Beats Fit Pro vs Shokz OpenRun Pro

This article is part of our series Battle of the Brandsin which we compare best-in-class products against their peers to determine which ones are really worth your money.

We all know that music can help us achieve our exercise goals. It can increase motivation, reduce perceived exertion, and improve our mood, especially when we’re frantically jumping on the treadmill or going for a cold early morning run. This makes the choice of headphones important to your running program.

We took a different approach in this cross-comparison. Instead of pitting two noise-canceling headphones against each other, we faced two competing philosophies for portable music: total immersion with the noise-canceling Beats Fit Pro, or enhanced situational awareness with the Shokz OpenRun Pro.

Both have their strengths and weaknesses. which one you should buy depends on the desired training experience.

shokz new computer

Form Factor

In the ear

Above the ear, behind the head


Coral Pink, Volt Yellow, Tidal Blue, Beats Black, Beats White, Stone Purple, Sage Grey

Black, Blue, Pink, Beige

Battery life and charging

– Up to 6 hours of listening time, with a 5-minute charge providing up to an hour of playback

– Up to 10 hours of listening time with a 1-hour charge time.
– Magnetic induction cable





One multifunction button per side

A multifunction button on the left side, volume buttons on the right side

Weight and dimensions

– Case: 2.44 x 2.44 x 1.12 inches, 55.1g
– Earpiece: 1.18 x .94 x .75 inches, 5.6g

5.12 x 3.82 x 1.85 inches, 29g


IPX4, sweat and water resistance

IP55, water and dust resistant, but not waterproof

Noise cancellation

Active noise cancellation with transparency mode

None, open-ear design, but has dual noise-canceling microphones for phone calls




These are two very different designed headphones. Beats are your standard-issue headphones that screw into your ear canal and are secured with silicone wingtips. The OpenRun Pro loop over the ears and around the back of your head. They nestle into the zygomatic arch of your skull (the ridge of bone that runs between your eye and ear) and pump vibrations into the bone to give you the bass response. It’s a neat trick, and will ring a bit even if you’re listening to heavy house music.

So, a little more about how both handsets work. Beats seals your ear canal and uses microprocessors to cancel out external noise. With the push of a button, you can let the outside world in, which is important for situational awareness on outdoor runs or walks. Apple says Active Noise Canceling “dynamically adapts to your environment to block outside noise.” Advantages? Excellent sound quality and privacy. Disadvantages; You may not hear things you might need to hear.

The OpenRun Pros, on the other hand, make no attempt to block audio. The whole point of these headphones is to deliver good sound while keeping your ears open to the world around you. They don’t fit in your ears at all. Instead, the small speakers send vibrations to the bones around your ears, bypassing the eardrum entirely. (Sound is just vibrations, after all, and the two holes on either side of our head channel these vibrations into the air into vibrating internal membranes. Our brains then interpret these vibrations as speech, music, car horns, etc. ) Advantages; You know the world around you and you can’t really damage your eardrums with high volume. Disadvantages; The sound quality is not as good as with headphones or over-the-ear headphones.

Both Beats and Shokz are comfortable to wear, but they also come with frustrations. The Beats come with three sizes of ear tips, but none of the sizes worked for me, and I kept playing with them because they wouldn’t stay in my ear canal. And as I adjusted the app, because almost the entire outer surface functions as buttons on the Beats, I often accidentally stopped the music or, worse, hung up on someone if I was on a call. That said, the Beats are delightfully light. If I didn’t feel the need to constantly adjust their position, I would have forgotten they were there like I do with my AirPods Pro 2.

On the other hand, the Open Run Pro headphones made me constantly aware that I was wearing them, even if there was no need to adjust. This is partly because they are larger. They wrapped over my ears and around my head so the back loop would often hit the back of my head as I ran. To make sure they fit properly, they come in two sizes, a standard size and a “mini” size. there is a handy guide on their website to determine the right size for you (I got the largest size). Second, the bone conduction can be a little jarring with bass-heavy tunes, as it almost feels like a faint tickle on your cheek. However, they were determined to stand their ground, which I can’t say for the Beats. My Gen-Z partner even tried her best to drop Shockz and only succeeded by headbanking so hard it gave her a headache. Teenagers, man.

