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Naenka Bone Conduction Runner Pro Wireless Waterproof Headphones

5
£111.00

VERDICT:

5
10
Well built and promise much, but sound quality, volume and battery life are all too low for serious cycling use
Waterproof
Stay on the head well
Comfortable
Poor sound quality
Low volume
Overwhelmed by wind and traffic noise
Weight: 
34g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Naenka Bone Conduction Runner Pro Wireless Waterproof Headphones are a good shape and nicely constructed, but the sound quality and volume are too weak to be effective on the bike. While marketed for 'sports' (including cycling) in general, they're probably better suited to the runners in the name.

These follow the familiar layout: the two speakers sit just in front of your ears without blocking them, the controls are just behind your right ear, and a band wraps around the back of your head.

Naenka has managed to keep it all relatively thin too, which is very useful for cycling with its helmets and glasses. Above the ear these rise 5.2mm, leaving more than enough space.

> Buy these online here

Control is via three buttons: an on/off button, a plus button, and a minus button. The on/off also switches between Bluetooth and MP3 modes. I found both modes effective, with MP3s that I uploaded playing without a hitch, and the Bluetooth connection to my phone not dropping once during the test period.

One thing that these headphones really sell themselves on is their waterproofing, what with them being IP68 rated – they can survive even in 3m of water. I can't though, especially not on a bicycle, but neither very sweaty rides (on lovely dry land) or torrential downpours caused them any issues.

Low life

The battery life claims are vague, with the Naenka website saying 240 hours on 'standby' and the product documentation saying 'six hours at 65% volume.' I had to use these headphones at 100% for pretty much the entire review, and needed to charge them after around four hours of use.

2021 Naenka Bone Conduction Runner Pro Open Ear Wireless Headphone IP68 Waterproof - charging port.jpg

By contrast, the cheaper Aftershokz OpenMoves offer six hours of continuous playback.

> The best cycling podcasts – mountain, road and gravel bike chat you need to listen to

Charging is done via a magnetic charger via a USB port, and takes about two hours. One unfortunate thing with everything this waterproof that I've tried is that the charging leads are proprietary, so if you lose your cable or forget it, you can't charge them.

2021 Naenka Bone Conduction Runner Pro Open Ear Wireless Headphone IP68 Waterproof - charging cable 2.jpg

At the moment this is something that essentially all waterproof electronics suffer with, but is nonetheless pretty annoying.

Uneasy listening

The sound quality is not as good as similar headphones I've used, specifically the Aftershokz Trekz Titaniums that have been a staple of my commutes for the past five years. The bass doesn't really have much punch so music doesn't sound great, and the treble is too quiet, so I often struggled to hear spoken words too.

2021 Naenka Bone Conduction Runner Pro Open Ear Wireless Headphone IP68 Waterproof - detail 2.jpg

Travelling at speed, wind noise can easily make it impossible to hear, which – when combined with traffic noise – means that use in urban areas is difficult.

Value

The RRP of these is $149.99 – currently around £111 – which is middling for this kind of thing, if rather high for the performance. The £79.95 Aftershokz OpenMove Wireless Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones beat these for sound quality and volume, for instance, though on the downside they're only rated to IP55.

For £149.95 you could go for the AfterShokz Aeropexes, which offer superior sound quality and battery life, and are also totally waterproof, though they lack MP3 storage for phone-less use.

If you don't mind having your ears blocked, the 15g HolyHigh Wireless Earbuds last ages on a charge, are very waterproof and work brilliantly for £36.99. They also have a mono mode so you can at least keep one ear open.

Overall

These headphones actually have a lot going for them – they are well specced with great waterproofing, a comfortable design, and the option of MP3 playback. However, the sound quality is simply not up bike use, and the battery life isn't great either; for cycling, if not for other sports, these positives are unfortunately irrelevant.

Verdict

Well built and promise much, but sound quality, volume and battery life are all too low for serious cycling use

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Naenka Bone Conduction Runner Pro Wireless Headphone Waterproof

Size tested: One Size

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Naenka says, 'RunnerPro unitiates the new age of unlimited sporting.'

I don't understand what this means, let alone agree with it. But these are waterproof, bone-conducting headphones that don't block your ears.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Both IP68 and IPX8 waterproofing are claimed at the Naenka website, while 'IPX8 industrial-grade waterproof' is claimed at Amazon. In both these Ingress Protection ratings, 8 indicates it's waterproof even in 3m of water for long periods. The 6 or X, on the other hand, means it's either totally dustproof or hasn't been tested for dustproofing at all.

8GB memory onboard

Bluetooth 5.0

Charge time: ~2 hours

Play time: ~6 hours at 65% volume

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

The quality of construction is fairly good, with a decent amount of flex in the band and a thin build over the ears.

Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10

The sound quality isn't up to what it should be at this price.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Feels well made, and given the waterproofing, it's likely to last.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

I had no issues on rides over several hours.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

You can get better sound for similar money.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Their vulnerability to wind noise and low sound quality means that – especially around traffic – it's often a challenge to hear them.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The physical design is really good.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The sound quality is poor compared to others on the market.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The RRP of these is $149.99 – currently around £111 – which is middling for this kind of thing, if rather high for the performance. The £79.95 Aftershokz OpenMove Wireless Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones beat these for sound quality and volume, for instance, though on the downside they're only rated to IP55.

For £149.95 you could go for the AfterShokz Aeropexes, which offer superior sound quality and battery life, and are also totally waterproof, though they lack MP3 storage for phone-less use.

If you don't mind having your ears blocked, the 15g HolyHigh Wireless Earbuds last ages on a charge, are very waterproof and work brilliantly for £36.99. They also have a mono mode so you can at least keep one ear open.

Did you enjoy using the product? No

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

With worse sound quality, lower volume and a shorter battery life than their competitors, it is hard to recommend these for cycling use.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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