AfterShokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction MP3 Swimming Headphones Review – Fill Your Underwater World With Sound
REVIEW – Listening to music can make exercise more tolerable. Witness the huge market for sweat resistant armband cases, cases and headphones. Listening to music when you run, cycle, or are exposed to environmental hazards (cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles) can be dangerous to your situational awareness. Aftershokz, a company specializing in bone conduction headphones, has several offers that can mitigate these dangers. The latest is a product from the AfterShokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction MP3 Swimming Headphones Review – Fill Your Underwater World With Sound. This is a headset that includes memory and controls with a built-in MP3 player. I was sent one to test it in the Black Diamond colourway, which is a dark base color with speckled accents of white. (They also come in a blue sapphire.)
What is that?
The AfterShokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction MP3 Swimming Headphones are bone conduction headphones with built-in sound file storage and playback.
What’s in the box?
- AfterShokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction MP3 Swimming Headphones
- silicone storage case
- USB-A charger / transfer harness
- waterproof earplugs
- 8 hour battery life
- IP68 waterproof
- comfortable under a swimming cap
- 4 GB of MP3 storage
- Supports MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC and FLAC
The loading / transfer harness snaps around one of the temple pads
Design and functionality
The AfterShokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction MP3 Swimming Headphones are covered with rubberized material and are completely waterproof and dustproof. The only non-rubberized surfaces are the contacts that connect to the charger / transfer harness. If you’ve never used bone conduction hearing aids before, this can come as a bit of a shock: the tone pads are right in front of your ear canal, hanging over your ears for extra stability. They don’t enter your ear canal at all, so your environmental awareness is only slightly diminished when listening to music. Other noises, conversations, etc. will be audible unless the volume is very loud.
Volume, playback, and other functions are all controlled via a set of buttons grouped around metal contacts that attach to the charger.
While other Aftershokz products have Bluetooth connectivity, these don’t – they can only play files that have been downloaded to the unit via the included USB-A cable. Like other waterproof devices I’ve used, sealing them against water and using them underwater prevents use as a typical bluetooth headset. (If you need bluetooth connectivity rather than waterproofing, I highly recommend their OpenComm bluetooth headset – I bought a unit with personal funds in January after they were reviewed here. I was working on the home at the time, and they were fantastic for my eight quarters of hours doing the phone support.)
The configuration is very simple. Clip the headset into the harness, plug the USB plug into your computer and drag the compatible files into the “Xtrainerz” drive that appears.
The sound while cycling and generally working around the house and yard was excellent. It was nice not seeing my music interrupted by mileage announcements or other notifications, while still getting those notifications on my iPhone.
While the sound of the AfterShokz Xtrainerz bone conduction MP3 swimming headphones is clear and full, the bass response is subdued, compared to external speakers or even on-ear headphones, for obvious reasons. If you can live without a punchy bass, you’ll enjoy the experience as well as any other in-ear or on-ear product. To get a good bass response, you just need some moving air, and that requires a woofer of a certain size.
Due to the schedule changes brought on by the pandemic, I am not currently a member of a pool so I could not test them while swimming like I did with the last waterproof helmet I tested. Hopefully the New Year will bring some relaxed restrictions and, for me, a less busy schedule, so I can get back into regular laps. If that happens, I will be sure to come back and update this review with performance, if there is anything glaring of interest. I don’t foresee any, but then nobody anticipated a global pandemic and a shipping crisis, did they?
What I like
- Improves safety for cycling, running and other outdoor exercise
- His full fidelity
What i would change
- I would like to be able to connect it to my Audible account
- I would also like to use it with Apple Music
We are a culture saturated with audio. From the radio in our cars to Muzak in every store, to gas pumps playing music – it’s everywhere. Customizing this constant barrage is something we’ve been doing since the release of the first Sony Walkman. Having this ability while we swim and play other active sports requires a little more of a device than what you get with the latest earbuds on your daily driver’s phone. The AfterShokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction MP3 Swimming Headphones, by offering on-board storage and full IP68 protection, is a great product here at a very competitive price. Along with our shift to cassettes, records, and iPods, however, has been our shift to streaming services. Even though I can download files from Apple Music to my devices, these files cannot be moved to the Xtrainerz. Only files that I have ripped from CDs or purchased online can be converted to the correct format and installed. Although this is a huge gap in usability, at this point many of us still have “Rip, Mix, Burn” files these days. But I don’t think it’s going to last too long in the future. If there was a way to more easily get files through existing subscription services, I would find this device much more useful. As it is, it’s still great, but my listening options are a bit limited without a lot of work.
Price: $ 149.99
Or buy: Company online store and Amazon
Source: The sample for this product was provided by Aftershokz.