Headphones and earphones come in a wide variety of designs and builds. There are big, over-ear cans, tiny diminutive earbuds, and everything in between. Somewhere in that space is where you’ll find bone conduction headphones.
If you aren’t at all familiar with bone conduction, it’s going to be important to do some research first to decide if this style of headphone is right for you.
The name is pretty self-explanatory, but the basic idea is for the sound to be transmitted to your eardrum through the bones in your outer and inner ear, rather than through the air in your ear canal. This allows your ear canal to remain free, and essentially allows you to listen to your music at any volume without losing any sense of your surroundings.
If you are looking for a pair of headphones that is going to be comfortable and give you soothing, high quality audio, then you may want to reconsider this style before making the purchase. However, if you are in the market for a product that can be waterproof, stable, and doesn’t block out ambient environmental sounds, you are in the right place.
Here, I’ll share my impressions of the Haylou BC01 Bone Conduction Headphones.
The Haylou PurFree BC01 headphones will show up in a nicely packaged box with a magnetic attachment charger, earplugs, and the user manual. The body of the headphones is simply a rigid wire that wraps around your head, over your ears, and connects the two “vibration pads” that actually transmit the sound to your eardrum.
On the body of the headphones you can find a volume +- button and an “MFB” button, though I’m not too sure what MFB stands for but I presume it means “multifunction button” given it does multiple things. These buttons do the basic tasks of controlling Bluetooth and playback functions while you listen. Some available functions include checking the battery level, skipping tracks, answering calls, and activating your voice assistant.
In terms of comfort, I don’t have a great reference point for what they should feel like as this is my first good pair of bone conduction headphones. I will say they are flexible enough to be put on easily and they won’t press too hard where they rest just in front of your ear (which is apparently called the tragus). I also will note that they have a pretty hefty mass; I didn’t find this to be a means of discomfort while I was using them but they don’t give a weightless feel by any means.
One thing I think the Haylou BC01 lacks is a carrying case. Because of their shape they are very awkward to pack up for travel. I wouldn’t worry about breaking them or bending the wire if they were floating loose in a bag as they seem pretty tough. In any case, some sort of travel container for them would be highly convenient, in my opinion.
The BC01 headphones have a standard Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connection with the expected range of about 30 feet without obstruction. The 165mAh battery capacity can be charged in 1.5 hours and should provide you with up to 8 hours of playback time and more than 10 days on standby.
Its IP67 water resistance rating should allow for the headphones to survive sweat, rain, dust, and short-term submersion in shallow water. The provided charging cable is nearly two feet long and has a very unique charging connection pad. It magnetically secures itself to the headphones and is proprietary so don’t lose the cable.
Here’s where you start to take some losses with bone conduction: it just doesn’t sound as good as regular wireless headphones. And that’s not exclusive to this particular brand or model.
Most of the music is going to sound very different from what you would expect. After a while you can get used to it, but vocals especially will suffer in quality and an audiophile would not opt for the BC01’s design over traditional headphones.
The Haylou BC01 headphones still provide a great surround sound effect, though. The effect is similar to that of a speaker placed behind you, and because you can still hear your surroundings perfectly, it seems odd that the person next to you can’t hear the music.
This headphone style is great for physical activity like bike rides or runs because they allow you to be aware of your surroundings. They don’t block out any noise from your environment.
If you prefer to focus more closely on the task at hand, you can put in the ear plugs which Haylou has provided. In my experience though, this makes the audio quality worse. The experience is more similar to a speaker underwater.
If you want something for a noisy commute or studying, then you are better off looking elsewhere.
So… Why bone conduction?
It’s pretty simple. These headphones are meant to rest over top of your ears and the rear wire should sit rigidly about half an inch off of the back of your head so that you can turn and look freely without jostling them out of position.
Thanks to this shape, they will remain stable and stuck to your head whether you are walking the dog or downhill mountain biking. Your ear canal is completely free of obstruction so you will easily be able to hold a conversation at a whisper with your workout partner.
If you find yourself stuck in the rain on a run (or want to listen to music in the shower) then you can carry on without a worry thanks to the IP67 water resistant rating of the BC01’s.
If you’re an audiophile and you need something comfortable, lightweight, and with high quality audio, then I suggest researching other options. On the other hand, if you want a pair of headphones that will stay fitted to your head for even the most ferocious of workouts, these are worth a look. They’ll keep you aware of your environment and won’t get ruined by your sweat, rain, or dust. From my time and experience with the headphones I feel the Haylou BC01 is a great option to consider.
You can learn more about the PurFree BC01 headphones at Haylou’s website however to purchase them it will hand you off to AliExpress. Currently they’re listed at about $92. Amazon also has them for around $95 as of today.