The Haylou BC01 are the manufacturer’s brave new endeavor into the curious world of bone conduction headphones and yes, I admit that I was very skeptical of this technology, especially at a more affordable cost, so can the Haylou BC01 change my mind? I wasn’t really impressed by the Tayogo S2, but it did show that the potential was definitely there, just that you need to spend a lot of money to get something semi-decent.
So, I was a bit surprised by the confidence that Haylou had in their bone conduction headphones, but after wearing them for a few minutes, I realized why. These are actually good. I am not sure if you’re familiar with the bone conduction technology, so know that the idea is to send vibrations through your jaw bone towards the inner ear, therefore ‘hearing’ the sound.
But the common shortcomings are the distorted sound, the bleeding sound (everyone can hear what you’re listening) and the volume. Obviously, the Haylou BC01 is not perfect, but it seems to have managed to almost eliminate the sound bleeding, it delivers a balanced volume, so what about the sound quality? Can it beat the Shokz series that’s been dominating the market for years? It does seem to have the potential, so let’s put the Haylou BC01 bone conduction headphones to the test and find out.
Build Quality and Design
The design of the Haylou BC01 is similar to that of other bone conduction headphones, so they didn’t really make any radical changes to the formula. Not that they needed to since the headphones are comfortable and easy to wear. The buttons may be an issue, but we’ll discuss it in a minute. The Haylou BC01 is made of plastic that’s coated by a rubbery texture and, just like the old Bluetooth headphones, the two buds are interconnected by a metallic band also covered by the same black rubber finish.
When positioned on my ears, the band does stand out a few inches, but it doesn’t really bother from the comfort point of view and, if we look at it from a different perspective, this does mean that the Haylou BC01 will be suitable for people with larger heads or fluffier hair. Also, I do need to mention that the band is very flexible and won’t break regardless of how much you extend or loop it.
There are two main parts for each ear, one is the section that sits behind the ear and it’s where the controls and the charging pins are located, while on the front of the ear, there is a circular piece which resembles a small TWS earbud. Of course, there is a driver there, but, unlike the one in the TWS earbuds, it isn’t built to transmit sound via air, but to move vibrations through bones. So, while the concept is similar, the end result is achieved a bit differently. And that’s because your ears will not be burdened by earbuds, nor the inner canal get irritated.
There’s also the advantage of fully and properly hearing what’s going on around you. But surely, there must be some pressure point with the Haylou BC01 bone conduction headphones as well, right? Yes, the aforementioned driver sections do press on your cheekbones, but not as hard as you may think.
It’s just a light pressure feeling. Will it add up over time? Sure, but for more than a couple of hours, you may even forget you got the headphones on. Additionally, the silicone finish does have an important role and that’s to keep the Haylou BC01 into place. Especially when jogging or working out. As I mentioned before, the controls are a bit less intuitive, but nothing that can be considered a deal breaker. On the right side, on the section beneath the ear, there are two buttons and the charging pins.
The buttons will allow you to adjust the volume and the + button will also turn on or off the headphones after a long press. The issue is that they’re a bit small and not that easy to tell apart with the finger – that’s all. The charging cable can be attached magnetically and, as you may have suspected, the pins are proprietary.
Well, at least there is no charging case to worry about, but the charging cable is still problematic if lost – let’s just hope that Haylou will support this product for a long time. On the left driver section, there is a multi-function button (MFB) which when pressed once will Pause/Resume the track and, to move to the next track, you need to double click it.
To move a track forward, then you need to press it three times. I suppose a dual MFB on both sides may have been more intuitive, but it’s working in this configuration as well. If you want to activate the voice assistant, press and hold the button for two seconds and, when in a call, you can answer it with a single click, as well as hang up.
How rugged is the Haylou BC01?
The manufacturer has stated that the Haylou BC01 bone conduction headphones are IP67-rated which means that the enclosure is completely sealed against dust ingress and the device should also fare well with water. Indeed, you should be able to submerge the headphones under water down to 3.2 feet (1 meter) for 30 minutes without issues.
This means that you can swim with the Haylou BC01 and neither rain, nor sweat should have a negative impact on the headphone. Be aware of the corrosive nature of saltier water since it may damage the headphones over time.
Internal Hardware and Connectivity
The Haylou BC01 is equipped with the Qualcomm 3044 chip which is a mid-level, power-efficient audio SoC and the headphones also use Bluetooth 5.2 for the connection to the source device.
The Haylou W1 TWS earbuds were using the same Bluetooth version and I have noticed that even with some other brands, the battery life is better – although I think the biggest factor is the SoC efficiency. As for the range, ever since the Bluetooth 4.0, the max distance is about 30 feet, with some walls and furniture in the way (with line of sight, it’s possible to be better).
