Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Shokz OpenFit Air review: more affordable, just as safe

The Shokz OpenFit Air in their charging case.
Shokz OpenFit Air
MSRP $120.00
“Shokz again delivers a safer listening experience when you're on the street.”
  • Great fit
  • More affordable price
  • New color options
  • Allow you to hear the outside world
  • Audio quality not quite as good
  • App is just OK

I’ve talked before about how I believe there are specific earbuds and headphones for specific use cases. The original OpenFit quickly supplanted my older Aftershokz Aeropex, and not just because the company changed names. And now I believe the OpenFit Air are my new go-tos.

These aren’t bone-conducting headphones, but they also don’t go into your ear the same way that, say, AirPods or similar earbuds do. Instead, they sit just outside (or above) the opening to your ear and direct the sound inside. You’d be mistaken for thinking that they’re bone-conducting (like the new OpenSwim Pro), but they’re not.

And the important thing is this: You get adequate audio from the OpenFit Air, while still being able to hear what’s going on around you, since there’s no passive (or active) noise cancellation. There’s nothing stopping the outside world from making its way in. There are plenty of times where that sort of thing is important. If you’re doing any sort of exercise or recreation around traffic — running or cycling, for example — you need to hear the traffic.

That also means there’s no sort of noise cancellation. That’s not a strike against the OpenFit Air — it’s just something to know.

The Shokz OpenFit Air as seen on Phil Nickinson's ear.
The Shokz OpenFit Air fit pretty much the same way as the original OpenFit. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

That’s the OpenFit air in a nutshell. They’re of the “true wireless” variety in that there’s nothing connecting them together, and nothing connecting them to your phone. They fit atop your ear, with the hook around back, and just do their thing.

OpenFit vs. OpenFit Air

The OpenFit Air are slightly smaller than the OG OpenFit, and ever-so-slightly differently designed. (The chrome bit is the most obvious difference, albeit a cosmetic one. But it’s also one I like.) The biggest difference actually will be in the speaker itself. And the OpenFit Air definitively don’t sound quite as good as the original OpenFit.

But hear’s the thing: Given that they’re meant to be used in noisy environments and not to shut out the outside world, that hasn’t made a huge difference to me. You can definitely hear a difference if you happen to have both sets and are swapping them back and forth. But otherwise? The Air are fine.

The Shokz OpenFit Air (left) and original OpenFit headphones.
The Shokz OpenFit Air (left) and original OpenFit headphones. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

These are the sort of headphones — buds, I guess — for which I don’t tend to worry too much about the tech. Again, that has to do with how I’m using them. But Shokz is quick to point out what’s inside. It has what’s called “DirectPitch Technology” to keep the sound in your ear and not spilling out to those around you, which is always good. An 18-by-11-millimeter driver is what actually creates the sound. (Or, OK, reproduces it.) And it employs “Shokz OpenBass Air” for the low end. You won’t find as much bass as there is in the original OpenFit, but it’s not awful.

Other tech of note: The OpenFit Air have an IP54 rating, which means sweat and water sprays shouldn’t kill anything. If you have to take a phone call, the four-microphone array helps keep you understandable. And you’re connected to your phone via Bluetooth 5.2.

These also aren’t the sort of buds in which battery life should be a worry. You get up to six hours of playback on a single charge, which should be more than enough for most folks. The case allows for a total of 28 hours of playback, and a mere 10 minutes of charging in the case gets you an extra 120 minutes of playtime. And the Bluetooth multipoint feature lets you connect to two devices at once.

Screenshots of the Shokz OpenFit Air as seen in the Shokz app.
Digital Trends

The Shokz app is pretty much the same as it’s been for a while. You’ll find a basic EQ on board, as well as the Multipoint controls, a user guide — and it’s where you’ll update the firmware. (My testing was done on T_04, but as of this writing I’m seeing V_21.) You also can customize the double-tap and press-and-hold controls on either the left or right, with options for play/pause, previous or next track, voice assistant, or you can just disable them altogether.

Shokz OpenFit Air in ear.
The Shokz OpenFit Air are a less-expensive alternative to the original OpenFit. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Should you get them?

In other words, all the things that were important to me in the OpenFit remain true with the OpenFit Air. I can hear the world around me. I can still hear podcasts or music well enough. And they’re comfortable whether I’m just wearing them around on the street, or (more importantly) when I’m putting in a few dozen miles on my bike. Call quality is adequate, but not great. And that’s exactly what I expected here.

At retail, there’s a $60 difference between the two. I’d have a hard time bringing myself to persuade someone that there’s a $60 difference in the overall experience, even if the Air don’t have quite the same audio quality.

And you’ve got some options when it comes to colors. I’ve got the black-and-chrome version, which is the sort of thing I default to. But the white models (with more of a matte silver instead of chrome accent) look plenty smart, too. And if neither of those fit the bill, there’s pink, too.

The OpenFit Air are still the sort of headphones that I’d get for a specific use case. Exercise is a big one, but there are also plenty of folks who have plenty of reasons to not want earbuds that actually go in their ears. Piercings. Anatomical differences.

But whatever the reason, the OpenFit Air give those people a less-expensive option than the original OpenFit.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Nickinson
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
2022 AirPods Pro might include fitness tracking features
AirPods Pro resting on an iPhone with open charging case nearby.

Apple's high-end AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds could be getting a refresh in 2022 that gives them the ability to track your workouts, according to a new Bloomberg report.

The report also repeats previous claims that Apple is readying a new, entry-level set of AirPods for later in 2021 that will borrow their design from the current AirPods Pro.

Read more
Best Buy TV deals: Save on QLED TVs, OLED TVs, and 8K TVs
The Vizio V-Series 4K TV in the living room.

Best Buy is a great retailer to turn to if you’re in the market for some of the best TV deals. It has a huge selection of brands that often include Samsung TV deals, Sony TV deals, TCL TV deals, LG TV deals, and Vizio TV deals. And while you may also find the right TV deals for you among the current Amazon TV deals and Walmart TV deals, there are a lot of options to choose from at Best Buy right now. To make shopping for a new TV a little more convenient we’ve rounded up all of the Best Buy TV deals we feel are worth taking a look at right now. Reading onward you’ll find some great budget TV options as well as some more premium TV options that include both QLED TV deals and OLED TV deals. You’ll even find one of the better 8K TV deals available as well.
Insignia 55-inch F30 4K Fire TV -- $220, was $260

A 55-inch 4K TV is a good size to suit most rooms, and the Insignia F30 has almost everything you could hope for in a TV this size. It presents all of your favorite content in breathtaking 4K resolution, and HDR technology provides a wide range of color details and sharper contrast, making movies more immersive and things like sports more impactful. Versatile connectivity ports make it easy to connect home theater peripherals. This TV also offers smart features like Alexa voice control, DTS Studio Sound, and Apple AirPlay. And because the Insignia F30 is a Fire TV, it will give you instant access to over 500,000 streaming movies and TV episodes, and access to thousands of channels and apps.

Read more
Tidal officially kills MQA support, and tosses out Sony 360 Reality Audio too
Tidal and MQA logos separated by a broken heart.

Ever since Tidal announced that it would begin adding hi-res lossless FLAC tracks to its library, we've known that, sooner or later, the service would kill off MQA support entirely. That day, according to an email sent by Tidal to subscribers (and first noted by TechRadar), is July 24.

What was less expected is the news that Tidal will also be ending support for Sony's 360 Reality Audio (360RA) format on the same day. 360RA is a spatial audio format that has been not-s0-successfully competing with Dolby Atmos Music.

Read more