REVIEW – Aftershokz Trekz Air

This past January I came out of Orlando with an idea to do a “sort of” awards presentation based on my findings of various products at the show. At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do it however. Nonetheless, The Teezy Awards were born and much to my surprise and delight they’ve been well-received.

Emerging the victor in the ‘Top Accessory” category was none other than AfterShokz (Trekz Air). The question is… What is Aftershokz and what makes them so special? Well, in case you aren’t familiar with the brand Aftershokz here is a little bit of a timeline that features some of their accomplishments and who they are.

Aftershokz was founded in 2011 and opened their headquarters in East Syracuse, NY. In 2012, the brand made their official launch at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The brand started initially with wired headphones and later in 2012 they won the “Consumer Electronics category in the 2012 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards, a recognition earned for the company’s potential to widely impact the CE industry and make a difference in people’s lives”. By the time 2013 came around Aftershokz had already introduced the first Bone Conduction Technology headphones at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show which also featured their trademarked Premium Pitch Technology. In November of 2014, “the world learns that AfterShokz bone conduction technology plays a key role in the prototype product Microsoft has been designing as part of their Cities Unlocked project, which aims to make the world’s landscape more accessible to persons with blindness”. In 2015, building on their previous successes and advancements an Indiegogo campaign was started to fund a new project of theirs. That project was Trekz Titanium which ultimately brings us to this review.

 

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Bone Conduction Technology… it sounds fancy and scientific but what is it? In layman’s terms have you ever watched any military films or documentaries where the soldiers are listening and talking through headsets? Have you noticed that their ears were never encroached upon? That’s because, they were using Bone Conduction Technology. Essentially, sound is transmitted as soundwaves or vibrations. The soundwaves or vibrations are picked up by the inner ear through the bones of the skull. Because of this fact bone conduction transmission can be used with individuals with normal or impaired hearing.

Leading up to the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show I was in contact with Jayme Schwartz who handles the PR for AfterShokz. Prior to the show, I shared a press release from them and arranged a meeting. On the floor of the Orlando County Convention Center I met with Mary Garlatti who took the time to show me their two models of headphones. The Trekz Titanium and the Trekz Air. Initially, my main purpose for visiting the booth was primarily just to see what these headphones using Bone Conduction Technology sounded like. As they were placed on my head and music was turned on I was immediately impressed by the tone and all-around sound of these headphones. For those that don’t know, I love music am a musician from a very musically talented family and I’m a real stickler food good sound. These had the sound while allowing me to hear everything around me. Without fully understanding how full of features these headphones were I felt that I had the winner of “Top Accessory” for my Teezy Awards. At any rate, a long-term testing and review was arranged and waiting for me when I got home from Florida was a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones.

The AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones are completely wireless and Bluetooth enabled. Some of the features of the Trekz Air headphones include…

  • 20% lighter than Trekz Titanium
  • Complete wraparound titanium design provides a flexible fit for unnoticeable all-day comfort and stability
  • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum situational awareness and comfort during long-term wear
  • PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
  • LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage

Throughout my testing of these Trekz Air  headphones from AfterShokz I’ve used them in every possible scenario. Indoor range sessions, on the golf course while playing, at the gym during my workouts (and tanning), out for long walks with my pup and last but not least while driving. In fact, there is only one place that comes to mind where I haven’t tried them where I would and that’s on an airplane.

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The headphones themselves come in a very neat package. Inside of the packaging you will find everything that you need to make the Trekz Air headphones work. Inside is an easy to understand instruction manual, a black pouch (rubberized), a USB charging cable and last but not least a tiny case that houses to earplugs. When it’s safe to cut out all of the ambient noise in the background stick in the earplugs which in turn makes Trekz Air headphones “nearly noise-cancelling”.

To say that I’m impressed with the Trekz Air headphones is a huge understatement. There are noticeable advantages that these headphones have over earbuds or headphones f other designs. The first is pure practicality. Unlike earbuds, the Trekz Air don’t fall out of your ears. It’s a chronic problem that I have with earbuds. Secondly, because of their open frame construction the impact of the Trekz Air headphones from a safety standpoint is staggering. An example of this was my very first use. I was walking my dog at night and it was a night where there was a fog lingering. I was walking down the one street (on the sidewalk) and there are literally no street lights present. As we were about to leave that street I heard a car approach from behind. The car didn’t have any headlights on and as I stopped Muskoka he pulled in right in front of us. Had I been wearing earbuds… one of us likely gets hit. The driver got out of his vehicle and apologized for not seeing us. These headphones are safe… period!! In case you like to listen to music on the golf course but don’t want to have a Bluetooth speaker that disturbs others these headphones are perfect. You can both hear the music and continue conversations with your playing partners with Trekz Air.

