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AfterShokz Trekz Air review:AfterShokz Trekz Air: The best bone-conduction headphone yet

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The Good The AfterShokz Trekz Air is a slimmed down bone-conduction headphone that offers improved sound and is very comfortable to wear, leaving your ears open to hear the outside world. It works well as a headset for making cell-phone call and comes with a nice carrying pouch.

The Bad While the sound quality is improved, it's still not as good as what you'd get from a comparably priced "traditional" headphone.

The Bottom Line The AfterShokz Trekz Air is a very likable sports headphone, particularly for people who want a secure fitting headphone that doesn't cover or prod their ears.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 7
  • Sound 7
  • Value 7

Truth be told, I haven't reviewed a bone-conduction headphone for several years. The reason for that was the early models I tested from AfterShokz sounded so bad it was hard to recommend them to anyone. But AfterShokz's designs and technology have come a long way since then, and its new $150 (£150) Trekz Air is a compelling wireless sports headphone. It doesn't appear to be available in Australia, but the US price translates to around AU$195.

In case you don't know what a bone-conduction headphone is, it's one that delivers sound through your cheekbones. That's right: The headphone ($101 at Walmart) driver doesn't go in your ears or cover them; instead, it sits directly in front of them, resting on your face.

The slimmer Trekz Air is 20 percent lighter than the Trekz Titanium.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The big benefit of the technology is that thanks to its open design, you can hear what's going on around you while listening to music or having a phone conversation through the headphone. That openness allows runners and bikers to hear traffic, an important safety feature. Also, some race coordinators don't allow you to wear anything in your ears, which is where a headphone like the Trekz Air ($149 at Amazon) comes in handy, particularly for people who need to listen to music while they run.

The Trekz Air is the trimmed-down sequel to the well-received Trekz Titanium. It's 20 percent lighter than the Titanium, weighing 29.5 grams, and more comfortable to wear (its frame and wraparound band also incorporate titanium into their structure).

There are some buttons on the right side that let you control playback and volume. They're pretty small and a little hard to operate by feel, but they're there and do work.

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