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Shokz Openfit review

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9.3Expert Score
Comfort and quality

The Shokz Openfit sound are some of the most comfortable earbuds I’ve ever tested offering the ability to hear your surrounds while also listening to high-quality music.

Design
9.5
Performance
9
Pros
  • Really comfortable
  • Solid audio quality
  • Clearly hear your surroundings
Cons
  • Sound leakage
  • Controls are limited
  • Lack of advanced features

When was the last time you had a personalised audio experience without either jamming something deep into your ear canal or suffocating your entire ear with a massive cushion?

These Shokz Openfit true wireless earbuds are a shift away from the company’s traditional bone conduction offering. Instead, these use wraparound ear hooks to securely place the earbuds just outside your ear canals. 

Each earbud then directs the sound into your ear in a way to deliver a full, comprehensive audio experience while also letting in ambient noise. It’s like the transparency mode you find on high-end noise-cancelling headphones, except you can easily hear both the music and the conversation.

All this ends up delivering an experience quite unlike anything else I’ve ever tested. Over the weeks I’ve been testing them, I’ve actually built a preference for using these earbuds over my AirPods Pro. Particularly for situations where I want to be able to listen to music but also have a conversation with my wife or kids.

They may not be the best wireless earbuds for music quality, but they are definitely worth consideration.

The left Shokz Openfit earbud being worn, viewed from behind

Design

Wraparound earbuds aren’t new, with models like the Beats Powerbeats Pro offering the security of ear hooks to secure the earbud in place.

The Shokz Openfit is slightly different, though, in that nothing is jammed tightly into your ear canal.

The ear hooks are flexible, with a bit of customisability in the shape of your head, so you can tweak each earbud to fit around your ear perfectly. They are soft and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, though if you wear glasses they can get in the way a little.

To deliver the sound, the Openfit uses an 18×11 mm custom driver unit to create the sound, with a proprietary algorithm to enhance the bass sounds being pumped at your ear. 

Each earbud offers up to 7 hours of battery life, with another three full charges in the carry case. 5 minutes in the case will get you an hour’s worth of playback too.

The earbuds are rated at IP54 for dust and water, making them okay for a bit of sweat, but not something to take swimming.

This is particularly useful given the biggest target market for these will be athletic people looking for a pair of headphones that offer that spatial awareness outside what’s playing.

Needless to say, there’s no noise cancellation because that’s the opposite of what the Openfit hopes to deliver. 

The right Shokz Openfit being viewed in-ear from the front

Performance

I’ve been hugely impressed by the quality of music playback and the comfort of the Shokz Openfit. I’ve happily worn them for the bulk of a workday, enjoying music while being available for a conversation with my wife or kids.

Taking the earbuds out for a walk or run (okay, a walk. I don’t really run, not even for a review), they felt so much more secure than any of the usual earbuds I test. 

Historically, I’ve had challenges finding a comfortable fit for my right ear with earbuds like the Pixel Buds Pro, for example, but because the Openfit don’t go in your ear, there’s no problem.

And because there’s nothing in your ear, it feels comfortable for longer. There’s no sweat, or earwax, or any other of nature’s wonderful substances making the earbud feel uncomfortable.

On the audio quality front, I admit that these don’t actually hold a candle to more premium earbuds like my AirPods. But they don’t sound bad, which can’t be said for some in-ear models I’ve tested.

Music playback is reasonably balanced, with a decent amount of bass, and vocals clear to hear. Things maybe get a little washed out towards the high end, but it’s not a dealbreaker.

I even found call quality to be strong, with people on the other end easy to hear and understand, even in louder environments.

The Shokz Openfit in the case, with the case open

Challenges

So with comfort and audio quality in the bag, what’s holding these back?

The biggest is probably the sound leakage. 

With the volume down low in home or work environments, you can easily hear what’s going on around you, as well as the music being played.

But as you crank up the volume, everything gets a bit more blurred. Once you hit about 75% of the maximum volume, there’s a lot of leakage, where your coworkers will hear what you’re listening to.

75% is pretty loud, so you probably won’t get up that high in an office environment. But walking through the city or alongside traffic, you may need to crank things up to be able to hear your music over the noise of the nearby cars.

My other issue is the controls. It took me a while to figure out how they work because it’s not overly intuitive.

Double tap either earbud plays and pauses music, which is fine on its own. But to go back a track, you need to tap and hold the left earbud for three seconds, while skipping ahead is tapping and holding the right earbud.

There’s a second’s delay between tapping the earbud to play or pause, which seems much slower than it is. And the lack of volume controls is also a pain, given sometimes you just need to turn down the volume to hear what someone is saying to you more clearly.

The Shokz openfit case

Verdict

If you like the idea of transparency mode on earbuds but find it doesn’t really work to let you have a conversation when there’s music playing, then these earbuds are an ideal option.

Similarly, runners or other active people will appreciate the secure fit and ability to hear ambient sounds without having to stop and start music.

They lack some of the more advanced features you find in the best wireless earbuds, like Active Noise Cancellation or heart rate monitoring. 

But what you do get for the asking price is an impressive product well worth consideration.

Where to buy:

Best Shockz Openfit prices from our partners

AU $289.00
24 May 2024 5:06 pm
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com (Amazon.in, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
2 new from AU $289.00
AU $289.00
24 May 2024 5:06 pm
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com (Amazon.in, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
1 new from AU $289.00
Product disclosure

Shokz supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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