People are often looking for a combination of sound quality and convenience when it comes to headphones, and two options that are often compared are the Shokz OpenRun Pro and Apple AirPods Pro. Both are high-quality, premium devices, but which is better for your purposes?
Shokz OpenRun Pro uses bone conduction, while Apple’s AirPods Pro uses air conduction. The AirPods Pro produce a louder and superior sound quality compared to the OpenRun Pro. On the other hand, OpenRun Pro offers true environmental awareness by not blocking your ears, while AirPods Pro’s Transparency Mode can largely simulate this experience, but it’s not quite on par.
Even though the two headphones perform the same essential function, they fundamentally differ in how they achieve it. This can make a big difference for you, depending on how you use them. Let’s compare the Shokz OpenRun Pro and Apple AirPods Pro more closely so you can make an educated choice.
OpenRun Pro Vs. AirPods Pro: Technical Details
Let’s start our comparison of the Shokz OpenRun Pro and Apple AirPods Pro by looking at the technical differences.
Types Of Headphones
Shokz OpenRun Pro are bone conduction headphones. On a technical level, that has a few implications:
- The headphones don’t cover or plug your ears at all, reducing discomfort and hygiene concerns like earwax buildup and bacterial irritation.
- The transducers don’t generate sound waves in the same way that regular headphones or earphones do.
- They don’t have noise-canceling capabilities since blocking or canceling external noise is impossible.
- The transducers are connected with a band that runs behind the user’s head.
On the other hand, the Apple AirPods Pro use traditional air conduction, so they differ from the OpenRun Pro in a few ways:
- They are in-ear earphones, so they plug your ear canals.
- They have dynamic drivers for excellent air-conduction sound quality.
- AirPods Pro has active noise canceling.
- They are truly wireless devices, so the earbuds have no physical connection running between them.
In terms of battery life, the OpenRun Pro can last for up to 10 hours, while the AirPods Pro 1st Gen can give around 4.5 hours’ listening time, and 6 hours on the 2nd Gen AirPods Pro.
However, since the AirPods Pro can charge in their case, the 1st Gen can last up to 24 hours, and up to 30 hours of listening time for the 2nd Gen. So, the OpenRun Pro has the best battery life on a single charge, but the AirPods Pro’s convenient charging case gives it a significant edge.
Water And Dust Resistance
The OpenRun Pro is rated at IP55 water and dust resistance. This means they aren’t really safe to swim with, but they can handle sweat from a rough workout and some light rain without any problems.
Both the 1st and 2nd Generation versions of the AirPods Pro have an IPX4 rating. This means it has no dust resistance rating but is decently water-resistant, though less so than the OpenRun Pro. The earphones are still more than capable of handling sweat and a bit of rain, though. However, athletes who sweat profusely or often run in the rain may be better off with the OpenRun Pro.
Sound Quality And User Experience
When we consider the sound quality and user experience, we must remember that the technologies are entirely different, and each has advantages and disadvantages.
Because the OpenRun Pro uses bone conduction, it won’t have the sound quality people generally expect from headphones. Bone conduction headphones suffer from two problems in particular, and the OpenRun Pro also has these issues:
- Lower sound quality. Even though Shokz has made impressive strides in improving the sound quality of its headphones, it is not yet at the point where bone conduction can compete with high-end headphones in the quality department, and audiophiles will be left dry.
The OpenRun Pro sounds decent in the midrange, but the bass and treble feel a bit flat. That’s not necessarily a problem for athletes, though, since sound quality is less of a factor when running.
- Low volume or loudness. This is not really a volume issue; instead, it has to do with how loud you perceive the audio to be. Because your ears aren’t plugged, and the sound plays directly into your inner ears, you may perceive the volume as very low, even though it might be quite high.
But don’t be tempted to increase it because that could damage your hearing. It’s actually much louder than it seems, and you can hear the actual volume by temporarily plugging your ears.
Apart from these problems, the OpenRun Pro does what it should. It allows for perfect environmental awareness (as long as you don’t push the volume too high) since your ears remain wide open.
Related: Airpods Pro Transparency Mode Vs. Bone Conduction Earphones (Which One Is Best For Running?)
The device is comfortable to wear, weighing only 1.02 ounce (29 grams), with very light pressure around your ears where the transducers make contact with your skin.
It features a decent microphone, so you can easily make and receive phone calls using the OpenRun Pro. Its controls are also intuitive and quick to figure out, with convenient volume control buttons located directly on the headphones.
Apple AirPods Pro
Apple’s AirPods Pro doesn’t have the disadvantages that the OpenRun Pro suffers from, specifically regarding sound quality.
Apple designed the AirPods Pro to fit comfortably inside your ears and seal your ear canals as much as possible to keep noise out and improve your listening experience. There are different ear tips to choose from, so it’s easy to find one that works for you.
This already helps ensure excellent sound quality and volume, but the Active Noise Canceling is exceptional and helps even more. Although AirPods Pro may not have the best sound quality in the world, it’s extremely impressive and good enough for anyone but the most hardcore audiophiles, and the bass has improved significantly with the release of the 2nd Generation model.
In its first generation, the AirPods Pro made significant strides in environmental awareness with their Transparency mode. This feature delivers an impressive listening experience by using microphones to pick up and transmit ambient sounds through the earphones. However, the technology isn’t perfect, and certain quirks appear. Subtle natural sounds, such as bird songs, can feel a bit digital due to the processing involved.
Even when the music is paused, the voices of people speaking to you might not seem as loud as they would in reality. Moreover, when you engage in conversation, an interesting side effect, known as the occlusion effect, occurs. This makes your own voice sound fuller and louder, which might feel strange. This happens because the ear canal is blocked by the earbuds, amplifying the sound vibrations conducted through your bones, a phenomenon otherwise known as bone conduction.
While the Transparency mode doesn’t exactly replicate the experience of an open ear, the AirPods Pro bring something unique to the table with the introduction of Adaptive Transparency mode in the 2nd generation models.
This enhanced feature serves a dual function – creating an awareness of your surroundings and protecting your hearing. Adaptive Transparency automatically lowers the volume of loud, potentially harmful noises such as sirens or loud bangs. Although you continue to remain aware of these sounds, they are delivered to your ears at a safer, less intrusive volume.
AirPods Pro is also light and comfortable, with each earbud only weighing 0.19 ounce (5.3 grams), which is significantly lighter than the OpenRun Pro. They can slip out during a run or strenuous activity, but if you choose the right tips, this won’t happen. The microphone is also excellent and manages to deliver good sound in most environments.
Shokz’s OpenRun Pro headphones are excellent but mainly target athletes since many marathons only allow bone conduction headphones. The sound quality is good but not entirely on par with the AirPods Pro. Apple’s offering has better sound quality and a suite of advantages that the OpenRun Pro can’t equal, though the AirPods Pro isn’t quite as robust as the OpenRun Pro.
Overall, if you need something that’s more water resistant and can easily handle strenuous exercise, and you aren’t too concerned about sound quality and volume, OpenRun Pro is perfect. But if your gym routine is nothing more than a light jog and you are more concerned about sound quality, Apple’s AirPods Pro will be the perfect option.