Headphone type: Open-ear bone conduction
Battery life: 8 hours
Waterproof rating: IP67
Colour options: Gray
Two minute review
The Haylou PurFree BC01 are great value running headphones that are worth considering over the market leaders Shokz OpenRun Pro (opens in new tab) and Shokz OpenRun (opens in new tab). Like all examples of the niche, they’re designed for running and workouts, hence their water-resistant build and behind-the-head strap that uses soft, but non-slippy, silicon that doesn’t move much when making contact with skin (or hair).
Able to go for north of eight hours, rivaling some of the best bone conduction headphones, they’re a touch larger than their rivals, but for practical reasons, there’s almost no difference. They pair easily with Bluetooth devices, they stay in place during exercise and they provide a nicely balanced soundstage.
While some cheaper rivals supply a boomy, bass-heavy sound that sends ticklish vibrations down cheekbones, the soundage on the Haylou PurFree BC01 is balanced and easily bold enough for use while out and about. Audiophile quality this is not, but the treble detail and balanced bass on offer here is at least the equal of much pricer bone conduction headphones.
Our only complaints are its use of a proprietary charging cable (par for the course for bone conductions products) and its lack of physical buttons, which necessitates learning a few double and triple-taps to control the playback of music and tracks. However, nothing can take away our great impressions of the Haylou PurFree BC01, which are the best value bone conduction headphones we’ve tried so far.
Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones: Price and release date
- US$85 (UK£72/AU$125)
- Available now
Launched in mid-2022, the Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones sell for all kinds of prices – most of them low thanks to introductory deals. The average prices come out at around US$85/UK£72/AU$125, though you can get about a 25% discount if you shop around.
Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones: Design
- Open-ear design
- Weighs 28g
- Proprietary magnetic charging cable
Design score: 4/5
The Haylou PurFree BC01 looks almost identical to the likes of the Shokz OpenRun Pro, Shokz OpenRun, and Mojawa Mojo1. It has two transducers responsible for sending vibrations down cheekbones, two ear hooks to keep them in place, and two areas for the electronics behind the ears. There’s a flexible headband that sits on the back of the wearer’s head. However, there is a subtle difference we noticed in the shape of the Haylou Purfree BC01’s delightful-named multi-function button (MFB). Like on most bone conduction headphones it’s there to pause music – most likely to cross the road safely or to have a conversation with someone – but here it also controls the playback of music and the awakening of a voice assistant.
Other than that the Haylou Purfree BC01 – although designed much like any other bone conduction headphones – certainly has the ideal combination of stability and strength. The build quality overall is excellent despite them weighing just 28g.
In fact, our only complaint is that the Haylou Purfree BC01 uses a proprietary charging cable. It’s black and it measures 60cm long, with a USB 2.0 terminator on one end and a two-pronged magnetic connector on the other. It’s almost identical to the one used by the Shokz OpenRun and Shokz OpenRun Pro.
The only difference is that the battery and the electronics on the Haylou Purfree BC01 are a tiny bit larger. Either way, we do wish that Haylou Purfree BC01 had innovated away from using a proprietary charging cable. They are easy to lose and make the headphones annoying to travel with.
Of course, they’re more sweat-proof than a USB-C slot, which can get water and dirt in it, but unless a pair of bone conduction headphones are designed for swimming they should not be using proprietary charging cables. In our opinion, they should also come with some kind of protective bag or box to keep them safe when packed into, say, a gym bag or a backpack.
Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones: Performance
- Excellent sound quality
- Balanced soundstage
- Slightly confusing controls
Performance score: 4/5
The Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones are impressive – and not just because they’re going for a song. We tried it out with lots of different kinds of content while running and got the same excellent results.
Though treble highs are clipped slightly, there’s plenty of detail to please all but the most demanding of music fans. It’s balanced, too, with enough low-frequency action in the background. Unlike on a lot of bone conduction headphones, the Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones don’t overdo the bass, and consequently, avoid the weird side effect of buzzy vibrations ‘tickling’ the cheekbones of the wearer.
That applies even when the Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones are used at their top volume, which we found to be just loud enough for an urban run (though if you’re on a really busy road the open-ear design means you’ll struggle to hear everything).
We appreciate that a sweat-proof headset that’s all about hygiene should have a minimalist design, but it does mean the few physical buttons on the Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones take a heavy load. Or, rather, the wearer does because a host of double and triple presses have to be learned to control music. It’s actually not that hard to do, but a triple-click of the MFB button to skip back a track isn’t exactly intuitive.
Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones: Features
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Connects to voice assistants
- IP67 waterproof
Features score: 3/5
The Haylou Purfree BC01 has everything you could want from a pair of bone conduction headphones plus hints of a few extra features. The most interesting is that the Haylou Purfree BC01 can pair with two Bluetooth devices simultaneously. At least that’s what is claimed on the packaging. In practice we weren’t able to do this, with the Haylou Purfree BC01 allowing only one device at a time to connect over Bluetooth.
The Haylou Purfree BC01 also features dual-mic noise cancellation for hands-free calls, which makes it an instant candidate for use around a home office and while on the move for things other than running and workouts. It’s also possible to call-up Siri or Google Assistant via a long press of that button on the transducer.
The 165mAh Li-ion polymer battery inside the Haylou Purfree BC01 takes 90 minutes to fully charge, but there’s a useful quick-charge option where 10 minutes gives two hours of battery life.
Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones review: value for money
- Great value compared to the competition
- Very slightly larger physical size
Value for money score: 5/5
When judged against the market leaders – the Shokz OpenRun Pro and Shokz OpenRun – the Haylou PurFree BC01 have to be considered great value. They’re ever so slightly larger but we’re talking a few grams.
There’s no practical difference between them either in terms of build, strength, or sound quality (and the Haylou PurFree BC01 actually uses a slightly newer Qualcomm chipset and Bluetooth 5.2 instead Bluetooth 5.1).
Should I buy the Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones?
Buy it if...
You do a lot of exercise
Able to stay in place during exercise and cope with sweat, rain, and dust, the main selling point of the Haylou PurFree BC01 is its open-ear design that lets the wearer stay alert to what’s going on around them while simultaneously listening to music
You want to save money
The Haylou PurFree BC01 are a match for the big brands in terms of usability and sound quality – and they’re going for a much lower price.
Don't buy it if...
You don’t do much exercise
The Haylou PurFree BC01 are designed for running, workouts and exercising. If you’re a sedentary type then consider something else because while the Haylou PurFree BC01 do handle hands-free calls their sound quality is not as good as more traditional types of headphones.
You hate proprietary cables
Wouldn't it be better if all devices were charged by USB-C? It would, but that's not going to happen while bone conduction headphones like the Haylou PurFree BC01 are around. All of them use a proprietary charging cable, which is a pain to travel with and easy to lose.
Shokz OpenRun Pro
All-new bass transducers deliver far richer sound here than any other bone conduction headsets, but it can produce a slight ‘tickle’ on the cheekbones. They also come with an app that can be used to tweak the EQ settings.
This budget effort sees the good sound quality that’s surprisingly rich in low frequency sound, albeit with some ‘tickle’. Some reflective detailing is a nice touch, too, and helps the wearer stay safe at night.
First reviewed July 2022