The Runner Pro2 are the latest version of bone conduction headphones from Nank (Naenka). I’ve tried two of their previous models so was interested to see what was different about the latest version.
So, what has changed? Visually the Runner Pro2 look very similar to previous versions, they share the same basic shape with the flexible cradle looping round the back of the head and over the ears and the bone conduction units resting on your temples. They are operated by three small buttons on the outer right hand side; on /off, volume up, volume down. The volume buttons also allow you to skip forward and back if listening to downloaded audio files. As with the original Runner Pro, charging is done via a magnetic port and USB.
The shape and position of the buttons is slightly different to the original version but their function is the same. A tiny LED light glows red whilst charging and changes to blue when the headphones are fully charged. Battery life is around 8 hours (at 60% volume) so whilst they might not last you through your next ultra race there is plenty of capacity for long runs and rides. Turning up the volume reduces battery life but wearing the foam earplugs (supplied) dramatically enhances the volume without cutting out surrounding sound.
The main difference is that the Runner Pro2 is upgraded in terms of performance with Bluetooth 5.3 rather than 5.0 (not that I noticed any difference here!) and is slightly lighter at only 32g compared to 37g. The weight difference is negligible and I didn’t notice any difference in comfort whilst wearing them compared to the other Naenka models. The real upgrade is the internal storage capacity; up from 8G to 32G meaning that you can load much more audio to keep you entertained on your long runs or rides. Uploading files is very straightforward, you simply attach the magnetic charger and plug the cable into your computer USB port. Your computer will recognise the device allowing you to drag and drop MP3 files. The Runner Pro2 comes pre-loaded with two music files which you can easily delete if they aren’t to your taste!
The original Runner Pro had a built in microphone that allowed you to take phone calls and talk whilst wearing the headphones. This isn’t available on the Runner Pro2. I your phone rings whilst wearing them you will be able to accept the incoming call by pressing the function button and you will hear the caller but you will have to get your phone out actually talk back to them! Although named “Runner” Pro2 the waterproof rating of IP68 (IXP8) means that they are fully waterproof and can be used for swimming. It is best to listen to audio via the inbuilt storage for this as Bluetooth has a limited range under water.
The control buttons on the headset are very small and thus difficult to operate whilst wearing gloves. I didn’t find this a big problem because I set the audio going on the required volume before I set off rather than trying to make adjustments once running. If you want to skip forward and backwards through audio files then it would be tricky with gloves on but not if you simply want to listen to a podcast or audio files in sequence. Pairing the headphones via Bluetooth is very straightforward and it is possible to pair to more than one device (I have them paired to my phone and TV). When turning the headphones on a voice tells you “Bluetooth connected”, thankfully the volume is turned down slightly compared to on the Runner Neo which was too loud!
The Runner Pro2 comes simply packaged (no chocolate box this time!) I found that I didn’t need to use the rubber tensioner and most tech savvy users probably won’t need to read the user manual as operation is fairly straightforward.
The Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2 bone conduction headphones are a good choice for runners, cyclists and swimmers who want to listen to audio whilst exercising, but still want to hear their surroundings. Being able to hear what is happening around you is much safer than only being able to hear your music. Some races don’t allow full headphones for this reason, but will allow bone conduction headphones. Personally I don’t listen to anything whilst running outdoors, I prefer the sounds of nature (and it is my thinking time!) However I do wear headphones on a bike turbo trainer or treadmill, especially if I am in the shed staring at the wall as opposed to at the gym looking at the TV!
And you don’t have to use them only whilst doing sport, I use them to listen to podcasts whilst around the house and like the fact that I can do so without having to be attached to cables connected to my phone.
I haven’t used any other brand of bone conduction headphones so I can’t make comparisons. Price wise the Nank (Naenka) range are good value compared to rival brands.
RRP £99 (15% Discount Code: David15)