Color blind glasses

Bluetooth glasses with interchangeable frames that have a superior design compared to Bose frames

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Soundtrack evaluation

Summary

The Soundcore Frames are the best implementation of Bluetooth glasses that I have used or seen to date. They come at attractive prices and offer a massive amount of design and customization options that competing brands can’t come close to.

Advantages

  • By far the best design option for bluetooth glasses on the market
  • Lots of frame options to suit any style
  • The cheapest option from a reputable brand on the market
  • Good overall sound quality

The inconvenients

  • Bluetooth glasses, in general, suffer from sound leakage in quiet environments and can drown in noisier situations.

Last month, Anker Soundcore made the surprise announcement of the Soundcore Frames, a pair of Bluetooth audio glasses with interchangeable lenses.

Only a small number of companies have launched such a product, and Soundcore frames are off to a good start with a simple yet brilliant design of interchangeable front frames. This allows you to completely change the look of Soundcore frames for a relatively low cost. You can also replace the sunglasses with clear glasses and if there is any damage you are hopefully not required to replace glasses worth £ 150. The press release also said it was possible to take them to an optometrist and have prescription lenses fitted.

specification

  • Frequency response: 20 ~ 20kHz
  • Driver Qty (Speakers): 4 (2 per side)
  • Driver size / material: 25mm x 8mm (main); 8mm diameter (rear) / PET
  • Battery type / Capacity: Lithium Polymer / 110mA (x2)
  • Play time / talk time / (normal mode): 5.5 hours at 60% volume / 5 hours
  • Fast charging time (Soundcore frames): 10 minutes = 1.5 hours
  • Magnetic charging cable: Charging cable
  • Bluetooth version: 5.2
  • IP Rating: IPX4
  • Control Type: Touch / Slide / Voice
  • Audio codecs: SBC, AAC
  • Compatible with voice detection
  • Ear detection to pause music
  • Flexible hinge (8 degree bendable)

Design / frame options

I didn’t really pay much attention to the press release when it came out, so I didn’t give much thought to how the interchangeable frame design would work.

It turns out to be quite simple and obvious. All the electronics are contained in the arms; these then simply detach from the forward facing frame.

The temples of the glasses are relatively thin, bulkier than a regular pair of sunglasses, but you only really notice this when you close the temples to store the glasses. On your head, I doubt anyone can tell the difference.

A caveat to this design is the charge. You have two separate devices that require charging, and you don’t have the handy charging case we all know so well with TWS headphones. The solution for this is a cable but with two magnetic charging points. It’s not ideal, but it’s the price to pay for the design.

As for the frames, Anker sent me 7 additional frames plus the one included in the pack.

I think there are styles of sizes, but several options of lenses and frame colors per style. In my pack, I had three of the Landmark style but three very different looks. All of the frames are well made and look great in real life, although the style of the festival doesn’t match my particular taste.

Configuration and loading

The charging cable has two separate magnetic mounting points, so it takes a little more thought when charging rather than reinserting them into a charging case.

When you open the frames, they should turn on automatically, then you can pair them as you would any other bluetooth headset.

Comfort / Fit

I don’t wear prescription glasses, so I’m probably not as sensitive to specific fit issues that people who wear glasses might have. However, the overall comfort and fit of the frames is good.

The frames weigh approximately 45 g depending on the choice of frame. The arms each weigh 12.8 g so 25.6 g. The frames vary slightly in weight, the Landmark frame weighs 19.4g the Tour (aviator) frame weighs 20.72g.

I took long walks, did some housework and sat at my desk with these and at no time had a problem with having to readjust them or feeling some kind of fatigue or bothersome pain. On the contrary, I would say they are more comfortable than my standard sunglasses, which I have to adjust every now and then.

Sound quality vs bone and in-ear conduction

Bluetooth glasses offer quite a different experience from in-ear or on-ear headphones as well as bone conduction headphones.

