Shokz OpenRun

Some times a same message conveyed by different people or medium results in different reactions, or no reaction at all. But, there is one universal way that always has better resonance. Music, it is.

Since young, I have been investing quite a bit on music gadgets. Few Sony Walkman, various MP3 players, to few pairs of decent ANC earbuds like Sony WF-1000XM4, even some entry level audiophile stuff. I just love to immerse myself into the music. #nomusicnolife 

When cycling, I need a pair of headphones that enables me to enjoy both my life's favorites, cycling and music concurrently and safely. It was a no brainer to hit the "Back this project" button when I found Aftershokz in Kickstarter years ago. 

Today I'm on the 3rd pair of Aftershokz, aka Shokz (rebranded). The Shokz Open Run. 

The first pair lasted me a good 5 or 6 years. Disappointedly the second pair, Air as shown in the picture only lasted me 25 months. Yep, it spoiled right after the 24 months warranty. The shop said Shokz Malaysia didn't honor the warranty. 

Some differences between the two, old Air vs new Open Run:
  • a mid-hard pouch vs a fabric case. 
  • a pair of earbuds vs no more earbuds. It's used to isolate the surrounding noise when you want to use it like normal headphones.
  • a conventional micro USB vs a proprietary magnetic charging port (see below). 

Still the same shape so I am confident it would wear and feel the same above my ears (plus past experiences with 2 pairs from Shokz), will be able to testify this coming weekend. Open Run has 2 sizes, this is the standard size. 

1 noticeable inconvenience on my first trial was the volume rocker of Open Run is not as distinct as the Air's. I mistakenly pressed Up button when I wanted to lower the volume and vice versa. Perhaps to accustom myself.

Feature wise, perhaps not a good comparison as Air is an end-of-life model. Suggest refer to the official website for current models, the highest end Open Run Pro, the mid Open Run and the entry model Open Move. 

Why not the Open Run Pro? I couldn't justify to myself the extra premium of RM200+ (or USD50) for very minimum enhancement. 8 hours of play time with IP67 on Open Run is the best fit for most of my rides, from weekend cafe ride to Audax Pink Ride of 200km (the Pro is 10 hours play time with only IP55). The only hassle is I may need to carry the proprietary charging cable when I go on longer Audax ride, which is very seldom these years. 

I am not comfortable (when cycling) wearing conventional or ANC headphones for safety reason. Even it comes with ambient sound feature, it is still not as safe as keeping ears wide open and sensitive to the surrounding. I have a pair of Sony XM4 earbuds that I only use indoor or when it is safe to be isoloted from the surrounding. 

There are many other brands, or even some unknowns in Shopee, Lazada, Taobao, Amazon and whatnot, I wouldn't look into and take chance with any of them especially those with cheaper price. Shokz has product starting from RM300+, I believe it catered a very wide budget range of buyers. The sound quality, accurate battery runtime and proven record from past experience have gained my loyalty over the brand, though a little disappointment over the second pair. I would expect and hopefully the new Open Run would last me much longer than the warranty period. I would definitely look for other reputable brands if otherwise.  

Lastly, if you exercise outdoor and love music, highly recommend Shokz. A good pair to invest and make your outdoor activities more enjoyable. If you are in Malaysia, you may buy from this Shopee seller, dotzconnect, or go to their shop Micronation in Bukit Rimau, Klang. I earn zero commission and have no affiliation, just sharing my good experience buying multiple products (Garmin and Shokz) from the shop.

UPDATE: after first use, I realized the new pair no longer supports voice assistant. On old pair, long press on the play/pause button would trigger Google Assistant (paired with Android phone). The new Open Run does not support that anymore. Not a feature that I used a lot, but at times it was useful like I could voice-check weather info without taking out the phone. 


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