OpenComm headset review
There is no question that we as a society are changing especially with the WFH (Work from Home) lifestyle that has overtaken American life. As a business owner who has worked from home for the better part of 12 years, I have some experience with headsets. I have even had some experience with AfterShokz. I own a pair of the original AfterShokz which I have used for listening to music and podcasts while walking the dog. This year they have released the OpenComm bone conduction headset specifically created for conference calls, virtual shows and zoom events created by the current pandemic. Of course, it does play podcasts and music as well.
What’s Unique about AfterShokz?
The AfterShokz OpenComm headset is a bone conduction audio headset that delivers sound via vibrations applied to your cheekbones that are then picked up in the inner ear. The OpenComm headset system is designed for communications via cell phones and computers or tablets. The bluetooth system works extremely well and allows you to hear everything around you which can be both a positive and sometimes a negative. Running this system on my phone, it allows me to listen to a podcast while still getting work done. When it is extremely noisy in crowded environments it helps to have a pair of earplugs in your pocket to drop in to your ears and tune out the extraneous noisy environment around and tune into the conversation.
What is in the box?
- The AfterShokz OpenComm headset
- A fancy Hardshell Case
- The AfterShokz proprietary charging cable
- OpenComm User Guide
- 2-year Warranty Registration Card
How are they?
The charging cable system for the AfterShokz OpenComm is a magnetic system that is easy and efficient. The magnets are strong, and I don’t have to worry about opening up plastic flaps like the first set of AfterShokz that I own. I have slowly converted just about every device that I own over to USB C but in this case the charging cable for AfterShokz works well and keeps the entire system water resistant.
The Open-Ear design really allows you to put this system on over your ears and not have to even think about it. The light weight of 33g is so minimal that you just do not feel these on your ears during the day. The Bluetooth range is 10 meters or around 33 feet and I can set down my phone and walk out of my office into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and continue the conversation. These charge in about an hour and give you 16 hours of listening and talk time. On the OpenComm, I really like easy buttons though I wish the microphone had a mute button on it so I could quickly and easily feel that I was on mute. Currently, if I want to mute, I just use my phone but I would prefer to keep my phone out of my hands. The unit itself can mute via pushing the volume buttons together for 2 seconds and then again for 2 seconds to unmute. This is just awkward to do while on a call so hopefully in version 2.0 AfterShokz can rectify this situation. I do really like the large orange buttons on these as they easy to see and you can clearly feel the button and the click.
All of the controls are on the right side of the headset which makes it easy to control and the microphone boom is on the left. It is small and stays out of the way. When the microphone boom is not extended down to the front I found it is hard for individuals to really hear me well so the microphone boom must be rotated to the front to use this effectively as a phone headset. I found the microphone to be well done and folks who have had conversations with me have been impressed with the quality of the sound and the reduction of background noise.
So do I like it? Absolutely, because throughout the day over the last month, I have put the system on my head and I have not had to take it off. I forget that it is on until I sit down for dinner and as I am washing my hands, I pull it off and put it on the charger. I like that it is incredibly clear and I like listen to podcasts, conversations and zoom calls without even thinking about the AfterShokz OpenComm being on my head. I have appreciated the comments from friends and family that folks can hear me clearly and I have used the OpenComm headset on two different podcast interviews and been crystal clear.
All day long Miko is bouncing around the house chewing on bones, messing with the cat, crunching on antlers, eating pig ears, begging for ear rubs, running from room to room to room chasing squirrels or other imaginary shadows. She literally chases shadows from birds around from window to window, begs to go out, then in, then out and generally most people have no idea unless they are watching me on a zoom call. Mostly, what I like is that I am aware of Miko and anyone else in the house and around me no matter whether I am out in public or I am in the house alone. I have a really high quality over the ear noise cancelling headset. The OpenComm has replaced this set for my day to day use because it is so light as well as it allows me to actually hear the things going on around me so easily. This of course is my only negative about the headset is that if you are wearing them in a crowded location you have to put in earplugs in order to clearly hear them over the surrounding hum of life. Taking these on walk with the dog is outstanding, taking these on a walk along a busy road is not so outstanding because it is hard to hear without ear plugs.
This is all of the joy of being able to hear without any of the ear pain from a heavy headset all day, internal ear plugs and having to clean earbuds. In addition, this seems to work very well with face masks in crowded situations. Isn’t it sad that we have to even think of that, but it is our current reality.
The MSRP on the AfterShokz OpenComm is $159.95 and with Amazon you can get free shipping. These are worth the investment for the WFH lifestyle in which we live currently and if you are on the phone for hours a day like I am, these are the best we have had the pleasure of using for conversations, podcasts, virtual conferences and zoom calls. These are not the headphones you want if you are an audiophile but for communication, work, life, class, zoom, etc., these are the bomb.
Where to buy: At AfterShokz on Amazon and you can find it at other locations and national retailers.
Source: The review headset was provided by Aftershokz.
OpenComm headsets feature:
● Up to 16 hours of talk time or up to 8 hours of listening time on a single charge. Recharging takes just one hour.
● Quick Charge feature that provides up to 2 hours of use with 5 minutes of charging, making it ideal for the professional on-the-go.
● A signature, easily accessible AfterShokz multifunction button to answer calls, play, pause, skip or activate a voice assistant with a few easy taps.
● NFC (Near Field Communication) Pairing to quickly and safely pair OpenComm to an Android mobile device.
● Lightweight, comfortable wraparound titanium frame fortified.
● IP55 water-resistant protection is fitting for all-day wear and stays put in virtually any
environment, including riding a bike, sitting in a cubicle or working at a construction site.
- OpenComm Bone Conduction Stereo Bluetooth Headset: Specs:
- Microphone type: Noise-canceling boom microphone
- Audio: PremiumPitch™ 2.0 stereo sound
- Transducers: Bone Conduction Technology
- Frame: Titanium
- Bluetooth®: Generation 5.0
- Chip: QCC3024
- Wireless range: Up to 33 ft (10 meters)
- Battery type: Rechargeable Li-polymer
- Battery capacity: 170mAh
- Talk time: Up to 16 hours
- Continuous play time: Up to 8 hours
- Standby time: Up to 14 days
- Charge time: 1 hour
- Quick charge: 5 minutes provides up to 2 hours of talk time
- Weight: 1.16 ounces (33 grams)
- IP rating: IP55 Water-Resistant
- NFC technology: Pairs with a compatible mobile device