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Two hands hold the Shokz OpenComm 2 UC with the case in the background.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys

Shokz OpenComm2 UC review

Hear it in your bones.
By

Published onNovember 27, 2023

6.8
Shokz OpenComm2 UC
The bottom line
The OpenComm2 UC is a niche product with a narrow application for use, and if you can accept that then the price might not seem too expensive. The one-size-fits-most design inherently excludes some users. Battery life is impressive and the microphone rejects noise quite well.

Shokz OpenComm2 UC

The OpenComm2 UC is a niche product with a narrow application for use, and if you can accept that then the price might not seem too expensive. The one-size-fits-most design inherently excludes some users. Battery life is impressive and the microphone rejects noise quite well.
Product release date

04/2023

Price

Original: $199.95

Dimensions

Case: 165 x 128 x 58 mm

Cable length: 1m

Weight

33g

Model Number

C110

Waterproof

IP55

What we like
Stable connection
Microphone quality
IP55 rating
Battery life
What we don't like
Fit
Price
Proprietary charger
Not much bass
Limited utility
6.8
SoundGuys Rating
7
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Durability / Build Quality
8.4
-
0.0
Value
6.0
-
0.0
Design
6.3
-
0.0
Connectivity
5.0
7.0
7.0
Portability
7.0
-
0.0
Battery Life
8.9
-
0.0
Feature
7.8
-
0.0
Comfort
5.0
-
0.0

Shokz updates the Shokz OpenComm with a sequel, the Shokz OpenComm2 UC, which we’re checking out today. This bone conduction headset comes with a boom mic alongside some Zoom-friendly features. We take a look at the OpenComm2 to see if it’s your new office companion.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this Shokz OpenComm2 UC review review: We tested the Shokz OpenComm2 UC review over 1 weeks. The Shokz OpenComm2 UC ran firmware version 409-27, and the Shokz Connect app ran version v 1.2.5. The company provided the unit for this review.

The Shokz OpenComm2 UC is for office workers and remote workers. The mic sounds great, and it’s a very call-oriented design. The OpenComm2 UC also has dedicated mute buttons and can connect to your computer via a USB adapter or your phone with Bluetooth. Folks who frequently switch between devices will appreciate how easy it is with the OpenComm2 UC’s Bluetooth multipoint functionality.

What’s it like to use Shokz OpenComm2 UC?

The Shokz OpenComm2 UC comes in a lightweight semi-hardshell zippered case. Opening it up, you’ll find the silicone-covered headset with a tiny pocket for the Loop110 USB-C Bluetooth dongle and a USB-A charge cable with a proprietary connector. Getting started is easy: you either plug the USB-C dongle into your PC or connect it to your phone via standard Bluetooth procedure. The headset uses bone conduction, which differs from traditional headphones by bypassing the ear canal, leaving your ears open to the world.

An IP55 rating means the OpenComm2 UC can survive the most stressful phone calls. In a pinch, you can rotate the mic back and go for a jog. Although, you probably want something meant for running if that’s your primary use case.

Fit foul

Unfortunately, the OpenComm2 UC’s fit does not impress me, as it seems to suffer from the problem that one-size-fits-most designs have: one size fits some. The OpenComm2 UC wraps around the back of your head and goes over the ears. Ideally, the headset should stay put with the transducers resting in front of the ears and distributing some of the weight. If you have a small noggin, the silicone band that wraps around the back of your head droops down, and the frame incorrectly rests all the weight on the top of the ears. Meanwhile, the transducers won’t sit for long where intended, negatively impacting the sound.

A man facing right wears the Shokz OpenComm2 UC with a green and black backdrop.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
It ought to fit those with an average or larger-sized head.

While the internal titanium frame is where it derives strength, it doesn’t allow size adjustment. This deserves attention because the Shokz OpenComm2 UC is clearly meant for offices, where meetings and phone calls can take a long time. In contrast, traditional headsets already figured fit out.

How do you control the Shokz OpenComm2 UC?

You’ve got four buttons on the Shokz OpenComm2 UC, and they reside on the right side of the frame just behind the ear, on the mic, and on the left side where the speaker sits.

ActionMulti-function buttonVolume upVolume downVolume up and down togetherMic button
Action
Single press
Multi-function button
Play / Pause / Answer / End call / Answer incoming call and place current call on hold / Switch between two calls /
Volume up
Increase volume
Volume down
Decrease volume
Volume up and down together

Mic button
Mute / unmute
Action
Double press
Multi-function button
Track forward / Switch language while in pairing mode
Volume up

Volume down

Volume up and down together

Mic button

Action
Triple press
Multi-function button
Track backward
Volume up

Volume down

Volume up and down together

Mic button

Action
Press and hold for 2 seconds
Multi-function button
Reject call / Answer a call while ending a current call / Ending a call while switching a call on hold / Activate voice assistant
Volume up
Power on and Bluetooth pairing
Volume down

Volume up and down together
Cycle EQ modes
Mic button

Action
Press and hold briefly
Multi-function button
N/A
Volume up
Power on
Volume down

Volume up and down together

Mic button

The buttons work without hiccups; however, the OpenComm2 UC emits overly loud beeps each time the volume is adjusted. This is unpleasant, especially as you’re turning down the volume, and the beeping stays too loud. One critique is that the multi-function button does many different things with phone calls, and you’ll need to commit those to memory. If you get it wrong, it’s possible to hang up on someone when intending to place the call on hold, for example.

