LAS VEGAS--You can't really call AfterShokz products earphones, because they don't go into your ears. The term "headphones" works, though. Last year at CES, the company unveiled its original design, corded headphones that send the music into your mind via your bone structure. The new Bluetooth Bluez takes the same approach, but it's all done in wireless style.
The controls and battery are integrated into the part of the headphones that wraps around the back of your head. A rubbery strip helps customize the fit and keep them in place for active users.
The big selling point is how AfterShokz keeps your hearing available for more important issues than music, like your boss yelling at you, or a car coming up from behind while you're jogging. The $100 Bluez is a couple of steps up from the originals, ditching the hassle of cords and other dangly bits that can get in the way while you're exercising.
I tried on the Bluez at CES 2013. The first thing you notice is the buzzing sensation of the headphones against your skin. Soon enough, you don't notice it anymore. As someone who constantly battles with keeping earphones in place, the over-the-ear mounting style and the way the gadget sits above the back of your cheekbones is quite comfortable.
The bone conduction technology won't deliver audiophile sound, but that's not the point of the device. This is pretty much the opposite of noise isolation. The sound is plenty good enough to enjoy your tunes.
Now that AfterShokz has gone wireless and bagged a 2013 CES Innovations award, it will be interesting to see how the company evolves the headphones over time. In the meantime, you might be perfectly satisfied with getting the Bluez.
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