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The Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones rest on a leaf font where the vein splits.

AfterShokz Aeropex review

The Aeropex lets you keep an ear on your surroundings and music at all times, thanks to age-old bone conduction technology.
By
April 19, 2022
7.2
AfterShokz Aeropex
The bottom line
The AfterShokz Aeropex is one of the most popular bone conduction headphones to date. While it isn't the headset to get if you value excellent sound quality, it's a great option for listeners who want to remain aware of their surroundings at all times. As long as you know that the Aeropex isn't meant to block out noise, you'll be happy with it.

AfterShokz Aeropex

The AfterShokz Aeropex is one of the most popular bone conduction headphones to date. While it isn't the headset to get if you value excellent sound quality, it's a great option for listeners who want to remain aware of their surroundings at all times. As long as you know that the Aeropex isn't meant to block out noise, you'll be happy with it.
Release date

July 23, 2019

Price

Original: $129 USD

Dimensions

12.7 x 9.7 x 4.3 cm (headset)

Weight

26g

Model Number

AS800

Waterproof

IP67

What we like
Leaves ears unoccluded, good for safety
IP67 rating
Comfortable and lightweight
Good sound for bone conduction
Multipoint connectivity
No chance of inner-ear infection from use
What we don't like
Proprietary charging port
Irritating "beep" with every button press
No mobile app and limited onboard EQ functionality
Microphone quality
7.2
SoundGuys Rating
6.4
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Durability / Build Quality
9.4
4.0
4.0
Value
7.0
5.0
5.0
Design
6.5
4.8
5.0
Connectivity
5.0
7.0
7.0
Portability
7.9
8.0
8.0
Battery Life
7.0
8.0
8.0
Feature
6.7
6.0
6.0
Comfort
8.3
8.0
8.0

AfterShokz (now named Shokz) has an iron grip on the bone conduction headphones market, with a handful of products aimed at athletes. The AfterShokz Aeropex lets you can keep an ear on what’s going on around you without the need for a software-powered transparency mode or mono listening. We like bone conduction headphones because they don’t clog up your ears—it’s good for those with certain sensitivities— but they’re usually far from perfect.

After spending two weeks with the AfterShokz Aeropex, we can confidently say that this is a great headset for a niche audience. Let’s find out if it suits your needs.

  • Athletes can use the Aeropex to hear their surroundings during a run around town.
  • Those with in-the-ear (ITE) or invisible (IIC) hearing aids can use this Aftershokz headset because it doesn’t touch the outer ear.
  • Anyone who doesn’t like the “clogged ear” feeling earbuds cause will find comfort with the Aeropex.

What’s it like to use AfterShokz Aeropex?

A hand removes the Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones from a backpack with climbing shoes in the background.
The Aeropex headset is flexible and easy to shove into a bag.

The Aeropex is a pretty easy-to-use wireless headset with just three buttons and a two-pin charging connection. What sets the Aeropex apart from other wireless headphones is that it uses vibrations to transmit sound through the bones in your skull, rather than relying on speakers that directly fire sound down your ear canals. It sounds scary, but the technology has been around for decades.

At first glance, you might be tempted to shove the rounded pieces into your ears—don’t do that. To properly wear the headphones, you’ll need to place the earbud-shaped parts right in front of your ear canal so they rest on your cheekbone (see here). A band connects the two buds and stretches to accommodate a variety of head sizes. The band arches where it meets my ears and the whole thing feels comfortable when I’m at my desk or on a walk. However, anytime I remove a mask with the Aeropex on, I inadvertently shift the headset around or off altogether. Oh, and combining the Aeropex with both a mask and glasses, well, that will turn anyone into a tangled mess.

The Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones accessories lay on a black surface.
You get the Aeropex headset, a soft carrying case with a magnetic closure, a proprietary charging cable, and a branded exercise belt that holds your phone or cash.

The headset has an entirely rubberized exterior, which keeps the Aeropex in place during light activities. I imagine the coating could catch on longer hair and mess up a good do, since it collects dust and turns into a fuzzy-looking mess pretty quickly. Thankfully, the headset has an IP67 rating, so I just run it under water and wipe it down with a cloth to get rid of grime.

