Monday, September 25, 2023

Shokz OpenRun Pro : Unboxing and Review

Sharing the news that I was recently signed up by Shokz Malaysia as one of their brand ambassador. Not shy to admit that I have been courting this brand when it was first known as Aftershokz. Took me long enough to be part of this family.

With Brand Team from Shokz Malaysia. Thank you!

I have used many different systems for workout from wired earphones to wireless earbuds, from MP3 players to iPods - nothing beats the draw of a non-intrusive-in-ear-wireless setup such as offered by Shokz.

Image from

Throw in the bone-conduction technology and if you are new to this - you will be Shokz by how sound transmit over your cheekbone into your hearing system. I was sold and the closest i got to, was using the unit that belongs to my wife which I gifted her during the pandemic.

Here is the unboxing video

Higher resolution Video in my YouTube here

Items you get in this box consist of

  • The OpenRun Pro
  • Charging cable
  • Premium Case
  • Manual and warranty card
The Shokz OpenRun Pro specification (that is important to know):
  • 29 grams - lightweight
  • IP55 protection - water resistance (meaning, do not immerse in water), sweat proof, splash proof
  • 10hours of battery life with Quick Charge - 5mins charge allow 90mins usage
  • Latest (9th) generation Bone Conduction technology with TurboPitch™) allowing enhanced bass with clearer vocal
  • 2 Years Warranty
Full specification: Here

Now for the review

Shokz is not new when it comes to brand, technology and usage. I have gotten one for my wife during the pandemic and it has been almost 2 years since. She enjoyed using it and I enjoyed taking it from her to use it when she isn't using it. So, you can consider this to be a version of "extended" user review based on real experience in the past 18 months at least.

I have used it for run exclusively and love the fact my surrounding is audible even down to my own footstep. I felt safer and felt way less guilty using headphone for a workout in a trafficked public area. Best of all, at a conversational volume, i can have music playing in the background like white noise while still having a chat while running with friends. 

Getting to know the device (parts)

Charging (magnetic) port

Status LED (Red-Blue)

On/Off (+) volume and (-) down button

Dual Noise-Cancelling Mic on right side

Speaker (red) and speaker air-vent (yellow) on both sides (left and right)

Multifunction button (on right). Visible is the mic and the speaker air-vents

Speaker air-vents on the top
Speaker air-vents at the bottom
The Bone-conduction unit vibrates as it send them to your cheekbone for the whole music/sound production. The speakers and the air-vents gives the overall surround experience, apart from allowing the driver unit to push air from the vibration (hence the bass enhancement) sound delivery.

Full titanium band construction covered in silicon


The Pro comes with Bluetooth V5.1 and allow Multipoint pairing. I have the unit paired to my Garmin FR965, Fenix7ProSolar, iPhone12 and my work laptop. You can link up to two devices at any one time. It however require activation of Multipoint connection. The instruction is here or you can also do it via the Shokz App

Straight forward with a few steps to follow

Using it with Multipoint meant I have the freedom to switch between two devices without needing to disconnect from other devices. At work, I switch between phone (for Spotify) and laptop (for meeting/calls). you are limited by the 10 hours battery life. If you are a heavy user, do keep your device charged to avoid interruption. It is sufficient for a day or two use (assume up to 4hours of total usage per day).
On my laptop as Handsfree (Voice and Music) and Headset (Music only)
On the laptop, the connection requires some understanding of the limitation of each function between using it as a headset and headphone.
  • Headset - allow full usage for both voice (usage of the mic on Shokz) and music/playback (anything streamed from the laptop)
  • Headphone - only music/playback
The separation meant the playback as headset is biased to vocal. This meant the music streaming will be subpar and sound really bad. However on Headphone, the quality is as good as streaming from the phone.

On my Garmin FR965

On my phone as Bluetooth connection
Some delay expected and in some cases, pressing the multifunction button (on the left) is required to restart playback. 

The Multifunction button allow for playing/pausing, switching music, answering and ending calls. 
Find the complete guide here

The complete user guide can be found here


The unit hook over your ears, it clasps lightly over the top of your ear with the driver unit sitting on your face, parallel to the ear canal on this area called the Auricle.

Ideal position. Note the multifunction button on this left side

Once placed in position, you hardly will notice it weigh wise, but you know it's there due to the light pressure the titanium band holds it against your face. There is a "mini" version where the band is shorter - I was tempted to get that instead, but at the risk that it may restrict some movement if i move my head left or right or if i move my ear. 

So, if you have a small (circumference) head, you may want to consider going the "mini" version with 1.5inches shorter band. Having said this, if you are planning to use the normal sized band over a hoodie, it will interfere with the clothing. Some adjustment to the unit to move the rear side downwards/towards the neck may be needed at the expense of the bone-conduction driver sitting slightly higher on the cheekbone.
Can, but not ideal. Suitable if you want the rear end band to not bulge out. This allow your head to completely rest on sofa or bed while using

If you using it while cycling, the OpenRun Pro won't interfere with the positioning as long as it's not an aero-helmet (the one that covers your ears and with cool visor at the front), you certainly can't wear them on a fullface mountain biking helmet or anything that covers the back of your head and cover your ears, like a motorcycle helmet. 

