They are exactly what the name suggests.
They're a pair of frames with built-in speakers, so you can listen while you're on the go.
Sounds good on its own.
On its face.
But are they really worth it?
I mean, most of us have a favorite pair of sunglasses and a favorite pair of headphones or ear buds.
That being said, I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to five different companies and ask them to send me their very best audio frame so that I could answer for myself.
The most pressing questions I have about this product vertical.
Here they are.
They are many.
We have some accessories here.
So let's just jump in with the pair.
That is probably the most well known Bose frames.
I have two out of the three styles, tenor and soprano.
Alright, so let's open up the tenors.
These are $250.
They are a second gen product and the tenors have the same specs as the Soprano's.
And you can see a lot of audio glasses are gonna have sort of this wider.
And these are the sopranos, generally meant for the ladies or anybody who loves a good cat I. Okay, next step we have somewhat of an anomaly in this group.
These are Amazon's second generation echo frames.
These are also $250.
And Yep, you guessed it, integrate Alexa into these pair of glasses.
Obviously these aren't sunglasses, but Amazon offers an optician guide so you can take them in for custom lenses.
So if you wanted to.
You could get them made into sunglasses.
Now something a little different.
These are Fanta audios pair of frames.
These have clear lenses just like the echo frames though Fanta does sell sunglasses models on their website.
All four styles are $250 each, just like the previous Two pairs Fanta says their frames can be heated and fitted by a professional which of course would be a huge plus if you have a prescription up next lucid light.
These retail for a little cheaper.
These are $150 and there are two models.
There's wayfarer and the one they sent me which is classic round.
lucid says if you listen to about an hour of music a day, you'll only need to charge these once a week, which would be very nice.
And lastly we've got flows.
These also So retail for $150 and they come in two styles brunos and tailors.
These are the tailors.
A single charge on these will also last about six to eight hours of continuous playback, which makes them very similar on paper to the lucid lights.
However, I will say this about the flows versus the lucid.
You can see the lucid lights have a much much thinner arm so that might be more comfortable.
We'll have to see.
Now it looks like all I have left to do is charge all of these beautiful pairs of frames up, and take them for a spin
So after connecting them how comfortable were they?
Could I wear them all day?
These little guys the echo friends were the lightest pair of glasses and by far the easiest to wear over the course of a day.
These are 31 grams, literally light as a feather.
You would not notice they were there, especially if you're already used to wearing glasses that might even be heavier than these.
Of course if you add a prescription it will increase the weight more than likely, but overall heco frames lightest pair easiest to wear, no problems.
The heaviest two pairs which clock in and out 50 grams.
Are the Bose frames which as you can see are quite a bit bigger.
Regardless just the surface area of them are bigger and the font is which also are bigger, but also heavy arms which is interesting because I can actually feel the weight of them sit.
On my ears a little more than any of the other glasses.
So worth knowing if you don't like heavy frames, especially like I mentioned, if you're going to add a prescription to any of these, it will increase the weight.
And some of these you may not want to wear all day long.
Now I feel like we can get to battery life.
Most of these frames, say on their respective websites that they're going to last anywhere between six to eight hours.
Now, that's probably true if you're listening to music at about 50% volume for a couple hours a day and then maybe you take a few calls But if you are in fact listening at, let's say 80% volume like I did, and you're listening at non stop, you're gonna get significantly less time than that.
I probably got anywhere between three to six hours of battery life.
A couple of these just over six hours, constantly playing music While I was sitting at my desk.
Unfortunately, the Echo frames had the worst battery life for me.
But I will say I did fiddle with them the most.
I activated Alexa all the time.
It was just really kind of one of those new tech problems where you run down the battery really quickly because you're constantly messing with it, but If you're a person who would use them very heavily, you would experience quite a bit less battery life.
I was impressed by the Bose frames and the Fonda's which offered me that kind of higher end six-ish hours of battery life when I was playing music constantly, non stop throughout the day.
I took some phone calls Listen to a Zoom meeting each day on each pair of these glasses.
And really just about every pair of these glasses gave me about three to four hours of use when cranked up to between 80 and 100% volume.
So take that for what it's worth.
Okay, so the big question the one that I get more than anything else, when I tell people I'm testing out audio frames, which is How good they sound compared to what I'm already using.
Let's talk about it from least impressive to most impressive.
First, I'm gonna say the lucid, lucid lights.