Shokz provides a magnetic carrying pouch (11.9 x10.2 x 3.8 cm), two proprietary charging cables, an exercise belt, ear plugs, and the Aeropex headset.


How do you control the AfterShokz Aeropex?

The Aeropex has a sparse control layout with a power/volume up, volume down, and multi-function button. Annoyingly, a loud beep accompanies any command and you cannot disable this tone. It can be a bit disruptive when I adjust the volume with more than one click.

Take a look at the table below to understand how to control the Aeropex for playback and calls.

One pressTwo pressesThree pressesPress and hold (2s)Press and hold (3s)
Multi-function
One press
  • Play / pause music

  • Answer/end call

Two presses
  • Next track
  • Redial last number (when idle)

Three presses
  • Previous track

Press and hold (2s)Press and hold (3s)
  • Access voice assistant

  • Answer incoming call, hang up current call
  • Reject a call

Volume up
One pressTwo pressesThree presses
  • Increase volume
  • Check battery status (when idle)

Press and hold (2s)
  • Power on

Press and hold (3s)
  • Power off

Volume down
One pressTwo pressesThree pressesPress and hold (2s)Press and hold (3s)
  • Decrease volume
  • Check battery status (when idle)

Volume up and down together
One pressTwo pressesThree pressesPress and hold (2s)
  • Reject a call

Press and hold (3s)
  • Change EQ setting (while music plays)

Is the AfterShokz Aeropex good for working out?

A woman wears the Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones as she begins to rock climb in a gym.
The Aeropex is a great option for athletes of all stripes.

The AfterShokz Aeropex is a solid pair of workout headphones if you prioritize safety and avoid certain kinds of exercises. Runners, cyclists, and even rock climbers will enjoy the headset, but this isn’t the pick for someone doing bench presses. Since the Aeropex wraps around the back of your head with a few-centimeter gap between your skull and the band, any position where your head leans back on something will thrust the headset forward and off of your cheekbone, leaving you with askew headphones when you sit up.

The Aeropex shines with rock climbing, as it stays out of the way and rarely interferes with movement. On occasion, I knock it out of place on overhangs, but it’s easy to readjust. Runners will like the Aeropex too as the band only flops a little bit and never jostles the headset out of place.

Bone conduction headphones like the Aeropex are great for outdoor athletes.

I like the Aeropex for cycling because it leaves my ears completely open to passing cars and other cyclists. Sure, you get the same effect with a portable speaker, but with the Shokz headset, you can enjoy safety and a private listening experience. That said, getting the band to play nicely with a helmet is hard, and it never feels completely comfortable.

Even with its fit quirks, I appreciate how the Aeropex keeps me tuned into the environment, whether it’s friends cheering me on as I climb, or a barking dog at the end of block. Adjusting the fit is a small inconvenience compared to that level of situational awareness.

What Bluetooth codecs does the AfterShokz Aeropex support?

The Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones rest on a large leaf fond.
While this bone conduction headset doesn’t have many features, it can connect to two source devices simultaneously.

With the AfterShokz Aeropex, you only get the default SBC Bluetooth codec, so no high-quality audio streaming to any device. Even if the Aeropex supported AAC or aptX, you wouldn’t be able to perceive the higher quality audio since the headset does nothing to block your ears from the external world. No matter what codecs it supports, a bone conduction headset will never sound as good as a pair of earbuds that seal to your ears or properly fitted headphones.

The AfterShokz Aeropex uses Bluetooth 5.0, so there’s no chance of it supporting LE Audio and the LC3 codec when the time comes. While this is a bit disappointing, you still get certain perks like reliable connectivity and improved power efficiency relative to Bluetooth 4.2 products. Surprisingly, the Aeropex supports Bluetooth multipoint so you can connect it to two devices at once, which makes it a solid headset for work.

