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A hand holds the Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones in blue before removing the headphones from a carabiner.

Shokz OpenMove review

Hear your tunes while hearing your surroundings.
By
July 21, 2022
6.8
Shokz OpenMove
The bottom line
The Shokz OpenMove is a bit more affordable than the company's other bone conduction headphones, making it a more appealing option for athletes on a budget. This headset still supports premium features like multipoint connectivity and a durable build, but you lose other niceties like fast charging and a long battery life. Still, for less than $80 USD, this is a nice set of bone conduction headphones that will keep you safe when exercising.

Shokz OpenMove

The Shokz OpenMove is a bit more affordable than the company's other bone conduction headphones, making it a more appealing option for athletes on a budget. This headset still supports premium features like multipoint connectivity and a durable build, but you lose other niceties like fast charging and a long battery life. Still, for less than $80 USD, this is a nice set of bone conduction headphones that will keep you safe when exercising.
Release date

August 31, 2021

Price

$79 USD

Weight

29g

Model Number

AS660EB

Waterproof

IP55

Noise isolation

No

What we like
Leaves ears unoccluded, good for safety
IP55 dust and water-resistant build
Bluetooth 5.1 with multipoint connectivity
USB-C charging
What we don't like
No fast charging
A bit heavier than other Shokz headsets
6.8
SoundGuys Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Value
7.5
-
0.0
Design
6.5
-
0.0
Connectivity
5.0
-
0.0
Portability
7.9
-
0.0
Battery Life
6.2
-
0.0
Feature
6.5
-
0.0
Comfort
8.3
-
0.0

Few headphones effectively let you hear your music and the world around you. With many wireless earbuds, you can artificially hear your surroundings via transparency mode, and the AirPods leaves your ears unsealed to keep you tapped into the environment, but there are compromises to both of these options. Enter: the Shokz OpenMove. This set of pedestrian bone conduction headphones fits securely, and lets you hear the world as you naturally would.

We spent two weeks with the OpenMove bone conduction headset and learned everything you need to know before buying this niche product.

Editor’s note: this review was published in July 2022, and is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

Anyone who spends a lot of time outside can benefit from the OpenMove bone conduction headphones. These don’t block your ear canals at all which has two benefits: it leaves you aware of your surroundings and virtually extinguish your risk of an inner ear infection. A design like this is also advantageous for those who use in-the-ear (ITE) or invisible hearing aids.

What’s it like to use the Shokz OpenMove?

Like all bone conduction headphones, you wear the Shokz OpenMove by placing the “ear” pieces on your cheekbones instead of into your ear canals. Don’t try to shove those rounded buds into your ears; this will lead to discomfort and the headset won’t even stay in place. Instead, drape the buds over and in front of your ears—headband tension will keep everything in place. Wiggle the pieces around a bit while music plays to get the best sound.

The Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones on a backpack.
The OpenMove uses 7th generation bone conduction technology (the latest is 9th gen), and features a titanium frame.

Because of the fit, you may notice that mere millimeters make all the difference in comfort and sound quality. If you’re the type to eat while listening to podcasts, you may want to grab an extra set of non-bone conduction headphones. The chewing motion shifts the headset in and out of place, leading to a jerky listening experience. One drink of water and everything sounds good, but then a big bite of burger will move the headset off my cheekbones and make things sound distant.

When I wear my contacts and don’t eat, it’s comfortable to use the 29-gram OpenMove. I can wear the headset for a couple of hours at a time before giving my skull a break. Interestingly, the OpenMove occasionally slides back off my cheekbones and rubs against my tragus, forcing me to readjust. I don’t run into this with the slightly lighter Shokz OpenRun (26 grams).

The Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones and all of the accessories, including stickers, a USB-C charging cable, and a drawstring pouch.
You can deck the OpenMove out with stickers, but this requires some dexterity.