These with music sound incredibly tinny, incredibly tinny.
I was not a fan of these, in fact The trouble was so over driven that there was a lot of distortion at higher volume and it actually kind of hurt my ears because it was pretty loud, especially in a quiet setting.
So obviously like you wouldn't have it set to max if you were sitting at your desk but there was a tidiness there that I was not a fan of my ear did not like it.
And I just don't recommend them for listening to music.
Next I would say the flows on these actually had a significant improvement in musical audio quality compared to the loose.
It's they sounded pretty good, I would say a solid middle of the pack.
They're not the worst, not the best.
And for the price point, it's definitely the better of the two compared to the loosens.
Amazon Echo frames, okay.
So these are not made for listening to music.
I mean that's, I feel like that's all I can say about them.
It just doesn't sound very good.
It's awesome for a lot of spoken word stuff.
So if you listen to a lot of podcasts, if you listen to a talk radio or if you listen to,
News or audio books, those are actually a really good choice but if you're in it for kind of a music experience when I listen to music with a pair of audio frames would not recommend me the echo frames at all.
Definitely a glasses assistant first then Audiobooks and podcasts, literally everything else, and then music.
And then we have the last two so far has had good audio quality when they worked 100% so I did actually have trouble with the faunas.
There were a couple instances throughout the day where I would pick them up or reconnect and only the right speaker.
Wouldn't be able to be heard.
You can see these are actually the little speakers right here.
But when they did work, they sounded decent.
And finally, kind of no surprise here Bose have the best sounding audio out of all five of these different pairs of audio frames.
These sounded pretty good.
I would say they are up there faunas when working properly sounded pretty close to these so if it was a question of style, you could choose probably either or and get a similar experience.
But hey, Bose has a history of being really good with audio.
I own A couple of bows over the ear headphones that I like very much.
And they do seem to have a little bit of an edge in the way of sound quality when you're listening to music.
Okay, we have to talk about conductivity.
So I genuinely do not appreciate needing to sign up for yet another account in yet another app.
And that is what Bose makes you do.
It was not very quick or easy to get up and running out of the box.
When I buy a pair of audio sunglasses, I just want to charge them turn turn them on and immediately connect to them via the Bluetooth function in settings.
Not so with Bose.
Now, to be fair, there are a lot of granular and kind of cool options in that app but.
Was still very annoying.
Please don't make me sign up for a new account somewhere.
I don't like it.
And yes before you jumped down in the comments and drag me about the echo frames also needing an app for setup, because they are connected to Alexa.
I get that but you're also using specifically.
Alexa, when you buy echo frames, so I feel like that deserves a pass.
There's also another thing I did not consider when testing out all of these different glasses.
If you have earbuds or headphones, you've probably put them down to go do something, use the bathroom, make yourself a sandwich, whatever.
But if you're using these and you put them down, you will run into that.
Very, very familiar problem of constantly disconnecting and reconnecting as you walk away and kind of go by your office and then all of a sudden, you're connected to the glasses because they're about 15 feet away.
But you don't actually want them to be connected right then at that time.
That got a little bit frustrating, but also, I To be fair.I did have five pairs of audio frames to test out.So it was probably a little more of a problem for me than it would be for anybody else who's interested in buying just one pair and keeping that in the house,but food for thought.The good news is all of these allow you to hear just about anything while you're out and about.You have complete Complete access to the sounds around you, ambient and otherwise, which is awesome.
But also sucks a little bit because, like I just said, you can hear [SOUND] everything around you, and that includes things like construction and Cars and trucks and people and screaming and animals.
You can hear everything.
So I figured it would be a good idea to test call quality,which I feel is a little separate from music quality with the vacuum test.
Now I'm not out there writing in any subway cars or walking past construction sites.
Near my house, unfortunately so I wasn't able to test it that way for you.
But I did figure out a way to test call quality with loud noises from the comfort of my own living room.
So for call quality, I thought it would be a good idea to have a zoom call with my co producer Logan.
And see if I could hear what he was telling me while I was vacuuming in my living room.
It's the loudest thing in my house.
So I figured this is a good.
It's a good way to test it.
All right, Logan, are you ready?
I'm ready, let's do it.
Okay, I can hear you.
I'm using the Bose Soprano's right now.
So I'm going to start up my vacuum I wanna give me a passcode and hopefully I can hear what you're saying.
[NOISE] So in the vacuums on, is it hard to hear me?
