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Two hands hold the Shokz OpenFit with the case open.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys

Shokz OpenFit review

Be open to the world.
By

Published onJuly 20, 2023

6.9
Shokz OpenFit
The bottom line
For you safety-minded folks who want to take on the world to your own soundtrack, the Shokz OpenFit lets you hear everything at once with open ears. As unsealed personal audio products go, these sound decent and feel good. The mics are surprisingly good too.

Shokz OpenFit

For you safety-minded folks who want to take on the world to your own soundtrack, the Shokz OpenFit lets you hear everything at once with open ears. As unsealed personal audio products go, these sound decent and feel good. The mics are surprisingly good too.
Product release date

06/28/2023

Price

Original: $179.99

Dimensions

18mm (drivers)

66 x 66 x 25mm (case)

Weight

58g (case)

8.4g (per bud)

Model Number

T910

Waterproof
What we like
IP54 rating
Secure over-ear hooks
Microphone
App and EQ
Touch control accuracy
What we don't like
Virtually no isolation, which limits case use
Sound quality is okay
Price
6.9
SoundGuys Rating
7.1
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
3.0
4.8
5.0
Durability / Build Quality
8.5
7.2
7.0
Value
6.8
5.9
6.0
Design
7.1
9.0
9.0
Connectivity
5.0
6.0
6.0
Portability
8.9
7.0
7.0
Battery Life
6.9
6.6
7.0
Feature
8.2
10.0
10.0
Comfort
7.9
7.0
7.0

Shokz is known for its specialty in the bone conduction headsets market, and the OpenFit represents its first foray into true wireless products. Still, Shokz does not waver from the principles of maintaining situational awareness because the OpenFit maintain an unoccluded ear canal, so you’ll hear what’s happening around you. So, how do the Shokz OpenFit fare?

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

About this Shokz OpenFit review: We tested the Shokz OpenFit over five days. It ran firmware version V_10, and the Shokz app ran version V_07. The company provided the unit for this review.

Athletes who need to hear their environment and folks on bikes or scooters can safely listen to music while remaining aware. Folks who work in collaborative environments who want a bit of music but want to avoid hitting pause or switching to ambient modes constantly will appreciate the unsealed fit of the OpenFit.

What’s it like to use Shokz OpenFit?

A man faces left wearing the Shokz OpenFit about to use the touch control.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
The OpenFit wraps over your ears and evenly distributes the 8.4g weight.

Designed for outdoorsy folks, the Shokz OpenFit are IP54 rated against dust and sweat, with flexible hooks that bend over the tops of your ears. Your color options consist of either black or beige. Getting the fit right can feel alien if you’re used to conventional in-ear earbuds. These buds gently angle over the tragus and rest in the concha. The first time you might want to use a mirror or your front-facing phone camera because it’s an unusual sensation until suddenly it’s right. Once I hit the two-hour mark, the light pressure on my tragus starts to feel a bit uncomfortable, but it’s better than the Bose Sport Open Earbuds. If cutting the cord to earphones with the introduction of Bluetooth was the first step in freedom, keeping your ears unoccluded feels like the next one.

It's a freeing feeling to enjoy personal audio with nothing in or surrounding my ears.

That said, there’s a set of ideal applications for the OpenFit; for example, if you’re a cyclist, the Shokz OpenFit are great candidates because you can wear them without your helmet getting in the way. You can also hear your surroundings perfectly without the artificial sound of transparency mode on conventional earbuds. If you enjoy late-night walks like me, the OpenFit offers an added layer of safety while piping your music into your ears. Of course, it’s also true that when you invite the world in with the OpenFit, you can’t uninvite it, so anybody who uses noise canceling to focus won’t get that here.

A hand holds the Shokz OpenFit with the case out of focus in the background.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
Tap the Shokz logo to make a command.

The Shokz OpenFit comes in a larger-than-average true wireless earbuds case, but it’s still pocketable. Inside the clamshell case, it’s clear Shokz made efforts to keep the case small because the flexible silicone ear hooks overlap. Still, they snap into place securely.

How do you control Shokz OpenFit?

There’s not much to the Shokz OpenFit in terms of controls. The touchpad is located on the logo on each earbud. Taps register without issue, and the OpenFit emits a soft beep to indicate that each command registers.

