Oakley Thump Pro review: Oakley Thump Pro

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Oakley Thump Pro sunglasses integrate an MP3 player into a compact, wearable, and straightforward design; they're extremely useful for outdoor activity. Like previous Thumps, these are compatible with both Windows and the Mac OS.

The Bad The Oakley Thump Pro sunglasses are expensive, and the style won't appeal to all users. The capacity maxes out at 1GB.

The Bottom Line If you're an active user looking to combine your love of music with your zest for outdoor activity, the Oakley Thump Pro MP3-playing sunglasses could be a great fit.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 5.0
Just in time for the upcoming skiing and snowboarding season, Oakley has launched an update to its Thump line of MP3-playing sunglasses. The latest model, dubbed the Thump Pro, doesn't expand much upon the features of the previous version, but rather offers an updated style that appears to be based upon Oakley's O Rokr Bluetooth sunglasses.

Available in a variety of capacities (256MB, 512MB, and 1GB) and frame/lens color combos (Polished Black/Grey, Polished Black/Black Iridium, Brown Smoke/Dark Bronze, and Crystal Black/Black Iridium), the Thump Pros nevertheless aren't for everyone. They're rather expensive--$249, $299, and $349 for the 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB, respectively--and the style is active, rather than sleek. That said, the glasses are lightweight and comfortable, so they should suit their key market: runners, cyclists, and skiers/boarders. Still, we personally prefer the style of the Thump 2s, where the frame wraps around the bottom edge of the lenses.

Like previous versions, the Thump Pros controls are laid out along the top edges of the glasses' arms. The left side contains the volume controls, while the right has the playback buttons (play/pause/power, fast-forward, and rewind). There's no display on the Thump Pros--we're still waiting for the day when Oakley can scroll song info along the inside of the lenses. The fully adjustable, telescoping earbuds come down from the bottom of the arms and should fit any user. They rest just outside the ear, which allows in plenty of ambient noise, but this is best for being aware of your surroundings (a wise idea during any active pursuit).

For an MP3 player with no screen, the Thump Pro offers a fair number of features. It's compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, and you can either drag and drop or transfer music via iTunes or Windows Media Player (the glasses have a standard mini USB port). MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, and Audible files are all supported; the Pro even plays protected WMAs purchased from online stores (but not subscription tracks). You can create playlists as folders and navigate through them by pressing the Up or Down Volume buttons while in Pause mode. And you can designate an Overdrive song (meant to be an up-tempo track for motivation during activity) that can be accessed immediately by pressing the play/pause and fast-forward keys at the same time.

As with previous Thumps, the Pros don't impress with their 6.4-hour battery life, but that's still plenty of time for most of the activities they're made for. A notable exception is a day on the slopes; this reviewer had the Thump 2s peter out at the end of a full day of boarding. Still, there's no denying the usefulness of having eye protection and music playback combined into one lightweight device when faced with a day on the snow.

Audio quality isn't stellar. Hip-hop tracks sounded a bit bright and lacking in depth for our tastes, but rock tracks sounded quite good. The low end is lacking overall, but you can get some bass if you really shove the earbuds in. The high end, however, was crystal clear and detailed across genres. All in all, music seemed to be lacking a bit in warmth, but in the final analysis was passable for the convenience of having an MP3 player integrated into a pair of sunglasses.

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