Review: Aftershokz Bluez 2S Headphones
The bone conduction technology used in the Aftershokz range, means that you can enjoy your favourite tunes whilst riding, but still hear the warning sounds of traffic and ambient noise around you. This new-found ability to listen to music whilst riding safely, meant that I've used the Bluez 2 on an almost daily basis since; they deservedly featured in my Fifteen Festive Stocking Fillers for Cyclists 2015 blog post.
Last month, Aftershokz released the new Bluez 2S bone conduction headphones. I always thought that the original Bluez 2 were very good (clearly), but even the best products have a few niggles. Like any good R&D company though, Aftershokz took on-board user feedback, and the new Bluez 2S headphones promise to be the perfected product.
Better Sound Quality and Reduced Leakage
The first improvement, is with the audio output mechanism. Aftershokz have added an additional paper thin alloy spring to their PremiumPitch output unit, to give the PremiumPitch+. The small addition makes a significant difference, and there is a notable increase in bass quality, coupled with an even more notable decrease in sound leakage (a bit of a problem with using the original Bluez 2 in confined spaces). This is a really great improvement, with apparent benefits.
|The "cheek-pieces" are redesigned on the Bluez 2S|
Improved Waterproofing to IP55
The second area of improvement is around the charging port and buttons. Aftershokz have added an additional seal around the micro USB cable input and the volume buttons, to improve the waterproofing on the Bluez 2S to IP55 rating. Although I've never had a problem with sweat or precipitation damaging my original pair of Bluez 2, this addition is a good reassurance to have!
|New raised buttons, with better waterproofing|
Improved Microphone Positioning
With its great Bluetooth functionality, the Bluez headphones allow you to answer and dismiss calls, directly from the headset. Reportedly there was an issue with the sound quality on the Bluez 2 microphones though, and they didn't pass the NAC testing on the Volte network as a result. To remedy the problem, Aftershokz have positioned the microphone inlets in two places on the headphones, so you get a better stereo sound and reduced background noise. Neat!
|The second microphone inlet is just above the Aftershokz logo on this image|
Finally, Aftershokz have done some great work on the casing of the Bluez 2, to upgrade it to the Bluez 2S. The improvements include larger raised buttons, to make them easier to use; as well as a modified shape that gives a notably closer fit on your cheek bones.
Overall, it seems that Aftershockz have demonstrated some superb R&D with the Bluez 2S. They've listened to feedback, and added some significant "marginal gains" to an already great product. Bring on many more happy months of commuting, listening safely to my favourite tunes!
Shop the Aftershokz Bluez 2S Headphones (Link)
|Bluez 2 on the left. Bluez 2S on the right.|