Shokz vs Aftershokz: what are the key differences?

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If you’ve been browsing online and come across Shokz and Aftershokz headphones you may be confused about what makes them different. You’re not alone. This is a common question from many buyers and we will delve right into it. Continue reading this article to understand more about Shokz vs Aftershokz Headphones.

Is Shokz the Same as Aftershokz?

Aftershokz was founded in 2011, debuting its first collection of bone-conduction headphones into the market. After roughly a decade in the industry, Aftershokz rebranded and changed its name to Shokz.

In other words, Shokz is in fact the same as Aftershokz.

The company claimed the move was done to simplify its branding and as a result, we witnessed the exit of its hero product Aeropex – welcoming the release of its replacement device OpenRun.

Yet, with a quick search online, it is clear that some Aftershokz products are still available to purchase despite this. So the question emerges, what are the differences and which headphones are the best?

Which Shokz are the best?

Since the rebrand various Shokz and Aftershokz products are still available to purchase. For the purpose of this article, we will only include the devices that are widely available.

The Aftershokz devices currently available:

  • Aftershokz Air

The Shokz devices currently available:

  • Shokz OpenRun & OpenRun Pro & OpenRun mini (formerly known as Aftershokz Aeropex)
  • Shokz OpenSwim (formerly known as Aftershokz Xtrainerz)
  • Shokz OpenMove
  • Shokz OpenComm & OpenComm UC

As we can see from the list, Shokz has replaced some of its previous Aftershokz models. Notably, Aftershokz’s flagship headphone model, Aeropex, was replaced and upgraded to the Shokz OpenRun. 

Moreover, Aftershokz’s waterproof line, Xtrainerz was replaced by the OpenSwim range. Now we’ve cleared that up let’s compare the models.

Shokz likes to separate its headphones into three clear categories: Sports, Communications, and Swimming. So, we shall do the same.

Sport Shokz Headphones

In the sports category, we have the Shokz OpenRun, OpenMove, OpenRun Pro, and Aftershokz Air.

Each headphone serves at three different price points: $129.95, $79.95, $179.95, and $119.95 respectively. This is quite a hefty price difference which explains Shokz’s claim to market these products from entry-level to pro. 

Upon inspection, it seems that the OpenMove headphones are targeted at consumers who want to enter the bone-conduction headphone space but do not want to pay the hefty price tag. 

The missing features for this model?  Magnetic charging, quick charge, as well as lack of full-wrap around design and no option to opt for the smaller size. 

Personally, if those features do not bother you perhaps the OpenMove is the best for you. 

Interestingly, the OpenRun model offers IP67 waterproofing whereas the OpenRun Pro only has IP55 water resistance. Keep this in mind if you’re trying to decide between these two models.

Through researching the older Air model, despite being the second cheapest option, we believe you are better off upgrading to the OpenRun. The improvement in features such as increased battery life, waterproofing, and quick charge make the extra $10 charge definitely worth it.

Work Shokz Headphones

The OpenComm range was designed for those looking for a headset for work. They feature a DSP noise-canceling mic making them a strong option for those often on calls. 

The pricing for the OpenComms are as follows: OpenComm $159.95 and OpenComm-UC $199.95. The UC model allows for an easy USB connection between your headphones and your laptop or computer. Despite that feature, there are no other differences between the two models, so you are in fact paying a $40 premium for it.

Swimming Shokz Headphones

Finally, onto the waterproof model OpenSwim. Priced at $149.95, the OpenSwim sits comfortably in the middle of the Shokz Headphone range. What’s unique about these is that they can be submerged up to 2 meters in depth. Furthermore, the headphones only run off internal music storage and understandably have no built-in microphone.

From what it seems, the Shokz OpenSwim performs excellently for those looking for headphones specific to swimming. Besides that, buyers may be better off looking somewhere else if they want a more universal product.

Conclusion

All in all, Shokz headphones offer great products for the sports and work communities. Due to their high price tag, it is definitely important to consider all your options before purchasing.

From our research, the Shokz OpenRun stands out as the best all-rounder. With IP67 waterproofing, fast charging and a built-in mic, it definitely seems like the most sensible option for someone wanting the best of both worlds.

Are AfterShokz good for Phone Calls?

When it comes to making phone calls, only the Shokz (formerly AfterShokz) OpenSwim does not feature a mic.

So technically, because of this, all the other Shokz models can be used for making calls. If you are looking for a headset specifically designed for taking conference calls, it is worth looking into the Shokz OpenComm range. They offer a DSP noise-canceling boom mic, which is perfect if you are looking for a higher-quality experience.