Aftershokz Trekz Titanium

There are some runners who will say that the most important item in a runner’s arsenal, aside from their shoes, is a pair of headphones. Some may even go so far as to say that headphones are more important; that’s how big of an impact music can have on the running experience. There have been numerous scientific studies that link music to improving human abilities, both mental and physical. With this fact in mind, runners like you may no longer be wondering whether or not they need a good pair of headphones. Instead, you are probably curious as to what kind of headphones you should get.

For the past few decades, portable audio listening accessories have remained relatively the same. Just about every offering on the market is a variation on the headphone or earbud model, with the former offering improved sound quality and comfort while the latter offers a lighter and more portable experience. However, there are some manufacturers who are making a noble effort to improve on these archaic structures and fix some of their perceived faults. Aftershokz is one of these manufacturers, and their Trekz Titanium headphones offer an approach to portable music listening design that is worth your attention.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Allows wearers to remain aware of their surroundings
  • Unique sense of style
  • Can be used with many activities
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Reasonably priced
  • Cons
    • Diminished sound quality
    • Not waterproof, only sweatproof
    • Key Features
      Headphones, earbuds, and other portable listening devices are so popular because they can accommodate a wide range of activities and exercises. Coupled with the fact that listening to music or podcasts can have a positive effect on one’s physical capabilities, the end result is a sizable portion of individuals exercising regularly while wearing headphones. Although the Trekz Titanium is fundamentally different from most other earbuds and headphones, it shares many compatible environments while also offering improved compatibility in specific locations and situations.

      Running is easily managed while wearing these headphones regardless of the kind of environment in which the wearer prefers to run. In fact, the distinctive way that this Aftershokz product supplies music to the wearer’s ears makes it one of the best options for particular situations. The fact that it transmits audio through the wearer’s jaw via bone conduction means that jogging or running in an urban environment or along the side of the road is a safer experience. With their ears exposed, the wearer is much more aware of their surroundings and will be better equipped to navigate potential hazards.

      Aside from running, these headphones can be used for some other physical activities as well. They are a welcome accessory for individuals who like exercising in the gym, whether they like to lift weights, operate cardio machines, or practice sports. The fact that they are wireless further enhances the Trekz Titanium’s versatility in these situations, as does their sweat-proof coating. Unfortunately, the one form of physical activity that this Aftershokz device cannot accommodate is any form of swimming, since they don’t offer full waterproofing.
      Basic Features
      The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is a fairly basic music listening accessory despite its innovative design. At its core, this device is intended to provide the wearer with a way to listen to different forms of audio when connected to a compatible music player. Unlike many earbuds and headphones, this product doesn’t consist of any components that need to be placed directly on or inside the wearer’s ears. Instead, the speakers on the Trekz Titanium are placed along the wearer’s jawline, sending audio directly to the inner ear via bone conduction.

      The construction of this Aftershokz product emphasizes its strengths in terms of convenience and safety. The headband that connects each bone conductor wraps around the back of the wearer’s neck and contains no wires. This comes with the admittedly minor consequence of requiring a charge in order to function and connect to compatible listening devices, so a micro USB cable is included to help users charge this product.
      Advanced Features
      Impressive as the Trekz Titanium’s bone conduction technology is, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to included features. For example, there are two microphones placed on this Aftershokz product that can be used to speak during phone calls. The reason for this dual setup is so that these headphones can actively cancel out background noise and isolate the wearer’s speech, which means that they can remain aware of background noise without having a negative effect on their voice clarity.

      A common concern for headphones and earbuds is audio bleed, where the sounds coming out of their speakers leak and become audible for individuals nearby. This problem is exacerbated in the case of bone conduction headphones since the placement of their speakers doesn’t provide any natural noise isolation properties. Fortunately, this particular model of bone conduction headphones comes with Aftershokz’s proprietary Leakslayer technology which can prevent audio bleed from occurring.

      Unfortunately, this product doesn’t come with any kind of inline remote that would allow wearers to adjust volume, track, and calls without accessing their device. Something that is provided as a compensatory feature, however, is Aubrey Says. This is a series of prerecorded audio prompts that instruct wearers on how to access and adjust certain features, of which there are many. More advanced features are described in the next section.
      Sound Quality
      One of the major criticisms that have been levied against bone conduction headphones is that they offer drastically inferior audio quality compared to earbuds and headphones. Aftershokz products, in particular, have been described in this way, with many customers leaving online reviews for their other products stating that they experienced interference and a muffled tone when listening to their music or taking calls.

