Cool Gadget at CES: AfterShokz Headphones

When I got an email about “ear-free headphones that transport sound through your cheekbones”, I was instantly intrigued, and I said I’ll check their booth out at CES. I’m glad I did, because they’re quite cool!

AfterShokz Sport headphones enable joggers, bike riders, skiers, skateboarders, hikers and other athletes to safely use their portable music players while staying connected to their surroundings. Since AfterShokz headphones rest outside the ear, users are able to also hear ambient noises such as oncoming traffic, car horns, ambulances or other warning noises, potentially preventing accidents. Headphones that cover the ear and earbuds that nest inside the ear significantly restrict a user’s ability to hear these important sounds.

Headphones typically try to cancel noise, but AfterShokz is designed to allow you to hear noise around you. That’s useful for running, walking, etc, or for my case, bicycling to school. Being able to hear that car behind you while listening to music is essential if you don’t want to die.

There are a few disadvantages to AfterShokz. Firstly, there’s a big brick attached to the audio cable… that’s the headphone’s rechargeable battery. Your volume controls and the on/off button is also on there. This brick is decently heavy, so you definitely need to clip it to your clothes while running.

Also, the visual design is definitely hit or miss. My friend lauged at me when he saw these on my head.

And finally, strong bass sounds actually emit a physical vibration, which can be weird. If you turn your music down, you won’t feel that.

Overall, the headphones are quite neat, and are actually great for first-person shooter games, since the vibration from bullet sound effects feels awesome. Music quality is good (nothing like Monster headphones of course). Check them out at AfterShokz’s website.

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