To enable multipoint connections on the Aeropex, follow these instructions:

  1. Make sure the headset is powered off.
  2. Press and hold the volume up button until the voice prompt says, “pairing.” The LED will flash red and blue.
  3. Press and hold the multi-function and volume up buttons for 3 seconds. The voice prompt will say, “multipoint enabled.”
  4. Open your primary device’s Bluetooth Settings and enable Bluetooth. Then select “Aeropepx by AfterShokz.”
  5. The headset will make a connection and you will hear the phrase, “multipoint enabled.”
  6. Press and hold the volume up button until the voice prompt says, “pairing.” The LED will flash red and blue.
  7. Press and hold the multi-function and volume up buttons for 3 seconds. The voice prompt will say, “multipoint enabled.”
  8. Open your secondary device’s Bluetooth Settings and enable Bluetooth. Then select “Aeropepx by AfterShokz.” The voice prompt will say, “connected.”
  9. Turn the headset off.
  10. Turn the headset on. It will now connect to both the primary and secondary devices.

To disable Bluetooth multipoint, press and hold the multi-function and volume up buttons for 3 seconds. The voice prompt will say, “multipoint disabled.”


How long does the battery last on the AfterShokz Aeropex?

The Aftershokz Aeropex volume/power button and charging input.
If you lose the charging cable, you must buy one from Aftershokz since it doesn’t use the common USB-C or microUSB ports.

The Aeropex uses a 145mAh lithium-polymer battery that merits an official 8-hour battery life and my usage reinforces this specification. You get 10 days of standby time and the headset takes two hours to recharge. Unfortunately, you must use a proprietary charging cable that magnetically latches onto a two-pin connector on the right side of the Aeropex. If you lose the cable, you’ll have to buy a new one from Shokz.

When you charge the headset its LED will light up to communicate battery status: red means it’s charging and solid blue means it’s fully charged. If it flashes red every two seconds, the battery is low.

Does the AfterShokz Aeropex block out noise?

The AfterShokz Aeropex does not block out background noise because it leaves your ears completely unoccluded. This lack of isolation is a feature, not a bug. If you want headphones that block out noise, there are plenty of options for athletes and average consumers alike.

Hold up, something’s missing:

This article’s frequency response is absent from this review because our Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture cannot accurately measure the headset’s frequency response. The isolation chart is absent because, well, the headphones don’t do anything to block out sound and they’re not supposed to.

How does the AfterShokz Aeropex sound?

A hand holds the Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones to show the flat interior of each ear piece.
Unlike traditional earphones, the Aeropex doesn’t use a speaker system to drive sound down your ear canals. As you can see, there are no earbud nozzles here.

There is no sub-bass with the AfterShokz Aeropex, which should come as no surprise since it doesn’t touch your outer ear, let alone make any kind of seal to your ear canal. To combat this, the bass response sounds notably louder than the mids which is part of the PremiumPitch 2.0+ technology. This kind of sound makes sense because bass notes in music are usually the first casualty of auditory masking, and separately, most athletes prefer a loud bass output for workouts.

Lows, mids, and highs

Since it’s hard to recreate an ideal fit with the Aeropex, sound quality is inconsistent. When I place the headset directly on my cheekbone just in front of my ear, the song 17 anymore by marcos g sounds quite good. His vocals come through clearly but the claps before the bass drops at 0:25 are much quieter than I’m used to. The same goes for the subsequent bass drop a second later, which continues throughout most of the song.

When I slide the headset up or forward just a centimeter, loudness and clarity take a nosedive. Anytime I listen to the Aeropex and eat at the same time, the sound is also inconsistent because of how my jaw slightly misplaces the Aeropex with every bite.

Still, this headset sounds very good and definitely better than the retired Trekz Titanium from AfterShokz. Because of the all but absent sub-bass response, the Aeropex sounds best when it’s reproducing spoken word content like podcasts or audiobooks.

When you press the volume up/down buttons simultaneously, a voice will say, “EQ change,” and the EQ will adjust to reduce or boost the bass. You can only cycle through the two options and can’t make any granular adjustments.


Can you use the AfterShokz Aeropex for phone calls?

The AfterShokz Aeropex is not a great headset for phone calls, but it has a serviceable microphone. As long as you only take calls in a quiet environment, the person on the other end will hear you just fine. However, if you decide to take a walk on a windy day, the person on the other end of the call may be left frustrated by all the background noise. Listen below and tell us what you think!

AfterShokz Aeropex microphone demo:

How does the microphone sound to you?

105 votes

Should you buy the AfterShokz Aeropex?

The Aftershokz Aeropex is covered in chalk while resting on a black surface.
Don’t buy bone conduction headphones for the sound quality. Buy them for the ability to hear everything around you in tandem with your media.