I also need to mention the support for aptX – it means that if your audio source (smartphone, laptop, audio player) supports it, it is possible to listen to better audio formats. The bitrate will be a bit more elevated, but the Bluetooth 5.2 can handle it without problems.
Before actually talking about the results of me listening to some songs, you need to know that the music reproduction is going to be a bit different than with the regular headphones or earbuds. That means that the bass is going to be very weak, replaced by tickling in your cheekbones and the clarity of the sound may also be affected since it does need to travel through bones and not be blasted directly into the inner ear which is actually designed for proper listening. The first thing I did was to check the quality of the driver by listening to a sweeping sound that goes through various frequencies.
And there should be no buzzing – the Haylou BC01 headphones were the first that had zero buzzing, but the lower frequency could not be heard at all. It can be felt though, vibrating in the cheekbones. Next, I checked if the drivers were matching and yes, the sound felt straight in the center of my head. Afterwards, I listened to a binaural-recorded song and the sound stage seemed surprisingly wide. I could hear creaks in the pavement, the instrument differentiation was obvious, just as the position of the singers / players. There was also some depth to the sound stage because I could tell when a singer leaned forward; the voices were clear, although the female voice was a bit bright.
The previous tests were done with the volume set to 70%, so I kept it at that elevated level for the next bass-focused songs as well. The first one was Zhu – Faded which has a focus on the low bass and, as expected, there is very little depth to the bass, even if it’s low, mid or high. The only way to actually tell it, it’s the vibrating pieces on your cheekbones. That being said, the instruments were clear, the voice was well represented (wasn’t too forward), but yes, the bass is almost non-existent.
Then, I moved to System of a Down – Mr Jack and the bass continues to lack depth, but the song is busier, managing to cover this weakness by properly differentiating the instruments and keeping the voices clear and decently differentiated. Sofi Tukker – Déjà Vu Affair will give you a nice massage to your cheekbones. Again, the bass is felt like a vibration moreso than actually being heard and the female voice seems a slightly bit forward and colorful, but doesn’t seem to cause fatigue.
While listening to Morph The Cat by Donald Fagan, a mid-bass focused song, I noticed that just like ‘Déjà Vu Affair’, you’ll get your cheekbones massaged due to the constant beats. The song sounds good, the instruments are properly differentiated and clear, with the voice in the suitable position.
The song She Burns by Vance shows that the male voice is not forward (or in the background), the instruments are clear and properly differentiated, but since it still relies on the bass for the major twists, the song loses its colorfulness and it’s a bit bland. Moving on to a treble-focused song, ‘Guns n Roses – Sweet child o mine’, I noticed that just like the mids, it seems that the treble is also a bit better represented than the bass. The voice of the singer is crystal clear, the instruments sound good and the bass is missing.
You can take calls while using the Haylou BC01 bone conduction headphones and the audio quality is alright. I could hear the other person just fine, but yes, be aware that if you’re in a busy area, your ears will hear everything else as well.
The person on the other side said that my voice was only a little bit muffled, but could still hear what I was saying just fine. That was in a quiet room. After I went outdoors, with lots of cars passing by, things got less ideal. My voice would get priority, but the outside noise would still break through, so it wasn’t really a pleasant conversation. Can it be better? Sure, but it seems that the Shokz bone conduction headphones offer a very similar performance.
The Haylou BC01 is equipped with a 165mAh battery which the manufacturer claims, should last for up to 8 hours. And, if true, it’s an amazing battery life. During my tests, I noticed that while the volume was set to 70%, the battery life went from full to zero in about 8 hours and a half, so the claims from Haylou were actually accurate, which is excellent.
I’ve said it in the title. I am impressed by the Haylou BC01 bone conduction headphones. They’re not perfect because the bass reproduction is underwhelming, nor is the call quality that great, but at least for the former, it’s just the limitation of the technology. Besides that, the sound quality is far better than most other bone conduction headphones and pretty much on par with what Shokz has to offer.
The headphones are also built to be dust and water resistant, they’re comfortable to wear, while allowing you to listen to anything else that happens around you. The battery life is also great, so yes, they’re great for cyclists and pretty much any other outdoor sports. I also need to mention people that have hearing impairments because the Haylou BC01 should help you better hear your favorite songs.
- Doesn’t cover the ears
- The soundstage is wide and the sound is clear and detailed
- The battery life is really good
- Comfortable to wear for a long time
- No need for a charging case
- The buttons are a bit small (not that easily outlined when using a finger)
- The bass is pretty much missing (the shortcoming of the bone conduction technology)