      Fortunately, Aftershokz has taken these criticisms to heart and responded with some features that vastly improve the overall listening experience. The first major addition is the previously mentioned Leakslayer technology which does an admirable job minimizing the presence of audio bleed. Aside from that, however, the Trekz Titanium offers something called PremiumPitch+. Although it isn’t as intuitive or convenient as customizable EQ features, it is a preset adjustment that compensates for the limitations of bone conduction technology by boosting lower ends of the sound spectrum. As a result, the listening experience for this product is much closer to that of traditional headphones and earbuds, although it still isn’t the best option for individuals who want the best possible level of audio fidelity.
      In addition to offering an alternative to traditional headphone design through the way in which it delivers audio, the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium offers an alternative to the legacy method of connecting to the user’s listening device of choice. As a wireless device, this product uses Bluetooth 4.1 technology to pair with compatible smart devices. This will easily allow the Trekz Titanium to connect with just about every modern smartphone since Bluetooth technology is nearly universal. Unfortunately, power consumption and the potential for signal interference are some consequences to this form of connectivity that may inconvenience and frustrate users.
      Although the primary purpose of designing headphones with bone conduction technology was to improve the wearer’s situational awareness, a convenient secondary benefit to this style of construction is the comfort. There are many individuals who dislike some forms of portable listening devices because they can be uncomfortable or even painful to wear for extended periods of time. In particular, earbuds are notorious for having this issue and many people will avoid them altogether if their ears are very sensitive. Since the Trekz Titanium has no components that are placed anywhere near the wearer’s ears, this issue of discomfort is sidestepped entirely. This Aftershokz product has such a low profile due to the bone conduction delivery and wireless connectivity that some users may even forget that they are wearing them in the first place.
      As was previously mentioned, the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is very subtly designed to the point where it isn’t particularly noticeable. Both the wearer and casual observers would need to pay close attention to even notice that this device was being worn and used. As a result, the stylistic aspects of this product are geared around subtlety and minimalism over ostentatious posturing or wealth signaling.

      With that being said, Aftershokz does offer a decent amount of color choices for customers to choose from at the time of purchase. These colorways range from a low-profile black palette and some similarly muted tones, to much brighter yellows, greens, and blues. With a wealth of options to choose from, prospective customers may be unsure as to which color they want to purchase; something that may help them come to a decision is the fact that most of this color will be obscured by any hair or headgear, making this aspect largely inconsequential.
      It’s worth noting at this point in the review that Aftershokz, the company that designed the Trekz Titanium, used to work on military hardware. The original prototypes of their bone conduction headphones were initially shown to various military organizations due to potential applications in their field. When that didn’t pan out, they decided to revamp these products for casual consumers instead. However, something that hasn’t changed in this transition is their ability to build something that can hold together in a war zone.

      For starters, the Trekz Titanium is small and constructed with relative simplicity. The lack of many small components or thin cordage effectively removes most weak points that would otherwise be present in a headphone’s design. Instead, this product essentially resembles a thin band that wraps around the back of the wearer’s head. And as its name would imply, the Trekz Titanium is made from titanium metal. This is what allows this Aftershokz product to be able to withstand an impressive amount of punishment: far more than would even be encountered during a hardcore trail running session. The only exception to this durability has to do with water since this product is only IP55 certified. As a result, it can resist brief exposure to sweat or other liquids but cannot survive complete submergence for an extended period of time.
      Ease of Use
      Although the Trekz Titanium looks fairly simple, the actuality is that using this product will require a bit more work than usual. The first hurdle users will have to overcome is adjusting to the idea of headphones that don’t come into direct contact with their ears. Aftershokz has designed this product to fit comfortably over the wearer’s cheekbones but it may still take some finagling to find the sweet spot where the audio is clearest.

      Additionally, this music listening device will need to be paired via Bluetooth, so users will need to ensure that both of their devices are in pairing mode and won’t be subjected to signal interference. However, the most damning aspect of this product that interferes with its intuitiveness is the fact that it doesn’t provide any sort of inline remote. As a result, most adjustments will need to be made on the device connected to the Trekz Titanium rather than through the device itself. The one feature Aftershokz provides that does improve its ease of use is Aubrey Says, the aforementioned prerecorded guidelines.
      Power Source
      Since this Aftershokz product is wireless, it won’t be able to draw power for use from connected music playing devices. Instead, users will need to ensure that the Trekz Titanium has been charged beforehand via the included micro USB cable. This is easy enough to manage, although the inclusion of a wall adaptor would have made this process even simpler.

      On a full charge, this product has an average battery life of 6 hours when actively listening to music or taking calls and a standby time of 10 hours. This is far from the most impressive battery life provided by a pair of wireless headphones but it is enough to accommodate the majority of users who simply want something to help them listen to music while running or training in a gym.
      It isn’t out of the ordinary to find a decent pair of wireless headphones that costs around $200. This is more or less the average cost for a mid to high-end pair, with some exceptions costing a bit lower or far higher. The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium falls in the former camp at roughly half this average cost. This is an impressive value considering the cutting-edge technology that went into the design of this product. This price tag also helps to justify some of this Aftershokz product’s limitations, such as diminished sound quality.
      Key Features

      • Jawline conductors transmit music through bone conduction

      • PremiumPitch+ for improved sound quality

      • Bluetooth 4.1 wireless connectivity

      • IP55 water resistance rating

      • Leakslayer technology prevents audio bleed

      Bottom Line
      There are a lot of things that the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium has going for it. Its method of ensuring users can hear both their music and the world around them with near-parity is impressive and sure to come as a major benefit to runners who live in densely populated areas. It offers a sense of style that is subtle without coming across as outright boring. It also has a surprising resilience to all kinds of hazards and accidents, although they certainly shouldn’t be used anywhere near a large body of water. What’s most impressive of all, however, is the fact that all of these features are included in a product that costs less than $100. That’s something that you’re just not going to find anywhere else, making these bone conduction headphones a solid choice for just about anyone.
      Where to Buy
      By Mike Valverde
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 03. 2021

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