all talk about it in a secret Slack channel).
These leg-guided headphones touch some of the other changes and praise a refined look that, compared to the Trekz Titanium, is more in line with Beats Powerbeats Pro. A few other things have changed from that model, such as the switch from micro-USB to a proprietary cable that magnetically locks onto water-sensitive charging pins. Another major improvement is that these are IP67 classified and can withstand immersion for up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. Smart, they vibrate and squeak when you try to charge them while the charging port contacts are wet.
You can pair two devices with these headphones and they can switch seamlessly between these devices. That is always a welcome feature, which allows you to listen to music on an iPad, for example, and then take a call on your phone without changing the Bluetooth settings. I am happy with the battery life, of which Aftershokz claims to be eight hours. I have been using this for about five hours (mixed with music, podcasts, and phone calls) and they still have about 50 percent battery power.
There is a time and place for the kind of experience that Aeropex offers. Most people can carve when and where something like this can come in handy. Those times are too rare for me, but if you can make good use of them, their $ 159 price tag will be much easier to swallow.
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