Left earbudRight earbud
Double press
Left earbud
Play/pause
Answer call/end call
Right earbud
Play/Pause
Answer call/end call
Press and hold 3 seconds
Left earbud
Skip to previous track
Right earbud
Skip to next track
Press and hold
Left earbud
Reject call
Pairing mode (when in case)
Right earbud
Reject call
Pairing mode (when in case)

Because of the lack of isolation, most users might appreciate direct control on the OpenFit for riding the volume to compensate for environmental noise. You can alter the press and hold function to the volume control in the Shokz app, which might be worth it.

How does the Shokz OpenFit connect?

On a wood surface the Shokz OpenFit rests with the lid open.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
You can leave the lid open and the buds inside the case when you’re pairing.

The Shokz OpenFit uses Bluetooth version 5.2 with the basic suite of AAC and SBC codecs. Fortunately, the connection occurs quickly and easily and remains stable. It’s precisely what you’d want out of workout earbuds without fuss.

Shokz OpenFit is simple to pair; here’s how.

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your device.
  2. Open the Shokz OpenFit case, leaving the buds in the case.
  3. Press and hold the touch pads simultaneously until the case’s indicator light blinks.
  4. Select the Shokz OpenFit under your Bluetooth settings.

Should you use the OpenFit + Shokz app?

A man out of focus holds the Shokz OpenFit in focus.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
You can use these without the app too.

If you want to keep your OpenFit running the latest software and access EQ, it’s worth it to download the OpenFit + Shokz app. Shokz won’t force you to use it, and it’ll collect data if you do, so it’s nice that the OpenFit works without the app too.

You can choose from Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Vocal, Standard, or create your own EQ in the app. The custom equalizer utilizes a five-band EQ targeting 64Hz, 100Hz, 1kHz, 4kHz, and 8kHz. You can appreciate how direct and transparent the EQ information is without hiding behind buzzwords to describe the frequency controls. The app is simple and neatly laid out, with limited control over customizing touch commands.

How long does the Shokz OpenFit battery last?

Two hands hold the battery case for the Shokz OpenFit.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
While not the smallest case, you can still fit it in a pocket.

According to our standardized battery test, the Shokz OpenFit lasts 7 hours and 13 minutes on a single charge, which is pretty spot on Shokz’s rating of 7 hours. The case stores an additional 21 hours of battery life.

You don’t get wireless charging, just USB-C charging with the included USB-A to USB-C cable. On the charging case, there are two indicator lights: one displays battery status (red for low, orange for medium, green for high), and a second light when open that’ll blink when pairing or go steady green to indicate pairing.

Fast charge the Shokz OpenFit for 5 minutes to yield 60 minutes of battery power.

How well does the Shokz OpenFit block out noise?

A chart shows the minimal isolation of the Shokz OpenFit.
It’s like wearing nothing at all…

By its nature, the Shokz OpenFit does not block noise. That’s not a flaw but a feature. By not having a seal over or in the ear canal, the outside world will reach your eardrums uninterrupted. Many will prefer the natural sound of the environment over a transparency mode, which can add amplified internal noise or suffer from gusts of wind outside.

However, hearing everything all the time negatively affects your sound quality, and you will be tempted to increase volume to compensate. It’s one of the main reasons we don’t recommend using open-backed headphones outside of quiet, private rooms. That’s the real downside of the OpenFit; even if you know that already, remember to monitor your volume. This means that most people won’t use these as their sole set of headphones, and you might want a second pair with active noise canceling (ANC) or very good isolation.

How does the Shokz OpenFit sound?

A comparison chart shows the preferred frequency response curve versus the Shokz OpenFit.
Unsurprisingly, you lose out on some low end with the Shokz OpenFit compared to most headphones.

The first thing to note about the Shokz OpenFit is that how they sound relies significantly on where you’re listening, owing to the unsealed fit letting the environment in to compete with your music. If you’re listening in an utterly silent room, you may notice the OpenFit is a bit light on the bass and mids, but it’s not as drastic as the chart suggests. Consider that most musical fundamentals are above 40Hz when you look at the chart above. Depending on your source material, the relatively loud treble frequencies might jump out more.

Compared to our headphone preference curve, the OpenFit’s response is compromised, with a somewhat trebly sound, but you’ll still hear the kick drum and bass parts. Efforts have clearly been made to balance the utility of the unsealed fit with the engineering challenges of delivering bass because these sound decent.

Lows, mids, highs

One of the Shokz OpenFit held so you can see the driver.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
These house substantial 18mm drivers.

