With the Shokz OpenRun Pro, the manufacturer has introduced a new bone-sound headphone at the beginning of 2022, which is primarily aimed at athletes and is supposed to score with a high wearing comfort. Our Shokz OpenRun Pro test clarifies whether a convincing sound can also be realized with this technology and how comfortable the sports headphones actually turn out to be.
|Maximum operating range||10 m (without obstacle)|
|Battery life||10 hours|
|Charge time||1.5 hrs|
|Most important functions||Bone sound technology; Vocal boost mode; Multipoint|
|Price||€ 189.95 *|
Shokz OpenRun Pro review: the scope of delivery
The Shokz OpenRun Pro is delivered in a black cardboard box along with a white cover with silver lettering, which puts the focus on the sportiness of the bone conduction headphones. Opening the box reveals the scope of delivery, which is a bit scanty due to the rather high price.
The majority of the packaging is taken up by the headphone’s transport case, which is located inside. The manufacturer also places the charging cable inside, which connects to a power plug or PC/notebook via USB Type-A.
The other side of the plug is a proprietary development, because charging is done with the help of magnetic induction. The charging cable, which is just under 50 centimeters long, is simply magnetically docked to the headphones via the contacts. Apart from an information sheet about the accompanying app, a warranty card and a manual, that is all. Nothing more is included in the packaging.
Design and workmanship
That the Shokz OpenRun Pro is a slightly different pair of headphones is obvious from the first look at the device. Since the model relies on bone-sound technology (bone conduction), there are accordingly no inserts that would have to be placed in the ear – which also explains the manageable scope of delivery, which does not require silicone ear tips or the like.
Our test model comes in a black color scheme, but a blue variant is also available, while beige and pink colors are to follow at a later date. The matte look looks tidy and classy in equal measure, while the textured finish additionally protects against slipping – very practical especially during fast movements.
The drivers, which provide acoustics via bone sound, sit at the front end of the headband and, measuring around 23 mm x 15 mm (height x width), take up space directly on the cheekbones. They merge directly into the earpieces, at the end of which the OpenRun Pro’s batteries are located in a bulge. Directly adjacent to this is the headband, which wraps around the back of the head.
The headphones don’t offer size adjustments or anything of the sort, though the design is well-suited to small and large heads alike thanks to the thin, bendable titanium headband covered in rubberized plastic.
On the right side of the battery bulge, you’ll find the magnetic contact for charging the headphones, as well as the controls for increasing the volume (which doubles as a power button) and decreasing it below that. On the left outer side of the driver unit sits a multifunctional button, which has various functions for music and telephony control. Speaker outputs are found on both sides front, rear and bottom, microphone slots and inputs sits on the top, inside, as well as bottom.
Workmanship of the Shokz OpenRun Pro
The build quality is on a very high level throughout in the Shokz OpenRun Pro review. The headphones impress with a robust frame and pleasant pressure point of the individual buttons. Thanks to the matte surface, the headphones rest securely behind the ears and do not slip even when wet from sweat or rain. Thanks to IP55 certification, use during sports or during a rain shower is also no problem. However, the model is not suitable for swimming.
Comfort of wearing the Shokz OpenRun Pro
Admittedly: The OpenRun Pro marks the first bone-sound headphones I’ve ever tested. Accordingly, I was very curious to see whether one could actually keep the full-bodied promised, outstanding wearing comfort here.
The result surprised me positively. With a total weight of about 30 grams, the headphones are relatively light, but the shape of the titanium earpiece takes some getting used to. After all, it cannot be adjusted, so there is always a gap between the back of the head and the headband. The design of the OpenRun Pro causes a slight pressure on the cheekbones, but I got used to it very quickly in the practical test – it’s not really unpleasant.
Even when wearing glasses, the comfort is convincing after a bit of getting used to. The grip is also surprisingly firm. Even during running training, the Shokz OpenRun Pro do not slip during fast movements. Only when wearing a cap it hangs a little. As quite as comfortable as (good) in-ear headphones I feel the wearing comfort but basically there is not much to complain about here.
Features and battery life
The Shokz OpenRun Pro are connected to the respective audio source via Bluetooth version 5.1. Thanks to multipoint connectivity, the headphones can also be connected to two players simultaneously, which is quick and easy in practice.
The pairing is triggered by pressing and holding the “Volume+” button for five seconds. The status LED on the outside then starts to glow blue and red alternately, which signals the connection mode. Thereupon, the headphones are also immediately found by smartphone and co and are ready for use at the touch of a button.
