Initial Thoughts on the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Headphones

Initial Thoughts on the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Headphones

Ok, full disclosure, I’m not a professional product reviewer, so my “review” is more just a gadget geek’s perspective and initial thoughts on whatever I might be trying out and feel the urge to write about.

Today, it’s the Trekz Titanium Bone Conducting Headphones by Aftershokz.

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My overall opinion could be summed up as “Situationally Awesome” so let me elaborate with more details.

Technology wise, these HEADphones (not EARphones) function by transmitting the their audio input as vibrations that transmit through your jawbone and are interpreted by your eardrum as sound. They go more ‘in front of’ your ear, than in them, right at the base of your jaw.

As someone who wears glasses, I have actually had to literally ‘flip over’ a pair of Motorola over the ear Bluetooth headphone before, so that Left and Right were swapped and the headphones curled ‘up’ into my ear, because they literally hurt my ears to wear, due to my glasses. These do not do that because they don’t curl down into my ear. They fit in such a way that they don’t conflict with my glasses, which is fantastic.

Plus, unlike my Skullcandy Hesh 2 Bluetooth headphones that I also use, these don’t make me look like Princess Leia and make my ears all sweaty and gross.

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Due to the size and placement of the buttons they do contain tiny speakers that are more so you can hear the tone and greeting by “Aubry”, which they have named the voice message that says “Connected” and greets you when they power on. If I had to guess, I’d say that’s probably the name of the woman who’s voice it actually is. These speakers don’t do much for actually playing the audio, which is good because they won’t be heard by anyone around you, unlike normal audio headphones.

They’re very well constructed and water resistant. The kit you get when you buy them contains a decent quality carrying case, some actual earplugs (if you want to block out the surrounding noise while wearing them, which admittedly seems a little redundant to me), a pair of rubber Fitbands to help them fit on people who don’t have as fat of a head as I do, and an INDUSTRY STANDARD micro USB charging cable.

I capitalized “industry standard” because, to me, this is a big deal. I’ve purchased wireless Bluetooth headphones before that I had to throw away because I lost the proprietary power cord they came with and the manufacturer didn’t sell the cord separately.

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They’ve got the standard Volume Up/Down buttons as well as a Multifunction button that allows you to Play/Pause or Skip music tracks, Answer, End, or Reject calls or Transfer amongst Call Waiting calls, Voice Dial, or Redial, all depending on the pattern of presses of the button or duration that you hold it in for.

Tech Specs, for the diehard geeks who care about these types of details:

Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz

Sensitivity/: 100 +/- 3dB

Microphone: –40dB +/- 3dB

Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth v4.1

Compatible Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP

Wireless Range: 33ft (10m)

Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion

Continuous Play: 6 hours

Standby Time: 10 hours

Recharge Time: 1.5 hours from dead to fully charged

Weight: 1.27 oz (36g)

Warranty: 2 Years – I highly recommend Registering yours on their website for ease of dealing with any warranty related issues that might come up.

There is also a Blue/Red LED that blinks in different patterns, depending on what is happening, but this is pretty standard for any wireless headphones.

 

Now, the reason why my overall opinion is “Situationally Awesome” is because, depending, on your use case, they may not be what you want. In the IT Industry we often joke about how some sort of problem is “a feature, not a bug” but in the case of these headphones this statement is totally true.

The pure nature of how these work, by transmitting audio into your inner ear without blocking outside noise, means that in a noisy environment these are going to be difficult to hear. Jogging along noisy streets, or on a plane or subway, etc. these will not be as good as normal headphones. This, however, is a negative that is essentially by design.

Amusingly, there’s also a psychological aspect negative if you happen to be a Public Transit commuter like I am. Often times, let’s say “interesting” individuals on transit who like to randomly start talking to whomever is near them, or people taking polls, etc. will be an issue but they generally don’t bother someone who’s wearing headphones. With these, I can see that not being a good of a deterrent.

Another thing that some might cringe at is that they are not inexpensive. Mine were around $125US. However, they’re very well designed and manufactured, they come with a 2 year warranty and the company is excellent with customer service, and the technology and the company is fairly new, so the price may well continue to drop as they increase sales. All things considered I don’t regret spending the money at all.

Pulling a weekend shift working in the Server Room or just at your desk, or in the case of my employer where the Manufacturing floor personnel are allowed to wear headphones and listen to music but are required to only use one headphone so they can still hear, these would be awesome. In any environment that is fairly quiet but you still need to be able to hear these would be quite useful.