The AfterShokz Aeropex knows how to serve a niche, and if you’re someone who wants to exercise outside or who wears hearing aids and wants to hear music simultaneously, this could be the perfect option. I feel confident when biking around town with the Aeropex, and I like hearing the world in tandem with my music. While not spectacular, the sound is pretty good for something that doesn’t directly interact with your ears.

Still, the Aeropex has its drawbacks like the proprietary charging method and its value relative to other headsets. For the typical listener, there are far better options at your fingertips if you value sound quality, comfort, fit stability, or features.

The AferShokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones in black against a white background.
AfterShokz Aeropex
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

How does the AfterShokz Aeropex compare to the Shokz OpenRun?

The Shokz OpenRun is a newer, rebranded version of the AfterShokz Aeropex. With the OpenRun, you get Bluetooth 5.1 and fast charging: just 10 minutes of charging provides 90 minutes of playback. Both headsets only support the SBC codec for wireless streaming and use the same two-pin connector and proprietary charging cable for top ups. If you’re shopping around for your kid, the OpenRun is a great pick because it comes in a mini size for small heads. The Aeropex only comes in the standard size.

A woman wears the Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones in red.
If you want the best sound with bone conduction headphones, be sure to place the earbud-like pieces directly on your cheekbones.

No matter which pair of bone conduction headphones you get, you can put them through the wringer thanks to their IP67 ratings. Both have eighth-generation bone conduction technology and PremiumPitch 2.0+, so sound quality should be identical between the OpenRun and Aeropex too. While the Aeropex is the older headset, we actually prefer its accessories since you get two charging cables whereas the OpenRun provides just one. The OpenRun also lacks ear plugs and swaps out the sport belt for a band to secure the headset.

You can’t go wrong with either headset and we recommend that you purchase whichever one you can find on sale.

What should you get instead of the AfterShokz Aeropex?

If you’ve decided against bone conduction headphones, let us point you toward the Bose Sport Open Earbuds. Similar to bone conduction headphones, the Sport Open rests on top of your ear and leaves your ear canals unoccluded. This allows you to hear everything going on around you but the sound quality is better since Bose really just uses directional speakers to funnel sound down your ear canals.

The left Bose Sport Open Earbud faces up with its connector pins, speaker grill, and "L" indicator in full view, while the right earbud rests in the case cutout next to bike tools.
When you want to listen in mono mode, the right earbud must be nearby, even if it’s in the case.

Bose’s wireless sport earphones aren’t quite as durable as the Aeropex and have a typical IPX4 rating. Similar to the Aeropex, there’s an odd proprietary charging cradle that comes with the Sport Open Earbuds, but at least with Bose’s earphones you get a mobile app for updates.

For those who don’t mind having things in and on their outer ears, the Sony LinkBuds WF-L900 is a really nice alternative to bone conduction headsets.

The Sony LinkBuds earbuds lay on a leather surface.
The silicone loop fins are really important for getting a secure fit.

Sony’s earphones have a donut-shaped hole in the center so external sound can travel down your unobstructed ear canals. This way, you get better sound quality than the Bose Sport Open and any bone conduction headphones, all while hearing your surroundings almost as well. The WF-L900 earphones have an IPX4 rating and fit much more securely and comfortably than the Aeropex. You can use the Sony Headphones Connect app to customize your listening experience, and its case uses the standard USB-C input for charging.

Frequently asked questions about the AfterShokz Aeropex

Yes, on December 28, 2021, AfterShokz renamed itself to Shokz. The change came on the company’s 10-year anniversary and demonstrates a simpler and more sharable message than the former name “AfterShokz.” The company also rebranded its logo to accommodate this change by getting rid of the dot in the center of the “O” to better symbolize its bone conduction technology. You can see an example of the new logo here.


If you’re having trouble with your Aeropex headset, you may need to reset it by following these directions:

  1. Make sure the headset is powered off.
  2. Press and hold the volume up button until the voice prompt says, “pairing.” The LED indicator will flash red and blue.
  3. Press and hold the multi-functionvolume up, and volume down buttons at the same time for 5 seconds until you hear two beeps, or feel vibrations.
  4. Turn the Aeropex off. It is now reset and you can pair it to any device.