The Beats objectively sound better thanks to the noise cancellation and eardrum-hugging design. The bass is full and the mids are quite rich. However, the treble is a bit punchy, which is common for the bass-heavy Beats brand. Listening to Papertrails by Darkside, I could easily hear the stereo separation and the bass, well, rocked me. (This is a great song to test the bass response that the Beats brand is known for.)

Beats noise cancellation was good, it practically silenced the world around me. However, with the press of one of the overly sensitive buttons, I could activate the Transparency mode and turn up the volume on the world around me. It’s not completely transparent sound, but it’s enough to keep me aware of my surroundings.

The Shokz were good, sonically, but the sound quality was inferior to the Beats, even when my headphones were literally vibrating. The richness and warmth of the song was absent, and it felt like the music was coming from outside my head—around the base of my skull, to be exact. Again, this is to be expected given the different technologies used to reproduce audio, but it was a noticeable difference. And given the relatively high price of Shokz headphones, I expected better sound quality.

Both headphones connect to your phones and other devices via Bluetooth, but the Beats are miles ahead of the Shokz. The Shokz headphones use a standard Bluetooth pairing routine: put the headphones into pairing mode by holding down a button until some lights flash. Go to your phone’s Bluetooth settings and select Shokz. You will need to do this for all your devices. Shokz has an app for both iOS and Android, which allows you to adjust the equalizer (two options, music or speech) and set up multi-point pairing, which allows you to connect the headphones to more than one device , if you want to switch between them. It’s not hard, but it’s more steps than Beats.

With Beats, since it’s an Apple product, pairing with an iPhone is simple. Just open the Beats case near your iPhone and connect. This is. Now you can also use Beats Fit Pro with your other Apple products, provided you’re signed in to them with the same Apple ID. And for a change, it’s also simple to pair these headphones with an Android phone. The process is similar: Download the Beats app from the Google Play store, open the Beats case near your phone, and it will guide you through the connection.

Beats also has a special chip from Apple that lets you take advantage of Apple’s virtual 3D music space, Spatial Audio, in Apple Music. The Shokz, being a more general headphone, doesn’t offer that.

Both Beats and Shokz headphones performed well. Apple says the Beats will last six hours, and with a fully charged case, you can get three more full charges for a total of 24 hours of battery life. You also get a 1-hour fast charge when you put them in the case for 5 minutes. The Shokz supports up to 10 hours of playback on a full charge, and the company says a 10-minute quick charge will get you another 1.5 hours. I haven’t been able to scientifically verify these times, but I can say that I’ve never had to worry about running out of juice.

Annoyingly, however, the Shokz uses a proprietary magnetic cable to charge the OpenRun Pros. Instead, Beats uses a standard USB-C. It’s unclear why Shokz did this, as the company’s entry-level OpenMove headphones have a USB-C port, so it’s certainly possible. The carrying case for the Shokz is for protection only. It does not offer charging capability.

It’s hard to say which one is better, depending on how you want to use it. At the gym, I want to block out all the other noise—especially the incessant ESPN on every TV—and just tune into my own endorphin-fueled musical experience. But if I’m out running around the neighborhood, I’d probably opt for the Shokz to keep my awareness focused on my surroundings and because they stay on my head. The tendency of the Beats to shift in my ear and lose noise cancellation was crazy.

It’s true that the Shokz don’t live up to the sound quality, but bone conduction transducers, no matter how good they are, never will. And if you’re going to spend $180, this is something you’ll want to consider.

So buy Beats if you care more about sound quality, are invested in the Apple ecosystem, and want noise cancellation. Buy the Shokz if you’re looking for a set of all-purpose headphones, want to go more than 6 hours on a single charge, and want to try a new and different technology.

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