Shokz, a renowned brand known for its bone conduction headphones, has expanded its product line to include true wireless headphones called OpenFit. These headphones are specifically designed for athletes and individuals who prioritize environmental awareness while enjoying their audio experience.
Retaining the brand’s feature, Shokz OpenFit headphones feature an atypical open structure that ensures secure and comfortable fit, all while allowing wearers to stay alert to the sounds of their surroundings. This unique design provides users with the best of both worlds: the freedom to enjoy their music or calls without compromising situational awareness.
Shokz OpenFit: Video Review
|8.3g (earphone), 57g (charging case)
|IP54 (earphone body)
|SBC, AAC compatible
|50Hz - 16kHz
|Dual noise canceling mic + AI call noise canceling
|58 mAh (earphone); 600 mAh (charging case)
|USB to Type-C
|7 hours (earphones); 28 hours (charging case)
|1 hour (earphone); 2 hours (charging case)
|Support fast charging
|5-minute charge gives you 1 hour of use
Shokz has taken a non-intrusive approach with the design of their first true wireless earphones, the OpenFit. These earphones feature a hook that wraps around the ear flap, providing a secure fit. The overall build quality is decent, with the main body covered in glossy plastic that is prone to fingerprints. The plastic is complemented by a rubber surface adorned with the brand logo. While the design may not be exceptional, the earphones appear sturdy and capable of withstanding impacts. They are also IP54 certified, making them resistant to splashes and perspiration, as long as they are properly maintained after intense sports sessions.
The open design of the OpenFit earphones offers the advantage of not causing any sense of intrusion, allowing the auditory canal to remain open to the air. The main body rests gently on the anti-helix and does not cause any discomfort, even after extended periods of use. However, during certain sports activities like running, there may be occasional tapping against the anti-helix.
The ear hook effectively distributes the 8.3 grams of each earpiece around the auricle, ensuring a secure fit regardless of the conditions. Its flexibility enables compatibility with various ear shapes, and it can be comfortably worn with glasses without causing any discomfort.
Due to the earphones’ substantial size, the case is also relatively large. It can be challenging to carry in a trouser pocket and requires both hands to handle. The plastic used for the case is average in quality, but the assembly appears durable, as the hinge shows no signs of play. Two indicator lights, one inside and one outside, provide battery level and charging status information. The case is equipped with a USB-C port at the rear for charging.
The Shokz OpenFit earphones feature touch surfaces on the outside of each earphone for controlling various functions. While these surfaces are easy to locate, they are not particularly responsive, requiring approximately one second before registering an action. Additionally, each action is accompanied by a low-quality sound jingle, which is disappointing as clearer voice prompts or more meaningful sound indications would have been preferred.
Furthermore, the touch controls on the OpenFit earphones are quite limited, supporting only four gestures: double press and long press on each earpiece. This limitation means that users have to choose between managing playback, navigating between tracks, adjusting volume, or activating the voice assistant. It’s worth noting that the earphones do not have a proximity sensor, so they do not automatically pause when removed from the ears and do not switch to mono mode when used individually.
The pairing process of the Shokz OpenFit earphones is not the most user-friendly. To initiate pairing, you need to place the earphones in their case and then press and hold your fingers on their touch surfaces for several seconds. Once connected, the OpenFit earphones utilize Bluetooth 5.2 for communication and are compatible with SBC and AAC audio codecs. However, it is worth noting that the absence of multipoint functionality poses a significant inconvenience. To switch devices, you must manually unpair the earphones from the currently connected device, which can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
Despite the pairing challenges, the connection between the OpenFit earphones and devices remains stable in all circumstances, even in busy environments like a crowded subway during rush hour.
However, the OpenFit earphones suffer from noticeable latency, measuring around 250 milliseconds. This latency can make watching movies or series uncomfortable, as there may be a noticeable delay between audio and video. While the earphones attempt to compensate for this latency, there may still be a slight delay of a few tenths of a millisecond, which could be bothersome for some users. When it comes to video games, the latency compensation is insufficient, rendering them impractical for gaming purposes.
The Shokz OpenFit earphones offer some customization options through the Shokz mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. Within the app, users can access various information, including the remaining battery level displayed as a percentage. The app also provides a basic player for audio playback and offers customization options for controls and an equalizer.
