Shokz’s OpenRun has long been a de facto standard in bone conduction headphones for athletes and sports enthusiasts, even more so when the company announced the OpenRun Pro. But with the release of the new OpenFit, many people wonder if that would be a better option and what the differences are. Let’s compare the OpenFit with the OpenRun Pro and find out.
The Shokz OpenFit is similar to regular air conduction earbuds, but they don’t plug your ears at all. The Shokz OpenRun Pro works via bone conduction. The OpenFit has slightly better audio quality but a lower water resistance rating than the OpenRun Pro, making it less ideal for very sweaty sports.
For a complete picture, check out our detailed analysis of Open-Ear vs. Bone Conduction technologies
The OpenFit has an entirely different approach to audio than the OpenRun Pro, so the two have various differences. After spending some time with both, here are the differences (and the few similarities) I found that we can compare.
OpenFit Vs. OpenRun Pro: Audio Technology
The first and most significant difference between the OpenFit and OpenRun Pro is that they use entirely different technologies to generate sound.
The OpenRun Pro uses Shokz’s traditional bone conduction technology. Instead of sending audio waves through the air, as regular speakers and headphones do, they send vibrations directly into the bones surrounding the ears, essentially sending the sound directly into the listener’s inner ears and bypassing the outer ears.
The OpenFit is Shokz’s first endeavor into air conduction. The earphones work like regular earbuds for the most part, except that they don’t plug your ears.
Curious about how this design affects the listening experience? Dive into my in-depth Shokz OpenFit Review: Not Bone Conduction, Not In-Ear, Definitely Not Boring to find out.
Sound Quality Comparison
Bone conduction headphones have always been plagued by lower sound quality. It’s challenging to get exceptional audio definition from something that vibrates against your skull.
However, the OpenRun Pro delivers excellent quality sound to rival many lower-end earbuds, with well-defined highs and solid bass. These are not headphones for audiophiles, though, so don’t expect the sound quality you would get from a high-end pair of over-ear headphones, but it’s still impressive, considering that it uses bone conduction.
Volume is also a challenge for bone conduction headphones, but it has less to do with the actual sound output than the fact that your ears are unplugged. Because you can still hear all the sounds in your environment, it can make the sound from the OpenRun seem softer and more like background noise, especially when you’re in a noisy area.
Because the OpenFit uses a different approach (standard air conduction), it isn’t entirely plagued by the same issues. The sound quality is better, with powerful highs and intense bass, thanks to Shokz’s proprietary OpenBass algorithm. They don’t have the greatest sound quality out there, and many premium earbuds perform better, but the quality is marginally better than the OpenRun’s.
The volume is also considerably better, but because Shokz wants to maintain the environmental awareness associated with its brand, the OpenFit buds don’t plug the listener’s ears. This causes a similar volume problem, though it is not as bad as that of the OpenRun Pro. You will probably have to push the volume to around 85% when listening to a podcast in a noisy environment.
Water And Dust Resistance
Another significant difference between the OpenRun Pro and the OpenFit is their IP ratings.
The OpenRun Pro has a relatively decent rating of IP55. This is not great and significantly lower than the rating of the standard OpenRun. It can easily handle sweat and a light drizzle, but you shouldn’t wear it in the shower or in heavy rain.
But the OpenFit has an even lower rating of IP54. This means you shouldn’t use it even during a heavy workout that will make you sweat profusely. Though it should be okay in very light rainfall, keeping it as dry as possible is generally best.
Battery Life And Charging
The OpenRun Pro features approximately 10 hours of runtime on a single charge, which is pretty good for bone conduction headphones. It also supports fast charging, and five minutes of charging will let you use the headphones for approximately an hour and a half.
The OpenFit is different. Each bud has approximately 7 hours of battery life, but the charging case lets you quickly charge them again, offering up to 28 hours of power (combined). The earphones also support fast charging, but five minutes of charging will only give you approximately one hour extra.
However, because the charging case is so small and very portable, it’s easy to charge the OpenFit on the go, which I found to be a significant advantage over the OpenRun Pro.
The OpenRun Pro is an incredibly comfortable device. It has Shokz’s standard strap that fits around your neck, running over your ears and leaving the transducers pressing against your skull. The fit is comfortable, but those who haven’t used bone conduction headphones before can find it a bit strange at first, especially the vibrations against their skin, but most get used to it quite quickly.
The OpenFit uses a similar skin-friendly silicone wire, but like regular earbuds, there are two separate devices that are not connected, so you don’t have the strap or wire running around your neck, which I personally prefer over the traditional Shokz approach.
Unlike regular earbuds, though, they don’t fit inside your ears. They use an over-ear design with hooks fitting over your ears, placing the earphone in front of your ear canal where the sound can play directly into your ears.
This design is surprisingly comfortable; Shokz perfected the art of making the straps and hooks as soft and convenient as possible; after a few minutes, you will barely notice it. The earphones are sturdy, too, and they don’t dangle like you would expect them to.
Overall, the OpenRun Pro and OpenFit are both very comfortable options. Some listeners will prefer the OpenFit because it doesn’t vibrate against the skin, but apart from that, both are excellent options when it comes to comfort.
We’ve already mentioned that the OpenRun Pro and OpenFit use different technologies to generate sound, but what about the other technologies?
While both devices have similar ranges and transmission speeds, the OpenFit uses Bluetooth 5.2, offering potential improvements in audio quality, power consumption, multi-stream audio, and overall performance over the OpenRun Pro’s Bluetooth 5.1. However, one notable difference is that the OpenRun Pro supports Bluetooth Multipoint, a feature not available on the OpenFit.
Multipoint allows a Bluetooth device to maintain simultaneous connections with multiple devices, like a smartphone and a laptop, so you can easily switch between the two. The technology has been commonplace for over a decade, making it strange that Shokz did not include support for Multipoint in the OpenFit.
This shouldn’t be too significant a problem for most people; it just means that OpenFit users will have to take some additional steps to switch between devices.
The Shokz OpenRun Pro and OpenFit are both excellent devices from a company that’s made a name for itself in the audio industry. But they are entirely different in their approaches. The OpenRun Pro is perfect for athletes and sports enthusiasts, which is also its primary target market. It is a more “refined” product due to the many years of research that Shokz has put into it.
The OpenFit is a newcomer to the market, so there will understandably be a few hiccups to sort out. It is also not necessarily ideal for people who enjoy strenuous sports since it won’t appreciate copious amounts of sweat. However, the OpenFit is an excellent set of earphones for everyday use, especially for listeners who need a high level of environmental awareness.