two minute review
shokz (formerly known as aftershokz) has long held the top spot in our guide to the best running headphones, and the openrun pro is the best sounding headphone yet.
the main difference between this new pair of headphones and the shokz openrun (originally called aeropex) is the addition of new bass drivers to the ear pads that channel vibrations towards the auditory nerve.
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The improvement is immediately noticeable when you press play, and means that opting for bone conduction over in-ear headphones no longer means a huge compromise in sound quality. it’s particularly impressive if you like heavy music, which is much richer than other bone conduction headphones.
The downside of the new transducers is that they vibrate more noticeably against the skin. it’s just a tingle, but if you prefer to run at high volume, it may become irritating over time. all bone conduction headphones suffer from this to some degree (it’s pretty much unavoidable due to the way they work), but the extra bass means it’s particularly noticeable here.
- shokz openrun pro at best buy for $179.95 (opens in a new tab)
The other updates here are small, but carefully designed. for example, the control buttons used to adjust power, volume, and tracks are now slightly larger, so they’re easier to press when you’re wearing headphones. shokz has also relocated the openrun pro’s charging connector so that it no longer occupies the same area as the buttons and is easier to use.
Like the recently updated OpenRun, the OpenRun Pro has a fast-charging feature that gives you an hour and a half of playback after just five minutes of charging; A game changer if you forgot to turn them on and it’s time to hit the gym. if you rely on melodies for exercise, they are highly recommended.
price and release date
- most expensive shokz to date
- available to order now
shokz openrun pro was announced at ces 2022 on January 5, 2022 and was available for pre-order from the company’s website (opens in a new tab) on the same day for $179.95 (about £ 130/au$250). that makes them the most expensive headphones in the shokz range.
for comparison, the shokz openrun (originally known as the aftershokz aeropex) was $159.95/£149.95 (around au$240) when it landed in October 2020. At the budget end of the range, the shokz openmove launched at $99.95/£79.95 (around AU$140),
- larger buttons than openrun
- repositioned magnetic charging port
- endurance rating waterproof ip55
shokz found a design that works, and the pros at openrun don’t deviate from that formula. Following the same open scheme as the company’s other headphones, they have a pair of pads that are placed on the cheekbones and transmit sound through vibrations to the auditory nerve, leaving the ear canals open. these pads are held together by a flexible yet elastic titanium band, which keeps them firmly in place while you run without ever pinching you (a problem we sometimes had with the cheap shokz openmove).
A large button on the left panel lets you take calls using the headset’s built-in microphone, and the right panel features multi-function controls for power, volume, tracking, and battery status.
openrun pro are currently available in black and blue.
At first glance, the new headset looks almost identical to its predecessor, the openrun, but there are some significant differences. First, the control buttons are larger, making it easy to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and turn the headphones on and off without seeing what you’re doing. holding down the volume down button during playback will tell you if the power level is high, medium, or low.
Secondly, the charging connector has been relocated. Like the OpenRun, the OpenRun Pro uses a proprietary magnetic charging cable, which is much easier to connect than the fiddly Micro-USB used by older models. however, for the newer model, shokz moved the charging port so that it is no longer in line with the control buttons, making it easier to connect the cable.
In all other respects, the two headsets are very similar. The OpenRun Pro is very light and comfortable, even for long runs, and its lightweight titanium construction means it never bounces as you move.
they have a water resistance rating of ip55, which means they’ll be fine when you’re sweating a lot or running in the rain, but they’re not suitable for swimming. for that, you’ll want a pair of waterproof headphones like the shokz openswim.
the sound quality of the shokz openrun pro is extremely impressive. the new bass drivers make a real difference, and the overall result far exceeds anything we’ve experienced with bone conduction headphones in the past. we particularly enjoy a rock and metal playlist while running, and the openrun pro is the first model that really does heavy music justice. It’s still not up to par with a top-tier conventional pair of headphones, but the gap is definitely closing.
The downside of extra bass is that you not only hear it, but you can feel it as a more noticeable buzz against your face that pulsates with each beat. All bone conduction headphones produce this effect to some degree at high volumes, but it’s particularly noticeable with the openrun pro.
The sensation isn’t uncomfortable, and unless you turn the volume all the way up, it’s little more than a tingle, but if you use your headphones while concentrating on work, you might find it distracting.
another common problem with bone conduction headphones is sound leakage; With no silicone seal between the transducers and the outside world, it can be easy for nearby people to hear your songs, audiobooks, and phone calls. You might annoy your co-workers in a quiet office if you turn up the volume on the openmove pro, but when kept at moderate levels, these are the least leaky shokz headphones we’ve tested to date.
Despite the enhanced bass, ambient noise remains clear thanks to the open-ear design. Many noise-cancelling headphones have a “transparency” mode that uses a microphone to transmit external sound into your ear, but this doesn’t provide the same directional awareness that you get with bone conduction headphones.
When aftershokz announced it would be changing its name to ‘shokz’ in December 2021, it also launched a new version of its fast-charging bone conduction aeropex headphones. this is a feature that carries over to the openrun pro, and a five-minute charge while changing into and lacing up your running shoes will provide 1.5 hours of playback.
When the openrun pro starts to run out of power, a voice will warn you that it’s time to charge it. you’ll get two warnings before the headphones turn off, so if you’re close to home or at your desk, you’ll have time to plug them in.
A full charge will keep your music playing for up to 10 hours (a figure that matches our tests), which is the most impressive battery life of any headphone we’ve tested to date. If you have turned off other bone conduction headphones due to their short playback time, OpenRun Pro is worth a look. you might be pleasantly surprised.
buy it if
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- we have tested and ranked the best running watches