Windows Central Verdict
Haylou offers reasonably affordable bone conduction headphones with the PurFree BC01, primarily aimed at those planning to exercise in the great outdoors. The open-ear design keeps you safe and aware of your surroundings but comes with the caveat of having almost no bass response. You can use the included earplugs to recover the low-end, but it somewhat defeats the purpose. Still, they're ultra-lightweight yet hold steadfast for running and are loud enough to hear over noisy traffic.
Lightweight but stable
Loud enough for busy environments
Long battery life for all-day exercise
Proprietary USB charging cable
No bass without earplugs
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If you're out in public for a brisk jog or something more intense like downhill skiing, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Promoting a balance of quality and affordability, we were offered a free sample for this Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones review.
This clever tech has always been primarily marketed towards the fitness scene to offer a solution to standard models that might slip around or fall out of your ear entirely, with a safe open-ear design for increased awareness and safety. I ran some tests in the wild to determine if they're worth a purchase.
PurFree BC01: Price, availability, and specs
Haylou sells the PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones through third-party retailers, including Amazon. Sold for $120 MSRP, they include earplugs and a proprietary USB charging cable. Sales on Amazon have seen the headphones drop as low as $100.
|Battery life||Up to 8 hours|
|Charging||Magnetic proprietary USB fast charge|
|Microphone||2x Qualcomm cVc|
PurFree BC01: Getting started and connectivity
It's clear why Haylou wins Reddot design awards for its headphones because even the packaging for the PurFree headphones is stylish. With more effort than a simple box, the slide-out innards open like a book to reveal the sleek BC01 model nested in a bespoke cutout. A folded cardboard sleeve contains a USB charging cable, earplugs, and instruction pamphlets packaged similarly to premium Microsoft and Apple accessories.
There is an overwhelming impression that the PurFree headphones are marketed toward Asia first since all the promotional art is written in Chinese Hanzi first, with English printed underneath as a translation.
Thankfully, the text is legible, and there are no signs of lazy interpretations of the language resulting in the gibberish sometimes found on cheaper electronics. Haylou is a Chinese company, so it makes sense, and every piece of text has an English equivalent.
You will need to provide your own AC adapter to charge the BC01 headphones or connect them to another suitable USB to provide power since Haylou doesn't include one for any region. Power draw is listed as 5V @ 500mA, albeit printed in a tiny font among a list of general specifications.
I used a reasonably standard USB adapter to charge the headphones, never needing to draw more than necessary. A single LED shows red while charging and white when the battery is full.
Haylou claims the BC01's battery can fully charge from empty in 1.5 hours, which seems overstated since they were ready rather quickly. Connectivity is as simple as most other Bluetooth wearables without displays, with most functions revolving around a single button. The only downside here is reliance on a proprietary cable, rendering the headphones useless if you lose or damage it.
Powering on and entering pairing mode are both handled by the volume increase, and you can change the spoken language by holding both volume buttons if you wish. The third and final multi-function button (MFB) is located on the left-side transducer, handling phone calls and media playback with patterns of timed presses.
Overall, the PurFree headphones don't require any unusual steps to set up or use. They follow an entirely ordinary procedure, just like any wireless headphones you might pick up, except for the appeal of bone conduction tech.
The ability to pair two Bluetooth audio devices is helpful for anyone who switches between a smartwatch and a phone while exercising with these headphones and is the only standout feature from otherwise standard functionality.
PurFree BC01: Audio quality
Playback performance with the BC01 headphones is good for the most part, but they're certainly not designed for bass lovers or audiophiles looking for the perfect audio range. Once seated comfortably, the Haylou bone conduction transducers provide a perfectly audible sound to only you, with barely a whisper heard by anyone else.
Admittedly, these PurFree variants sound relatively thin without any adjustments. It's almost like holding your ear close to a laptop speaker; you can hear the song, but it won't compare to any earbuds with proper bass response. Curiously, when I wore the included earplugs to test the effect on conduction, some bass did come through.
A firmer push on your head combined with blocking outside noise provides the best overall experience with these headphones, somewhat defeating the purpose of open-ear bone conduction when you want to remain aware of your surroundings. Haylou is marketing the BC01 to fitness enthusiasts first, so relying on the earplugs for a rounded sound isn't ideal, but they do an admirable job of staying firmly in place.
Although the headphones held well enough during a light jog around the neighborhood, there were moments when playback quality suffered. Turning my head to the left or right shifts the PurFree connections so that one ear loses proper contact, reducing the volume to almost nothing.
Similarly, putting on a grimaced expression will tense the muscles around your skull, and you can lose proper contact with the headphones again.
Feeling the burn toward the end of a run might cause a clenched jaw, which pushed the Haylou headphones away from my ears enough to interrupt the tunes.
I found the BC01 performed best with podcasts and other spoken content, with volumes reaching plenty high enough to hear over loud traffic. The lowest level is still reasonably resounding and might be too loud to wear around the house if you're listening out for something important.
PurFree BC01: Microphone test
Considering the PurFree BC01 headphones have a dual-microphone setup with advertised noise cancellation, they're still a little lackluster under testing. It's unlikely that anyone would suggest buying wireless bone conduction headphones as a primary mic in a video conference, but the performance was still underwhelming.
Still, if someone needs to contact you urgently during a workout, these Haylou microphones are perfectly serviceable during a quick phone call. The quality does drop based on windy your current environment is, which seems likely if you're out on a jog.
Either way, it's still easier than fumbling around in your pocket to unlock a phone or holding a smartwatch to your face like a secret agent on the run. Don't rely on this microphone if you're regularly taking phone calls during your adventures, but still review our recording sample to see if it's passable for your needs.
PurFree BC01: The competition
Check around digital storefronts, and you'll find plenty of wireless headphones almost identical to the Haylou BC01. It happens with accessories like this; as soon as one manufacturer nails the design, others follow suit as closely as possible.
Shokz OpenRun matches the specs and price point to provide genuine competition as wireless bone conduction headphones, and Haylou recognizes this in its website marketing.
The OpenRun headphones are marginally lighter at 26g and still rated IP67 for weatherproofing with an 8-hour battery life but use slightly older Bluetooth 5.1 tech. They are a little more expensive with a $130 MSRP but enjoy similar discounts around $100 on Amazon. If the cost is the same, you're getting a better deal with Haylou.
If you plan to use the included BC01 earplugs, better in-ear wireless buds alternatives like the Razer Hammerhead 2nd Gen are available for $90 during Amazon sales. They offer ambient monitoring to listen for any dangers in your surroundings and provide a much stronger bass response.
Still, if you're specifically looking for bone-conduction headphones for comfort, you won't find the same experience with earbuds.
PurFree BC01: Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
- You're into physical, outdoor fitness.
- You need comfortable and stable headphones.
- You want to hear what's happening around you.
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- You want open-ear headphones for the home or office.
- You regularly take hands-free phone calls.
The Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones excel at their intended use but suffer disappointments in other areas, though these downsides may not concern every potential user. They're simple to set up and use, with a long-lasting battery and a beautiful design that helps them remain firmly in place during exercise. These will never compete with some of the best wireless office headsets (opens in new tab), so stick with the fitness angle.
Bass response is almost nonexistent unless using the included earplugs, somewhat defeating the purpose of open-ear headphones and struggling to compete with earbuds that feature ANC with ambient monitoring modes. Still, anyone who finds in-ear buds too uncomfortable will no doubt be pleased with this pair if they don't mind sticking to podcasts or lighter music.
Listen to music or podcasts while you exercise outdoors without losing awareness of your surroundings with these comfortable bone-conduction headphones sporting Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connectivity.
Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions or share opinions.
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