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Shokz OpenFit delivers open-ear audio without bone conduction

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Open-ear audio

Introducing the Shokz OpenFit: A New Take on Open-Ear Audio

Shokz, known for their bone conduction headsets, is shaking things up with their latest offering. Today, they unveiled the Shokz OpenFit Bluetooth earbuds ($179.95), a departure from their traditional bone conduction technology. These innovative earbuds, referred to as “air conduction,” provide an open-ear design that keeps you aware of your surroundings without compromising audio quality.

Unlike traditional in-ear buds, the OpenFit earbuds rest just outside your ears and are secured in place with over-the-ear hooks. Designed for everyday use, they excel at maintaining your situational awareness while remaining comfortable during extended wear.

The OpenFit strikes a balance between the audio performance of in-ear buds and the environmental awareness of bone conduction technology. They deliver superior sound quality, including enhanced bass, compared to bone conduction models while still allowing you to hear ambient sounds. However, they are not intended as a complete replacement for in-ear buds. It’s worth noting that they may struggle with handling intense low-frequency sounds in dance music.

In terms of appearance, the OpenFit earbuds resemble typical earbuds. They come with a charging case and feature dolphin arc hooks that fit comfortably over your ears. Available in matte black or beige, these earbuds boast a lightweight design with a soft silicone exterior. Wearing them feels effortless, and you might even forget you have them on. They are notably lighter and more comfortable than Shokz’s single-unit bone conduction models, eliminating the need for a band around the back of your head.

Photo by Jon Turi / BuyTechBlog

Shokz has included convenient touch controls with the OpenFit earbuds. You can perform double-tap and long-press actions on the earbuds, and the responsiveness is excellent. Additionally, you have the option to customize the controls through the iOS or Android apps, although the Android app will be available at a later date. It’s possible to use a single earbud while storing the other in the charging case, but note that the touch control setting will be limited to your chosen earbud.

While Shokz’s previous offerings were primarily targeted at fitness enthusiasts (except for the OpenComm series), the OpenFit earbuds cater to a broader lifestyle market. They are perfect for wearing throughout your day without relying on digital transparency modes to hear your surroundings. The earbuds themselves have an IP54 rating, making them suitable for workouts, but the charging case is not. To maintain optimal performance, it’s advisable to wipe them clean before storing them.

The OpenFit earbuds, combined with their ear hooks, excel at staying securely in place. Whether you’re running, weightlifting, stretching, or engaging in physical activities, there’s no need to worry about them falling off. Despite not being inserted into the ear canal, they remain stable during movement.

Photo by Jon Turi / BuyTechBlog

Regarding specifications, the Shokz OpenFit earbuds utilize Bluetooth 5.2 technology, offer a frequency response range of 50Hz – 16kHz, and support AAC and SBC codecs. Inside each earbud, there are 18 x 11mm customized dynamic drivers, ensuring impressive audio output. The battery life of the earbuds provides up to 7 hours of listening time on a single charge, and the charging case extends that to a total of 28 hours of playback. Just 5 minutes of charging can provide an hour of listening time, which is ideal for quick top-ups before workouts or outdoor activities.

One common drawback of bone conduction headsets has been the lack of bass. However, with the OpenFit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Open-ear audio

What is the difference between the Shokz OpenFit and bone conduction headsets?

The Shokz OpenFit is a departure from bone conduction technology. While bone conduction headsets transmit sound through vibrations in the bones, the OpenFit utilizes air conduction to deliver audio. This results in better audio quality, including enhanced bass, while still allowing you to hear your surroundings to some extent.

Are the Shokz OpenFit earbuds suitable for workouts?

Yes, the OpenFit earbuds are designed for active use. They come with over-the-ear hooks that keep them securely in place during physical activities like running, weightlifting, and stretching. Additionally, the earbuds have an IP54 rating, making them resistant to sweat and moisture.

Can I customize the touch controls on the Shokz OpenFit earbuds?

Yes, Shokz provides an iOS and Android app that allows you to customize the touch controls. You can assign different functions to double-tap and long-press interactions, giving you control over playback, volume, and more.

How long does the battery of the Shokz OpenFit earbuds last?

On a single charge, the OpenFit earbuds provide up to 7 hours of listening time. The included charging case can extend the total playback time to 28 hours. Additionally, just 5 minutes of charging gives you approximately one hour of listening time.

Can I use only one earbud at a time with the Shokz OpenFit?

Yes, you can use a single earbud while keeping the other one inside the charging case. However, please note that the touch control settings will be limited to the chosen earbud.

Are the Shokz OpenFit earbuds suitable for complete noise isolation?

No, the OpenFit earbuds provide an open-ear design, allowing you to maintain situational awareness. While they deliver impressive audio quality, they do not completely isolate you from your surroundings.

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