AfterShokz OpenComm review: bone conduction headsets designed for communication


AfterShokz OpenComm review

Eric Chan / Engadget

Because of the new crown epidemic, video conferencing has become a very important contact method. Whether you are a worker or a student, you will always have the opportunity to use this method to meet, and when it is exaggerated, it will be carried out one by one. Laptops and mobile phones generally have a usable video camera built in, but what about the microphone for radio? Nowadays, high-end mobile phones are not delivered, and wired ones are very troublesome. However, the radio capabilities of the popular true wireless headsets are generally too poor. On the other side, if you wear in-ear headphones for a long time, the pressure in the ear canal will cause a very headache. If you encounter an ultra-long-distance meeting, it will really cause people to collapse…

Combining the above shortcomings, AfterShokz, which originally specialized in sports bone conduction headsets, launched its first bone conduction communication headset OpenComm for video conferencing. I will review the following to see if this headset can solve the above pain points in actual use.

Appearance

AfterShokz OpenComm review

Eric Chan / Engadget

The appearance design of OpenComm is actually not very different from other AfterShokz headphones. The reason is that they originally used a minimalist wrap-around headband design for light weight. It is more obvious that there is an extra one on the left side. A rod microphone that rotates up and down. But in fact, if you compare it carefully with Aeropex, you will find that the multi-function button has been changed from the original left side to the right side, the battery compartment has also become slightly larger, the magnetic charging port has been moved to the rear, and the volume buttons have also been rounded. But more importantly, there is an NFC tag on the left side, which makes it easier to pair Android devices.

Since it is said that the protagonist of OpenComm is its microphone, of course it needs a good introduction. The pole on the left, with dual microphones and equipped with DSP noise reduction function, is especially designed for picking up the user’s voice. The pole can be turned up and down to align with your own mouth, and it has a curvature to fit your face tightly. It feels a bit like a telephonist when worn (it is professional!?).

Sense of wear

bone conduction

Aftershokz

AfterShokz bone conduction headphones are known for their lightness. Although OpenComm adds a microphone and weighs 33g, the weight is evenly distributed on the head, so it is almost insensible and suitable for long-term use. The feeling of wearing is a bit like earphones. Hang the hook-shaped part of OpenComm on the ear socket, and the vibration units that sound on both sides will be on both cheekbones (the position slightly in front of the ears, see the picture below), which is very stable. . Because the principle of bone conduction earphones is to “pronounce” by directly vibrating the bones, there will be more obvious vibrations at the maximum volume, which may make your ears itchy, but it is fine for general use.

Audio performance

AfterShokz OpenComm review

Eric Chan / Engadget

Let me talk about it first. Bone conduction earphones are open-ended earphones, that is, when users hear the sound of the earphones, they also hear the sound around them, so don’t think about the sound insulation. At the same time, AfterShokz’s LeakSlayer suppression technology can also ensure that the sound of the headphones will not leak out. In fact, only a little bit of the sound will be heard by the outside world only when the headphones are at the maximum volume. The leakage prevention effect is better than those of white, The semi-in-ear headphones are so much better.

First of all, of course, the performance of the pickup. The editor also borrowed AfterShokz Aeropex for comparison and found that OpenComm’s recording playback is indeed more realistic. In the following video, the first two paragraphs were tested in a sealed conference room with obvious echo problems. It can be heard that OpenComm can effectively cancel the echo; the other is that the editor wears a mask and records in the subway when he returns home. The effect is that the content can be heard clearly. Of course, considering the characteristics of open earphones, when the environment is too noisy, you cannot hear the content yourself, rather than the other party. So everyone should go back to a quieter place before the meeting.

Then there is the part of the sense of hearing. AfterShokz applied the PremiumPitch 2.0 sound technology on OpenComm. Although it is older than the flagship Aeropex, that is, the sound unit is not closer to the head, but the sound is still distinct. Can accurately distinguish what the other party is saying.

to sum up

AfterShokz OpenComm review

Eric Chan / Engadget

After using it for a period of time, OpenComm has also held a lot of meetings with the editor, and the experience of using it is indeed better than the usual wire-controlled earphones and true wireless earphones. The main advantage is that as mentioned in the article, open earphones will not put pressure on the ear canal and will not plug the ears for a long time, which is more beneficial to hygiene and hearing health. The most obvious shortcoming, of course, is the need to pay more attention to whether the surrounding environment is too noisy, but this is also a trade-off for this type of headset. As for the performance of the pickup, I think that OpenComm meets everyone’s needs to purchase a headset with a rod microphone. Otherwise, you don’t need to choose a design with an extra one, which is more an eye-catcher.