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The author wearing his Trekz Air headphones during an indoors practice session.

Because the Trekz Air headphones feature a wraparound design… the headphones are always secured onto your head. Throughout the course of the golf swing the Trekz Air headphones do not become dislodged from your person. These headphones are simply there just for the ride so swing away. Or in the case of working out not only is there no wire hanging there but again the Trekz Air remain in place. Whether you’re doing abdominal crunches, rowing, spinning or any sort of lifting the Trekz Air do not fall off. Is there a little slippage where you might have to readjust a little bit? Yes, after all they aren’t duct-taped onto you. And they are light… to the point where you don’t realize that you’re wearing them.

I’ve worn the Trekz Air in a number of climate scenarios. I’ve worn them in a light rain, snow flurries and of course the gym and that’s a place that could simulate a jungle with my perspiration. Because the Trekz Air features an IP55 certification it’s sweat and dust repellent. This doesn’t mean that you could wear them during a monsoon. I’m not suggesting that you can’t. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t. That said, the repellent qualities certainly live up to their billing.

 

The Trekz Air headphones have multi-point pairing. In fact, up to 5 devices can be paired at one time. As it stands I’m currently running my cell phone and laptop as paired devices with my Trekz Air headphones. You can be totally hands-free using Trekz Air. For answering calls you click the Multi-Function Button once. If you’re listening to music or a movie and you want to change the Equalizer setting you can do that as well by simply holding down the +/- volume buttons at the same time for 3 seconds and presto… the sound has been changed. Speaking of the sound. The trademarked PremiumPitch+ sounds great. The tones are rich, crisp and pure. I found that the bass was even more impressive when the earplugs were in.

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I love the “Audrey says” voice prompts which only brings out more of the user-friendly qualities of these headphones. In the past I’ve reviewed technological pieces that boasted a certain battery life which would later be heavily debunked. This is NOT the case with Trekz Air. AfterShokz says that you get 6 hours of continuous music and calls on a single charge. It delivers that 6 hours!!!

In closing, I feel like a genius for giving the AfterShokz Trekz Air the nod for the Teezy Award. I honestly, had no clue how good they truly were but I do now. The Trekz Air headphones retail for $179.95 USD. Before I drop money on a pair of Beats By Dre (or similar) I would save the money and purchase these Trekz Air. Safety, performance, sound and practicality that you can count on. The Trekz Air headphones are offered in three colors. Slate Grey, Forest Green and Midnight Blue. For more information please visit www.aftershokz.com

#ShokzSquad

Until The Next Tee!!

The Teezy Awards – 2018 PGA Merchandise Show (Best of the Rest)

Because the golf equipment version of the Teezy Awards was so long I thought that it was best to separate the equipment from everything else. By the way I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read The Teezy’s (Golf Equipment Edition) it really was a fun segment to write.

About the “Best of the Rest”. From technology to apparel and shoes to accessories and everything in between these are my picks for the best in show. By the way… just a quick shout out to Chef’s Cut Real Jerky. Their jerky is the “Best Tasting Product” of the show. Their jerky is the best tasting jerky that I’ve ever experienced!! If you need jerky for the golf bag… buy some Chef’s Cut. Some of these categories were so tough to select a winner but when there’s a will… there’s a way. So here we go! I present the “Best of the Rest”.

Top Training Aid/Instruction – Winner

EduKAYtion Golf (Golf 8.5) – Technically speaking I didn’t meet with Kay McMahon one of the founders of EduKAYtion Golf (Golf 8.5) until after the PGA Show a week later at MetroWest Golf Club in Orlando, Florida. But because she was present at the show (seminars) I have to add her. After meeting with Ms. McMahon and hearing (and learning) what Golf 8.5 was it was impossible to deny giving EduKAYtion Golf the win in this category. Imagine if you will an extremely easy to learn a functional, repeatable golf swing in 15-20 minutes. With the methods that she’s developed I watched her take a brand new golfer (you could tell she was) and in about 20 minutes she had the beginnings of a very functional golf swing. I went through a personal one on one seminar with Kay and I came home with a new-found excitement for golf, the golf swing and the way that the golf swing could be taught. My session was “mind-blowing” and “game-changing”, I should mention that Kay McMahon is also an inductee to the LPGA Teaching Hall of Fame.