For starters, these sound a lot nicer to listen to than bone conductors like those from AfterShokz. At moderate volumes, all bone-conduction bass music has that relatively unpleasant bass vibe. These look much more natural.

Unlike headphones, you don’t have this passive seal to help improve bass response. Therefore, the Soundcore frames used two drivers allowing the frames to produce a moderate amount of bass. You don’t get the same boomyness you get with many headphones (especially Soundcore), you just get more pleasurable natural bass.

When composing them at a higher volume, I noticed a certain crispness in the highs.

At moderate volume I think they sound better than most headphones, the two large drivers allow the glasses to produce a more precise frequency range without putting too much emphasis on different aspects or sacrificing bass in the name of precision .

Sound leakage / External volume

Volume and sound leakage are areas where bone conduction headphones have excelled for years. They can reach higher volumes with minimal sound leakage. You can wear Aftershocks for cycling and not have everything drowned out by the wind and noise from the car.

Soundcore frames are much more comfortable to wear and listen to than bone conduction headphones, but they suffer from much more sound leakage and struggle with external volume.

As you walk with these on the main road, you will find that you have to climb them all the way up to hear them above the cars.

In a quiet office, the Frames become audible from the head at about 50%. Once you hit around 75%, the music is clearly audible at arm’s length. At 100%, I can make out the lyrics of the songs a bit at arm’s length. Walking down the street will be less of a problem, I’m not used to being that close to people, and ambient noise should cover things up better.

In my quiet office, 100% is too loud to comfortably listen to, but 60-75% provided an enjoyable listening experience.

Comparison of Bose frames

The arms look a bit thicker in the photo than I thought they would in real life.
Old photo of Bose frames

It’s been over two years since I’ve reviewed Bose frames, so I can’t say precisely what sounds better or worse. My best guess was that the Bose offered better sound quality, but I don’t remember how mind-blowing it was that I could recommend them over these.

With Bose frames, not only do you have limited design choices, but the temples of the sunglasses are massive which makes them look a bit ugly. The thick arms that contain the speakers are probably what gives Bose Frames the edge when it comes to audio quality. I guess most people won’t notice the thick, massive arms when you wear them, but they just don’t have the same aesthetic appeal as Soundcore frames.

Drums

Battery life appears to be acceptable with the 5 hour claim being about correct. Normally I wouldn’t wear a product like this for long periods of time, but with the clear lens frames I happily sat at my desk for several hours working while using them.

Prices and alternative options

Soundcore frames launch at £ 149.99, and my pair arrived with an aviator-style frame. Additional frames will be available for £ 49.99, and there will be 10 different styles available.

Bose frames have a suggested retail price of £ 239.95, you can’t trade in the frames, but you can replace the lens for £ 39. You can currently buy the Bose Frames Alto for just £ 139.95, which is a reasonable price that I think is worth paying for.

The Huawei X Gentle Monster has a suggested retail price of £ 310 and only has two styles available with no option to replace the lenses.

Globally

I’m still not 100% convinced about the concept of bluetooth glasses. For music, at least, these are not the most practical solutions, as they are prone to sound leaks or volume drowning.

However, Soundcore Frames are by far the best implementation of this technology, in my opinion. They’re cheaper with massive amounts of customization and a superior overall aesthetic compared to Bose frames. I haven’t used the Huawei X Gentle Monster, but the hefty price tag and limited design options don’t make them that appealing.

The overall design of these looks completely natural. You couldn’t tell someone was wearing bluetooth mounts even with close inspection.

Sound quality is good when used in environments with moderate ambient noise. They have better sound quality and aesthetics than bone conduction but with higher situational awareness compared to in-ear headphones.

I have found bluetooth glasses like these to be fantastic when used for a discreet connection with your phone. You can use things like Google Maps without looking at your phone or losing that situational awareness. I have found this concept particularly useful on vacation, but I imagine it will be great for getting around everyday in cities by bike / scooter etc.

Last updated on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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