The controls will all be familiar with a combo power on /volume up /pairing button and a volume down next to it. On the left transducer you will find a multifunction button, which you'll primarily use for starting, stopping or skipping tracks. It can also answer calls (which I never do, spam!) and even redial the last call. This accidentally happens to me every once in a while and I'm always scrambling to remember how to cancel it, so it's far from my favorite feature.
A two-second press of this button also calls up your phone's assistant, be it Google or Siri. Trying to activate this feature and not just the start/stop playlist function is... challenging. When I managed to nail the timing on my tests, I failed to get a vocal response to my inquiries. The phone registered the request, but I didn't hear anything over the headphones. AfterShokz checked and confirmed the feature works, though, so I'll chalk it up to my aging OnePlus 5 or a weird settings issue for now.
While the Aeropex has one of the smallest form factors from AfterShokz yet (it's actually similar to the upcoming Xtrainerz) the battery life has increased. The Air had up to 6 hours and up to 20 days standby. Aeropex has up to 8 hours, but only up to 10 days standby. I've usually taken several 20-30 minute rides without worrying to charge them and while a long standby time is great if you don't use your device, 10 days is more than enough for even occasional users. You can also get a status check with a quick click of the power/+volume button when not playing audio.
On the topic of charging, there's a new proprietary cable for this headset. Like many devices nowadays, it has a magnetic connection making it easy plug in without hunting for the right angle or side of a microUSB. And amazingly so, I'm told that each device will come with two cables! This sidestepped one of my first thoughts when using proprietary cables, having to bring it with you all the time. Now if you commute, you can just keep one at work. Also, they'll be selling them for $14.95 each if you're in the habit of losing them.
The external charging surface doesn't have a cover this time around, so it's possible you'll have water or sweat there if you set them down to recharge right after a workout. In order to avoid any problems with the battery, the system has an alert when the charger is connected and it detects moisture, so you can wipe it off first.
All in all, if you've been a fan of AfterShokz or bone conduction headphones in general, these are undoubtedly the best ones I've tried to date. The old Titanium version still kicks out some volume, but in a brute force type of way with lots of vibration on the cheek and a bulkier fit overall. It's still a great budget pick, especially since the price has dropped to $79.95 and will fit on bigger noggins. The Air is also still on the market at a discount ($119.95) and works well. I'd say save up a bit to get the new Aeropex ($159.95) though, if you can swing it. They're incredibly light and the audio output is decently loud, while also a bit more refined than the other two.
There's no definitive word on the swimming-focused and entirely waterproof Xtrainerz that we tested at CES, but those are a 4GB on-board storage model without Bluetooth. If you want an all around performer, Aeropex is the one I'd recommend right now.
AfterShokz Aeropex - Specifications
- Frequency response - 20Hz~20KHz
- Bluetooth - v5.0, Qualcomm Bluetooth® chip
- Wireless range - 33 feet
- Continuous play - Up to 8 hours
- Standby time - Up to 10 days
- Charge time - 1.5-2 hours
- Weight - 26 grams
- Warranty - 2 years
- Sweat resistance - IP67
- Battery capacity - 145mAh