AfterShokz Offers an Open Ear Alternative to Earbuds

AfterShokz

There are earbuds, on-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones, but I was surprised to see the Open Ear wireless Bluetooth headphones from AfterShokz, dubbed BLUEZ 2 ($99.95). These attractive headphones use the bone conduction technology whose origins go back to Beethoven and you might find today in a Navy SEAL's communication system. The result is, you hear the music through the inside of your head, and more importantly, your ears are uncovered. If you're riding a bicycle, for example, you can safely hear traffic with the AfterShokz. They could even help some hearing impaired users the same way Cochlear Implants can help them "hear" the world around them.

You might think that sound quality, especially volume, would be a problem, but if anything, it's too loud. My daughter tried to sleep with it, and didn't realize there are volume up and down buttons, tucked away on the inside of the headphones. Once she realized that, they worked out great for her. I wear prescription glasses, so I was worried these might interfere, but they didn't and should be fine with many glasses as long as they aren't too thick at the temples.

The AfterShokz BLUEZ 2 headphones also function as a Bluetooth speakerphone. You can use them to talk on the phone in addition to listening to music. There are dual noise canceling microphones, in fact. Plus the AfterShokz has a virtual assistant, named Audrey, who talks you through the Bluetooth pairing process. The AfterShokz BLUEZ 2 are a remarkable piece of technology that may have its origins in the military but is now available to consumers. Call it the Peace Dividend!

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.