Bonx Grip Communication Device – Ultra Versital Group Talk Technology
Bonx was founded by avid snowboarder and outdoorsman Takahiro Miyasaka. Crowdfunded in 2016, Bonx Grip is a Bluetooth earpiece that enables cellular network-based group communication with up to 10 users.
When Bonx reached out to us, we were definitely intrigued, as communication at resorts can be difficult. Each Bonx Grip comes with the Grip headset; small, medium and large earloops; small and medium earbuds; a USB charging cable; and a metal carrying case. Bonx Grip is available in lime green, pink, black and white. We each received a black and lime green. I interchanged the earbuds and earloops to find a good fit for me. It felt a bit bulky at first but was surprisingly comfortable and the ear loop really keeps the Bonx Grip in place.
give it a go. After opening the app, you pair your earpiece and follow the rest of the setup process, which basically means you go through a few steps to ensure Bonx Grip can send and receive. Once this process is finished, you’ll set up a talk room, which anyone with a Bonx Grip and the passcode can join.
Chris and I did a few test rooms to ensure we had everything configured and working properly. I also tested it at Grand Targhee with my son, and we found it did not work very well at this resort due to very spotty network coverage. Chris invited me to a talk room while he was riding at Copper Mountain and I was at home; it seemed to work pretty well. Bonx Grip filters out background noise and adapts to sounds in its environment. While Chris was riding, all I could really hear was his voice, not wind or the sound of him hitting features in the park…pretty cool. It can be used to stream your music of choice as well but I found the quality to be subpar compared to other headphones. One feature that is definitely a bonus, is that if you totally lose your signal and then come back into an area of service, you will be automatically reconnected to your talk room and don’t have to dig your phone out to reconnect. It’s not an easy feat to dig your phone out while skiing or boarding when its cold out.
My overall impressions of the Bonx Grip Communication Device are: Bonx Grip is an interesting product for sure, and has some great benefits for outdoor enthusiasts; lightweight, hands-free, water/shock-resistant, and long battery life. My only real complaint is not necessarily the fault of Bonx: the fact that you have to have service of some kind limits its usefulness.
I was intrigued by the gadget and was looking forward to trying it out while snowboarding and skateboarding. The device is packaged very well, and it was just like unwrapping a new Apple product, thoughtful and tastefully done. The packaging acts as the quick start guide for the product and also lists the Bonx Grip package contents. Overall first impression: this… is … rad!
Each Bonx Grip communication device is sold individually, so each user will need to purchase his or her own device at around $139 each. This may seem a bit pricey at first, but you’re getting quite a bit out of this little device.
A couple of the things you can use Bonx Grip for include using it as a rugged, water-resistant Bluetooth headset to communicate via phone, and setting it up as an in-ear Bluetooth speaker for listening to music; the sound isn’t great, but it’s OK.
Now for where Bonx Grip really excels, and why you want to buy it: GO OUTSIDE and connect with your buddies!
Before we get to the fun part, let’s talk about the device itself. It’s meant to be worn on your right ear (sorry left ear…there are special left-ear accessories available on their site). It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s appealing; much cooler than a Bluetooth headset, in my opinion. They have some nice colors: black, green, white and pink. Connecting your chosen earloop and earbud is really easy, and they lock into place. I have to give Bonx Grip high marks for this part, as it really helps to be able to set up the device so quickly. Not so conveniently located are the USB and power button and indicator, however, I don’t know with the current design if it could be done any other way. The USB access point, power button, and indicator light (used for pairing and powering on and off) are located behind the rubber flap on the inside portion of the device. It works, I just think it could be improved upon at some point. Bonx Grip comes with three sizes of earloops (S, M, and L); two sizes of earbuds (S and M); a USB cable, and a nifty carrying case. It’s all pretty straightforward to try on the different earloops and earbuds, choose the most comfortable fitting pieces and attach them BAM! You’re almost there. Charging the device took a few hours; once it’s charged, use the app to pair the phone with the device, set up your account, and you’re ready to rock!
As for wearing the device…for me it feels OK. The rubber earloop fits fine on my attached earlobes; I’m sure everyone’s earlobe is different (attached/not attached), so your mileage may vary. I’m not used to having something fully covering my ear, so it took a bit of getting used to the feeling of the Bonx Grip, and the earbud could be improved upon, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t live with. After wearing the Bonx Grip around for awhile, I got used to it. It did get a bit sweaty, but maybe that’s me.
Once you have Bonx Grip outside and you’re using it as it’s intended to be used, it’s pretty awesome. I was able to skate around my local skatepark while talking on the phone and listening to music, and when Dave and I were using the Bonx Grip App to talk while I was snowboarding it was impressive and truly shined. I had the Bonx Grip on under my beanie with my helmet on and a balaclava over my face, and Dave and I were still able to have a perfectly clear conversation as I rode through the park, hitting rails and jumps along the way. It brought a different element to riding and having fun. If this sounds like your jam, then I would encourage you to try Bonx Grip. I wouldn’t have been able to reach the buttons for mute and push to talk while snowboarding, but I didn’t really need to. It was a very unique and fun way to connect with my friend while we were enjoying our outdoor activities. Oh, and I have to mention I was in Colorado and Dave was in Idaho (over 600 miles away from each other), and the voice clarity and quality was very good. There were a few times I had some spotty cell service, but the device and app picked up without me having to fumble around for my phone in my pocket.
You can listen to music with the app open; however, I’ve found the music quality is better if the Bonx app is closed. Also, the volume button only goes one direction, so you have to cycle to the loudest setting before circling back to the lowest volume setting. These are small things to comment about for a functional and fun device. Bonx Grip is water- and shock-resistant and has an estimated battery life of seven hours. Mine lasted for about six hours in cold weather.
My overall impressions of the Bonx Grip Communication Device are: this is a great option for outdoor activities and for groups of two to 10 people to keep in contact in areas that have cell service or wi-fi. The design is functional and comes in some nice color options. I like what Bonx Grip offers, and I’m looking forward to using it more and seeing how this nifty device evolves.