AfterShokz 'bone conduction' headphones - First look
Most of us know that cycling with headphones in is a big no-no, but we might make an exception with innovation from AfterShokz.
The basic idea is that, because the headphones don’t sit inside your ears, you’re still able to pick up the noise going on in your surroundings.
The bud that normally goes inside your ear sits on your cheekbones and uses ‘bone conduction‘ technology. AfterShokz say that, unlike conventional headphones that use your eardrums as transmitters, their product delivers sound through your cheekbones to your inner ears.
The headphones were apparently developed for use by military and SWAT teams, allowing people to hear both electronic communications from members of their unit and movements by their targets at the same time.
This leaves you free to pick up sounds from your surroundings without the loss of music:Oliver Woodman/BikeRadar.com
AfterShokz also claim that because the headphones don’t use the eardrum to transmit sound, they reduce the risk of damage to your ears. And because the flat, rubber transmitters sit on the cheekbones, they’re meant to be more comfortable and unable to fall when you’re riding.
The headphones are designed to work with most smartphones that have a 3.5mm jack, including the iPhone. Unlike typical models, they need to be charged up, and this can be done with the supplied USB adaptor. Claimed life on the lithium ion battery is up to 15 hours at low volume, and it can be charged up to 300 times before it starts to degrade.
The technology was first developed for military purposes:Oliver Woodman/BikeRadar.com
The headphones are sweatproof and water resistant, but not waterproof, so AfterShokz don’t advise using them in the rain. They come with a limited lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing defects.
Two versions of the AfterShokz are available – a $59.95/£49.96 Sport model and a $69.95/£58.29 Mobile version with a microphone that allows you to make phone calls. You can buy directly through the AfterShokz website in the US and Canada, and from distributor Pinpoint in the UK (via the AfterShokx UK website).