In December 2021, Shokz changed its name to AfterShokz with its range of bone-conduction headphones. These headphones are ideal for those who hate wearing earbuds but still desire the freedom over-ear headphones can’t offer.
They are MP3 headphones rather than wireless, so there is no Bluetooth connectivity, and the layout is fairly simple with the Shokz OpenSwim, formerly known as AfterShokz Xtrainerz. The good and the bad of that depend on what you’re looking for. We recommend that if you are a swimmer, you add an extra point to our rating and will be very happy with it. However, everyone else may have to reconsider their decision.
In my opinion, they are a little expensive for what they offer, since there is no Bluetooth in them, and they cannot be used for making and receiving phone calls. Let’s talk in detail in this Shokz OpenSwim Review.
|Ear Placement||Open Ear|
|Item Weight||1.06 ounces|
|Product Dimensions||6.69 x 5.31 x 2.72 inches|
You can easily slip it around your head. The Shokz OpenSwim should be paired with a pair of swimming goggles or a swim cap to keep them in place while swimming. Because they do not have Bluetooth connectivity, you have to transfer your music via your PC or Mac before you use them, so you don’t need to carry anything else with you when you travel.
The eight-hour battery life is enough to keep you going throughout even the longest triathlons or swimming sessions. During charging, part of the headphones is encased in the brand’s patented proprietary charger, which enables them to charge properly despite the strange-looking charger.
You can control the action of the waterproof headphones with four buttons on the right side. It’s easy to press and doesn’t require much effort.
The rest of the features are almost nonexistent. This is not a suitable headset for commuters since it does not have active noise cancellation, it does not support voice assistants, and you cannot use it for call purposes.
The Shokz OpenSwim are incredibly lightweight. They weigh just over 1 oz, which is such a minuscule amount that you will forget that you are wearing them. You don’t have to worry about finding the right fit for your ears, as they use bone-conduction technology, making them very comfortable to wear. If you place them just in front of your ears, they will transmit the sound through your bones efficiently and effectively. In the beginning, it feels like magic if you have never used such technology.
In particular, this can be very handy when swimming, as you won’t feel constrained by earbuds and won’t have to worry about them falling out while you are swimming. Having the Shokz OpenSwim under your swim cap means you won’t need to worry about that when you wear it.
The headphones come with a charging cradle. To charge the Shokz OpenSwim headphones, you will need a proprietary charger rather than a micro-USB or USB-C charger. The water leakage problem can be easily solved with the help of this solution, but we are concerned if you lose the charger. When it comes to something more standard, you always find a replacement, so if you are inclined to lose things a lot, this could become quite expensive.
In terms of the controls, we are delighted with how simple they are. You can change the mode of your music by pressing the mode button. You can also enhance your music by pressing the swimming mode button. The power button and volume/skip buttons are also located here. They are all sufficiently tactile and responsive without being overly complicated. I don’t think they’re anything special, but they work. You might not be impressed because they’re nothing special, but they just work. Generally, you do not need much more than that for most situations.
Shokz OpenSwim is an awkward product to review regarding audio performance, partly because it is safe to say that these headphones are not designed to be used at home to listen to music. The main reason why they are considered active headphones is that they allow you to listen to great background music while swimming, rather than worry about details in the mids and so on while swimming.
Because of that, the Shokz OpenSwim does an excellent job. As soon as you switch to swimming mode, you can still hear clear music even when you are splashing around. We think the bass is appropriately strong, and that’s good when you need it, but we’re not convinced anything is particularly potent here.
Battery Life and Connectivity
The Shokz OpenSwim does not support Bluetooth. When you’re swimming, that’s inconsequential, but when you’re not swimming, it’s extremely useful. The headphones can listen to MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, and FLAC formats, which can then be transferred from a PC or Mac to the headphones. It is a relatively easy task since your computer recognizes the headphones as a 4GB external hard drive, which means it is quite easy to do.
However, the file system may get confused depending on how you copy them, resulting in muddled files. If you transfer music tracks from one computer to another, you will not have a problem, but it might take some expertise to transfer audiobooks.
The shuffle feature is also a little awkward to use. The tracks are selected randomly, meaning you can end up with the same music track repeated frequently even if you have used most of the 4GB storage space on your device.
I find that eight-hour battery life is enough for a couple of long swim sessions and a few sessions when traveling between venues.
Why Should You Buy Shokz OpenSwim
These headphones are essential for swimmers who regularly go swimming. You cannot go wrong with the Shokz OpenSwim headphones, whether swimming in a pool or out in the open sea.
As far as sound quality is concerned, bone-conduction technology might not be as good as earbuds, but if you don’t like the feeling of something inside your ears, this could be an excellent option.
When it comes to people who dislike bulky headphones or earbuds, Shokz OpenSwim is an ideal option.
Why Should You Not Buy Shokz OpenSwim
There is a bit of sound leakage with the Shokz OpenSwim, which makes them not the best choice when dealing with more conventional scenarios where sound leakage is a major concern. However, that is hardly the point at all. The ability to listen to music or audiobooks while swimming is a big advantage, highlighting just who their target audience is and how they are planning to reach them.
The Shokz OpenSwim headphones are an excellent choice for regular swimmers who would like to listen to music while swimming or an audiobook while swimming. Due to the bone-conduction technology, you do not have to worry about the headphones being waterproof or having any issues with your ears due to the technology.
Upon reaching dry land, you may want to hook it up to Spotify to change things up, but for a particular purpose, these work just fine. It would be great if they had Bluetooth connectivity when they are not in the pool.