How do you improve upon a headphone using bone conduction technology? Simple. Make them wireless. AfterShokz announced Bluez, the world's first open-air Bluetooth headphones. Building upon the success of the popular Sport headphones, AfterShokz has begun accepting pre-orders for the $99.95 Bluez.
Unlike the Sport headphones, the Bluez are outfitted in a glossy black plastic. The interior of the wraparound headband is lined in rubber for a more comfortable fit. The band is adjustable and removable to accommodate different head sizes. The corner tips of the transducer pads are lined in chrome. A small Make/Answer button sits atop the right transducer pad with controls to pause and advance tracks on the left.
We experienced some difficulty putting the headphones on, thanks to our tangle of curls. However once we got them on, the Bluez nestled gently on our cheekbones. There was a noticeable tingle from the bone conduction technology as the sample track began to play. This might be jarring to some listeners, however the sensation only lasts a few seconds.
Although we heard loud audio, the lows sounded a little distorted and the highs weren't as crisp as we would have liked. But that's not really the point. Thanks to the open-ear design, we were able to hear the cacophony of the CES 2013 floor along with our track. This helps users to stay aware of their surroundings which could come in handy when exercising outdoors.
Headphone users searching for a new way to listen can expect the AfterShokz to ship sometime in January.