Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2 Bone Conduction Headphones Review

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.

Note that Naenka have changed their name and are now known as Nank (Naenka). My reviews of the original Runner Pro can be read here and the Runner Neo review here

photo of Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2

Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2 waterproof headphones

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.

photo of Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2 charging port

magnetic charging port

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.

Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2

fully charged

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!

Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2 connected to PC

connected to PC to upload audio files

Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2 audio files

spot which file I loaded!

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!

photo of Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2 controls

tiny buttons

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.

photo showing Nank (Naenka) Runner Pro2 box contents

box contents

Overall impressions

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)

Available here

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Naenka Runner Neo Bone Conduction Headphones Review

Runner Neo are the latest bone conduction headphones from Naenka, featuring wireless charging and with more battery life than their previous models. The Runner Neo are designed for runners who want to listen to audio without compromising their awareness of the surroundings.

I recently reviewed Naenka’s Runner Pro bone conduction headphones, (link here) the Runner Neo are the latest offering with lots of similarities but a few key differences. I’ve been testing them for a few weeks, here are my impressions.

photo of Naenka Runner Neo bone conduction headphones

Runner Neo bone conduction headphones

Visually the Neo look very similar to the Pro, I opted for a green pair though they are also available in grey or red. They are an open ear design whereby the audio transmitter sits just in front of your ear on your temple or cheekbone rather than in your ear. The sound waves are conducted through your cheekbones allowing you to hear both the transmission and the sounds of your surroundings. They consist of a silicone coated titanium frame that wraps around your ears and round the back of your head / neck. This is very flexible yet doesn’t feel fragile. In order to suit all sizes the headset is simply tensioned by a piece of elastic that can be adjusted according to the size of your head. You may find that you don’t actually need to fit the tensioner. Along with the headphones themselves you are also supplied with a “wireless” charging cable and three pairs of in ear inserts which are designed to enhance the sound without blocking out external noise completely. The inserts are in three different sizes and there is also a pair of conventional ear plugs. A basic user manual is also included.

photo of Naenka Runner Neo bone conduction headphones box

Runner Neo plus accessories

In use

Although the name implies that the headphones are for runners, they would be equally suitable for other activities such as cycling or walking. Using the Runner Neo is fairly straightforward. First you need to pair them with another Bluetooth device i.e your phone. You can choose more than one device which is good if you want to share use of the headphones. Once paired you simply listen to the audio on your paired device through the headphones. The main control buttons are on the bottom of side part of the headphones which sits behind your right ear. The buttons are very small and you will struggle to operate them if you are wearing gloves, something to bear in mind for winter use. Be careful if you turn the headphones on whilst wearing them because a loud female voice announces “Welcome to Naenka Bone Conduction Headphones…!” Similarly when turning the headphones off the voice announces “Power off”. If you are wearing the in-ear enhancers these announcements are startlingly loud and there is no way to adjust the volume! Playback volume can be adjusted by the small buttons on the headset which also allow you to skip backwards and forwards between songs or podcast episodes. Other features include optional voice mode enabling you to speak to your smart phone to select audio. You can also answer phone calls at the press of a button on the earpiece (as long as you can remember where it is!) rather than having to dig your phone out of your bag should it ring whilst using the headphones.

Sound quality

Audio quality with the Runner Neo is good, I didn’t notice any improved sound quality compared to the Runner Pro version and I haven’t used any other make of bone conduction headphones so I can’t make any comparisons. The in-ear enhancers are anatomically shaped ear plugs that fit snugly in your ear and are designed to enhance the sound quality. They don’t need to be worn but they do significantly increase the volume without completely blocking out surrounding sounds.

photo of Naenka Runner Neo control buttons

very small control buttons

The Runner Neo use a wireless charging cradle. This sounds a little deceptive as they still use a USB type wired charging cable but the headphones simply sit in the cradle rather than physically plugging into anything. As such there are no contacts or electrodes to get damaged or dirty. This is a key difference between the Neo and the Pro models as the Pro use a plug in charger. Naenka claim that you will get 10 hours of playback time between charges with the Neo, a couple of hours more than the Pro. To be honest I didn’t let the battery drain all the way down before I recharged the headphones and I estimate that I used them for 5 hours between charges. Small flashing LEDs on both the charger and headset confirm that charging is taking place and the light turns to constant when they are fully charged. The light on the headset flashes rapidly why the battery needs recharging.

photo of Naenka Runner Neo bone conduction headphones on charge

wireless charging

Another important difference from the Runner Pro version is that the Neo don’t work as an MP3 player so you can’t load audio straight to the headphones themselves, you’ll need to take your phone with you on your run.