Things get a bit more chaotic when I wear the headset with glasses because the arms gently displace the OpenMove. Adding a mask into the mix with glasses and the headset feels a little out of hand. The experience would probably be even more crowded with long hair.

You get a few color options with the OpenMove comes in grey, white, blue, or pink, but you can further customize the headset with some slim stickers that Shokz includes in the box. You can use these on the piping that wraps around the side of your head. Aside from that, you also get a drawstring bag and USB-C charging cable.

How do bone conduction headphones work? Are they safe?

First thing’s first, yes, bone conduction headphones are safe to use. The technology has been around for centuries, and if you’re worried about Bluetooth safety, don’t be: it’s safe.

Bluetooth and bone conduction are two perfectly safe technologies.

As far as how bone conduction technology works, well, we recommend you read our in-depth explainer on this topic. Put simply, a pair of bone conduction headphones converts the digital signal from your phone into mechanical energy that vibrates through your cheekbones. This mechanism bypasses your outer ear. Everyone’s bone structure is different though, so those with higher cheekbones may need to rest the headset higher on their face.

How do you control the Shokz OpenMove?

Like other Shokz headphones, the OpenMove has just three buttons that let you control the volume, playback, and calls. Unlike Shokz’ flagship headset, the volume buttons are clearly separated on the OpenMove which makes it easier to operate with gloves on. A multi-function button is cleverly designed into the left earpiece and perfectly blends into the rest of the headset.

A close-up of the Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones' multi-function button on the left ear piece.
The bottom part of the blue stripe doubles as a multi-function button for answering calls, controlling playback, and accessing your phone’s smart assistant.

The only real downside to the onboard controls is that a loud beep plays whenever you press a button. The tone is quite loud, so if you click the button to pause music while it plays at a low volume, you may find it jarring. There is no mobile app for the OpenMove, so you can’t toggle these tones off. As of July 2022, the Shokz app only supports the OpenRun Pro.

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)
  • Access voice assistant
  • Answer incoming call, hang up current call
  • Reject a call

PRESS AND HOLD (3s)

VOLUME UP
ONE PRESS
  • Increase volume
  • Check battery status (when idle)

TWO PRESSES

THREE PRESSES

PRESS AND HOLD (2s)
  • Power on

PRESS AND HOLD (3s)
  • Power off

VOLUME DOWN
ONE PRESS
  • Decrease volume
  • Check battery status (when idle)

TWO PRESSES

THREE PRESSES

PRESS AND HOLD (2s)

PRESS AND HOLD (3s)

VOLUME UP/DOWN TOGETHER
ONE PRESS
  • Reject a call

TWO PRESSES

THREE PRESSES

PRESS AND HOLD (2s)

PRESS AND HOLD (3s)
  • Change EQ setting (while music plays)

Is the Shokz OpenMove good for working out?

Yes, the OpenMove can be a strong workout companion, but only for specific kinds of exercise. The OpenMove performs best when rock climbing. I can hear my friends while warming up on the wall and the headset doesn’t jostle out of place. The dust-resistant build is a rare feature among workout headphones in this price range, and one that brings me solace as I chalk up my hands.

A woman wears the Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones as she begins to rock climb in a gym.
Like the AfterShokz Aeropex (pictured) the dust and water-resistant OpenMove is a great option for athletes of all stripes.

Running and cycling is this headset’s bread and butter, but there are some quirks. The more vigorous head-bobbing motion that happens when sprinting sometimes moves the OpenMove a bit out of place. Another thing for bike commuters: the headband is difficult to fit with a helmet. Oftentimes, I need to deliberately place my Giro helmet so as not to interfere with the band and overall fit.

The OpenMove works for weightlifters who tend to stand upright for most of their workouts. However, the minute you go prone for a bench press, the headphones will slide forward on your face and you won’t hear your music at all. This is true for every bone conduction headset I’ve tested simply because the band stiffly hangs behind the wearer’s head.

How does the Shokz OpenMove connect?

