We love listening to music while riding our bike. However, that can get dangerous fast, especially in the city or in traffic elsewhere. With the OpenFit, Shokz present their first true wireless earbuds. They’re not supposed to cut you off from the world outside, though.
Enjoying music and still not oblivious to the world – that is Shokz’s motto in manufacturing its earplugs. They offer open-ear headphones for various situations from sports to work to commuting. The new OpenFit, available at € 199, is their latest invention and the first model that transmits the sound in the ordinary way via sound waves instead of over the small bone of the ear (as is the case with their other models). Also, the OpenFit are their first true wireless earphones: they are attached directly to the ear and need no cables. To keep the headphones in place, they sport the beautifully-named dolphin-bow ear hooks.These run out of the auricle over and behind the ear towards the back end of the headphones. These hooks contain a so-called memory wire that is designed to adjust to any ear shape. Last but not least, the earbuds are fully covered in silicone: we’re done with the unpleasant feel of plastic on the skin.
The OpenFit weigh 8 g per earbud and are supposed to offer a battery running time of up to 7 h depending on the volume you choose. Together with the charging time of the shell, Shokz claims a total running time of up to 28 h. The headphones offer splash water protection according to IP54, which means that rain or sweat will do them no harm. You shouldn’t go diving with the OpenFit, though. For those who like to swim with headphones, Shokz have the OpenSwim in store.
The sound can be individualised via the app, and the earbuds are controlled via small touchpads on its sides. The standard control is: double-click for play/pause and press for three seconds on the right to jump to the next title and the same on the left to jump to the previous one. The controls can be adjusted via app to add volume control on the earbuds. However, the contold on the touchpad are limited to the four options as described above. The touchpad itself doesn’t give you any haptic feedback, but there is acoustic feedback through the headphones.
The Shokz OpenFit are quite light at 8 g per piece, even though they are slightly heavier than other true wireless headphones due to their construction. Nevertheless, they are light enough not to bother you at all when you are wearing them. Donning them for the first time, they feel a little odd. That’s because the speakers sit distinctly higher in the ear as is usual with classic in-ear buds. That’s fully intended, of course, to keep the auditory canal open for surrounding noises.
The fit also feels unusual in the beginning. The headphones sit so loosely on the ear that you might worry about losing them at the first movement of the head. However, that hasn’t happened during the whole test period – not even once! Our colleagues from ENDURO said the same thing – and they tested the headphones on much wilder trails. Therefore, the loose fit of the OpenFit is a great strength: they still feel extremely comfortable even after a long wear. So comfortable, in fact, that we often forgot we were even wearing them. Also, even in combination with glasses and temple stems they don’t feel uncomfortable.
The sound of the OpenFit headphones is good – clear and well-nuanced. Because of the lack of shielding, the basses sound a bit weak, though. As the auditory canal remains free, quite a lot of wind noise reaches the ear. Therefore, if you ride faster than, say, 20 km/h, you have to increase the volume significantly. When riding at a leisurely pace, and especially in city traffic, it is a great bonus to stay alert to what’s going on around you. Making phone calls with the Shokz also works well on the bike: the microphone filters out wind noise quite effectively. And even though they only sit loosely in the ear, the people in the vicinity, for example on the bus or train, cannot listen in on your music.
With the OpenFit, Shokz have added to their already large portfolio of open-ear headphones designed for various purposes. But with this product, they go one step further by launching their first true wireless headphones. The earbuds offer good sound but at over 20 km/h, the wind noises start to interfere. The fit of the OpenFit is top-notch, and they remain very comfortable and absolutely safe even when you wear them for a long time.
- excellent wearing comfort
- perfect fit
- good sound quality
- strong wind noises at over 20 km/h
For more information visit shokz.com.
Words & Photos: Simon Kohler