I wouldn’t describe the headphones as comfortable, I found that it took a while to get used to the feeling of running whilst wearing them. However neither are they particularly uncomfortable, I wore them constantly for a 90 minute run without issue. They remained in place without bouncing around even when I was running on uneven, fell terrain. I found that after wearing them for some time, when I took the headphones I could tell I had been wearing them and the sensation of having something in contact with my head lasted several minutes. This wasn’t uncomfortable, just something to get used to. I wore them both with and without sunglasses and also with and without a hat. The headphones are waterproof with a rating of IP66 meaning they can be used in the rain (good job as I got soaked on one particular run!) and you needn’t worry about getting them sweaty.

photo of runner wearing Naenka Runner Neo bone conduction headphones

testing their waterproof credentials!

The advantage of bone conduction headphones compared with in ear “pods” is that you can still hear sounds from your environment, so if cycling you can hear traffic or if running you can hear someone running up behind you. However this requires the sound transmitting part of the headset to be held in place on your cheekbone which in turn requires a wired frame that connects the two “earpieces” and wraps around the back of your head / neck. This design means that you can’t lean your head back on something or lie on your side whilst wearing them which means that they are much more suited to active sport rather than recreation. I tried to use them for watching TV but found that my natural relaxed position wasn’t possible because of the frame.

Technical specs:

Lightweight (30g including tensioner on my scales), waterproof (IP66), 10 hr battery life, wireless charging via USB type cable, Bluetooth connectivity.

RRP – £99 (15% Discount Code: David15)

Full details on Naenka website

Overall impression

Lightweight, easy set up, reasonably comfortable, good audio quality, cheaper than some other brands.

Loud voice when turning on and off! Their design doesn’t allow for recreational use eg wearing them whilst lying down.

The Naenka Runner Neo bone conduction headphones look very similar in design to the Naenka Runner Pro that I recently tested. The key differences being that the Neo use wireless charging and aren’t an MP3 player, however they last for longer before recharging and are fractionally lighter.  I didn’t notice an improvement in sound quality with the Neo, to my ears the quality is good on both models. They feel stable in use and reasonably comfortable. At less than £100 they offer good value for money. Although the name implies they are made for runners they would equally suit cyclists or walkers or indeed anyone who wants to listen to audio without it interfering with their awareness of the sounds around them.

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Naenka Runner Pro Bone Conduction Headphones Review

Runner Pro headphones by Naenka use bone conducting technology rather than traditional ear pieces. They are designed for sports use where having an awareness of your surroundings is important.

Personally I don’t use headphones on any of my runs, I prefer the sounds of nature and to be alone with my own thoughts. I have used them to try to relieve the monotony of being sat on a turbo trainer, but I find that the slightest head movement causes them to fall out. I do however use normal earphones to listen to podcasts and watch videos at home and I get annoyed whenever I catch the wire and pull the earpiece out. So I was interested to see how a set of headphones that didn’t rely on in-ear earpieces would perform.

First impressions on receiving the Runner Pros were good; the box is classy and looks like it contains expensive chocolates!

photo showing box containing Naenka Runner Pro headphones

nice box!

Runner Pro Features

The box contains the headphones, USB charging cable, elastic tensioner and a pair of standard foam ear plugs. There are also some basic user instructions. No chocolates. Neither is there a carrying case of any kind, although Naenka do sell one as an optional extra. To my slight embarrassment, never having worn a pair before I couldn’t quite work out how to put them on! The instructions didn’t include this so I had to visit Naenka’s website to look at the photos! Once I’d figured that the band went round the back of your neck rather than over the head, things made more sense. Maybe the instructions need dumbing down to include this information. The “earpiece” doesn’t sit over your ear but rather on your cheekbone just below your temple and the sound is conducted to your inner ear through the bone.