Infact, no earphone, buds or any contraption ever fits into these helmet. Exception is if you install the bluetooth communication set where two mini speakers are stuck inside your helmet. But that is a story for another day.

I have tested OpenMove (most basic), OpenRun and OpenRun Pro. All three comes with different bone conduction technology. The music/sound quality definitely was different between the three of them - very obvious when you shift between Move and Pro where the "noise" become "music". 

On the OpenRun and the Pro, the differences is there too, and most noticeable if you are listening to music with more bass (think Queen Another One Bites The Dust) - the Pro comes alive and you e impressed by how the small driver are able to deliver that amount of bass better. This technology is made possible with the Shokz TurboPitch where it pulls the mid to high pretty well. 

Having said that, you should not compare the Bone Conduction to in-ear or over-ear headphones as the sound production on these are simpler better. Same way you can't compare them to Shokz when it comes to user safety when using in your workout.

For the record, my choices of songs is as basic as these two playlist in my Spotify here and here

Sound quality wise, the best would be streaming from phone or laptop/computer BUT must be using the HEADPHONE function (see above), followed by from my Garmin and lastly from the computer/laptop as HEADSET function. 

This is because the quality is significantly impacted by the sound codec of your device and limited by what Shokz can process. In this case, OpenRun Pro uses sub-band codec or SBC which allow up to 300kbps transfer rate. This is also the most general codec compatible with all Bluetooth transmission, at the expense of quality. 

The Shokz is compatible with profiles such as A2DP (high quality audio signals profile), AVRCP (remote control profile for sending command such as play, skip, pause etc), HSP (Headset profile aka to be used for communication) and HFP (handsfree profile). 

About IP55 Protection
The IP protection of Pro is lesser than the non-Pro version. Which I find it strange. The OpenRun comes with IP67, and the OpenRun Pro is IP55. Now before we get worked up over the differences, it is good to understand what these numbers meant. Thankfully my years in managing machineries hardware and electronics protection help.

IP stands for International Protection (rating). It comes with two numbers and an optional letter. It defines the degree of protection against solid contact and water in electrical enclosures.

The first digit defines the level of protection the enclosure provide against access to hazardous parts such as electrical contacts, moving parts, and ingress of solid objects (like dust, sand, finger)

The second digit refers to liquid protection against well, water or liquid, generally.

The bigger the number, the better the protection. Naturally the IP67 would meant better protection versus IP55. 
  • IP55 protection against limited dust ingress and protected from low-pressure water jets from all direction
  • IP67 protection against total dust ingress and immersion up to 1m depth, but not meant for swimming
Looking at it, it is evidence enough that IP55 is sufficient protection taking into account splashes of water from heavy rain or sweat. I would not worry too much as my wife's unit has been in service for the past 2 years with no issues.

  • Because of open ear concept, you can hear your surroundings and still able to have a conversation while running or cycling or in the gym. Beyond sports-usage, the ability to hear your water boiling, fire alarm and other surrounding noises. 
  • Less potential for in-ear infection or impacted ear-wax as it does not go into the ear. No sweat or heating/hot issue as the unit doesn't sit in the ear canal or has the earpad covering like the traditional headphones.
  • Comfortable fit, doesn't fall out. Difficult to lose as it is secured in a band-construction
  • Suitable for those with medical or auditory condition. Those with ringing ear (tinnitus) condition may be able to enjoy music better as it does not rely on the eardrums to transmit sound vibration. Works well with hearing aid as the vibration helps amplify the sound picked up by the bone conduction.
  • Lower sound quality. While the frequency response is between 20hz to 20khz, in reality it is mid-heavy with bass coming in from amplified vibration feel
  • Pricier - but this in my mind is subjective if you were to compare to the higher end earbuds or bluetooth communicator devices (specific for work)
  • Sound leakage if you bump the sound too high. If you are in a quiet environment or taking a confidential call/privacy matters, it is best to lower the volume or find a more secure place.
  • Can potentially cause hearing loss much like traditional headphone/earphone due to exposure to loud noises for much longer hours.
Personally, the pros outweigh the cons especually when the unit is used for sports. If sound quality matters, perhaps the OpenFit could be an option. I have not tried/test the OpenFit, but when I do, you will read it here. Hopefully soon!

Thank You Shokz Malaysia

This unit of Shokz OpenRun Pro (blue) is provided to me under the Shokz Malaysia and Nove Marketing Sports Ambassador program for a year. The unit retail for RM899.00 and comes with 2-years warranty. To purchase, please click this link

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