This year, Panasonic's pretty much gone all out with a vast range of gadgets. Tablets, TVs, Touch Pens, cameras, and outrageous Hi-Fi. One smaller addition to the company's portfolio was a pair of bone conducting Bluetooth headphones. The technology isn't exactly new, but as more and more companies get onboard, they start edging their way into the mainstream. Panasonic's take on them looks -- at least initially -- like a good start. At first, the design looks almost like any other wrap-around pair of sports headphones. Until, of course, you inspect closer, and realise that there aren't actually any buds to place in your ears. The soft-touch outer material around the ear-hooks makes them feel nice in the hand, and adds to the sporty look. Unusually they are powered by a single AAA battery, that you sneak into the slightly bulbous section in the middle of the band. We were told, however, that this might change to a rechargeable solution when we get closer to the projected fall release window.
We were eager to see how the audio performed, but it's fair to say that on a rowdy show floor this was pretty difficult. We were advised to put our fingers in our ears to initially hear the music, and then remove them while focusing on the music. In reality, even with ears fully plugged, hearing the demo song was pretty difficult. With ears fully open to the ambient noise, we couldn't hear anything at all. The representative was sure to advise us that production models would be two to three times louder, and we'd go as far to say that even that might not be enough. One thing is for sure, they did definitely work, and the effect is still impressive. The product is pitched at more active use cases though, so it will be interesting to see how they work while on the move / run. Again, something that was a little difficult for us to explore, despite really wanting to. As stated above, these should see the light of day sometime in fall, and we really do hope they are louder. Price-wise, there's no official word, but if you imagine $200 as a ballpark figure, you might not be too far off the mark.
Panasonic Bone Conduction Bluetooth headphones ears-on
Billy Steele contributed to this report.