Shokz OpenFit Air

Verdict

The Shokz OpenFit Air addresses some key issues with the OpenFit, particularly with the design sound and price, that make these Shokz open-ear earbuds much easier to recommend.

Pros

  • More secure design than OpenFit
  • Bright, enjoyable, open-ear sound
  • Good battery performance

Cons

  • Touch controls aren’t great
  • Not as sleek as OpenFit


  • AudioShokz OpenBass Air to boost low frequencies

  • CallsFour microphones to track your voice with Adaptive Beamforming

  • BatterySix hours of battery life on a single charge (28 in total)

Introduction

The OpenFit Air sees Shokz take another stab at making wireless earbuds that embrace air conduction technology to channel sound towards your ears.

For the OpenFit Air, Shokz has made changes to a design that’s built for all-day wear and workouts. It’s still offering sound customisation through additional EQ modes and now it’s offering that open-ear sound for less money than the OpenFit.

The original OpenFit didn’t quite nail the open-ear earbud concept for me in all areas, so it’s over to the OpenFit Air to prove that Shokz is back on track.

Availability

The Shokz OpenFit Air are available to order now priced at £119, which is a sizeable drop in price from the OpenFit that launched at £179 / $179.95, remains the most expensive option in the Shokz headphones family and seems to be sticking around according to Shokz as a more comfortable alternative to the OpenFit.

That also makes it cheaper than other open-ear wireless earbuds like the Cleer Audio Arc II Sport (£199 / $199) and the Oladance OWS Sports ($149.99). It’s still not quite as budget as the Sivga SO2 (£69.90 / $69.90), which offers great all-round performance for less than £100 / $100.

Design

  • IP54 water resistance
  • Touch controls
  • Comes in three colour options

For the OpenFit, Shokz got some things right, and certainly needed to refine some design elements. They looked great, were light to wear and packed in okay touch controls. The OpenFit Air shows Shokz was listening, particularly with the changes it made to the way these headphones stay on your ears.

Available in your pick of black, pink or white colours, the Air features an earhook-design and uses a titanium alloy with a silicone finish. It’s now a far more flexible earhook that feels more sporty in comparison to the OpenFit and ultimately feels better balanced in terms of the overall weight and the way it securely wraps around the ear. 

Shokz OpenFit Air worn by reviewer
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There’s a small change in weight with the Air compared to the OpenFit, jumping to 8.7g from 8.3g per earbud, but it’s a negligible difference. I’ve worn them for walks, travelling on trains, using them in the gym and for hour-long runs outside and these have not budged or felt uncomfortable to wear over long periods.

They carry the same IP54 water resistance rating as the OpenFit, so while that isn’t the strongest protection available against sweat and rain for a pair of Shokz headphones, I’ve had no problems using them on rainy days.

Shokz OpenFit Air in reviewers handShokz OpenFit Air in reviewers hand
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Unlike its bone conduction headphones Shokz has opted to embrace touch controls for its earbuds, which can be customised in the Shokz app, letting you play and pause audio, skip back and forward a track and summon your smartphone assistant. Finding the sweet spot for those controls were a constant challenge and weren’t what I’d consider a great example of touch controls, even when stationary.

You can take calls with the Air too, with four microphones built-in and what Shokz calls its Adaptive Beamforming technology to boost call quality.

Features

  • Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity
  • Up to 6 hours battery life

The Air features Bluetooth 5.2 to connect to your devices and offers a connectivity range of up to 10 metres. You can customise sound via four EQ presets available inside of the Shokz companion smartphone app, which is available for both iOS and Android.

Outside of customising touch controls and selecting a different EQ mode, Shokz supports the ability to pair to more than one device at the same time, once you’ve enabled it in the app first.

Shokz OpenFit Air appShokz OpenFit Air app
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

In terms of battery life, the number has dropped by an hour from the OpenFit. It’s now 6 hours as opposed to 7 hours, which is still less than the 10 hours enjoyed from the Shokz OpenRun Pro. With the bundled charging case fully charged you’ll get a maximum of 28 hours. There’s also a quick charge mode that gives you 2 hours of listening from a 10-minute charge.

I’d say that battery quote is accurate and getting to 6 hours depends on listening volume and the EQ mode that’s in use. I found that on average, an hour’s use saw the battery drop by 20%, which equates to 5 hours. It definitely felt a little short, though that quick charge mode ensures they stay topped up and helped get through a good week of use.

Sound Quality

  • Enjoyable, open-ear sound
  • 4 EQ modes available

There’s 11 mm dynamic driver units powering sound along with Shokz’s Direct Pitch open-ear technology and OpenBass algorithm that collectively aims to offer power, bass and detail.

The OpenFit Air follows the same principle as other Shokz headphones of delivering audio to your ears without blocking them up. They join the OpenFit in doing that with air conduction, placing speakers in close proximity to your ears to channel sound and still let you hear what’s around you.

Shokz OpenFit Air in charging caseShokz OpenFit Air in charging case
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I’d say that in open-ear wireless earbuds terms, the OpenFit puts in a really strong performance. There’s balance, punchy but not overbearing bass, and a little more finesse when you need it. Crucially, that’s retained when you’re battling more exterior sounds. 

I use the Songs to Test Headphones With playlist on Spotify to test the earbuds’ ability to handle a mixture of music genres. On Underworld’s Born Slippy and Bonobo’s Rosewood, there’s a nice rumble of bass, whether in the Standard or dedicated Bass Boost mode. While mids feel a little boxy at times, it’s an enjoyable experience overall.

Shokz OpenFit Air on the floorShokz OpenFit Air on the floor
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

On something more relaxed like London Grammar’s Wasting My Young Years or Neil Young’s Harvest Moon, there’s a relatively wide soundstage, mids do feel a touch recessed while treble performance has a more grainy texture to it. The vocal EQ preset is well matched for podcasts and audiobooks when you want to hone in on voices. 

It’s a similar story when taking calls. There’s good clarity overall, though performance can unsurprisingly falter when battling against the sounds around you.

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Should you buy it?

You want secure-fitting, open-ear earbuds with enjoyable sound

The OpenFit Air stays put and pumps out enjoyable open-ear sound.

You want truly wireless earbuds with great controls

While Shokz nails the controls on its bone conduction headphones, it’s sadly not the same story for the OpenFit Air.

Final Thoughts

The Shokz OpenFit Air is simply a better package than the OpenFit in terms of the fit, sound and crucially, price. There’s still some work to be done, particularly with the controls and it would be nice to have a smaller charging case, but overall it feels like Shokz has a worthwhile and smaller open-ear alternative to its bone conduction headphones.

How we test

We test every set of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy

Tested with real world use

Battery drain carried out

FAQs

How long is the Shokz OpenFit Air battery life?

Shokz claims the OpenFit Air can last for six hours on a single charge, and 28 hours with the charging case.

UK RRP

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