Who Is The AfterShokz OpenComm Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset For?

  • The AfterShokz OpenComm Bluetooth headset is ideal for those who want to listen to audio without causing any ear fatigue
  • The headset features a great microphone that can be swiveled into place when needed
  • The AfterShokz OpenComm has the best battery life of any headset or earbuds I've tried recently
The AfterShokz OpenComm headset offers surprisingly great sound quality without touching your ears

Headphones and earbuds come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing they share is at some point, they all have a speaker that produces sound. That isn't true for bone conduction headsets like the AfterShokz OpenComm. Can a headset with no speakers really compare to a more traditional option? Not only can the AfterShokz OpenComm compete with the others, it even stands tall as a great headset option.

Headphones, But Not For Your Ears

The most important thing to understand about the AfterShokz OpenComm headset is that it is nothing like traditional earbuds or headphones. Those use a speaker to create soundwaves, which then get picked up by ears as sounds and music. The OpenComm instead uses little pads that sit right in front of the ear to vibrate the wearer's cheekbone, sending sound to a user's inner ears.

A look at the OpenComm headset with the microphone flipped back

While it may seem a little complicated, basically it means that the AfterShokz OpenComm allows wearers to listen to audio while keeping their ears completely open. In fact, you can stick your fingers directly into your ears while wearing the OpenComm, and you'll still hear everything just fine.

Fantastic Quality

I originally thought that the OpenComm could never compete with even a basic pair of earbuds, but the headset has surpassed every expectation. Everything from bombastic orchestral scores to quiet and intimate ASMR videos come through crystal clear.

Audio sounds like it is coming straight from your head with the AfterShokz OpenComm, especially since you can still hear the world around you along with whatever is playing. That said, listening to something drowns out the majority of background noise, so while it is possible to hear car horns or doorbells, it isn't easy to hear quiet conversations without pausing the incoming audio.

My only issue with the build quality is that the band on the back is too large for me

While the AfterShokz OpenComm does produce some quality sounds, it does have some limitations. For example, there still is a slightly flat sound in the audio that is common among earbuds. This only means that the OpenComm can't compare to some of the audiophile-grade headphones I've used, but still performs better than most mid-ranged audio equipment I've used in the past.

The biggest downside to listening to music with the OpenComm is when certain sounds, particularly loud bass or anything with reverb, start to get particularly heavy. Because the bone conduction headset needs to vibrate to send audio through the cheekbone, punchy bass sounds can actually be felt more than heard. This just means that you can feel little vibrations on your face along with loud booms or drum hits. It can be distracting, but it happens so rarely it isn't a major issue.

Magnificent Microphone

I've reviewed countless headsets and wireless earbuds by now, and have a pretty good system for checking how I sound when on the phone. I also call the same person, who then gives me her impressions based on the previous devices I've used. When using the AfterShokz OpenComm headset, the person I called was very surprised at how natural I sounded. She noted that I didn't sound far away or like I was in an echoey room. Instead, she said the quality was about the same as if I were talking into the phone normally.

How the OpenComm looks when the microphone is flipped forward

What's nice about the OpenComm microphone is that it sits on a swivel off to the left side of the headset. If you want to use the microphone, it can be rotated into place easily, but isn't long enough that it gets distracting in the corner of your eye. When not in use, the microphone can be tucked away to make the headset more streamlined.

Freaky Fast Charging And Battery For Days

Perhaps the craziest part of the AfterShokz OpenComm is its battery life. In trying to drain the headset's battery life, I used it extensively for several hours, then left it on and forgot about it. I went back the next day and the OpenComm's battery had only dipped to 60 percent. In fact, the headset was used intermittently for a second day, wasn't turned off again, and was used for a third day before finally dying.

This plug connects to the OpenComm with magnets and charges the headset with lightning speed

Surely this will take forever to recharge, I thought as I plugged the OpenComm into its funky proprietary plug. However, the light on the side showed the headset was full again in a very short amount of time. I didn't get a proper time on it, but it felt like a full recharge only took one to two hours at most.

Build Quality

The build quality of the AfterShokz OpenComm is really great. The headset is durable, yet flexible. It doesn't pinch too hard on the temples, and is virtually weightless. My only wish is that the band that goes behind your head could be modified to be a little shorter. As it is, it kind of sticks out and makes laying down with the OpenComm impossible. The band also gets caught up on the collar of my jacket sometimes, causing minor discomfort.

The headset by itself. The volume buttons are tucked under the thick part of the band on the left

There are three buttons on the OpenComm, with two dedicated to adjusting volume. The third button, placed directly on the right speaker pad, is the common "multi-function" button found on many headsets. The multi-function button can play and pause music, answer and hang up on phone calls, and all the typical controls expected from a wireless headset.

Final Thoughts

I have been pretty blown away by the AfterShokz OpenComm. At first I thought the OpenComm was going to be some gimmicky, mediocre headset alternative, but after using it I have found myself coming back to the headset again and again. The open-ear design allows me to hold conversations with people without having to take off the headset, and the battery life is seemingly endless.

Pretty much the only downside to the AfterShokz OpenComm is the device's use of a proprietary plug. That means I can't use one of the countless micro-USB or USB-C cables I have laying around already. However, with quick recharge times, I don't need to worry about waiting around too long before I can start listening to tunes again.

If you want a great headset, but hate the way a headset or earbuds makes your ears feel, definitely give the AfterShokz OpenComm a look.