I had written earlier about the Ten Bluetooth headsets (The Good, and the Bad) I had bought over the years, and I was still not pleased. In this post I will share about a new pair of earphones I had bought that are “Open Air”.
I use earphones only during my (brief) walking sessions when I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. For long listening to music or watching movies I don’t prefer earphones or headsets, they make my ears feel suffocating and when I do a call the sound keeps reverberating inside. Instead, I have a good speaker on my desk – I have been using Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 Bluetooth Speaker and I am happy with its sound quality, compactness, and convenience. My son uses the affordable Matata Sound Bar MTMSS23 and he likes it.
When I had to use a headphone for longer duration, I go with Audio Technica ATH-AD700X. Called an Open-Air headphone, they are not your usual models, these have the back of the earcups open. They produce more natural or speaker-like sound and are more spacious too; for me, the advantage was they allow air into the ears for them to breathe reliving the pressure. The downside to Open-Air headphones is that they leak more sound out of headphone, for that reason they may not suit if you don’t want to disturb others sitting near you.
Disclosure: I write reviews about products that I have bought for my usage and paid in full. There were no sponsorship or advertisement, or commission of any sort involved in this post.
Unfortunately, the Audio Technica open-air doesn’t have Bluetooth support and won’t work with my phone or iPad. So, I was looking for a Bluetooth earphone or headphone that was open-air too. Initially I found quite a few Bone Conduction Headphones, these transmit sound waves directly to your inner ears through your cheekbones leaving your ear canal open. The popular one was AfterShokz AS650FG, but the reviews said they give headache to a few. They were expensive in India, and I didn’t want to risk.
Then, I found this cheaper alternative – NG EarSafe Open Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones that cost INR 3999 (USD 55) in Amazon India. This looks just like Bone Conduction headphones, but there is no cheekbones or bone conduction involved. NG EarSafe is a pair of tiny speakers and microphone that rests on the tragus in your outer-ear. It is lightweight and feels comfortable. Since it leaves your ear canal open, it is called an Open-Air headphone. It allows you to hear external environment like the traffic or conversations very well. In places where you need to hear external sounds for safety reasons this might be particularly useful.
The Bluetooth range of NG EarSafe is good, works well with iPhone 12 Pro. The audio clarity for listening and voice calls (microphone) clarity is average. When it comes to music the quality is mediocre, the speakers vibrate, and the bass is poor. When I do voice calls, the receiver complains of my voice being low and hollow – usable but not great. The price is high for what it delivers. Go for this only if you are particular for an open-air headphone. It works for my usage during my outdoor walks, and I am enjoying it.