Color blind glasses

Anker Soundcore frames are not your typical Bluetooth glasses

Do you remember Google Glass? This, say unique, introduction to smart glasses was meant to change the tech world as we know it. And when it was finally released to the general public in 2014, it certainly made headlines … but not in the way Google had hoped for.

Privacy concerns and many jokes have kept Google Glass from becoming mainstream and potentially slowed down the acceptance of this type of smart wearable device. Still, companies have continued to develop smart glasses, including Snap, Amazon, and Facebook.

While many come equipped with augmented reality tech, cameras, and other potentially invasive features, other smart glasses from Bose and Razer are only designed for convenience, like listening to music. Now there’s another option from Anker Soundcore, and these are designed in such a way that you don’t limit your choice of styles, but are they worth the price?

Soundcore Anker Frames

Soundcore Frames are audio glasses designed for immersive sound, just released in November. Below are the notable specs, but stick around because I’m saving the best part for last.

  • OpenSurround: open your ear so as not to block other sounds around you
  • 4 speakers with a custom audio processor
  • Two microphones to eliminate background noise in voice calls
  • Works with touch controls or voice commands
  • Adjust equalizer, other settings via companion app
  • 5.5 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • Polarized lenses
  • Retail for $ 199.99

The outstanding feature of these glasses is the quick release hinges which allow you to mix and match different styles of removable frames. This means that you don’t have to buy a whole new pair of smart glasses every time you want a different look.

After purchasing the kit for $ 199.99 which includes the audio temples and mounts of your choice, you can later purchase additional frame styles for $ 49.99. There are currently 10 styles of frames to choose from, many of which are pictured below.

Bridging the gap

Anker sent me a Soundcore Frames kit to review as well as a number of styles. The frames I received included Festival, Harbor, Landmark (in three different colors), Marina, Promenade, Tour, and Wander. That makes a total of nine images, with the exception of one called Cafe.

The main kit included the Tour frames, which look like typical aviator sunglasses. Also included was a USB-A charging cable (no wall adapter) and a foldable glasses case which I’m not quite sure adds a lot of protection too.

Before installing the glasses, download the Soundcore app (available for ios and Android) and log in or create an account.

Then connect the equipment by pushing the audio branches on the hinges of the mount. Just make sure the Soundcore logo is facing outward on each branch piece. Take a closer look at the temple connector below.

I then connected the branches to the supplied charging cable. As you can see, the glasses need to be folded to charge. Otherwise, the two contacts will not be able to join.

According to the included quick start guide, the Soundcore frames should power on and enter Bluetooth pairing mode as soon as you put them on, with a voice assistant to walk you through the rest of the setup. Alas, mine did not turn on automatically.

If this happens, you are supposed to hold both temples where they curl around your ears until you hear a sound. It took me a minute to find the perfect spot, but I finally turned on the glasses. I connected them via bluetooth and finished setting them up via the app.

Various parameters to choose from

Once logged in, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of settings to choose from for a more personalized experience. You can choose from equalizer presets such as Soundcore Signature, Acoustic, Dance, Podcast, and Classical. The Signature setting seemed best to me when listening to music, but you also have the option to create your own custom EQ.

There is also a feature called OpenSurround which is supposed to give a more concert-like experience. You can choose from seven levels, which are then applied to the equalizer setting you are also using.

You also have the option to change the touch controls, and I made some adjustments. Double tap the left temple to play / pause and double tap the right temple to activate Siri from my iPhone.

Swiping back and forth on the left temple will skip to the next track while going in the opposite direction will play the previous one. On the right temple, I can sweep back and forth to adjust the volume.

There is also a setting that allows voice control without using any type of wake word for commands like skipping tracks and answering calls.

How they sound

Then it’s time to open up Apple Music and my favorite ’90s alternative rock playlist. I’ve been browsing various tracks from bands like Green Day and Pearl Jam, covering everything from loud electric guitars to drums and drums. by acoustic solos.

The sound quality was better than I expected for something that doesn’t cover or penetrate your ears. The music was clear according to the EQ settings I had chosen, but areas such as bass were still missing with OpenSurround enabled.

I ran through the OpenSurround levels during one track, the lower level making the audio more vocal and level seven putting more emphasis on the instruments – too much emphasis. Either way, every song I listened to always sounded better with OpenSurround on than without.

The biggest consideration here is that these are not headphones or wireless headphones with active noise cancellation. These are glasses with two speakers at each temple (one in front of the ear and one behind for better stereo sound), and you can still hear much of what is going on around you at a volume level. moderate.

With the volume turned up to around 50%, I could still hear the doors closing or one of my dogs barking in the yard. This brings me to my next point: you can hear the sounds around you, and others will be able to hear what you listen to.

There’s an option for privacy mode in the settings designed to reduce the amount of sound leakage, and it works to some extent, especially if you’re outdoors. But if you’re in a very quiet room with someone sitting up to six feet away, they’ll still be able to hear what’s coming out of the tiny speakers, whether it’s music or the person on the other side of the room. ‘a phonecall.

Specifications with some unique specifications

Back to the physical settings, I tried every variation sent by Anker. Fashion-wise, my favorites were the Landmark and Wander styles, both of which look like classic Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

Wander frames are just a bit wider than the Landmark version. I also liked the look of the Harbor frames, but the aviator-inspired Tour Style was a bit too “Top Gun” for my liking.

Left to Right: Landmark, Harbor Style, and Tour Style frames

The only tedious part is to change the frame. Each temple piece fits snugly against the mount, and it takes a bit of force to pull them off – while you think you’re about to snap them off.

Other than that, none of the mounts were uncomfortable, and the speaker-packed temples never felt too heavy. For the most part, they wanted to wear medium sunglasses, even outdoors. Dark, polarized lenses are pleasant to the touch and work well.

Verdict: Are Anker Soundcore Frames Worth It?

While it’s nice to have the convenience of two everyday products combined into one, Soundcore Frames (and other similar audio glasses) are unlikely to really reach mainstream reach. These are created for people looking for something specific – who don’t want to leave the house everyday with a pair of sunglasses and headphones.

For those looking for a solution like this, Soundcore Frames have hit the mark outside of sound leaks you wouldn’t encounter with headphones or earphones. Sound quality is also generally good, but again, this could be a step back from what you’re already used to.

The battery life is shorter than that of some competing products like Bose frames, but 5.5 hours is still not bad. But the most notable feature is the ability to spend just $ 50 on a new set of frames when you fancy a different look. Discover Soundcore frames with the stroll style.

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