As a newly minted BibRave pro, I was excited to see what kind of products I would get to test out - I already knew the community was great, and full of supportive runners, but I was looking forward to testing out some new products!
Shortly after joining, it was announced that there would be an opportunity to test a new product that AfterShokz was releasing, targeted at swimmers and triathletes. Since I had just finished my first triathlon over the summer, and needed some motivation to get back in the pool, I signed up, hoping to be selected.
Just after being told to take two weeks off from running, I got an email that boosted my mood a little- I was selected to review the new AfterShokz product, called Xtrainerz (pronounced “cross trainers”), which are water proof headphones! I would get so much use out of them, as I planned to focus on swimming while I couldn’t run. Plus, I had heard so many good things about AfterShokz (Kasey runs with their headphones) but had never tried them myself, so I was excited to get my first pair!
Before I go into my experience with the Xtrainerz, let me get into product specs a little -
The Xtrainerz are waterproof in up to six feet of salt or fresh water, and even went through a 72 hour salt spray test with no corrosion - As a former test engineer, who used to perform this kind of testing on a regular basis, I can tell you salt spray testing is no joke! I have seen products come out of salt spray testing in totally unsafe conditions, so it is no small feat that these little headphones were impervious to the corrosion it can cause. The headphones have 4GB of MP3 storage, ready and waiting to be filled with your favorite tunes, podcasts, or audio books. The controls on the headphones can turn power on and off, set the music to shuffle, repeat, or play in order, and navigate between folders, so you can selectively listen to whatever you’re feeling on a given day. They also have an option to toggle between “swim” mode and “normal” mode
When my package finally arrived in the mail, it had AfterShokz branding on the outside, and I excitedly opened them up. They were nicely packaged, and even had some BibRave orange tissue paper in the box. After opening them up I popped them on, excited to try out bone conduction technology for the first time. To my surprise, they had a charge, and were even loaded with a few sample songs.
I mostly stream my music, so I had to track down some MP3s to load onto the headphones built in storage. There isn’t a Bluetooth connection for the Xtrainerz, so streaming isn’t an option. Bluetooth can’t travel through water, so it makes sense that the headphones would just rely on their built in storage.
After going through my iTunes library, I was able to convert some of my songs to MP3s, which are compatible with the headphones. I placed the headphones into their USB dock, and connected to my computer. No software was necessary to load up the music to my headphones, as they acted like a usb drive when I connected. So I was able to just drag and drop the music onto the headphones, and they were ready to go. I tried them out a little as I hung out at home, and was excited for my next swim.
When I got to the pool a few days later, I turned up the volume as I stepped onto the pool deck, since there was a lot of ambient noise. I jumped into the pool, and started my first lap. The sound seemed a little garbled at first, and I wondered if I should go back to the lockers and grab the ear plugs that came with the headphones. But a moment later my ears had adjusted to the water, and I realized the issue was my ears, not the headphones, as the music was playing loud and clear - I even had to turn the volume down a little, as it was quieter under water than it had been on the pool deck.
It was almost a surreal experience to have water while swimming, as I’m used to silence as I count my laps to pass the time. I was able to settle into a groove as a swam along to the music, the laps slipping away. Much more entertaining than doing mental math as I swim, which I have resorted to in the past.
The next time I swam with them, I decided to try the ear plugs that the came with. I had never swam with ear plugs in before, but as someone who often has to play the “shake your head at odd angles” game after swimming, I figured it was something worth trying.
My first thought: why did I not try this sooner!? The ear plugs made me so much more comfortable, and made me feel like I was the only one in the pool as I listened to my music. After only a few swims, I’m already spoiled by these headphones.
Tonight, I’m loading up an audio book (Harry Potter of course - what can I say, I’m predictable) and I’m looking forward to listening to it on my next swim. When I connect my headphones to the computer, the files look like they’re on any USB drive, and by putting the audiobook in its own folder, I can select just the book and not wind up listening to music between chapters.
The only downside to these headphones? They don’t have any bluetooth connection, so I can’t stream to them using my cell phone, when I want to use them while I’m not swimming. Since most of the music I listen to I stream, it took me a few days to track down MP3s to load up the headphones.
All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed my new AfterShokz Xtrainerz. They’ve been my first experience with bone conduction technology, and have surpassed all of my expectations. I love that they have storage built in, so I can go phone free, and that the buttons on the headset give me control over what I’m listening to.
If you want to get your hands on a pair of Xtrainerz? If you visit www.bibrave.aftershokz.com you can save $50 on the endurance bundle of your choice when you use the coupon code BRBUNDLE.