I’ve have used the Aftershokz Trekz Air for the last 1.5 years. They are wireless bone conduction headphones. Through vibrations on your cheekbones they transmit the sound. And to be honest I don’t know why there are still people out there that stuff/cover their ears with earbuds/headphones when they go outside to exercise, when you could be using bone conduction headphones.
There are also more and more races that either forbid or advice runners not to wear headphones during races, because you can’t hear the people around you or marshals giving you instructions. Often those races do allow you to wear Aftershokz headphones, because they don’t go into your ear or cover your ear, but they go in front of your ear.
I don’t use any other headphones anymore when I go outside. I use them while running to listen to music or podcasts. But I also wear them while going to the store or when traveling to listen to an audiobook. I can listen to whatever while still hearing the traffic or the people around me. I can still hear people talking to me in the street, the cashier, the stewardess or the race marshal without removing my headphones.
You can also answer calls via your headphones without needing to get out your phone. I find this a very convenient feature, since I store my phone in my Flipbelt. It is packed pretty tight in there so it doesn’t bounce around while running, but that also means it takes a while to take it out again. So not that convenient while someone is calling you. Now I can just leave my phone in my Flipbelt and just have to push a button on my Aftershokz to answer the call. There are noise filtering microphones inside the headphones that filter out the background noise, so the person on the other end doesn’t have any trouble hearing you.
Aftershokz has now released a new model, the Aeropex.
So, what has changed compared to the Aftershokz Trekz Air?
Longer battery life. The Aeropex now has 8 hours of battery life versus the 6 from the Trekz Air. I’m very happy with that, since it means I have to charge it less and now I’ll be sure it will last the entire marathon, from before I even started till after I finish.
Better sound quality. The Aeropex is louder and has a better bass. I’ve compared the Trekz Air and the Aeropex playing different genres of music and in most cases the sound of the Aeropex was clearly better than that of the Trekz Air. Only while listening to a podcast there wasn’t really a big difference in sound between the two.
It is smaller. The transducers that sit on your cheekbones are now 50% smaller than the ones on the Trekz Air. The angle is also slightly different, which I like. One of the few problems I had with the Trekz Air was that the top of my ears started to hurt after wearing them for hours on end. Not because they’re heavy, but the frame was resting on top of my ears. With the changed angle, this is no longer an issue for me.
Different charging system. The Trekz Air used micro-usb for charging and you needed to lift the cover in front to the micro-usb port to be able to plug it in. That’s no longer the case with the Aeropex. There is no cover and it’s now a magnetic charging connection that easily clicks into place. Plus, the Aeropex can detect moisture and will warn you when you’re trying to charge the device while the charging area is wet.
It is lighter. The Trekz Air is 30 grams, while the Aeropes comes in at 26 grams (according to my scale they are even 25 grams).
Less sound leakage. Because the Aftershokz don’t sit inside your ear but in front of it, there is some sound leakage, meaning that the people around you can hear what you’re listening to. I’ve also tested this and the Aeropex does have less sound leakage than the Trekz Air. And the Aeropex transducers also vibrate less than the ones on the Trekz Air.
It is waterproof. The Trekz Air has an IP55 rating, meaning it can handle a bit of rain and a bit of sweat. The Aeropex has an IP67 rating, meaning is can withstand up to a meter of water for about 30 minutes. So if you drop it into a puddle of water (not sure why you would, cause it doesn’t slip and fall of you head, but anyway, let’s say you did) it will be fine. It can withstand more than just a bit of rain, so technically, you could probably go run in a hurricane with it, although that doesn’t sound like a great idea, or take a shower with the headphones on.
You can’t really go swimming with it for a longer period of time, if you do want to do that you can get the Aftershokz Xtrainerz, which is actually IP68 waterproof, so you could go swimming with those, but they do not have Bluetooth. If you want to use the Xtrainerz you need to load your music onto the device itself. So it all depends on how much you swim and if you want to be able to connect it to your phone or not.
The main Aftershokz design features remain the same with the Aeropex. There is one button on the left transducer that allows you to pause/play (press once), skip to the next song (press twice) or pick up a call (press once while your phone is ringing).
There are also volume up and down buttons. If you hold the volume up button it wil switch the device on and off. With the Trekz Air I found the volume buttons a bit small and it was hard to feel which one you were pressing. On the Aeropex they are a bit bigger and the edges are raised a bit, so it’s easier to feel which button you’re pressing.
Aftershokz headphones stay on your head while running, they don’t bounce around and you can wear them with (sun)glasses and a hat without any issues (or sunglasses and a biking helmet), because the frame goes around the back of your head and not on top of it. The Trekz Air came in four colours: grey, green, blue and red. The Aeropex also comes in four different colours: grey, black, blue and red.
The Aeropex comes in a really nice box and comes with two chargers. A travel case to put the Aeropex in and earplugs in case you do want to drown out the surrounding noise from time to time. Since it’s bone conducting you will actually hear the music louder when you plug your ears rather than hearing less.
Which model should you get?
That obviously depends on what you’re going to use it for and what your budget is. If your main sport is swimming and you really want to go swimming with your headphones, you should get the Xtrainerz. If you mainly go running or cycling go for the Aeropex. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, you can always go for the Trekz Air or the Titanium. Currently, (as of September 2019) the Aeropex retails for about €170, while the Trekz Air goes for €120 and the Titanium for €80.
The Trekz Air are also great headphones, but the Aeropex are just better. If you already have the Trekz Air, depending on how old they are, you might want to consider upgrading. If you don’t own any Aftershokz yet and your budget does allow it, go for the Aeropex instead of the Trekz Air, because you get lighter headphones with better battery life and a better sound quality.