Every few years I look at some bone-conduction headphones and conclude they’re OK as compromises go, but not fantastic. But these, from newish New York state company Aftershokz, are the best I’ve found yet. They sit fairly comfortably around the back of the head and pump out a tremendous amount of sound – enough to seem really quite loud – without blocking your ears or being more than nominally disturbing to people nearby.
Trekz Titanium’s secret is the design of the headband, which needs to exert a considerable pressure on the skull to ensure sound makes it to your ears with sufficient power without it feeling like a clamp. It does this admirably. But the device also has microphones so you can make and receive calls and exploit the abilities of Siri and Google Now on the move. They’re waterproof too, though not sufficiently for swimming.
The need for non-sound-isolating headphones has never been greater for the number of people walking and cycling around cities, oblivious to traffic. These could be a lifesaver as well as a pleasure and major convenience – a rare combination.