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Runner-up –  The runner-up is a company based in Seoul, South Korea and it could have placed in the technology category as well. The company is called Salted Venture and their product is called IOFIT.  IOFIT essentially are a pair of “smart shoes”. The shoes feature sensors inside of the shoe and through these sensors it measures your weight distribution by using body-mapping technology. The sensors then relay the information back to your smart phone or tablet via Bluetooth.The shoes are fully functional shoes that feature a spikeless design and come in an athletic shoe version and a more traditional shoe. “Hanging back” is a killer fault in the golf swing and IOFIT can help golfers address this issue.

 

Top Technology – Winner

FlightScope mevo – In a category where there is a ton of great products the FlightScope mevo was an easy decision to win this category. By now the majority of golfers have experienced the use of a launch monitor at some point. These launch monitors cost thousands of dollars. Of course, these launch monitors are big, and are difficult to transport if they can be moved in the first place. Imagine a launch monitor that not only costs only $499 but is also so small that it fits in the palm of your hand. That’s the FlightScope mevo. It’s accurate within 3 yards (at 250 yards) and gives you all of the crucial data needed. Clubhead Speed, Ball Speed, Distance, Smash Factor, Spin and more. The FlightScope mevo connects via Bluetooth to your smart device (phone or tablet). The product sold well at the show from what I observed and it was among the busier booths at the Equipment Test Center (demo area).

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Runner-up – In a category that was an absolute dogfight I have to give this award to GAME GOLF and their new product the GAME GOLF Pro. My first PGA Show was the brands first year as well and they were the first GPS shot tracker that I became familiar with. It’s been fun to watch their product grow and improve as time has worn on. With GAME GOLF Pro you have a shot tracking device that is far and above other ones on the market. Imagine knowing your yardage with each club and playing golf with a caddie every round. That is what the GAME Golf Pro is. The “Smart Caddie” assists you by providing data-driven decisions based on the trends of your game. For the record, I wasn’t the only one to admire this technology. The new FitBit Ionic features GAME Golf as its pre-loaded golf app.

Top Golf Components – Winner

TPT Golf – I’ve featured this Swiss-based shaft company since their launch at the 2017 PGA Show. All that they’ve done since is create shafts that have placed second in the Ricoh British Women’s Open (Jodi Ewart Shadoff) and see the likes of Justin Rose and Jason Day put their shafts into play… and win. Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January using a prototype shaft (14.5-LKP-LT-LW shaft in his driver and 15.5-MKP-LT-LW shaft in his fairway wood). Meanwhile, Rose was using the 15-LKP-LT-LW to win three tour events in 2017. I made swings with the model that Rose used and it was the best shaft for me at the show. In fact, it was better than my tester and consequently gamer. TPT Golf is also in the infant stages of releasing iron shafts using their technology which is unrivalled.

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Runner-Up –  How often are golfers unsure of their grips? not just the way that they hold the club but the actual grip itself? What if there was a grip that helped you achieve the proper grip every time? There is and Golf Pride has the product. Although the new Align golf grips aren’t new they are to me. I experienced a few different grips while at the show and these to me were by far the best of the bunch. Great texture, three different models the Align grips are a winner. But the best feature of these grips  is undoubtedly the raised ridge that promotes proper hand placement every time which leads to more consistency.

Top Apparel – Winner

Arnold PalmerApparel – A lot of thought went into this category to determine a winner A ton of variables were taken into consideration. Among these variables were hand (feel), styling, MSRP and variety. When push came to shove it was Arnold Palmer Apparel that emerged the winner. Yes, you know that when it comes to a brand that has Mr. Palmer’s name attached to it you’re going to see apparel that epitomizes style and class. That’s exactly what Arnold Palmer Apparel exemplifies. The materials used are soft and offer great hand. The brand has a line-up that covers everything from mid-layers to outerwear and everything in between. A color palette that is bright and cheery without being over the top. A very reasonable price point and there’s one last factor that made Arnold Palmer Apparel the winner. 100% of the profits go towards the Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation.

