Naenka Runner Diver key specs
Waterproof standard: IPX8
Battery life: 10 hours
Audio formats: MP3 and FLAC
The Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones are unique among the best waterproof headphones and best bone conduction headphones. Like most underwater audio gadgets they can store a bunch of MP3 files (remember them?) so you can listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks while you swim.
However, they have something most rivals don’t in the shape of a Bluetooth module. It doesn’t work underwater, so you can’t stream to them using a smartphone on your sun bed, but you can switch to it when on dry land. In an instant, it turns these waterproof headphones from a one-trick gadget into a lifestyle accessory good for using in the pool, the gym, while out on a run, and even around an office.
Based on bone conduction technology that sends vibrations directly to your inner ear, however, means bass-heavy audio that’s low on treble detailing. That makes music a largely narrow affair, though that’s probably not a deal-breaker for swimming when any kind of distraction will do.
Able to store an impressive 16GB of MP3s, the Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones is an ambitious product whose minimalist design means a few long presses of buttons must be learned to switch between modes and tracks. Learn them well and the Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones will allow you to go to great lengths.
Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones review: Price and release date
- Launched in April 2022
Naenka is a challenger brand in the bone conduction headphones space, with this unique product selling for $169.99/£135/AU$238. It’s manufactured by Shenzhen Mengqu Life Technology Co. in Shenzhen, China and sold on Naenka’s website (opens in new tab).
Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones: Design
- Minimalist design
- Proprietary charging cable
- Teardrop-shaped transducers
Design score: 4/5
You can get the Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones in whatever color you want. As long as it’s gray. It’s a smart, minimalist design that weighs just 34g and uses the same silicon plastic finish found on almost all bone conduction headsets. It’s there because it’s both smooth and it doesn’t move around when placed against wet skin.
It also uses an ear-hook design to keep the transducers in place. That’s important because they rest against the tops of cheekbones to send sound vibrations directly to the inner ear. Here they’re shaped like teardrops.
Like all new bone conduction headphones, the Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones use a proprietary charging cable that magnetically attaches to the battery via four gold connector points.
Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones: Performance
- Works well in and out of water
- Lacks ultimate treble detailing
- Ear plugs improve sound quality in water
Performance score: 4/5
The Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones are the last word in versatility. They’re actually at their best when being used in either ‘music mode’ (i.e. playback of MP3 or FLAC files on its flash storage) or ‘Bluetooth mode’ out of the water. Used outdoors or around the office and you obviously get the trademark ‘open ear’ design that lets you hear what’s going on around you. In practice that can be as handy around a home office (depending on whether you work alone or not) as when out on a run, but the design has obvious safety advantages for the latter.
Sound quality when used out of water is good, though the maximum volume is a little too low. At no point did we experience any bassy ‘tickle’ in our cheekbones, but it got close. At all times the sound quality is good, but not excellent. There’s a lot of bass, but not much in the way of treble detail. If you listen mainly to podcasts or audiobooks it’s not going to make any difference.
However, for its headline act the Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones needs a little help. They ship with no bag, but they do come with a small box of earplugs. That’s because by blocking your ear canals while swimming the transducers can do their bone conducting work in auditory silence. The results are much better than if you don’t use the earplugs, but only in water. Sound quality underwater is a little different to above it, with more bass – aided by those ear plugs – though here the low volume is an issue.
Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones: Features
- IPX8 waterproof to 5m
- Bluetooth 5.2 mode
- 180mAh battery
The Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones are rated IPX8 waterproof down to 5m, but that rating also means they’re sweat proof and dust-proof. Inside is a 180mAh battery (which fully charges in 1.5 hours and is good for about 10 hours, though only if they’re used at 60% volume, which is unlikely) and a flash drive capable of storing up to 16GB of MP3 and FLAC files.
The latter is a lossless high resolution format, so tends to produce very large files. However, considering the rather basic sound quality of the Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones we’re not sure why FLAC compatibility is necessary. Either way it’s obviously a pain to have to drag and drop files onto the flash drive, and you do need a computer to do so.
The main other feature here is its Bluetooth module, which uses the new 5.2 specification. The upshot is that in practice the Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones always stay connected to a smartphone.
Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones: Value for money
- High-range choice
- Challenger brand in bone conduction headphones
Value for money score: 3/5
The Naenka Runner Diver waterproof headphones are more expensive than the market leader, whose Shokz OpenSwim sells for $149.95/£139.95/AU$219.95. However, they’re more affordable than the Zygo Solo, a premium package of waterproof headphones and a coaching app, which sells for $299/£218/AU$400.
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
First reviewed July 2022