Bone Conduction Headphones for Sports
With IP68 waterproofing, 10 hour playback, various ear plugs, Bluetooth 5.3, vibratory sound, and the 1.5 hour charge time, Naenkaa will help you to listen to your music, podcasts, and portable entertainment wherever life takes you.
- Ease of Use/Comfort
- Battery Life
Bone Conduction Headphones for everyday activity.
Regarding portable sound/entertainment (music, books, podcasts, videos, gaming, etc.), we have various options to consider. Do you want in-ear, on-ear, over-ear? Do you prefer sound quality/optimization, portability, extreme ruggedism, or is comfort your main consideration? With a bit of research, and sometimes monetary investment, you can find options for each headphone style to suit your needs.
Even though the big brands tend to be marketed heavily and in-your-face at brick-and-mortar retailers, they may not always fulfill your needs or wants. As an example, I love my AirPods Pro USB-C at home and when commuting, but I find they fall out when jogging/running or other active tasks. Additionally, they are not watersport friendly. I have tried all the tips/tricks and changed the ear tip sizes, but I still need another option for more energy-centric activities.
The Naenka Runner Diver 2 Bone Conduction Earphones arrived in a 5 1/4 inches wide by 6 5/8 inches thick by 2 11/16 inches thick retail package. The company name was listed along the top edge of the cover, while the product name was listed along the lower edge. The main focus of the cover was the large image of an athletic female actively utilizing bone-conduction earphones. I liked the white background, the large “Runner Diver” font behind the athletic image, the placement of the title/product name, and the overall imagery of the cover.
The top and right side panels were given a dark grey color, contrasting nicely with the white color of the main cover, left side, and bottom panels. The right panel detailed the bone conduction nature of the product, while the top panel was left unadorned. The white-colored left side panel had a pastel-colored geometric triangular design with a “BORN FOR SPORTS” logo, while the lower panel was left with some geometric triangles. I appreciated that the company chose to leave open space instead of repeating information or making the panels overly busy.
The back panel listed the Naenka name at the top, several product manufacturing labels, an SKU barcode, and some product information/address information along the lower segment. The mid-segment of the panel showcased two side images of the headphones and listed five product features: 1. Bluetooth 5.3. 2. IPX8 Waterproof. 3. Fast Charging. 4. Waterproof Structure Microphone. 5. 10 Hour Battery Life.
I lifted the packaging lid and found the 1.1-ounce/31-gram wrap-around style headphones in a plastic tray. Beneath the tray, you will find a secondary plastic tray with two small cutouts (plastic case with earplugs, 24” long USB-A to Magnetic charger) and a larger panel with three sets of ear-shaped sound enhancers. I removed the 14” long headphones from the tray; I evaluated the 7 inches long by 3/16 inches diameter neck strap segment, a 1 5/8 inches long by 11/16 inches tall by 3/8 inches thick posterior ear segment, an arcuate 2 1/2 inches long over-ear segment, and a 1 1/8 inches long by 1 inch tall by 7/16 inches wide headset vibration conductor that rests in front of the ear.
The vibrating section was designed to rest just in front of the ear and along the temple region/TMJ. The design appeared similar to the original Naenka Runner Diver but seemed to be a bit more streamlined. The plastic-coated ear hook rested nicely above the ear, while the neck segment rested against the base of my scalp. The lower right segment of the main body provided an indicator LED light and three buttons, two 1/8” square volume up/down buttons flanking a central 3/16 inches long by 1/8 inches tall multifunction button. The location of the buttons on the bottom of the right ear segment provided easier access than those of the previous device (on top).
Before powering on the headphones, I removed the 24-inch long USB-A to magnetic charger, plugged the USB-A port into a standard 5V/2A USB-A outlet, and attached the magnetic prong to the headphones to charge. The blue indicator at the back of the headphones flashed every three seconds for about thirty minutes, before assuming a solid active state once fully charged. The instruction manual did a great job of detailing the button combinations for the headphones. To activate the device, hold the middle button for 3 seconds or hold the button for five seconds to turn the device off. A double press of the mid button will activate/deactivate the Siri Voice assistant, while a single press will either play/pause music, or answer/hang up a call, and a double click will refuse a call. If you triple-click the button, you can move between Bluetooth and MP3 modes. A quad-click will activate the sequential/random play switch. The instructions suggested using the included USB-A cable to transfer data between a computer and the headset.
