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TOZO OpenReal Review

Last updated: 8 months ago
9 min read
Editor
rating
4.2
TOZO OpenReal on head

TOZO OpenReal are an exciting new entry for air-conduction headphones, thanks to a considerable step up in sound quality compared to similar headphones. While they don’t pack as many features, they’re our new recommendation for outdoor activities.

Open-ear or air-conduction headphones have an important place in the market, as they ensure situational awareness by leaving your ear canal open and without sacrificing sound quality too much (as is the case with bone-conduction headphones).

However, TOZO OpenReal are the first headphones of this type that we were excited to try. Their clear, full, and natural sound for only $50 blew us away.

They’re also well made and boast above-average battery life and Bluetooth range.

On the other hand, headphones come with some flaws too. With the proprietary charging port being the biggest one. More on that later.

Discover what you can get for under $50 and why you should seriously consider getting a pair if you’re an outdoor sportsperson.

Price:

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Pros & Cons:

  • Incredibly natural tuning, especially after EQ
  • Ergonomic design for rock-solid stability
  • Comfortable to wear & compatible with bike helmets
  • Good battery duration of 12 hours per charge
  • Exceptional Bluetooth indoor range of 65 feet
  • Annoying proprietary charger with weak magnets
  • No support for Bluetooth multipoint or Game mode

Category ratings:

Editor
rating
4.2
By HeadphonesAddict
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ratings
4.4
User Ratings: 8
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CONTENTS (show more)

    Sound

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    TOZO OpenReal have a clear sound throughout, with nicely balanced default tuning. Minor EQ tweaks in the app add even more sparkle, making them a good fit for audiophile sportspeople.

    OpenReal use air conduction technology to transfer sound. To be honest. We first thought this type of headphones could only deliver adequate audio quality at best. Boy, were we surprised when we received TOZO OpenReal for a review.

    OpenReal deliver the clearest sound we’ve heard from this type of headphones. It’s nicely balanced throughout the frequency range, with just a little darkness in the treble (which you can fix).

    Bass: Natural in quantity, with decent control

    Bass is usually the weakest part of open headphones, and OpenReal are no different. That said, it does its job better than competitors regarding clarity and control.

    The bass is clear and tight. There is no muddiness that sometimes creeps up when drivers want to produce too-powerful bass. Still. you can hear some faint distortion from time to time, but it’s far less than in other air-conduction headphones.

    In terms of quantity, there are enough lows to enjoy anything but the most bassy music genres.

    Of course, anyone looking for a party headphone will be disappointed. Sub-bass extension is poor, too, as evident in the song “Thunderclouds” by LSD, but at least you get a decent amount of warmth.

    TOZO OpenReal compared to SoundPEATS RunFree Lite
    SoundPEATS RunFree Lite (right) also have a respectable bass quantity, albeit more distorted in comparison.

    Headphones are decent at maintaining control and speed. Still, fast double-pedal drumming can sometimes sound soft and undefined.

    Midrange: Natural but needs some sparkle

    Midrange sounds on-point right out of the box. But with some minor tweaks in upper mids, you can help acoustic instruments and vocals to clear up.

    Electric guitars also sound better with some boost at 3.2kHz, becoming grittier and angrier. And what’s the best is that you don’t hear any sibilance whatsoever.

    Treble: Pleasant but needs a little boost

    On its own, treble is very polite and slightly darkish. You can hear lovely cymbal shimmer somewhere in the back, but you can’t make out the details.

    Boosting the treble region by around 2-3dB, especially the 12.3kHz area, adds more shimmer and texture to the overall sound.

    While audiophiles won’t enjoy listening to micro details (you can’t hear faint “vinyl” crackles at the beginning of “Cool” by Dua Lipa), the fact you can get such an airy and open sound out of $50 air-conducting headphones is admirable.

    TOZO OpenReal speaker grill
    A wide speaker grill that’s directing the sound towards your ear canal.

    Speaking of openness, the soundstage is pretty expansive. You can hear sounds further away from your head, making these a good choice for watching movies (but not gaming, more on that later).

