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The OpenRock Pro earbuds mostly succeed at providing the open-ear benefits of the bone-conducting listening experience without sacrificing audio fidelity.
The design of earbuds swings from one extreme to the other. Either they plug up your ears for great sound and then use microphones to let in outside noise, or they use bone conduction to not even touch your ear, but deliver poor sound quality.
OpenRock Pro is trying to split the difference with an open-ear design that wraps around your ear and sits right outside of it, pushing the sound in.
It’s an intriguing idea that Bose explored previously with its Sport Open Earbuds. We liked those quite a bit, but their proprietary charging cable, finicky fit, and short battery meant that we never got too hooked on them.
OpenRock Pro addresses most of the concerns of Bose’s earbuds, meaning they could be an intriguing option for people with an aversion to things going into their ears.
Fit and feel
Despite the bulky look of the OpenRock Pro, they felt remarkably lightweight on our ears. The smooth plastic casing flowed around each ear and then stuck into place.
Even while running, we didn’t notice much jostling, if any. The earbuds felt secure during each exercise stint.
There wasn’t a need to adjust the curvature of the ear hook, but if you do, the rubber strip can be angled to better fit different-sized ears.
We liked that there was a dedicated physical button for controlling media playback and volume, but each button was hard to blindly feel for while running, and the default controls were hard to remember.
For example, out of the box, a single click on either the right or left button paused audio, and another single click would resume it. A double click on the right one would raise the volume, and a double click on the left one would lower the volume.
Typically, a double click is used for skipping tracks. While we did like that volume controls were present we didn’t need that function to take over the double click.
The default control for skipping a song is pressing the button and holding it for 1.5 seconds. We did not like this one bit.
We couldn’t find a way to change the presets either. You’ll likely have to spend some time studying the manual for all the control options.
The included case houses a battery for recharging the earbuds on the go, which helps them get a resounding 46 hours of total battery life. But the earbuds themselves get a quoted 19 hours on their own.
OneOdio got the basics of the battery case right, in that the right earbud slots into the case on the right side, and standing the earbuds vertically in the case is clever. Unfortunately, we found the case to still be too large to be carried in pants pockets.
Sound and performance
Earbuds used for fitness, in a loud gym, or out on the road with cars, don’t need to have the most pristine sound quality, but they do need to be well rounded — present vocals and full low-end.
The OpenRock Pro earbuds easily checked that box for us. They had a full, rich sound at 50 percent volume and an even larger bass presence as the volume was raised.
Pop songs were bold and full of life while folk songs were surprisingly detailed and resonant.
Despite their open-ear design, there wasn’t much sound leakage either. Even at a 50 percent volume level, we were told that music was difficult to hear from a distance of 12 feet away.
When we listened to podcasts and audiobooks and each was clear and easy to understand.
We did notice that it was hard to carry on conversations while audio, of any kind, played. The open-ear design allowed more awareness of surroundings, as long as the volume wasn’t too loud, but conversations were tough.
Who are the OpenRock Pro earbuds for?
We used these wireless Bluetooth earbuds paired with our iPhone, but also paired directly to our Apple Watch. Both instances worked as expected without an issue.
OpenRock Pro can be used in any situation, especially if people have strong objections to sticking anything in their ears.
Based on the OpenRock Pro design and features, however, we saw fitness as the most compelling use for these earbuds. We found them too utilitarian in appearance to make us want to use them while walking around in public.
Ultimately, there are enough choices for wireless earbuds around the $100 price point that people seeking an open-ear design will find the most value in this product.
We enjoyed using the OpenRock Pro but never felt giddy about reaching for them over the Nothing Stick, AirPods 2, or dozens of other ones in their $109 retail price range.
OpenRock Pro – Pros
- Light and comfortable fit
- Long battery life
- Impressive sound for open-ear earbuds
OpenRock Pro – Cons