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Runner-Up – The runner-up is a brand that I’ve featured within these pages on several occasions. This brand also happened to have the most improved booth at the show. Antigua Sportswear. This brand continues to impress with a solid line of apparel as one might come to expect considering their tenure in the industry. Offering a full product range that includes travel bags and an extremely fair price point Antigua has something for everyone golfer in a bevy of sizes. Not to mention they also offer a stunning Women’s Apparel line and fashions.

 

Top Outerwear – Winner

ProQuip USA – Outerwear is an important category. Unfortunately, not all golfers are able to play in dry, warm locales. For that reason we need outerwear that will keep us dry and warm. Is there anything worse than being sopping wet and cold on a course? ProQuip USA offers a complete line of outerwear for both men and women. Sizing ranges from Small to 3XL for men and XSmall to 2XL for women. ProQuip USA offers everything that includes polo shirts but it’s their lambswool knits and waterproof collection that sets them apart. Their waterproof collection will keep golfers high and dry and they are loaded with all kinds of neat, functional features. Oh… if you do live in a hot climate look into their TourLite Rain Jacket. It’s light and moisture-wicking. One last thing… ProQuip “has been a preferred supplier to Ryder Cup teams for 31 years”.

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Runner-Up – Galvin Green has been in the outerwear game a long time. Galvin Green provides high-performance outerwear (and associated layers) that can stand up to any weather conditions. Gales off of the North Atlantic… no problem. The brand also features outerwear fashion that provides plenty of “pop” in its styling. Galvin Green is also the supplier to the 2018 European Ryder Cup Team.

 

Top Accessory – Winner

Aftershokz – Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured awarding the Top Accessory category to a pair of headphones. I think that’s mostly because I’m very picky to what a pair of headphones sounds like but in general I never wear them when I practice. however, Aftershokz has changed that. Aftershokz are headphones that feature an open-eared construction and the use of Bone-Conduction Technology. Aftershokz was on my “must visit without appointment list” and am I ever glad that I got the chance to experience these at the show. They are wireless, feature Bluetooth technology and the sound is pure. Their construction allows you to hear everything going on around you without completely drowning out ambient noise like voices or vehicles around you. Aftershokz are also sweat and dust resistant. Aftershokz was a clear-cut winner.

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Runner-Up – Much can be said of the Nova Scotia, Canada based company Dormie Headcovers. It’s a small outfit that’s run by Todd and Jeff Bishop who are PGA of Canada members. Dormie Headcovers offers premium handmade leather headcovers and accessories (caps, shag bags etc). Their designs are “top shelf” and the quality is unrivaled. Need a custom cover to show off a little bit of your personality? Look no further than Dormie!

Top Booth – Winner

Travis Mathew – Before I write this I need to clear something up. It’s tough for me to award this award to Travis Mathew because post-show I placed an order to the brand. Their customer service was sub-par (see non-existent). For a brand that I was so high on this has really made me suddenly apprehensive about them. But these awards are based on the PGA Show.

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Golf needs more fun. The PGA Show at times could be labeled as “vanilla” or as I’ve called it “oatmeal”. everything looks and sounds the same. Well Travis Mathew is the exact opposite! They are a booth that has a real fun, nightclub feel to it. Upon entrance to the TM booth you look around and it feels different. Light, fun. Last year was my first year venturing inside and they had a carnival like atmosphere with things like Skeeball, basketball hoops and pinball machines inside. This year… they had a bar feel to it. Eating shelled peanuts that you dropped on the floor, yes there was some beverages too but what was really fun was the karaoke component they had. That made the booth a real fun place to be. I love what their brand message is and what they do at the show. It’s a booth that until last year I felt like I didn’t belong in but that has since changed in a big time way. TM actually feels like who I am. Maybe the lack of customer service was an unfortunate anomaly.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

Unboxing Video – Aftershokz Trekz Air

While my blog and website does relate to very golf specific products I have no problem with discussing products that definitely could be viewed as crossover products. Prior to leaving for the 2018 PGA Merchandise I learned about a product that could definitely be described as a crossover product.

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Aftershokz headphones are one such product. These are headphones that feature a wireless, open-eared construction. The latter being important for safety reasons. They feature IP55 Sweat Resistance, Wireless Calling and Music, Multi-Point Pairing and Bone Conduction Technology (the sound travels through the cheekbones).

In this video I introduce my test subject… the Aftershokz Trekz Air. Stay tuned for much more on this product which won the “Top Buyers Choice For a New Product” at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show.

 

Until The Next Tee!!