reviews\ Jan 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm

AfterShokz Gamez Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones Review

Jam out or game without ever losing awareness of your surroundings

AfterShokz Gamez Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones Review

Before I got my Gamez AfterShokz review unit, I've only vaguely heard about this bone conducing technology. Admittedly, I was intrigued but never pursued it because as far as I was concerned, the world was moving towards a more noise-canceling future with headphones. The Gamez completely changed my mind after just a half hour with them.

My previous statement though still stands very true. It seems as though each new or updated headset comes with some sort of noise-canceling technology, separating the player from their surrounding world as much as possible. It's completely understandable since tuning out the world around you can provide a much better sense of immersion. However, I found that for someone like me, with two kids who constantly need my attention, or even my job here that requires a steady back and forth between our writing team, noise-canceling headphones tune out too much. The AfterShokz series of headphones completely fix that.

Now, I won't get into in-depth technical specs of these little things, especially since all of that is readily available on the official AfterShokz page. I'm rather going to go into just how handy these things are for those of us that like to still be a part of what's going on around them.

First and foremost, let's start off with the build of the Gamez. These little guys essentially slide on over the of your ears and hang off of the back of your head. However, the big difference here is that the little speakers don't actually cover any part of your ear, but instead, rest comfortably right in front of your ear, as you can see in the picture below.

Gamez AfterShokz

It's minimalistic design means two things. First, since it's not bulky, you'll barely feel these things on, meaning your comfort level will totally skyrocket. Second, it makes these the perfect traveling companion. Whether you're slipping these in your purse, or simply sliding these down around your neck, you'll almost forget they're there. 

As far as controls go, you have access to volume, power button, and a multipurpose button on the left speaker. The volume controls, while self-explanatory, also have more than one purpose. Depending on when they're pressed, and if they're pressed together, they can completely mute your device or even change your equalizer settings. The multi-purpose button on the side will allow you to take calls, stop and start music, and even skip songs. Of course, all of these functions will only work if you're on a mobile device.

Using them as a headset accessory works quite well as well. The sound during a phone call sounds great, and the two dual noise-canceling mics on the Gamez ensure that the person on the other end of the call can hear you clearly without background noise leaking into the call.

I've found that I haven't yet fully ran out of battery with these things. Granted, I'm not listening all day but rather in spurts and in a reasonable volume so I can actually both listen and talk to people around me, which most likely adds to the overall battery life. AfterShokz claims that you can get 6 hours of game/talk/music time, though I feel like I squeezed out more with my current listening volume.

Ever since I received these bad boys, which was just a week ago, I've pretty much worn these to every outing, every function (even the in-laws Christmas bash) and even around the house. I call them my personal life soundtrack machine, since they provide great background music to whatever you're doing. I can always hear my wife's requests, my children's pleas and (unfortunately) tantrums, and everything else that's happening around me.

The sound these things produce is largely more impressive than I ever anticipated. After all, since the Gamez aren't over-the-ear headphones, I assumed the sound would be very washed out, relying more on treble and losing out on the booming bass I'm so used to. While the latter is certainly somewhat true, as you simply don't get the same bass effect you would with standard headsets, the sound is anything but washed out. I was blown away at just how good music and games sound through these things. Turning them up higher will also add a slight vibration during bass effects, providing a slight force feedback.

Now, while I love these things to death, they're certainly not meant for everyone. For those that simply want a headset or headphones that provide the best audio clarity and cancel out the noise in the world around you, the Gamez or any of the AfterShokz line of headphones for that matter are probably not for you. They're also probably not the best choice if you're traveling by plane, since that background noise is something you most likely want to eliminate. The AfterShokz line also won't save you from hearing any Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers, though, if you still haven't seen it by now, shame on you.

I'm also a bit sad I can't connect these to my PS4 or Xbox One, using the included USB cable. The cable only charges the device. It does in fact work on the PS3, since that console allows any Bluetooth device to connect to it, but sadly the PS4's Bluetooth doesn't support it. It's a minor gripe, but given how much I love wearing these, I would have loved to have these on while I game on my consoles as well.

The AfterShokz Games retail for $99.95 which is certainly nothing to scoff at. This headset is also made for a specific kind of person. People like me who always has a lot going around them will certainly appreciate the ability to listen to music or even game while still being fully aware of what's going on. If you fit into that very specific category of person, then by all means give these things a chance. 

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable. You'll barely feel these things on
  • Hear the world around you while still jamming out to your favorite Spice Girls Sugar Ray Nickelback Fall Out Boy album
  • Very easy to reach controls, especially the very handy multi-purpose button that make controlling your listening experience much easier
  • Great battery life. In my case, slightly longer than the advertised 6 hour battery life. Also, very quick to charge
  • Sound quality is surprisingly good

Cons

  • Will only work on mobile devices. USB input is only for charging the device
  • Bass is unsurprisingly not as strong
  • Not ideal for planes or any other situation where outside noise interferes with your listening experience
  • Won't stop your friends from spoiling The Force Awakens for you. Seriously, just go see it
About The Author
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Mike Splechta GameZone's review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire! Follow me @MichaelSplechta
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