For those unfamiliar, conduction is another method of delivering sound but instead of through your ears, it is through your bones. It is particularly effective for swimming. Tayogo sent me their latest conduction headphones and it is worth trying.
The Tayogo WB-02 headphones came in a semi-hard case with instructions, TRRS to USB charge/data cable, and the headphones itself. The device functions as bluetooth headphones, 8GB MP3 player, and fitness tracker. Although the model number is WB-02, the verbal feedback will refer to it as W11 when connected via bluetooth.
According to the manufacturer, the headphones frame is made of strong but flexible polypropylene (PP) so you can bend the middle for size adjustment. The earpieces have flat surfaces made of hard durable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) which press firmly against your head to conduct sound. Sound is audible from my temples to just under my cheekbone but placement right in front of my ears delivers optimal sound. It is the heftiest of my swimming headphones and does sink when left in the water. This is not a big deal in the swimming pool, but will be easier to lose in open water.
Close up showing optimal placement and controls.
There is a rubber flap covering the port for what appears to be a TRRS cable. Upon closer inspection this is slightly slimmer and longer than your standard 3.5mm TRS cable so you have to use the included cable. The included cable works for charging and tranferrring data. It is plug and play. I wish they had used a standard 3.5mm cable and enable using an aux cable for when the battery is dead or where bluetooth is prohibited. It would also be easier to find replacement cables should it get lost.
The controls consist of three buttons over the right ear. Since there are only three buttons, you press, double press, and hold to perform different functions:
- Hold the power button turns the device on and off, press it to play or pause.
- Press the minus button to lower volume, double press for previous track, hold to switch between repeat, shuffle, or order play.
- Press the plus button to raise volume, double press for next track, hold to switch between bluetooth and mp3 mode.
Since the headphones are already pressed tightly against your head, I wished the button had been placed along the edge instead so you do not have to push further towards your head for each control. This is only a minor nuisance.
There is also an Android and iOS app that allows full control of the bluetooth music and MP3 player. There is also a fitness tracker which counts steps, distance, and calories burned. The data can be saved by sharing it via the Wechat app. Otherwise, the memory only keeps a one day record and if you update every day then you will not lose your data. There is a FM radio function on the app but that is for the another model as the WB-02 does not have a radio.
I found the bone conduction to deliver really full sound. Especially underwater where it felt like the sound really surrounds me. The audio does sound a bit different in and out of the water but that did not bother me while I was exercising and the headphones fit securely through my test.
There are many benefits to conduction over traditional headphones. It easily beats the sound quality of in-ear headphones underwater. Not to mention foregoing the process of finding earbud tips that fit right. No need to worry about earwax and hygienes should you be required to share headphones. The biggest benefit is situation awareness. Since they do not cover your ear, you can still hear your surroundings without have to pause your music. This can be useful for jogging around town too although you may get some funny looks from people wondering why your headphones are not over your ears.
Conduction headphones may not be for everyone, especially those who want to completely zone out. However, if you have not used conduction headphones, I highly encourage you to give it a try. It is quite a different experience, especially for underwater audiophiles.