It’s amazing, but it’s not for everyone. For probably three years I have been asking for bone-conducting headphones from all over the world, but no luck. Nevertheless, at one point a miracle happened, and I took out the Naenka Runner Pro headset from the box. I used the device for about a week and I will say this: it’s very good. Not ideal, but very good.
Bone conduction? What is that?
If you did not know about headphones with some kind of bone conduction, you’re in for a surprise. Such devices transmit music not by a sound wave to the ear, but by vibration through the bone. This eliminates the strain on the eardrums, as well as the possibility of noise cancelling.
For some, this will be an irreparable and unnecessary cons. That’s why bone conduction headsets are popular in sports, where you want to hear music and the world around you at the same time. Therefore, not a single global brand has been actively producing bone-conductive headphones. It’s a niche thing. Not cheap as well.
The cost of the headset on the official Naenka website is $140. This is a high price for bone-conductive headphones, and I personally have met products on sale that are still very cheap, almost ten times more affordable.
Well, one more thing – the company’s products are not on AliExpress, GearBest, and so on.
What’s in the box
However, the high price gives its advantages – the packaging here is great. Stylish, classy, beautiful. Inside is the Naenka Runner Pro headset itself, as well as its manyal, magnetic charging cable and… earplugs.
The latter may come in handy, say, in the pool, or if you want to listen to music in isolation, like through ordinary headphones, but want to preserve your hearing. And yes, earplugs completely neutralize Runner Pro’s task of bringing music to life without cutting off outside noise – but it’s nice to have them in the box.
The Naenka Runner Pro headset looks good. It is larger than hybrid wireless headphones, but smaller than any even smallest full-size models, and is worn with a headband below the back of the head, with an emphasis on the ears. Unfortunately, there is an issue here, which we’ll discuss later.
The build quality of the headset is impeccable. And I don’t often use this word, believe me. The case is coated with a matte black soft-touch, durable and pleasant. Any dirt and evil spirits sticking to the coating can be erased in a second.
The buttons are protruding, different in shape, pleasant to the touch. The only thing I can find fault with is the charging slot – it is not symmetrical, and the magnetic connector attaches to it only on one side.
The headband is probably the tightest I’ve ever used. And on the one hand, it completes the image of the headset that’s absolutely indestructible, without flaws in appearance or structural weaknesses. Unfortunately, this very band has its cons that we’ll discuss later.
There are three buttons on the controls. Power/play and volume buttons with a cut in the middle. Once again, they have great build quality and are pleasant to the touch.
The control unit is located on the right, it will be unusual to reach it at first – I have never had a headset located directly behind the ear.
There is also an indicator on the module with a charging connector. It blinks or glows red or blue – depending on whether the headset is working or charging. The indicator is not noticeable in any way during use, but at the same time it is not too bright, and I’ve had my share of blinding lights you want to smother with a gum.
Features and equipment
Naenka Runner Pro is equipped with two 16 mm vibrating emitters. From what I understand, these are speakers for direct vibration when touched, and not for creating acoustic vibrations in the air. This solution has a huge advantage in the form of complete water protection.
The lack of holes and the magnetic power connector mean that the IP68 standard is as real as it can be. Contacts are the most vulnerable point, and I recommend protecting them from rust.
After you swim, wipe the contacts. Still, a shower, a swimming pool, even three liters of sweat – Naenka Runner Pro will withstand them with ease. Who knows, the headset might even pass the IP69 standard, which means it might even withstand frequent hot showers. But we don’t know for sure.
Inside there’s Bluetooth 5.0. The chip is unknown, there is no support for codecs except SBC, but there is support for CVC6.0, so the microphone quality is not bad. The sound is clear, legible, there is some noise, but the main problem is that the microphone is located very far from the mouth, so the volume is below average, and extraneous sounds are often caught.
The battery capacity is 230 mAh, which should be enough for 5-6 hours of listening to music at about 70%. Yes, not enough, but given the specifics of the headset, it is unlikely to become your main tool for immersing yourself in music.
Everything is simple.
The main button is responsible for:
- answering call
- ending call
- power switch
- entering pairing mode
- changing mode
All functionality is realized through double and long presses under different conditions. And the volume buttons are responsible for, shocking, changing the volume and switching tracks.