    Surprisingly, despite the soundstage size, the imaging is pretty accurate. It nicely separates the sounds across the sound field. However, expect some blurriness due to drivers’ inability to produce fine details.

    In conclusion, I never thought air-conduction headphones could excite me until TOZO OpenReal. They sound that good and just for $50.

    Their sound isn’t replacing your regular headphones, nor are they competitors for the best bass headphones.

    However, they will ensure a more pleasant outdoor music-listening experience during outdoor running or cycling.

    Discover similarly awesome headphones that are suitable for sports:

    Comfort & Fit

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    TOZO OpenReal can stay on your head rock-steady and have a silicone-covered body to ensure comfortable skin contact. However, they start to fatigue a little after long listening sessions.

    The design of the TOZO OpenReal is reminiscent of other air-conducting and bone-conducting headphones. Ear hooks support all the weight, but fortunately, they’re like a feather (1 ounce or 29 grams).

    Furthermore, we found them very comfortable throughout the testing, more so than TrueFree F1. Also, due to the placement of touch and physical buttons, you don’t push the headphones against your skull when pressing them.

    One concern about the position of the touch control is “ghost touches”. They typically occur during winter, when hot air during breathing swirls over the touch-sensitive surface and registers a click. It normally happens when you walk and sing along, but it can also happen during a run.

    TOZO OpenReal controlling
    TOZO OpenReal should be compatible with most bike helmets.

    Compared to SoundPEATS RunFree Lite, which we consider incredibly comfortable, the OpenReal are also easier to place around your earlobes.

    However, you somehow feel them more during usage. A potential issue with this is that after a while, you start “noticing” them more and more, leading to irritations or even headaches. Of course, that differs from person to person.

    How the neckband part stays on your head is also different, being tilted slightly down rather than up, which could interfere with a cycling helmet size-adjustment wheel.

    Potential problems aside, you can rest assured stability is top-notch. Headphones are made with sportspeople in mind, cycling included. No matter how hard you shake your head, they shouldn’t fall off your head.

    Durability

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    TOZO OpenReal feel dense and not plasticky at all, and their IPX8 rating ensures complete water resistance. But, unlike some competitors, they lack a protective carrying pouch.

    The new OpenReal air conduction headphones are made and look like they cost more than they actually do.

    Headphones have a minimalist design with a matte black/grey color scheme. They’re mostly covered in a soft silicone finish that feels gentle on the skin (except for the outsides and insides of the transducer module).

    They’re also very flexible including the ear hooks. So they can accommodate bigger ears (at the expense of some comfort).

    TOZO OpenReal for workout
    Thanks to an IPX8 rating, TOZO OpenReal are suitable for all kind of sports.

    Regarding water resistance, there needs to be some clarification. The official page states TOZO OpenReal have an IPX8 rating, whereas the Amazon page says they have an IPX5. The difference isn’t negligible, so TOZO should provide more exact specs.

    However, citing TOZO’s page, headphones are rated for an IPX8, meaning you can submerse them without any damage. You can even swim with them, although you might experience Bluetooth interference.

    One thing that’s missing is a carrying pouch that would protect the headphones from scratches and drops. It would also make transportation much safer.

    If you seek headphones for swimming, take a look at these:

    Battery

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    TOZO OpenReal air-conduction headphones last up to 12 hours and 3 minutes, which is good but slightly less than advertised. The biggest annoyance is the proprietary charging port with weak magnets.

    TOZO OpenReal Battery Comparison

    TOZO OpenReal battery comparison

    The OpenReal air conduction headphones have a good battery life that’s similar to many other headphones of this type. During our battery test, where we left them to play music at 50% volume, the headphones lasted:

    • 12 hours and 3 minutes on a single charge

    That puts them slightly above the competition, except for SoundPEATS RunFree Lite, which can endure 8 hours more (but also have quieter max loudness).

    Twelve hours is also an hour less than the advertised 13 hours. Still, you get a sufficient music volume at 50%, so it should be enough juice for 2-3 days of use.

    Headphones support fast charging:

    • Adding 2 hours of juice in a 10-minute charge.

    Unfortunately, you must use a proprietary charging port to charge the OpenReal.

