I recently received an exciting package from Aftershokz to test their Bone Conduction Technology provided in their Trekz Titanium. I was very excited to find a product that answered some of my most pressing questions when camping, hiking, working out and adventuring.
How can I hear what is around me if I have in an earbud?
How can I comfortably listen to music for extended lengths of time?
Can I have something which is reasonably fashionable to listen to my music?
So why is it so important to have your ears free when you are performing activities outside? Well in my personal experience I have found that awareness of your surroundings can make all the difference.
When I travel with friends many times we have a speaker we travel with, and while we enjoy it, not everyone around us typically likes the same music we do. This poses a problem.
When I travel alone, it doesn’t matter if I am hiking or just exploring an area, I always need to know what is going on around me. From hearing the stops on the METRO clearly to hearing the leaves rustling around me to signal a potential animal in the area, there are so many reasons that knowing what is going on around you can come in handy. But from my vantage point hearing traffic and people is the most important because you never know what is going on when you completely block out the world.
I saw a study conducted over 7 years (2004-2011) which stated there were some 116 people who died as a result of wearing earphones of earbuds and not hearing what was going on around them. While 68% of those effected by this were men under the age of 30, I still was really disturbed to see that the number was so high considering it is something we don’t typically consider to be something dangerous. That got me really wondering if I could solve both my scenarios and the potential issues by simply trying a new style of listening device.
Information & Specs:
Name: Aftershokz Trekz Titanium
Retail Price: $99.95
Includes: Carrying Bag & Charger Cord (cube/plug port not included)
Color Options: Slate (Grey/Black), Pink, Ocean (Blue/Black), Ivy (Green/Black), Red
Shipping on this item was pretty rapid. From the initial order to delivery at the door was only 4 days. The package arrived via USPS and was in great condition. The box itself was well packaged to prevent denting or tearing of packaging. The product was secured well in the container with the remainder of the items which were included packaged behind the item’s plastic packaging.
Packaging of this item was very well thought and attractive. I was pleased to open the box and discover the item inside. The see through boxing really made for an exciting reveal when I initially opened the packaging. The bold blue color I selected was much brighter than I had even expected and presented a very vibrant look which I really wanted to get right into using.
As I continued unboxing I did find it a bit odd that there was no charger port, only the cord was included. Still, I like most phone users, have more than a couple extras so I didn’t find this to be a deal breaker on my feeling of the product.
I was ready to get these right out of the box and start using them, I was a bit disappointed that there was no charge to them whatsoever. Usually an item like this at least provides a bit of charge for you to start off using it straight out, however with these I had to wait. And not just a bit, I had to leave them charging for several hours before I could actually begin the process of utilizing them. This was a bit discouraging.
After the Trekz Titanium had fully charged I was able to finally initiate the connection process. As there are no cords on these headphones, they need only a device which can be connected via bluetooth, for me this meant my IPhone. I have connected devices previous, so for me this seemed to be a very simplistic process to set up. Simply holding down the “+” button on the headphones for 5 seconds activates the power. From this point you simply go into your phone settings, turn on Bluetooth and find the discoverable Trekz Titanium option.
Wearing the Trekz Titanium was pretty comfortable. Fitting just over the ear and in front of the drum itself, the phones kept that irritating feeling of pressure from building over time through use. I found the fit to be comfortable, though one size fits all did become a little looser feeling when I was running and bouncing in contrast to walking or hiking at an even pace. The back of the Trekz do not fit flush with my head personally, I do have a smaller head however so this might not be the case for all users.
The technology behind the Trekz Titanium and other Aftershokz products utilizes Bone Conduction Technology. This simply means, they sit on the outer ear to provide sound while also allowing the user to still hear what is going on around them. Unlike earbuds which fit inside the ear and create pain over time or earphones which are bulky these are designed to be streamlined and provide a more comfortable wear.
When I was wearing them I noticed that the sound was a little light in the bass when I turned it on and as I turned up the sound to get more of the bass it lowered the amount of sound from outside I could actually hear. The sound quality was very crisp and did not muddle the sounds of my music. Another negative about turning up the music was that others could then hear what I was listening to if I was standing near them. I don’t know if that is the best experience for others around me when wearing them if I really want to crank up my volume to get a good workout pump if out and about. Certainly it didn’t make me the most considerate person on the hiking trail when I encountered someone else, I felt like I needed to turn down my volume.
Comfortable on ears
Able to hear outdoor sounds when volume is at moderate level
Variety in colors and styles
Simple Set Up
Compatible With Most Devices (I could not however connect to my MacBook)
Fit a bit large on my head personally, although this did allow for plenty of space for a hat or headband
When listening at louder volumes less ability to hear outdoor sounds and also can be heard by those around you
Does not come charged
Rating this item is a little difficult because the technology behind them is pretty genius and fits all my needs as a person who spends a lot of time in the outdoors. However the few small things which I could see as areas of possible improvement do bring them down a bit.
After really going back and forth on which of these things were really deal breakers and which were just things which obviously come with the territory of Bone Conduction Technology, I settled upon a rating of a 4 of 5.
While I do feel like fit was a factor for me personally, I do not feel it would be to every individual user. The main area which I feel should be improved upon would be the bass sound being more clear at lower levels. I feel like had it have been I would have never had to turn up the volume to cancel the sounds around me, nor would I have been “that hiker” who has their music up loud.
Overall the idea of the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is something which meets a lot of my needs as a solo hiker and camper. It provides a great service which otherwise I was hesitant to explore due to safety while in remote areas with animals and other warning sounds of which you need to be fully aware.