Once fully charged, I removed the device from power, draped the Naenka devices over my ears, and then held the power button for 3 seconds. I was pleased with the soft button press/feel, the ear hooks, and with the lightweight, waterproof design. The headphones activated and a female announcer voiced “Welcome to Naenka bone conduction headphones”, “enter the Bluetooth Mode.” I navigated to Settings, Bluetooth, selected NAENKA-RUNNER DIVER 2 from the list, and the indicator flashed, while the announcer vocalized, “The Bluetooth is Connected.” The volume started rather loudly and I felt that the announcer was shouting at me.
I reduced the volume to about 50% and started with my testing parameters. I navigated to the audiocheck.net website and tested the Runner Diver 2 headphones with the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz). For this test, the announcer started at 10HZ and voiced frequency changes at 10Hz levels. The test showed that the headphones could output vibration/sound starting at 50-60Hz, which showed limited deeper bass tone fullness. Since the human ear is capable of hearing down to 20Hz, the limitation was noticeable on some of the bass-heavy song selections like Holly Cole “Train Song,” CeeLo Green “Big Lights Bigger City”, and “Why So Serious?” Jokers Theme from Batman Dark Knight.
I recreated the test at various volume levels (25%, 50%, 75%) and found increased volume but no increased bass. Even though I missed some of the more bass-heavy brands’ support, I was pleased to have a pair of earphones that remained in place while exercising. Additionally, listening to music while showering and swimming was convenient, even if ambient sounds required turning the volume to max.
The High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz) provided similar results to the Low-Frequency test above. The male announcer started at 22K and decreased by 1K levels down to 8K. Even though the upper range of hearing is considered 22kHz, we lose upper tones through aging, sound pollution, and trauma. As a result, most adults can hear from ~14-16kHz, while younger children can hear up to about 18-20kHz. I have protected my hearing while mowing, using firearms, and for anything with a decibel level >85 for most of my life.
As a 40’s male, I can typically hear to about 15-16kHz on most devices, while my 14-year-old son can enjoy tones at 17-18kHz with most earphones. While using the above test, I could hear the test tone at 12kHz, which was a bit odd. I had my son attempt to use it, and he noted he could only hear the sound at 12kHz, too. Like the above bass tests, the treble/high-frequency output felt limited and a bit on the weaker side. To enjoy clear audio for music/books, I needed to increase the volume to nearly maximum levels. Interstingly, the buzzing and music could be heard by others when the volume was set to max, and this was less than optimal for quiet environments like listening in bed.
The headphones seemed okay with mid-tones and with many songs within the Pop and R&B genre. To make sure that this was not a single output source problem, I tested a variety of music output sources including Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube. I listened to the Bohemian Rhapsody Soundtrack, Rocketman Soundtrack, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Alabama, Home Free, Elton John, Eagles, Journey, Michael Jackson, Charlie Puth, and Meghan Trainor.
It seemed that the music output and quality were better than what the audiocheck website tests suggested. For the third test, I utilized the Left/Right/Center test to evaluate the internal programming and was pleased to find appropriately programmed channels. The announcer vocalized each channel to the appropriate speaker and both channels with “center. For the final audiocheck.net test, I used the Stereo Perception and Sound Localization Test. The test uses binaural sounds to demonstrate the staging properties of the earphones. Without a proper in-ear seal, the Stereo Perception and Sound Localization Test did not work that well. The binaural knocking sounds lost some directionality, which limited some of the staging quality.
I used the earphones while biking, running, and swimming and in various atmospheres (passenger in a car, walking on a busy road, and shopping in a mall). I listened to various artists, Dungeon Crawler Carl Book 5 on Audible, and Dungeons and Daddies Podcast through Audible. I enjoyed the poppy bright feel of the Naenka headphones and did not experience any tinny quality with higher volumes. Lower volumes reduced sound without muffling the output.
I was a bit impressed with the blend of instrumental tracks from Enya, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Soundtrack, and the Far and Away Soundtrack but missed the depth felt through many in-ear systems. The French Horns and Trumpets provided the goose-flesh tingle, but I missed the upper flute, bell, and string sounds, and the lower bass and tuba support. Please do not misinterpret my statement/meaning as bad, because the experience was enjoyable.