Should you use the Shokz Connect for the Shokz OpenComm2 UC?

The Shokz Connect software is for your Mac or PC, not for mobile devices. When used in concert with your Loop110 USB adapter, you can update firmware and change the language. Unless you experience bugs, you don’t need Shokz Connect.

How does the Shokz OpenComm2 UC connect?

The zip case for the Shokz OpenComm2 UC rests on a wood table unzipped showing the headset inside.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
The Loop110 adapter fits in a nifty little pocket in the case, but it’s basically a Bluetooth adapter.

You’ve got two options for connecting the Shokz OpenComm2 UC: Bluetooth or USB-C dongle. It uses Bluetooth 5.1 with the basic SBC codec. The Bluetooth connection remains stable with an iPhone.

One of the main attractions of the Shokz OpenComm2 UC is the USB-C dongle called the Loop110. Shokz has a USB-A version as well. Unlike wireless gaming headsets with adapters, the Loop110 adaptor still uses Bluetooth, not a proprietary 2.4GHz connection. So, in essence, you have two ways to connect via Bluetooth. When plugged into a computer, it connects quickly and stays connected.

To pair the Shokz OpenComm2 UC with a mobile device without the adapter, go about it like you would any other Bluetooth headphones.

  1. Enable Bluetooth in your device’s settings.
  2. press and hold the increase volume button from power off until the Shokz turns on, and the LED rapidly blinks red and blue. A voice in the headset will announce you’ve entered pairing mode.
  3. Select the Shokz OpenComm2 UC in your list of available devices in the Bluetooth settings menu.

To pair the Shokz OpenComm2 UC over Bluetooth with the Loop110, plug in the adapter into your PC.

  1. For first-time pairings, press the Loop110 multi-function button for two seconds.
  2. Press and hold the volume up button for two seconds to power on and enter pairing mode on the headset.
  3. You’ll know you’re connected when the headset announces it.
  4. To reconnect after you’ve already paired the headset and adapter previously, press the multi-function button on the Loop110 adapter only once and do everything else the same.

How long does the Shokz OpenComm2 UC battery last?

A close up of the volume buttons and proprietary charging port is shown on the Shokz OpenComm2 UC.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
Two buttons and a proprietary charging port reside on the right side.

One of the more impressive feats the Shokz OpenComm2 UC achieves is reaching 17 hours and 59 minutes of playback on a single charge, measured with our standard test. Consider that the whole thing only weighs 33 g and packs a battery in there. On the other hand, you’re not dealing with battery hogs like active noise canceling. Also of note, the OpenComm2 UC can stay in standby mode for 14 days.

As noted on other Shokz bone conduction headsets, the proprietary charging cable is annoying. Even Apple has finally moved away from proprietary charging cables. However, kudos to Shokz for providing a cable that is long enough to be useful. At about a meter long, you can plug it into a USB-A port on your computer or charger and set the headset on a desk. It also connects magnetically, taking a cue from Apple MacBooks.

According to Shokz, five minutes of fast charging the OpenComm2 UC provides two hours of battery life.

How well does the Shokz OpenComm2 UC block out noise?

The main selling point of Shokz bone conduction headsets is that you stay aware of your surroundings. Unsurprisingly, then, the OpenComm2 UC blocks basically nothing. This is a double-edged sword, depending on your setting. If you plan on using the OpenComm2 UC in your office with a door to block noise, it should serve you just fine. On the other hand, in an open-concept office or if you work remotely without a dedicated quiet space, you’ll have to contend with hearing your neighbors (and your own) keystrokes.

In this regard, the lack of isolation on the OpenComm2 UC is a one-trick pony, but maybe it’s the trick you want. Not having your ears occluded means staying in touch with your surroundings without the artificiality of transparency mode. It also helps if you find your ears get sweaty from conventional headsets. However, you may find yourself turning up the volume to overcome your surroundings at work.

How does the Shokz OpenComm2 UC sound?

Two hands hold the Shokz OpenComm 2 UC with the case in the background.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
Like traditional air conduction headphones, your sound changes drastically depending on the fit with bone conduction.

If you don’t get an ideal fit like me, it greatly impacts the sound of the Shokz OpenComm2 UC. To give the headset the benefit of the doubt, I held it where it ought to sit for my evaluation.

You get two EQs with the Shokz OpenComm2 UC. Standard mode’s tuning suits music and general media more than vocal booster mode, which cuts some of the lows and boosts the frequencies where speech resides. Vocal booster mode makes more sense for audiobooks, podcasts, and calls than general listening. However, the standard mode still sounds best if you’re listening to well-produced music or a professional podcast. It’s nothing like our headphone preference curve, but it gets closer than the vocal booster does. Vocal booster tends to sound harsh but might help if somebody’s mic lacks clarity during a meeting.