Plus, while I don’t know from actual life experience, I can see these being beneficial for anyone who is Legally Blind, since they would not have their hearing blocked while using.
Possibly even someone who is Deaf as well since they can feel the vibrations of audio. That’s something I would be very curious to know how well they work.

 

The PC Builders Wishlist

In IT we often use a lot of websites and other various tools, etc. that are just part of our normal ‘thing’ so we, or at least I, generally assume everyone else knows about them.

Well, I’m in the process of piecing together a custom computer build, since I have no life outside of IT and Computers in general, and I have a lot less expenses now. (see previous whiny blog post)

As the main planning board, and portal to best pricing, for this new build I am using a website called PC Parts Picker and I was surprised when I heard from several people into this kind of thing who were not aware of it.

They are at http://pcpartpicker.com/ and have recently completely overhauled their entire site and the new layout is really slick.

They have Build Guides, pre-configured parts lists for systems if you want to build something but don’t want to hassle with planning it yourself, photos of builds done by other people who have used their site, and my main tool the System Build section.

By default the System Build parts list has a Compatibility filter to keep you from accidentally selecting components that aren’t compatible with each other. Even if you add an incompatible part on purpose, the website gives you a warning.

The parts list shows various vendors of the components you select, defaulting to whichever place has the current lowest price. If you have vendor preferences you can manually change the selected source for each piece individually. They also list all items that have Mail-In Rebates or Combo Deals.

As you compile your parts list it totals up the cost of the system at the bottom and as you purchase pieces you can mark them as purchased and add them to your inventory. The total price will adjust as you purchase pieces and show the total cost of your parts you’ve purchased.

All in all the website is The Holy Grail for people interested in building their own computer systems so I seriously recommend checking them out if you’re planning a system build.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, this is my current project: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/KDcJGX

 

LANSweeper Badassery

LANSweeper Badassery

Here’s the thing.

I’m not a Product/Services Reviewer. I’m not ZDNET, TechCrunch, Mashable, or any of the other hundreds of technology related journalist sites, blogs, write-ups, bathroom wall haiku, or whatever the hell else is out there on the internet. Sites that use a product for a few days, benchmark it, etc. then give their reviews and viewpoints on it, and then they move on to the next product. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Me, I’m just an IT Geek and occasionally I’m going to toss a blog article out on some tool, product, service provider, shaving cream brand, or favorite ice cream that I’ve found, use(d) extensively, and have opinions on.

Keep in mind, my write ups are my opinions and as such I honestly don’t give a crap if people agree with them or not. So, if I write up some article about features in Windows, or some cellphone brand, PC brand, or whatever, that’s not an invitation to be trolled by the legions of drooling fanbois for whichever ‘opposite’ side there might be with nothing better to do with their lives than to start flame wars in article comment sections.

Well, today my opinion write up is about LANSweeper, by Hemoco.

LANSweeper is “Network Inventory, Asset Management, Software Deployment and more”, per their description at http://www.lansweeper.com.

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While their description above is totally accurate, my personal description is “LANSweeper is seriously badass!”

It does a thorough scan of your network without the need for any client side installs. There’s a highly customizable web interface where you can pick and choose what metrics and information you want to see.

It maintains a full Asset list of networked Devices, installed Software, Software Licenses, and allows for remote Install and Uninstall of software from client systems without the end user even noticing.

The asset section of the software has customizeable fields so you can add other information, such as Purchase Order, Price, etc. to allow for a good, in-depth inventory database that will make your company bean counters very happy at the end of the year when they email you for asset reports.

It has full Active Directory integration and, as such, has a huge list of built-in Reports that can be ran on the network, as well as a highly detailed Microsoft SQL based interface for designing your own custom reports.

The LANSweeper developers are constantly adding new features and pushing out software updates. They’re also extremely fast with returning contact if I email them with any questions or issues. Outside of the team themselves, there is also an active Community online with forums, a blog, Social Media presence, knowledge-base articles, chat, and community submitted custom reports that others have created.

I’m coming across as a drooling fanboi on my own with this write up but, seriously, LANSweeper is an awesome product if you are a Network Admin or Systems Admin.

My thoughts are based solely on actually using the software daily and I highly recommend checking out the product because I’m only barely scratching the surface on the features and capabilities of their software.