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AfterShokz Bluez are surprisingly comfortable

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | April 18, 2013
AfterShokz, the company made waves with its bone-conduction technology, has a new pair of headphones out. The AfterShokz Bluez are open-ear headphones just like the company's other offerings, but with a bonus upgrade: They're wireless and connect to your smartphone or MP3 player using Bluetooth.

The other buttons are located at the end of the headphones, on the other side of the transducer pads. On the outside of right transducer pad, there's a small, triangle-shaped play/pause button; on the outside of the left pad there's a call button for picking up incoming phone calls. There's also a small microphone on the left transducer pad. In my tests, calls were fairly easy to hear, though callers on the other end of the line reported the Bluez' sound to be slightly fuzzier than AfterShokz' other headphones.

In general, AfterShokz' headphones are not known for their high-quality audio. After all, they are bone-conduction headphones which means there's only so much bass (read: not very much at all) that can feasibly come through. Here, the Bluez are no exception--these are definitely not studio-quality headphones. However, the Bluez' sound quality is much better than that of AfterShokz' first generation mobile headphones, and you can actually hear some bass and decently clear midtones. The Bluez also get extremely loud, which makes them generally excellent for loud environments.

The Bluez seem to be AfterShokz' answer to Bluetooth headsets--the company even states that they sit comfortably in front of both ears while "most Bluetooth devices are designed for use in one ear." The problem with this, of course, is that, like other bone-conduction headphones, the Bluez offer absolutely no conversation privacy. So they're only useful as a replacement for your Bluetooth headset if you don't mind everyone on the street hearing your entire phone conversation.

Bottom line

AfterShokz' Bluez headphones are a great choice-for certain demographics. If you're at all concerned with ambient noise on your workouts, the Bluez will help you hear both your music or phone conversation as well as what's going on around you. And if you hate wires, the Bluez are a great alternative to AfterShokz' wired headphones.

However, if you like working out in quieter spaces, the Bluez will not keep your music or your conversation private (and that can be rather annoying to other gym patrons). At $120, I'm not sure the Bluez are a good buy for such environment-specific equipment.


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