    TOZO OpenReal charging pins
    The proprietary charging connection uses 2 pins located on the bottom of the right module.

    We’re unsure why TOZO decided on a proprietary charger since many similar headphones use USB-C. It makes charging inconvenient, especially if you only own power bricks with USB-C outputs.

    However, the biggest flaw are the magnets holding the charging plug and jack. They’re extremely weak and separate with minimal pressure.

    You have to be very creative with how you want to hang the headphones to avoid unplugging the connector.

    Features

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    TOZO OpenReal boast physical and touch controls, app support for sound customization, and a call quality worthy of longer voice calls.

    The new OpenReal headphones don’t have many features to brag about. However, the ones they have, work well.

    TOZO OpenReal features:

    • Customizable audio equalizer with EQ presets
    • Battery percentage indicator
    • Firmware updating

    Most notably, the TOZO app enables you to customize the sound.

    TOZO OpenReal front app
    The app’s front page is pretty empty, even Settings don’t offer anything new.

    Custom EQ

    Customizable audio equalizer has 10 bands with +/- 5dB adjustments. Despite the already balanced sound signature out of the box, you can further improve the sound with small tweaks.

    If we nitpick, we prefer the highest band to cover 16kHz instead of 12.8kHz.

    TOZO OpenReal custom EQ
    Our custom EQ settings for TOZO OpenReal deliver brighter, more detailed sound.

    Controls

    TOZO OpenReal operate via touch and physical controls. Only the plate on the right earphone is touch-sensitive, and it only covers essential playback and phone calls commands.

    Note that you can’t control their features using voice commands nor do you receive voice prompts of the caller ID when receiving a call.

    Under the right module behind the ear, you find 2 tiny rubber buttons (next to a charging port) that take charge of volume up/down and next/previous song commands.

    • Play/pause music or answer a call – single tap on the touch panel on the right earphone
    • Volume up – a single press of the “+” button
    • Volume down – a single press of the “-” button
    • Next song – hold the “+” button
    • Previous song – hold the “-” button
    • Reject a call or activate voice assistant – double tap on the touch panel on the right earphone
    • End a call – triple tap on the touch panel on the right earphone

    Microphone quality

    TOZO OpenReal have a clear, albeit quiet voice quality that avoids distortion when exposed to loud background noises.

    TOZO OpenReal microphone test:

    It’s perfectly reasonable to use TOZO OpenReal someplace quiet and during video calls. The built-in microphone captures your voice clearly and with decent fullness (you don’t sound thin, as if your nose is clogged).

    The only thing worth mentioning is that you don’t sound very loud, so others will have to raise their volume to hear you better.

    Nonetheless, similar performance continues when you have to talk someplace noisy. However, keep in mind that the noise reduction for calls only works when you don’t speak.

    In contrast, when you start talking, the others might hear cars passing by or other sounds. But we prefer this over overly aggressive noise suppression, which usually results in heavy distortion.

    Noise Isolation

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    TOZO OpenReal offer good wind noise resistance for outdoor activities but suffer from relatively audible sound leakage.

    When buying air-conduction headphones, you must be aware of the non-existent passive noise isolation. What matters is the unwanted noise the headphones create.

    Fortunately, transducers are pretty aerodynamic, so they don’t create too much wind noise. Tiny openings up front can produce a faint high-pitch sound, but only when you’re cycling at higher speeds and when your head is slightly tilted left/right.

    TOZO OpenReal in hands
    A little bit of extra wind noise created by the openings upfront doesn’t hurt the listening experience.

    What about sound leakage?

    TOZO OpenReal have a somewhat audible sound leakage from 50% volume and up. Of course, that mostly matters in what situations you plan to use them.

    Sound leakage isn’t an issue during intense workouts in a noisy gym or outdoors. In contrast, we advise you against taking them to a library or any place where there’s quiet with many people around you.

    Bluetooth

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    TOZO OpenReal have an outstanding indoor Bluetooth range of around 65 feet, but they lack Bluetooth multipoint and gaming mode.

    Using the latest Bluetooth 5.3, the OpenReal ensure a very stable close-range connection with zero hiccups.