A hand places the Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones into a pants pocket.
The headband is flexible enough that you can stuff the OpenMove into some pants pockets.

Bluetooth 5.1 keeps the OpenMove connected to your Android phone or iPhone, as long as you remain within the 10-meter wireless range. You can stream over the SBC Bluetooth codec. There’s no point in adding high-quality codec options to a bone conduction headset, since auditory masking would nullify those sound quality benefits anyway. You do get multipoint connectivity with the OpenMove, though, which is a nice feature for the productive among us.

To enable Bluetooth multipoint on the OpenMove, follow these directions:

  1. Start with OpenMove powered off.
  2. Press and hold the volume up button until the voice assistant says “pairing.” Wait for the LED to flash red and blue.
  3. Press and hold the multi-function and volume up buttons for 3 seconds. The voice will say, “multipoint enabled.”
  4. Open your phone’s Bluetooth menu and select “OpenMove by Shokz.” The voice prompt will say, “connected.”
  5. Turn the OpenMove off.
  6. Re-enter the pairing process. Press and hold the volume up button until the voice assistant says “pairing.” Wait for the LED to flash red and blue.
  7. Open your phone’s Bluetooth menu and select “OpenMove by Shokz.” The voice prompt will say, “connected.”
  8. Turn the OpenMove off.
  9. Turn the OpenMove on. It is now connected to both source devices.

When you want 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 Shokz OpenMove battery last?

The Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones controls and USB-C charging input.
The volume controls rest on the underbelly of the right earpiece, right next to the USB-C charging input.

According to Shokz, the OpenMove li-polymer battery lasts 6 hours and takes two hours to recharge. There is no fast charging available on this headset, but at least it supports USB-C instead of the proprietary charging method found on other Shokz headphones. Officially, the headset can last up to 10 days on standby which tracks with my experience.

The LED on the back of the right earpiece will illuminate blue when the headset is charged, red when it’s charging, and it will flash red when the battery is low.

Does the Shokz OpenMove block out noise?

Purposefully, the Shokz OpenMove does not isolate you from your surroundings. These headphones are designed to keep your ears free to hear everything going on around you while simultaneously letting you hear your music. If you’re looking for a headset with passive isolation or active noise cancelling (ANC), there are plenty of earbuds and headphones for you to choose from.

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 Shokz OpenMove sound?

A person wears the Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones in blue while they sit outside.
Sometimes, the headset creeps off of my cheekbones and pushes into my ears.

For a pair of bone conduction headphones, the Shokz OpenMove sounds just fine. It uses PremiumPitch 2.0, which purportedly optimizes the midrange and treble response to account for the unoccluded fit. Even with PremiumPitch 2.0, you won’t hear much bass from this headset, and there’s no bass-boost EQ setting. What you do get is the option to cycle between the “human voice” and “standard” EQ modes by pressing the volume up/down buttons at the same time. The former is ideal for spoken-word content or phone calls, while the latter is more for general use.

Lows, mids, and highs

In Dennehy by Serengeti, the bassline is nearly imperceptible but this is expected because of how the headphones fit. Bass heads will never be satisfied by a headset like this but it does have some redeeming audio qualities. Serengeti’s vocals come through clearly as long as I keep the OpenMove buds on my cheekbones. The strings throughout the refrain are easy to hear too (1:59).

Sound quality isn't the OpenMove's strong suit, but it's not supposed to be.

While I haven’t discovered anything new in my favorite tracks, the OpenMove reproduces a fine enough sound for general-purpose use. It underscores my regular walk to the corner store and that’s all most people will want from their headset. Well, that and the ability to make phone calls with it.

Can you use the Shokz OpenMove for phone calls?

The OpenMove houses a dual noise cancelling microphone system that sounds fine for phone calls. It blocks out predictable background noise like an A/C unit and light wind as you can hear in the demo below. Unfortunately, the headset transmits incidental sounds (jangling keys) that arise while you talk. It’s an all right option for phone calls, but if you want something better, check out some of our favorite headphones for work.

