At first glance, one would think these are some very strange looking headphones. AfterShokz Sportz M2 headphones are not your traditional headphones you would find in the store, they are open ear headphones that use bone conduction technology to transfer stereophonic sound via vibrations on your cheekbones to the inner ear.
I was first introduced to AfterShokz at CES 2012. They had a very impressive product, and I could tell they were off to a good start. Well, CES 2o13 rolled around and AfterShokz was back with a bigger and more impressive booth. They had revamped their product line and made some great improvements.
AfterShokz sent me a set of the Sportz M2 headphones to review, and it has been a pure pleasure to be using these headphones. Keep on reading to see what I thought about them.
Like previously stated, the Sportz M2 are open ear headphones. They rest on your cheekbone just in front of your ears. This particular model has a in-line mic to be used with your cell phone of choice. I did all of my testing with the iPhone 5.
A key feature I like about the Sportz M2 headphones is that they are indeed good for sports. Just like several other people, I have made one of my resolutions for this year to get back in to shape. To accomplish that goal I have been working out, and working out causes one to sweat. The Sportz M2 headphones are sweat and moisture resistant. This doesn’t mean you can take them for a swim, but they can withstand a good workout.
I used the Sportz M2 for listening to music in normal conditions, workout conditions, and for handling phone calls. I found that in all situations, the Sportz M2 headphones did a good job. I don’t think they did great job, but it was very good. Now to be fair, AfterShokz headphones are the only bone conduction headphones I have ever used, so I can only compare them to standard in-ear headphones at this point.
The sound quality wasn’t as crisp as what I’ve come to expect from in-ear headphones, but for an open ear design, it was very good. I could not only hear whatever I had playing through the headphones, but I was also able to maintain awareness of ambient sounds around me. I am honestly willing to make this sacrifice in order to hear the things around me. After time, I did not even notice the difference.
The one thing that didn’t make sense to me was that I could still hear sound from the headphones even when they weren’t in place on my cheekbone. This is explained by AfterShokz as:
-Â When AfterShokz are on (with transducers resting properly against the cheekbones), the vibrations produced are so intense that some air around the transducers is being moved, creating audible, air conducted sound that some refer to as â€śleakageâ€ť.
-Â At low to moderate volume levels, the amount of sound leakage is very minimal. At high volume settings, people close to you may be able to hear your music or conversation.
When the transducers arenâ€™t pressed against cheekbones, the vibrations created instead move the air, creating air conducted sound waves that youâ€™d hear normally, much like the speakers do in your home or car stereo.
Now that has been explained, I have a better understanding of how the bone conduction headphones work.
The Sportz M2 are controlled and powered by the in-line mic controls. There is a simple on/off switch, volume buttons, and an answer/end call button. The mic is charged via micro USB connection, and it only takes two hours for a complete charge, and usage time is estimated to be at twelve hours. That amount of power should easily gets anyone through a day use.
Overall, I liked the AfterShokz Sportz M2 headphones. Everyone of my friends that has seen them and tried them has agreed. If you are interested in them, head over to the AfterShokz website and you can snag a pair for yourself for $79.95.