Bone conduction headphones are a great solution for those wanting to keep their ears free when out and about or when standard headphones just won’t do such as swimming.
The Nank Runner Pro 2 (formerly known as Naenka) are a set of bone conduction headphones that feature IPX68 certification, built-in storage into a lightweight package targeting those who want to keep listening to their music on the go or even in the pool.
Are the Nank Runner Pro 2 the pinnacle of bone conduction technology? Dive into my comprehensive review to find out.
Nank Runner Pro2 Specifications and Features
|Approx. 6hrs at 65% volume
|Bluetooth 5.3 (A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP)
|Built-in storage for listening to music whilst swimming (Supports MP3, WMA, WAVE, APE & FLAC)
What’s in the Box
- Nank Runner Pro2 bone conduction headphones
- Magnetic charging cable
- Adjustable silicone cord
- Instruction manual
Design & Features
The headphones have a lightweight plastic build with a matte finish, providing both durability and a sleek look that effectively hides fingerprints. That lightness makes them feel flimsy, but it contributes to a comfortable experience, making it easy to forget you’re wearing them.
A small set of buttons on the side lets you skip of tracks, adjustment volume and switch to the 32GB of onboard storage.
On thing you notice immediately is the lack of a speaker grill, replaced by a vibrating pad that transfers audio via bone conduction. This gives the headphones their weather resistance, letting you use them even in the pool (though you’ll be limited to the onboard storage underwater.
Charging is simple, with the magnetic charging cable satisfyingly snapping into place. This cable is also how you copy music files onto the onboard storage, with the headphones appearing as removable storage when plugged into a PC. While the headphones support common audio formats such as MP3 and FLAC files, it’s worth noting that high-resolution 24-bit FLACs had playback issues.
What are Bone Conduction Headphones?
Bone conduction headphones don’t rely on traditional speakers. Instead, they use bone conduction technology to transmit sound directly to the listener’s inner ear through vibrations in the bones of the face. This lets users hear audio while keeping their ears open to the environment.
Setup & Usage
The headphones connect wirelessly through Bluetooth 5.3, automatically entering pairing mode when I first turned them on. There’s audio prompts to guide you but the sound quality of those spoken prompts is poor – detracting from the overall polish of the headphones.
The connection was stable during my testing, with no dropouts and getting a range of 10 meters without any barriers. Adding walls into the equation saw this range drop.
One annoying thing I discovered is that the headphones are connected for calls – despite not having a microphone. This meant that I had a few incoming calls directed to the headset without being able to respond until I turned off the feature in my phone’s Bluetooth settings. What a pain.
Getting the headphones fitted is simple, thanks to ear hooks that guide the pads in place. An included strap can be used to tighten the fit, although attaching it might feel a bit awkward. Interestingly, the strap’s purpose isn’t explicitly mentioned in the manual, so I was confused until I emailed Nank for clarification.
Whilst putting the headphones on is easy, it does take a bit of fiddling to find the optimal position for the best audio quality. However, once on, the headphones are comfortable, with a secure fit that I felt confident in whilst exercising.
Nank quotes around 6 hours of battery life, which is in line with what I saw during my testing.
When using bone conduction headphones over traditional headphones, there’s a clear trade-off between sound quality and the freedom of keeping your ears open.
It’s also important to note that audio quality is affected by how well the headphones fit so I recommend taking some time to get them in the right position.
Despite the inevitable loss in audio clarity bone conduction provides, I was impressed at just how listenable the Runner Pro2s were, with good clarity and respectable soundstage.
Particularly challenging genres such as death metal sounded decent and acoustic tracks really shined. They won’t replace my traditional headphones but for exercising, the compromise is worth it to have the extra safety provided by having my ears open to the environment. Of course, the fact that you can even swim with these headphones makes them worth the price of admission alone if you love the water.
I did notice that intricate tracks became somewhat muddy, underscoring a limitation inherent to the technology rather than any fault of the headphones themselves. Furthermore, bass-heavy tracks introduce a lot of vibration, which I found uncomfortable at higher volumes. This was particularly noticeable with rap music, so I tended to avoid it or turn the volume down.
Verdict: Should You Buy the Nank Runner Pro2?
The Nank Runner Pro 2 stands out as a solid choice for bone conduction headphones. They have respectable sound quality and a comfortable fit—perfect for those wanting exercise whilst listening to music whilst staying aware of their surroundings. Notably, their waterproofness and onboard storage which lets you use them while swimming adds a layer of impressive versatility for those situations when you can’t have your phone on you.
Whilst there are some wrinkles, such as the slightly awkward adjustment cable and poor-quality voice prompts, the overall package is solid. These nuances do not overshadow the positive attributes of the Nank Runner Pro 2. I’ll be keeping these as my go to headphones when I’m exercising.