The headphones are lightweight (coming in at 39g on my scales, including the tensioner) and very flexible. Operation is very straightforward, even I didn’t need to read the instructions to work out that you turn them on with the small button and adjust the volume with the larger button. It is easy to locate the buttons whilst wearing the headphones but less so if you are wearing gloves.

photo showing on / off button on Naenka Runner Pro headphones

on / off and volume buttons

Pairing the Runner Pros with a phone via Bluetooth is again very straightforward and it is possible to pair with more than one phone which is useful if you want to share the headphones with someone. As well as linking via Bluetooth the headphones are also an MP3 player capable of storing 8GB of files. This means that you can listen to audio directly off the headphones if you don’t want to take your phone with you. To get audio files onto the headphones you plug them into a computer using the USB charging cable and drag your chosen files onto the Naenkas. When I did this the headphones simply showed as USB Drive (E:) rather than being named. Switching between Bluetooth and MP3 is done by double clicking the on / off switch. Audio files automatically start where you left off and play in order that you uploaded them. Long pressing volume + / – allows you to skip forwards and backwards between files.

Although named Runner Pro, the headphones are also designed so that they can be used for swimming. They have an IXP8 waterproof rating, but as Bluetooth doesn’t work under water they will only work in MP3 mode, (do people really listen to music whilst swimming??) Their waterproof rating means that you needn’t worry about damaging them if you wear them whilst running in heavy rain.

Charging is done via the USB cable which has a magnetic port which seats firmly on the headphones. A red LED light indicates that the headphones are charging. This changes to blue when they are fully charged which takes around an hour and a half. Battery life claims to be 8 hours so they aren’t going to get you through the Bob Graham Round! Also this is with volume set at 60%, they will drain more rapidly if you have them set to play louder.

photo showing charging of / off Naenka Runner Pro headphones

magnetic USB charger

photo showing charging of / off Naenka Runner Pro headphones

red LED shows charging

Runner Pro on test

So, having sussed out how to use the headphones and charged them fully it was time to see how they performed. The first question I wanted to answer was would they stay in place, especially whilst running on uneven and downhill terrain? Yes they do. Although at times they felt like they were about to slip off, they never did. Wearing them was a strange sensation and took a while to get used to. I used the elastic tensioner to increase the grip slightly although I probably didn’t need to. However I do have a small head and the band of the headphones projected quite a way out from my neck rather than sitting snugly against it. I’m not sure if this led to a sub-optimal fit or not. I was able to wear a hat (buff) whist also wearing the headphones. I liked the sensation of being able to hear both the sounds of the environment and the headphones at the same time and found that I could tune in to one or the other. When I needed to concentrate – such as when running down steep, uneven terrain – I completely zoned out of what I was listening to, so they are probably best suited to use on less technical terrain. I did also need to turn up the volume quite loud when I was running in windy conditions. The fact that you can still hear the environment around you whilst wearing the headphones would probably make them a better choice than in ear headphones for anyone running on roads or cycling. You would probably be more alert to danger from traffic whilst wearing bone conductors compared to in-ear headphones. Some events don’t allow the use of headphones whilst taking part – this is for safety reasons where you might not hear shouted warnings or sirens. Bone conduction headphones might be a good compromise (check with race organisers to confirm).

runner wearing Naenka Runner Pro bone conducting headphones

Runner Pro headphones on my small head

I often wear sunglasses when running, even if it isn’t sunny, as I find that they also keep the wind and insects out of my eyes. I was a bit concerned that I might not have enough ears to wear both the headphones and my glasses at the same time. It turns out not to be a problem and works best if you put the glasses on last.

runner wearing Naenka Runner Pro bone conducting headphones

headphones and glasses? no problem

photo of runner wearing Naenka Runner Pro headphones with glasses

headphones, glasses and hat? still no problem

Sound quality was good (although I haven’t tried any other brands so can’t give an honest comparison) and although they feel slightly strange, the Runner Pro aren’t uncomfortable. The longest I wore them for is a couple of hours after which it was good to take them off. I’m not sure I’d like to wear them for any longer without a break.

Technical specs:

Lightweight (39g on my scales), Waterproof (IXP8), 8 hr battery life (230mAh battery) USB charging via non standard magnetic cable, MP3 & Bluetooth

RRP – £99 (16%Discount Code: David123)

Full details on Naenka website

Overall impression

Having never used bone conduction headphones before, it is difficult to compare the Naenka Runner Pro to other brands on the market. However, first impressions are good as the Runner Pros give good sound quality, are stable in use and feel reasonably comfortable. They also seem to offer good value for money against other headphones of similar specifications. I won’t be taking up wearing headphones whilst running, but these would be excellent for use on the turbo trainer and for general use.

If you found this review useful you can buy me a coffee to show your appreciation!