MP3 player mode
I also note that Naenka Runner Pro has a built-in player with 8 GB of storage. The headset can be connected to a computer via a standard magnetic USB 2.0 cable. In addition, you can only listen to the tracks in sequence, there are no repeat or shuffle functions, which is a bummer.
The player mode is useful not only when you just want to leave your smartphone in the locker room, but also if you want to listen to music underwater, where the Bluetooth connection does not work.
Real-life use cases
The headset controls are very, very responsive. None of my headsets respond as quickly to button presses. It takes less than three seconds for Naenka Runner Pro to turn on and connect to the smartphone.
Switching between modes takes a second. This is very fast, some of my headsets perform such actions twice as slowly, and I see no excuse for that. In addition, the built-in voice is very pleasant. Clear, feminine, calm. Although the phrase “Power off” sounds a lot like the well-known “My name is Jeff” meme.
If you are a proud audiophile, and all frequencies are important to you, you will definitely won’t be happy. As I understand it, the higher the frequency, the better it is conducted by the bone.
The vocals are great. Acoustics like guitars are wonderful. But further on, the frequencies get weaker and weaker. The bass just feels like a fierce tickling vibration. In addition, some background noises on the tracks tickle the skin in front of the ear very strongly, and you want to lower the volume right away. As I understand it, these are just the subtleties of human perception of sound. And without the participation of the auricle as an acoustic camera, the bass will suffer.
The sound quality is great. The detail and width of the scene are just crazy good. The stage is located approximately at the same level and almost all the instruments are felt in front. It’s just great.
In addition, I used Naenka Runner Pro very often as a… second headset. I used my earbud connected to a computer and edited the video, while listening to soft music from a bone-conductive headset. At the same time, the sound changes, it becomes more “underwater”, but… Not distracting. And vice versa – it gives the feeling that your life now has a soundtrack.
I had this feeling in everyday use. But when working at the computer, it especially helped to concentrate. And no, turning on music in parallel, listening to work audio clips in parallel is not an option. This is a completely different feeling. Naenka and ordinary earbuds seem to be at different levels of perception and do not intersect. But at the same time they fill the auditory field evenly and do not interfere with each other.
This feeling is unique. I don’t know if it will be useful for you, but when it is very difficult for me to concentrate, I work with two headsets on my head. Sounds stupid, looks stupid, but I’m happy.
Now about the cons. They say that there’s no noise bleeding, but it’s not true. At a volume above 70%, your songs will be heard if the person is standing next to you. It is to be expected – sound vibration is not completely absorbed by your bone, it also spreads around through the air.
The main problem with Naenka Runner Pro is that the headset does not sit on the ears when walking and, shall we say, during vertical activity. Either the headband is too long, or the pressure is too weak, or the weight balance (and the headset has only 33 grams) is not maintained normally. But I can’t not walk even hundreds of meters before the headband drops to my neck, loses vibration points thus turning off music.
This happened a lot, no matter how I tried to place the headset behind my ear. No matter how I pressed it, no matter how fixed it. It feels like the headset modules themselves do not allow it to tilt in the right direction, and pull it back. And I don’t know how to solve this problem, and if it can be solved at all.
I had an idea to increase the pressure on the ears by slightly bending the headband further. But do you remember how elastic and high quality it is? I could not bend or unbend it without excessive efforts.
There is also a small issue – when you try to change the track, the headset at first perceives a long press on the volume buttons as a short one. And when you try to change the track, it always either decreases or increases the volume. In the case of the latter, if the volume is already at its peak, you will hear a very unpleasant squeak. Not loud, just a little annoying. This is fixable, but in the next revisions – after all, the headset does not have proprietary software or any way to change the firmware.
I really want to hope that the problem with insufficient pressure on the ears concerns only me and my small head. Leaving aside this issue, the Naenka Runner Pro is one of the Best (with a capital “B”) and most interesting headsets that I have ever used.
I will not use the headset when exercising, but I take it to shower every time. And the mode of using the two headsets is a unique find! The Naenka Runner Pro lacks good battery life, but in general, if you want to get what is probably the best bone-conduction headset on the market at the moment, then the link is here. And our own coupon ROOTN21 will provide you with a 12% discount.
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