In this review we look at the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, a headphone for athletes using an interesting Wireless Bone Conduction technology.
With a huge amount of different headphones on the market, manufacturers have to do their utmost to make their models stand out. But with the current pace of new developments that is difficult; even of noise canceling and audio optimization, the average user no longer looks up.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium – Features
But then there is the Trekz Titanium from Aftershokz, which uses bone conduction technology. Explanation? The headphones use transducers, which produce an ultrasonic sound wave with electrical voltage. The vibrations reach your cochlea via your cartilage, allowing you to perceive sound without burdening the eardrum. The Trekz Titanium is therefore not on or in your ear, but next to it: open-ear. Unlike the in-on, on- or over-ear headphones that we are used to.
The biggest advantage of this method is that your ears remain uncovered so that you can enjoy your music without dampening the ambient noise. Add to that the Trekz is sweat resistant, requires no cables, only weighs 36 grams and is specially designed to not get in the way and you have – in theory – headphones that are convenient and safe for (outdoor) athletes. Also handy: it is equipped with two noise canceling microphones for calling without difficulty.
The frequency range of the Aftershokz is also what we are used to of average headphones: 20Hz to 20kHz. The lithium ion battery must be able to play music for up to 6 hours in succession. We can not say anything about the size and material of the drivers, because indeed … they are not there.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium – The first impression
Although the (still hefty) price of € 149.95 seems to be mainly based on the technology, you get some extras. In the box you will find two rubber straps that can possibly provide a better fit, two plugs for when you do not want to hear any ambient noise and a bag to transport the Trekz. Pairing with your phone is, as we are used to, very fast. You are connected and good to go within a minute.
Furthermore, this is probably one of the most flexible headphones we have ever had. When we received the model, we were challenged to mainly abuse it and we do not let that be said twice. No matter how you turn, stretch or bend it, the Trekz Titanium jumps back in its original form. We were promised that he would be “virtually indestructible” and Aftershokz seems to be able to make that claim hard. The supplied bag seems therefore fairly unnecessary.
Listening to music via the Trekz Titanium is primarily strange at first. Although we knew about what we could expect, it is a special experience to continue to hear ambient sounds while your music is clearly audible. An open headset does not even come close. In addition, you will initially feel a lot of vibration on your skull, especially with a higher volume. This tickles a bit and is quite annoying, but it gets used up quickly. What is important to know is that the sound of the Trekz light is audible to your surroundings, despite the fact that your eardrums would be skipped. That makes him equally unsuitable for (for example) office, where headphones that do not cover your ears would in principle be ideal.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium – Sound
Although Aftershokz with the Trekz Titanium does not aim at the highest reproduction quality with the best details, it is nevertheless important to be able to listen decently to your music. And that is fortunately no problem. The music is more clearly audible, yet a bit surprising, and does not sound bad at all. Where the Trekz mainly fails in the low regions. The high dominates properly and after a few songs that gets pretty tiring. The headphones are best used with acoustic numbers – but let that be music that you usually do not listen to while exercising. You can often motivate extra energetic tracks with a nice, driving bass and that makes the lack of dynamic, tight low in the Trekz really a loss.
Incidentally, it is possible to conjure up the bass: the rubber earplugs. If you use the supplied copies (or your own, hopefully slightly more comfortable), the layer is present. Is that the solution? Well, no, not either. It creates a rather woolly sound, as if your music is listening through a thick, closed door. And you guessed it: that is at the expense of the details, which does not make it very pleasant. Moreover, in this way you negate the whole idea of open-ear headphones.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium – Comfort
Thanks to the extremely low weight and the fact that it rests unobtrusively on your ears, the Trekz Titanium is easy to carry, almost imperceptibly. Athletes with a smaller head can use the included rubber straps to keep the headphones in place. Unfortunately we have not been able to test how well that works because there was simply no one present with a small head.
We would only have liked to have seen that athletes with a slightly larger head – such as the reviewer – were indeed taken into account. An adjustable variant, perhaps? In general, the Trekz is fine, but when turning the head (you do that astonishingly a lot during exercise) he often shifts. The result is that you are regularly correcting. It does not make the Aftershokz useless, so you do not have to stop your big head to use the headset.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium – Use
What Aftershokz proves to be very successful in the promotional texts is safety during (outdoor) sports. Because your ears are not covered, you as a runner or cyclist not only hear the music, but also upcoming cars and other road users. But does the audio remain intact during exercise? Time to pull the mountain bike out of the barn.
Because we are promised that the Trekz battery has to last for more than six hours, it does not have to be recharged anymore. That’s a good thing too, because for charging you can take two hours off – quite annoying when you’re about to exercise and forget to charge the Trekz. We counter that disadvantage with a plus point: he gets the six hours of battery life without problems.
With the buttons on the right side, behind your ear, you can easily adjust the volume. On the left side you will find a multifunction button, with which you can not only pause your music, but also take and end telephone calls. If you hold it a little longer, you can use the same voice commands that you normally use with your phone. So you do not have to look at your phone at all. A tick in the ‘safety’ category.
Already after a few minutes on the mountain bike the benefits of bone conduction technology become clear. After using in-ears, the open-ears are a relief. You do not have to look back three times if you want to cross and cycling on a road where cars drive past is suddenly a lot less frightening. The sound quality is perfect for background music but, as expected, after a little half an hour it gets boring. The dynamism and energy to remain really fascinating is unfortunately not present.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium – Conclusion
In short: the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is perfect for a nice piece of background music during exercise. Not much more, but certainly not less. The sound he produces is good enough for most situations in which you will wear it, although the lack of bass is a strong point of criticism. Honest is fair, for less money you already have Bluetooth in-ears that sound better. But if you as an athlete are looking for headphones that let you enjoy music in the safest possible way, then Aftershokz offers you a very good option. And your safety is worth something, right?