    Moreover, headphones use a stronger antenna, which helps with extended range. During our indoor range test, the headphones managed to work:

    • 65 feet (20 meters), passing at least 2 brick walls, before starting to cut off audio.

    That puts TOZO OpenReal among headphones with the longest Bluetooth range, like Apple AirPods Max, TrueFree F1, and Edifier W820NB Plus.

    Unfortunately, here’s where impressive specs and features end. Headphones don’t have Bluetooth multipoint support nor the Game mode of the SoundPEATS RunFree Lite.

    How do you pair TOZO OpenReal?

    1. You simply turn them on when pairing them for the first time.
    2. When pairing them to some other device, you first turn them off and back on while holding the power button for at least 3 seconds. You will hear a beeping sound from the headphones.
    TOZO OpenReal buttons
    Physical buttons are right next to the charging pins. Also, you can see how quickly these headphones get dirty.

    What Bluetooth codecs do they use?

    TOZO OpenReal use SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, which is completely fine for retaining a stable connection and providing sufficient sound quality.

    Is there any audio lag?

    The lack of a dedicated gaming mode doesn’t ruin video watching experience. You get lag-free videos from YouTube and other social media apps.

    On the other hand, there is a noticeable lag in mobile games. It’s passable for casual, slower games but unsuitable for fast-paced competitive titles.

    Should You Get TOZO OpenReal?

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    If you’re searching for open-ear design headphones that provide full awareness but also sound really good, you can’t go wrong with TOZO OpenReal.

    For an active outdoor person that also enjoys music as faithfully as possible (like myself), these are a Godsent, as they don’t make me miss my regular audiophile headphones while running or cycling.

    But…

    On the other hand, if you want a more versatile headphone that can also cover mobile gaming or deliver deeper bass, you should look at headphones with a better seal.

    How do TOZO OpenReal compare to the competition?

    • Headphones have a full, clearer, and more detailed sound with natural tuning out-of-the-box.
    • They feel better made and boast an IPX8 rating, which is much higher than the competition.
    • They’re equally as stable and provide a comfortable fit as the rest.
    • Battery life of 12 hours per charge is above average but not the best.
    • Headphones don’t arrive with a protective pouch like some competitors.
    • They use an annoying proprietary charging solution.
    • App doesn’t have features like Game mode or multipoint, like some competitors offer.

    TOZO OpenReal Alternatives

    SoundPEATS RunFree Lite

    SoundPEATS RunFree Lite on a wall

    Both headphones sound full, but the OpenReal are louder, clearer, and more detailed.

    Furthermore, both support apps, but the RunFree Lite has a multipoint, Game mode, and Adaptive EQ. Another area where RunFree Lite takes the lead is the battery life of 20 hours (they use USB-C for charging).

    On the flip side, SoundPEATS feel cheaper and only have an IPX4 rating.

    SoundPEATS RunFree Lite review

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe HS

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe HS earbuds in case

    A great alternative if you seek true wireless earbuds without an in-ear seal but want something more ordinary. The Deluxe HS have an even better sound with slightly more detail.

    They support custom EQ, Adaptive EQ, auto play/pause, and gaming mode. However, they last half as much per charge (6h) and have worse stability due to design.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe HS review

    Mojawa Mojo2

    Mojawa Mojo2 headphones

    As a whole, Mojo2 can’t compete with the OpenReal in any category except for durability and stability. That’s because they’re bone-conducting headphones.

    Meaning that their strength is in providing sound to people with outer ear damage or any other health conditions. They’re also better suited for swimming and can officially withstand dust with their IP67 rating.

    Mojawa Mojo2 review

    What’s in the Box?

    TOZO OpenReal accessories

    Specifications

    Type: Air-conduction
    Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Back design: Open-ear
    Drivers: 16.2mm dynamic
    Frequency range: n/a
    Impedance: n/a
    Weight: 1 ounce (29 grams)
    Mic & Controls: Yes (physical & touch)
    Water resistance: IPX8
    Battery life: 12h
    Charging time: Quick charge – Proprietary charger
    Active noise cancelling: No
    Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC
    Wireless range: 65 feet (20 meters)
    Microphone: Dual-Mic ENC

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