Shokz OpenMove microphone demo (Non-standardized):

How does the microphone sound to you?

23 votes

Should you buy the Shokz OpenMove?

The Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones resting against some small leaves.
The OpenMove is a great bone conduction headset for less than $80 USD.

The Shokz OpenMove proves a solid option for everyone from athletes to pedestrians. While it may not look as modern and sleek as flagship true wireless earbuds do, the OpenMove offers something incredibly attractive: safety. At $79 USD, this headset is bound to serve you well and is one of few effective options for those who wear specific kinds of hearing aids. It’s disappointing that the audio quality changes so drastically with minimal jaw movements, but this comes with the territory of bone conduction headphones.

If you want a headset to accompany you on your daily commute or monthly work flight, the OpenMove isn’t it. For those purposes, you’ll at least want something that seals to your ear canals, and ideally, a headset with active noise cancelling. These options can be expensive but they don’t have to be, as long as you’re willing to make concessions on build quality or default sound.

A selection of Shokz/AfterShokz bone conduction headphones in a circle, including the OpenRun, OpenMove, Air, and Aeropex.
Shokz corners the bone conduction headphone market.

Let’s get the price out of the way: the OpenMove is the more affordable option at $79 USD compared to the $129 USD price tag on the Shokz OpenRun. That extra $50 USD gets you a more durable IP67 rating, which means you can submerge it in water for up to 30 minutes. The OpenRun isn’t a swimming headset though since there’s no onboard storage.

Other features that you get with the pricier OpenRun include fast charging, better battery life, 8th generation bone conduction technology, and PremiumPitch 2.0+. While all of these are improvements, you don’t get USB-C charging on the OpenRun as you do with the OpenMove. Instead, you have to use Shokz’ outdated proprietary charging cradle which is a small annoyance.

Both Shokz headsets share the same Bluetooth 5.1 and SBC codec compatibility. You also get virtually the same control layout on the headsets, but the OpenMove buttons are easier to distinguish from one another. Unless you need the more impressive durability and battery life of the OpenRun, the OpenMove headset makes more sense for most people.

Shokz OpenMove bone conduction headphones against a white background.
Shokz OpenMove
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.

What should you get instead of the Shokz OpenMove?

Perhaps after sifting through this whole review, you’ve found that bone conduction headphones don’t quite fit the bill for you. In that case, let us direct you to the Sony LinkBuds WF-L900.

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

Sony’s niche buds fit like traditional earphones and rest against your outer ear, but there’s a hole in each bud that allows you to hear everything around you. Rather than sending vibrations through your skull, the LinkBuds sends sound waves down your ear canal to interact with those little hairs in your ear. We like this because the fit is more stable and better for various exercises.

If you have an aversion to donut-shaped objects and own an iPhone, the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) could be appropriate for you. These earbuds feature a traditional true wireless design, stems and all. Although the fit isn’t as secure as the LinkBuds, the AirPods tips don’t seal to your ear canals so you can still hear the world around you. Unlike bone conduction headphones and the LinkBuds, the AirPods (3rd generation) occludes your ear canals, so you will notice a nominal degree of isolation.

Frequently asked questions about the Shokz OpenMove

Yes, on December 28, 2021, AfterShokz renamed itself to Shokz. Shokz changed its name on its 10-year anniversary to lead into the next decade with a simplified and easier-to-share message than the former name “AfterShokz.” With this name change, came a revamped logo to illustrate the bone conduction technology better.

Start with the headset powered off.

  1. Press and hold the volume up button until the voice prompt says, “pairing.” The LED indicator will flash red and blue.
  2. Press and hold the multi-function, volume up, and volume down buttons at the same time for 5 seconds until you hear two beeps, or feel vibrations.
  3. Turn the OpenMove off.

Now, you’re ready to re-pair the OpenMove to your device like new.