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Shokz OpenRun Pro review: Outstanding bone conduction headset for safe training

After trying out a bone conduction headset, it is now the only type of headset I use for outdoor running.

After 10 years of providing amazing open ear bone conduction products, AfterShokz was rebranded to Shokz. Existing headset names were also changed, so products like the AfterShokz Aeropex I recently reviewed are now named the Shokz OpenRun. Other current products include the OpenComm, OpenMove, and OpenSwim headsets.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been running in the dark and cold here in Washington with the new OpenRun Pro headset that builds upon the excellent OpenRun headset. Improvements include the use of Shokz's ninth-generation bone conduction technology with PremiumPitch 2.0 audio, TurboPitch technology, larger buttons, repositioned charging port, 10-hour battery life, and quick charging support. It's clear that the OpenRun Pro is the best bone conduction headset I have ever used.

9.8

Like

  • Comfortable and secure fit
  • Ears remain open for safety
  • Large physical buttons
  • 10 hour battery life
  • Quick charge support

Don't Like

  • Limited to IP55 sweat resistance

I first tried out AfterShokz bone conduction technology with the Trekz Air in 2018, but Shokz has been developing its bone conduction for over a decade. It's clear in the quality of the headset. If you enjoy music when you workout, then I highly recommend the Shokz OpenRun Pro. There are even some races where only bone conduction headphones are allowed due to the fact that your ear remains open to hear those around you.


Also: The best sports watches in 2022: Garmin, Coros, Polar, and more


Hardware

The retail package includes the headset, rigid zippered storage case, and a magnetic charging cable. The storage case is much improved over the soft silicone case provided with the previous OpenRun headset. It is rigid with a fabric outer covering and stiff foam insert to perfectly hold the OpenRun Pro in position. There is an elastic fabric loop under the top that is designed to hold the charging cable in place. A secure zipper keeps the case closed while traveling with the headset.

The headset has a matte finish with a titanium frame holding the pieces together. This design helps provide you with a very light, comfortable, and durable headset for years of use. There is zero pressure or discomfort caused by extended wear of the headset.

The two buttons on the bottom of the right side panel are easy to find with your fingers while running and work perfectly to control the audio experience. The charging port has been shifted to the back of the right panel, and the magnetic induction cable attaches easily and securely. This charging mechanism may also help keep the headset reliable for years, since there is no opening for water to get into the headset. 

The large multifunction button, located on the outside of the left end piece of the headset that sits forward of your ear, is used to play/pause music, skip to the next song, go back to the previous song, answer/end calls, reject calls, redial the last number, and launch your preferred device voice assistant. The power and volume buttons obviously control power and volume, but they are also used to mute calls and check battery status.

Shokz advertises up to 10 hours of battery life and that matches my experiences. This is a two-hour improvement over the Aeropex headset. Dust/water resistance is IP55, compared to IP67 on the OpenRun , but this level should still be just fine for preventing any damage due to sweat or running in the rain. I spend much of my time running in the rain so must have some level of water resistance with my tech.

A new feature found in the OpenRun Pro is the support for quick charging. A five-minute charge provides you with up to 1.5 hours of listening time. If your headset is ever completely dead, you can plug it in while you get your running gear together and then be set for a half marathon training session.

The OpenRun Pro also supports multipoint pairing, so you can connect to two devices at once, which is useful if you want to connect to a phone and a watch or a phone and a tablet at the same time.

Specifications

  • Microphones: Dual noise-canceling boom mic
  • Dust/water resistance: IP55 rating
  • Battery life: 140 mAh. Up to 10 hours of play. Five minutes provides 1.5 hours of playback and one hour for a full charge.
  • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
  • Earbud weight: 29 grams

Smartphone app

Another new feature for the OpenRun Pro is a companion smartphone app for iOS and Android. There were three firmware updates for my review sample since I started my review, and the smartphone app is used to perform these updates.

The software shows you the remaining battery percentage, provides a toggle for multipoint pairing, has buttons for standard or vocal equalizer settings, and lets you control the audio playback from the app. The app is also used to control prompt and app languages while also supporting firmware updates.


Also: AfterShokz Aeropex review: Impressive bone conduction headset with long battery life, solid performance


Daily usage experiences and conclusions

The Shokz OpenRun Pro is available now in black for $179.95. More color options will be announced later in 2022. The OpenRun is priced at $129.95, so for $50 more you get two additional hours of listening, a better storage case, smartphone app support, and newer generation bone conduction technology and associated improved performance. If you use your headset often for working out, then the $50 price difference is definitely worth it.

The OpenRun Pro headset is the first from Shokz with its TurboPitch technology that adds two bass enhancers into the transducers. With early bone conduction headphones, I accepted the tradeoff in audio quality to have a safer running experience. However, Shokz keeps improving its technology so that the volume level is great, audio is crisp and clear, bass is solid, voice assistant support works flawlessly, and even call quality is good. 

Thus, I no longer consider using bone conduction headphones as a compromise for workout headphones.

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