It seems like $100 might be the minimum you need to spend on a pair of bone conduction headphones to make sure that they’re suitable for when you’re running outdoors. These are more than adequate unless the wind is really high, which is a problem for all bonephones, and for which Haylou supplies earplugs.
Bone conduction for safety
Easy to pair with phone
Dual device connection
Buttons easy to find and press
Smooth, yet grippy silicone coating
Good battery life
Quick charge option
Sound quality a little tinny
Microphone can pick up wind noise
High wind and wet road noise obscures sound
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Haylou PurFree BC01: first impressions
The Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones weigh a nice, light 28g and are rated IP67, which means they are very waterproof, always a good thing when you’re looking for the best running headphones.
• List price: $133 (US) / £100 (UK)
• Weight: 28g / 1oz
• Colors: Black
• Water protection: IP67
• Battery life: 8 hours
• Quick charge time: 10 mins charge for 2 hours playback
• Full charge time: 1.5 hours
• Charger type: Unique magnetic connection to USB
• Dual device connection: Yes
• Compatibility: Running outdoors on paths and trails
Playback time is eight hours on a full charge of 1.5 hours, there’s a handy 10-minute quick-charge option which gives you two hours of playing time and you can find out how much juice is left in the battery at the press of a button.
The charger has a unique magnetic attachment connecting the bonephones to your regular USB port so you’ll need to make sure you don’t forget it on trips away. The Haylou PurFree BC01s have all the usual bonephone functions – volume, skip tracks back and forth, activate voice assistant, etc – and they also boast a dual-device connection; so, for example, you can watch a film on your laptop but not miss out on an important call on your phone.
The buttons are all also in sensible places: volume clearly on the right and another easy-to-find function button on the left earpiece. For the price of £100 the sound quality is very good – you can hear music, podcasts and take phone calls clearly in a wide variety of outdoor conditions including light wind and rain, though they cope less well in high wind (see also: headphones vs the sounds of nature).
Haylou PurFree BC01: on the trails
The moment I changed to these from my previous test pair of cheaper bonephones my long suffering sister-in-law – on the other end of a phone call – said, “Oh that’s a lot better now!” Indeed, I had to turn the volume down two or three levels because the sound of the call was overall a lot louder – I didn’t need it on max anymore even if there was a slight wind. That meant it wasn’t buzzing in my cheeks either.
The sound quality with the Haylou PurFree BC01 is good, and had I not experienced the £160 Shokz Openrun Pro, I might even have been totally happy with these. The main difference in sound quality between these and the top-end Shokz is that music and podcasts do still sound quieter on the same volume level – a little far away.
Music is good enough to listen to happily but it’s missing some fullness; it sounds thinner, a little bit tinnier with less bass. You have to turn them up louder than the Shokz when it’s windy too, or you could use the foam earplugs they supply you with to help cut out wind noise. The microphone also needs a little more wind protection for calls in more exposed locations.
The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.