Lows, mids, highs

When I play Female Energy, Part 2 by Willow, I first notice the pleasantly wide stereo imaging of the OpenComm2 UC. The song’s prominent acoustic guitar plays at a reasonable volume, and Willow’s multi-tracked vocals come through well. Like many Shokz products, the bass and kick sound quiet on the OpenComm2 UC compared to what you’d expect on typical earphones. While bass notes are audible, they lack the full range of frequencies, coming across as quiet, low-pitched blips. As a result, listening to music can be fatiguing with the relative treble and mids emphasis.

Can you use the Shokz OpenComm2 UC for phone calls?

A close up of the Shokz OpenComm2 UC showing the boom microphone on a wood surface.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
Shokz placed a mute button on the mic, a helpful feature during conference calls.

You can certainly use the Shokz OpenComm2 UC for calls; it’s the main focus of this headset with a boom mic. The speech quality provided by the boom mic is excellent, and you should come across loud and clear. Don’t take my word for it. Listen below.

Shokz OpenComm2 UC microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

236 votes

This headset has particularly notable environmental noise rejection; scarcely any of the reverberations you could expect in an empty, reflective space gets sent by the headset, making your voice clean and clear. Similarly, ambient street noise is virtually eliminated if you take your call outdoors. While some wind will make it through the filtering, it impresses anyway. In an office, every now and then, some keystrokes can be heard. Still, the noise rejection of the OpenComm2 UC makes it a good choice for phone calls and online meetings.

Shokz OpenComm2 UC microphone demo (Office conditions):

Shokz OpenComm2 UC microphone demo (Street conditions):

Shokz OpenComm2 UC microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Shokz OpenComm2 UC microphone demo (Reverberant Space):

 

Should you buy the Shokz OpenComm2 UC?

A hand holds the Shokz OpenComm2 UC headset with a blurred wood background.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
Ask yourself why you want to hear everyone around you when you’re on a call.

The Shokz OpenComm2 UC is a great example of why you should try before you buy. Instead of local outlets where you can test the fit, seek out retailers with easy returns. Simply, any positives are outweighed if the OpenComm2 UC does not fit. Assuming the OpenComm2 UC fits well, you’ll benefit from a speech-focused sound. If it fits poorly, it sounds less good. You can also take advantage of the microphone’s impressive noise rejection and mute button.

The multi-function button works well, although a second button to space out the commands would be helpful. As always, an IP rating is appreciated, and the internal titanium frame adds confidence in its durability.

The Loop110 module could’ve come with a USB-C and USB-A adapter, as not all offices are caught up to the latest standards. Given that you can buy a universal Bluetooth dongle for use with any Bluetooth headset for about $20, it’s not as big of a selling feature as it may appear.

It’s difficult to enthusiastically recommend the OpenComm2 UC for a few reasons, but the lack of consideration for normal variations in head sizes is chief among them. The price is another reason, as is the lack of acoustic isolating, which most people appreciate when taking calls. Think about how many times you’ve been on a call with your phone to your ear, and you’ve either had to increase the volume to hear the caller better, remove yourself from a noisy environment, or needed to ask somebody nearby to quiet down. $200 is a lot to spend on a headset best worn in a silent room.

Shokz OpenComm2 UCShokz OpenComm2 UC
Shokz OpenComm2 UC
Mic quality • Mute button • Multipoint
MSRP: $199.95

What should you get instead of the Shokz OpenComm2 UC?

A man out of focus holds the Shokz OpenFit in focus.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
The Shokz OpenFit also allows you to hear your environment.

If you want headphones with a Bluetooth dongle, buy one and pair it with a good set of Bluetooth headphones. Lest you think I’ve got a bone to pick with bone-conduction headphones, there are times and places for them. If you go running at night, the awareness offered by bone conduction outweighs any transparency mode. If that’s you, consider some options for your runs, even if they make considerably less sense in an office setting.

Those still unconvinced that isolation is needed should check out the Shokz OpenFit, ($179 at Amazon) offering you a better fit without the headband looping around the back. These use touch controls rather than buttons and aren’t necessarily made for offices, but the microphone sounds better than average earbuds.

Frequently asked questions

The Shokz OpenComm2 UC has Bluetooth multipoint in addition to USB-C connectivity.

There are four variations of the Shokz OpenComm, and all are similar. Most of the differences between them are subtle. For instance, the Shokz OpenComm2 has a mute button and a slightly larger battery (183mAh versus 170mAh), while the Shokz OpenComm can pair using NFC. The headsets designated with “UC” come with USB adapters, and the OpenComm2 UC ships with either a USB-C or USB-A adapter. Meanwhile, the OpenComm UC only has a USB-A adapter.

You only need an hour to charge up the Shokz OpenComm2 UC.

When in pairing mode, the LED blinks quickly red and blue on the Shokz OpenComm2 UC.

UC stands for Unified Communications. This means a headset with a UC certification works with virtually all video conference calling software like Zoom, Google Meet, and MS Teams. You can use the headset without fussing about installing drivers on a computer. It should be a plug-and-go experience with a UC headset. If you use MS Teams almost exclusively, there’s also an MS certification on some headsets, but you can use a UC-certified headset with MS Teams, too.