However, the equalizer functionality within the app may present challenges. During testing, it was observed that the equalizer behaved somewhat randomly. For example, increasing the treble bar had the unexpected effect of increasing the bass. It is worth noting that this behavior might be specific to the beta version of the app available during the test, and it is hoped that such issues would be addressed in subsequent updates or versions of the app.
Shokz OpenFit: Sound quality
Despite the high expectations set by the manufacturer, the sound performance of the Shokz OpenFit true wireless headphones falls far short of satisfactory. In fact, their performance can be compared to some of the worst headphones available in the market. The sound signature is completely unbalanced, lacking precision, and suffering from audible distortion in the bass frequencies.
Surprisingly, the OpenFit headphones manage to deliver deep bass extension, surpassing the capabilities of Sony’s LinkBuds, another type of open headphones. However, the decline in the low frequencies is too substantial, resulting in a lack of foundation and coherence. Coupled with a sharp drop in the treble, the overall sound becomes unbalanced and harsh to the ears.
Voices and many instruments are artificially accentuated, leading to an unpleasant listening experience. For example, when playing AC/DC’s, the guitars sound saturated and excessively sharp, while the bagpipes become piercing and uncomfortable.
In addition to the unbalanced signature, the general level of precision is extremely poor. The lack of definition in the mids and highs makes it difficult to distinguish different sources and severely limits the depth of the soundstage. The sound produced by the OpenFit headphones sounds unnatural and lacks finesse.
Furthermore, the reproduction of bass is a significant problem. When listening at volumes exceeding approximately 50% of the maximum, which is not uncommon given the open design of the headphones, every kick of an electronic or bass drum, or any low note, is accompanied by violent distortion. The speakers seem to be struggling, resulting in an audible “plop” sound that completely distorts the sound reproduction.
In summary, the sound performance of the Shokz OpenFit true wireless headphones is highly disappointing. The unbalanced sound signature, lack of precision, and audible distortion in the bass frequencies greatly diminish the overall listening experience. Potential buyers should be aware of these shortcomings before considering these headphones for their audio needs.
The Shokz OpenFit earphones demonstrate notable voice capture quality. In quiet environments, the voice comes through clearly and intelligibly. However, there are some issues present. The voice may sound slightly choppy, with a noticeable “box” effect, and occasional sibilance phenomena (harsh “s” sounds). These factors may impact the overall smoothness and naturalness of the captured voice.
In noisier environments, such as near a busy intersection, the aforementioned problems become more pronounced. However, the intelligibility of the captured voice remains largely unaffected. This means that even in challenging and extreme environments, your interlocutor should still be able to understand you, thanks to the OpenFit earphones’ ability to isolate and capture the voice effectively.
It is important to note that while the OpenFit earphones excel in capturing the user’s voice, the quality of the received voice during phone calls or voice communications is dependent on the capabilities of the connected device and network.
In our measurements, the Shokz OpenFit earphones demonstrated a battery life of approximately 6 hours, which is slightly shorter than the manufacturer’s claimed battery life. While this falls below the current market average of around 7 hours, it is still more than sufficient to support any physical exercise or activity, including marathon sessions.
Additionally, the charging case provided with the OpenFit earphones offers three to four additional charges, allowing for extended usage without access to a power source. This means that even if the earphones’ battery is depleted, you can recharge them multiple times using the case before needing to connect it to a power supply.
Shokz OpenFit: Conclusion
The Shokz OpenFit true wireless headphones offer a unique design tailored for athletes and individuals seeking environmental awareness. The open structure allows users to remain alert to their surroundings while enjoying their audio experience. The earphones provide a comfortable and secure fit, thanks to the hook around the ear flap and the lightweight design.
However, the OpenFit earphones have some notable drawbacks. The sound performance is disappointing, with an unbalanced signature, lack of precision, and audible distortion in the bass frequencies. The touch controls can be unresponsive, and the available customization options may have limitations or exhibit inconsistencies. The pairing process can be cumbersome, and the lack of multipoint functionality is inconvenient.
On the positive side, the OpenFit earphones excel in voice capture quality, ensuring clear and intelligible communication even in noisy environments. The battery life, while slightly shorter than the market average, is still sufficient for most physical activities, and the charging case provides additional charges to extend usage time.
Overall, the Shokz OpenFit earphones have their strengths and weaknesses. They may be suitable for individuals who prioritize environmental awareness and require a secure fit for active use.