In Review: Mojawa Run Plus bone conduction headphones

Over the past few years, I’ve managed to review a number of different types of headphones – over ear, on ear, earbuds, wired, wireless, both with and without active noise cancellation. One technology I’ve not had the chance to try out, though, has been bone conduction. Well, that all changed when we got the recently-released Mojawa Run Plus headset in for review.

What is it?

When you pull the Mojawa Run Plus out of the packaging, they look sort of like those early inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds that had the band connecting them. And in a sense, that’s what you’ve got here. The difference, though, is in how the sound is getting to you. Rather than a small driver in an earbud vibrating and creating soundwaves for your eardrum to pick up, you’ve got a small bit that sits ahead of your ear, and sends the vibrations through the bone, getting the sound to you in a way that lets you still be aware of your surroundings.

What’s it like using them?

At the get-go, the Mojawa Run Plus feel much like any other Bluetooth headset you’ve had. You need to charge it up (with the included magnetic cable), power them on, and then pair them to your phone. Position them over your ears, and you’re ready to listen to music and podcasts in a whole new way.

I used the Mojawa Run Plus for my morning jogs, and it was a much different experience. Rather than having the sound of traffic from the road to my side blocked out, I was able to hear the cars coming and going. Not only that, I was able to hear the bird calling, which will be helpful for when the Redwinged Blackbirds start getting protective of their trees. Finally, if I passed someone on the trail, I was able to hear them say “Good morning” and respond in kind, or hear a bike coming up behind me.

What is the sound quality like?

As I’ve said in the past, I definitely do not have audiophile-grade ears. That said, even I could tell these are not going to be the highest-fidelity sound reproduction that you’ve experienced. Frankly, that’s by design, because of how the sound is being delivered to your ears. With podcasts, I really didn’t not notice too much of a difference (due to the frequencies involved). With music, it can come across as a little bit muddier, but that’s because the lower frequencies are reproduced more easily with bone conduction. What I likened it to was like you’re working in a room, and there’s a radio across the room from you playing the tunes. You don’t have the punch of the bass or the brightness of treble as in a good pair of over-ear headphones, but you can clearly hear the lyrics, and you know what the song is without question.

Would we recommend them?

If you find yourself working or exercising in areas where you need to remain aware of your surroundings, then the Mojawa Run Plus are an easy recommendation. Past that, if you’ve got a solid library of mp3s built up, then the fact that you can load 32GB onto the headset and then leave your phone at home is an added bonus. Oh, and if you’re a swimmer? They’ve got an IP68 rating, meaning you can get up to 2m under water without issue. Meaning, you can have tunes going as you swim laps and not worry about how far you are from your phone.

In those use cases, the Mojawa Run Plus are a great option. If you just want an all-around everyday headset, these might not be the ones for you. Outside sound is getting in (by design), and using them for phone calls is not going to be the most enjoyable experience (though they work in a pinch). For me, I can definitely see the Mojawa Run Plus in the rotation, particularly if I’m going out on a busier trail, or on the bicycle where I’m dealing with more traffic.

You can pick them up for $139.95 directly from Mojawa in black; white, blue, and orange options will be coming in July.

Tech Specs from Mojawa

Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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