Battery life and charging
Battery life is in line with the manufacturer’s claim. The OpenRun Pro can last for around 10 hours before they have to be connected to the mains again. Thanks to the quick-charge function, they are then fully recharged within one and a half hours. Unfortunately, there is no charging neutral that would allow recharging without a cable connection.
The charging process itself works flawlessly with the included cable. However, the specially developed magnetic charging technology also means that you cannot simply use a standard USB cable. If you lose the cable or forget it while traveling, battery charging is not possible. Replacement cables are strangely availableonly in the manufacturer’s US shop, but not on the German website. There, the “Magnetic Charging Cable” comes in at $12.95.
Operating the Shokz OpenRun Pro
Operating the Shokz OpenRun Pro becomes second nature within a few minutes. We particularly like the fact that the multifunction button has grown significantly compared to previous models, which makes it easier to use.
You can pause or resume playback at the push of a button. A double-click jumps to the next song, and pressing it three times lets you switch to the previous track. When there is an incoming call, pressing the button once accepts or ends the call. Additionally, the respective voice assistant (Google Assistant or Siri) can be activated by pressing and holding the button. The operation is instantaneous and very precise, and we like it much better than the now frequently used touch control.
Shokz OpenRun Pro review: audio quality and microphone
I was particularly curious about the sound in the test of the Shokz OpenRun Pro. In terms of frequency band, the bone-sound sports headphones cover the usual band between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Due to the technology used, no high-resolution audio codecs are offered, so the Pro is only satisfied with the SBC codec during playback.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that the OpenRun Pro should not be compared with classic in-ear or over-ear headphones, because they simply cannot keep up with the audio quality. In terms of sound, the headphones clearly focus on the mids, which are also reproduced quite detailed and precisely.
The bass range is often problematic for bone-conduction headphones. Shokz tries to counteract this with dedicated bass amplifiers, which succeeds quite well, at least in parts. Compared to other models with bone-sound technology, even inexpensive in-ears deliver a more accentuated, present bass.
The trebles are on a good level, similar to the mids. Optionally, a vocal boost mode can be added, which additionally emphasizes voices. This works flawlessly in practice and proves to be especially useful for podcasts or discussed videos to further improve intelligibility.
The maximum volume of the Shokz OpenRun Pro ranks in the midfield – of course, also due to the design – which should be sufficient for most users. If you turn the volume control to the stop, you can even feel vibrations on the cheekbones, which causes a slight tickling sensation. This is not unpleasant, but it is a matter of taste.
To make the Shokz OpenRun Pro also fit for phone calls, the manufacturer has installed two microphones at once, which are also equipped with a dual-noise-canceling function to minimize ambient and wind noise.
The installed microphones cut a good figure in terms of quality. Both we and our partner can be clearly understood in telephone conversations. However, the same applies here: Even the current Knochenschall top model is not a real competitor for good headphones.
App connection: Shokz
The companion app for the OpenRun Pro is the Shokz app, which is offered for free on iOS and Android. This also recognizes the headphones quickly and reliably and first provides initial steps for operation.
In the main menu, you can switch between the two equalizer modes “Normal” and “Talk”, as well as turn the multipoint pairing mode on and off and start music playback. The settings menu can be accessed via the gear wheel in the upper right corner, but it only allows renaming and firmware updates.
Free settings and equalizer adjustments, on the other hand, are not possible. In general, the feature set of the companion app turns out to be rudimentary. Since, with the exception of firmware updates, all functions can also be set directly on the headphones, the download can also be dispensed with without any problems.
Summary on the Shokz OpenRun Pro
The Shokz OpenRun Pro marks the first bone-conduction headphones I’ve ever had on my ears. In addition to the simple and noble design, as well as the excellent workmanship, the most positive thing that stands out is the inimitable feeling of freedom. Since the ears remain free while wearing, I can always hear the surroundings and, for example, the traffic, which provides additional security.
Nevertheless, the featherweight headphones sit so comfortably on the cheeks that nothing pinches or hurts, even during hours of sports activity. The wearing comfort can also score points.
However, the inclined buyer clearly has to accept compromises in terms of audio quality. It’s not bad, but it’s not even close to the in-ear headphones, which are sometimes only a quarter of the price of the Shokz OpenRun Pro. Of course, this is due to the construction.
On paper, the Shokz OpenRun Pro are the most comfortable and best-sounding Bone Conduction headphones to date. If you’re looking for exactly that, you’ll be excellently served in any case. However, if you want the best possible sound on the go, you should look in the classic in-ear segment.