Listening to Rinsed by Dean Blunt and TYSON, the OpenFit plays back the bass quietly, but it’s there. The low-end deficiency becomes most apparent when TYSON, whose voice is much higher than Dean Blunt’s, comes in loudly, necessitating a reduction in overall volume. Otherwise, the looping guitar parts come through at a good level relative to the vocals in the sparse track.

Bringing in some drums with a dance remix of Wot by Captain Sensible (feat. Franky Fontaine) yields surprisingly more bass output than expected. What stands out is that the treble in the percussion and backing vocals comes through sounding somewhat harsh, likely due to the exaggerations in the treble and comparatively quiet mids and lows. The disco-style guitar plays at a good volume as well. What stands out most is that there’s too much treble overall, which is fatiguing, prompting one to explore the equalizer in the app.

Can you use the Shokz OpenFit for phone calls?

The microphone performance of the Shokz OpenFit plotted out in a chart.
The microphone does an okay job up to around 5kHz, covering the critical frequencies of the voice.

One of the most impressive features of the Shokz OpenFit is the surprisingly good microphone performance. Under ideal circumstances, the mics relay your voice, regardless of pitch, sounding quite true to life. You’ll pick up some noise in an office, such as typing, but the OpenFit largely filters it out without compromising your speech. The OpenFit mics perform better when you use them in a noisy street than in an office, filtering out noise well. There’s some compromise in quality when combating wind, but it’s still a better than average result.

Shokz OpenFit microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Shokz OpenFit microphone demo (Office conditions):

Shokz OpenFit microphone demo (Street conditions):

Shokz OpenFit microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

549 votes

Should you buy the Shokz OpenFit?

A hand holds the Shokz OpenFit with a turquoise background.
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
The Shokz OpenFit is a sturdy and reliable exercise-oriented pair of buds.

The Shokz OpenFit are somewhat niche in that, unlike most wireless earbuds, you don’t want to use them for all purposes; the world is too noisy. However, if you’re active outdoors or prefer to stay in touch with your environment, they’re pretty good, with a decent bass response for the unsealed fit and an app to adjust the sound.

For the most part, the OpenFit does the job well, besides some mild discomfort from the bud resting on the tragus over a prolonged session. Additionally, plenty of other active earbuds offer greater waterproofing than IP54 (which is still welcome) but don’t safeguard wearers from rain.

Nevertheless, what’s good about Shokz OpenFit is that they simply work. They connect quickly, and commands register without hindrance. The battery life is decent, and the mics are good too. Their design doesn’t feel like you need to baby them, which can’t be said for most wireless earbuds.

Shokz OpenFitShokz OpenFit
Shokz OpenFit
IP54 rating • Secure over-ear hooks • Microphone
MSRP: $179.95
For you safety-minded folks who want to take on the world to your own soundtrack, the Shokz OpenFit lets you hear everything at once with open ears. As unsealed personal audio products go, these sound decent and feel good. The mics are surprisingly good too.

What should you get instead of the Shokz OpenFit?

The Sony LinkBuds earbuds lay partially in the their charging case.
The Sony LinkBuds WF-L900 are novel in execution.

Open-seal earbuds are not usually our favorite at SoundGuys because they compromise sound quality and offer limited utility. However, we recognize they have their place on the ears of athletes.

If you have an iPhone, the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) offers an unsealed fit and oodles of iOS-exclusive features such as spatialized stereo and H1 chip functionality. You lose out on the added security of over-ear hooks and dust proofing with the IPX4 rating. However, if the AirPods works with your ear shape, you can benefit from its unsealed fit for $195 at Amazon.

Try the Sony LinkBuds WF-L900 ($178 at Amazon) if you want an unoccluded fit with some additional functionality in the app and the less noticeable appearance of over-ear hooks. These buds balance the need for stability using an in-ear loop with a discrete look. You’ll want to use the included equalizer because the default frequency response isn’t amazing. Still, the mics are relatively good for phone calls.

Lastly, you can go in the other direction and pick up over-ear hooked earbuds like the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC with a more robust IP rating meant to endure all kinds of scenarios. You can use the transparency mode when you’re out and about and switch to a standard or ANC mode when you need a break from the world. It helps that these sound better than any of the other options here and only cost $89 at Amazon.

Frequently asked questions

No, the Shokz OpenFit does not have Bluetooth multipoint. Although they reconnect to a previously paired device very quickly.

You need purpose-made earbuds for swimming. The OpenFit only has an IP54 rating for dust resistance and sweat proofing.