However, the sound output and quality would not be considered audiophile or theater grade. I noticed improved sound clarity with the included earplugs and enjoyed improved sound quality when using them. Without the earbuds, the sound felt weaker and a bit more limited, but was still reasonable.
When swimming, the included full earplugs proved to be more useful. When running, the ear concha enhancers (the larger ear bowl covers), allowed external stimuli to still reach my ears for added safety. Additionally, sound quality was markedly improved when my jaw was clenched/closed. If I opened my jaw to chew, yawn, or breathe while swimming, I experienced a warbled “wa wa wa” muffled, reduced clarity sound.
I tried a few other bone conduction headphones including FiTech bone conduction helmet, and had a similar experience with the jaw/opening closing. Thus, it may not be as much of a feature of the Naenka headphones. I enjoyed a long bike ride without use of the ear amplification. I liked that I could hear the sound and traffic/road noises. For those looking to add music to a biking trip, consider picking up a pair of Naenka Runner Diver 2 earphones.
I felt the buttons were responsive and quite intuitive. The “+” button nearest the user’s ear increased the volume with a single press and moved to the next song with a double press. Similarly, the “-“ button decreased the volume with a single press and moved to the previous song with a double press. When I triple-pressed the central multifunction button, the device transitioned from Bluetooth mode to TF Mode. The device came preprogrammed with “Wellmeran,” “I love it when you call me señiorita,” and “magnipoa” (I could not identify song origin).
It would have been better if the included charging cable was USB-C instead of USB-A, as many modern laptops are moving away from USB-A ports. However, the basic support was easy to copy over MP3 files to the generic file spot using File Explorer. For the cost, wireless transfer would have been an amazing feature. The 32 GB size was fair and the lack of a charging port/memory card slot enhanced the waterproofing.
Without the lower pitches/tones, the sound output appeared brighter and less full. Luckily, the sound never felt tinny or too bright to enjoy pop/rock/blues and movies. I found no lag between audio/visual signal while using Movies Anywhere, Max, Amazon Video, or Vudu, but found YouTube videos to have a lag. If you are looking for true audiophile sound for music/movies/audiobooks, an in-ear system will likely provide a larger, fuller sound. However, many of those systems are not designed for everyday use or more sporty applications. Even with the limitations, I would much prefer having the Naenka entertainment over no entertainment.
I compared the Naenka device to the FOJEP OpenEar device and found similarities in charging type, sound output, and overall design. This type of overear bone-conduction earphone services a niche that are typically avoided by more theater/audiophile-centric headphones. Thus, it is not fair to compare the sound of Bose, Apple AirPods, Shure, Jabra, etc., to the Naenka device. Despite my critique, I was impressed with the IPX8 waterproofing, 10-hour playback, Bluetooth 5.3, vibratory sound, and the 1.5-hour charge time. I did not like the microphone, however, as it felt rather muffled. The waterproofing features likely limited the microphone’s capabilities. For extended water use, you can use the conveniently included microphone plugs.
I liked the concept of the open-ear design and felt that the device could be an amazing asset to the outdoor enthusiast. We found that the over-ear hooks helped to maintain placement and did provide a better-staying power than some of the in-ear systems including Apple AirPods Pro Gen 1/2. I enjoyed the lightweight design, and the soft rubberized material against my skin. I believe that the NAENKA Runner Diver2 bone conduction earbuds have a lot to offer.
For sound output, I would give the earbuds a 7.5/10, for comfort 8/10, for battery life and portability 8/10, and for overall features 7.5-8/10. To turn the earbuds from a 3/5 to a 4+/5, they would need to provide improved bass within the 20-40Hz range and blend/high-frequency sounds in the 12-16kHz range. Lastly, I believe Naenka should have included their accessory headphone case at the pricepoint, which is available on their website for $16-$18.
- Bluetooth 5.3 connection
- Lightweight design
- IP68 Waterproof nature
- included sound amplification plugs
- 10-hour playback
- Included MP3 feature
- 1.5-hour charging time
- Open Ear design allows ambient sounds.
- Sound output/Quality (limited bass and high frequency)
- Microphone sounds muffled
- No included storage case for sound amplifiers/ear plugs
- USB-A to magnetic charging (should be USB-C)