No, it's actually pretty clear.
I can barely hear you at all actually.
Alright, well, let's try a memory game the neck case and see if you can pick up what I'm saying.
There we go.
The first phrase that you will have to repeat is, Mario decided peach wasn't worth it.
Are in the oven.
That is very incorrect.
I can't okay now I'm stopping What was I right?
You're even close.
I said Mario said peach isn't worth it.
Yeah, totally different.
It is very hard to hear you in a vacuum running.
Should we try the next pair of glasses?>> Sure.
Let's try to compare.
The flows are on So okay, I'm gonna start vacuuming.
Let's see how the flows go.
All right, vacuuming.
Leonardo Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo.
It was very hard to hear but I think you said Leonardo Donna tallow Michelangelo Raphael,
Congratulations, you named the Ninja Turtles.
So I was able to sort of like deduce what you said, but it was not easy to hear.
Okay, let's go with the loosens Harry.
Okay, so I'm talking and hopefully you're able to hear me a little bit better than I Before
Joss Whedon is the director of Justice League
Super easy to hear you Josh Sweden is the director of the Justice League.
That's correct.>> So that was that was super simple.
Good job looses This is actually the easiest one to hear you out about 80% volume so nice.
Okay, we've got the echo frames.
Let's see It says my frames are offline.
Wants me to just reset them up by guess.
Even though they're already set up?
Okay, press the volume control twice.
Okay, it's connected.
First, it said there were two echo frames.
Now it says there are no echo frames One more time, this is very annoying.
So I guess these echo frames didn't want to connect, tried to reconnect them tried to connect them.
We literally just spent 10 minutes like troubleshooting this, they don't want to work so we're not going to do the vacuum tests.
With the echo frames, that's a shame.
Founda is connected.
I will say it is markedly clearer than most of the other frames.
So it feels like I'm able to hear you a little clearer.
Okay, let's do a passcode I have a feeling I'm gonna nail this one.
Alright, here we go Sally sells okay by the seashore.
Okay by the seashore.
Yeah, you got the mislead.
So from urine which pair of audience eyeglasses Do you think you were able to hear the best on,
I was able to hear the clearest and loudest on the loose, but only in one year, the loudest and the clearest in both ears.
Were these the phonos fauna, and then I was really disappointed with, with the ,the bows and the flows and we didn't even get to test the Amazon ones.
So what did I learn after testing five different pairs of audio glasses for a week?
You know, there were two notable options that I did not get my hands on for the purposes of this video.
JBuds has their frames, which are these clip on, devices that you can put on any pair of glasses, which is kind of cool.
And then razer has these anzu smart glasses, which will cost about 200 bucks.
Did not get to test those but I would imagine both of those generally will come in the same range as these go frames in terms of quality and battery life and all that stuff as for which one was best.
That is such a tough question because really, I think each one of these had.
One thing that it did pretty well so for me it faunas were a really good choice.
If I was indoors all the time, I might be interested in a pair of their sunglasses.
The Bose frames are great for anybody who wants a dependable audio brand and it's been around for a long time that the company's reliable that they understand audio I mean, it's really a safe pick.
If you're interested in the product category.
Like I mentioned earlier, the echo frames are perfect for anyone who likes to listen to audio or vocal content while they're maybe working at a desk.
I did think that listening to audio books would actually be really easy if you were plugged into Alexa and you had.
You know, the whole Amazon ecosystem with audible and all that stuff.
That I could see a really great use case for.
It's just not my use case.
And then if you're not willing to spend $250, like those three pairs are, but you do wanna try out a pair of audio sunglasses Lucid lights look really cool and had the loudest clearest phone call quality but then the flows also had better music quality.
So depending on your use cases, each one of these could work for you.
At the end of the day though, here's what it really boils down to.
If you are interested in this product category if you are interested in audio glasses As a thing, you have to know that you are just simply not going to get the same type of audio quality that you're going to get wearing a pair of ear buds like AirPods pro or galaxy buds or Sony's And you're definitely not going to get the same audio quality as you would wearing an over-the-ear pair of headphones.
I mean this is just, this is how it works, right?
So it's just high-definition.
You're just not going to have the same sorta detailed crisp audio that you would get in a closed ear environment.
That's how it is.
If you're an audio file, these likely aren't going to replace anything for you fully and completely you you have a product you probably already love listening to music on.
But maybe you want something to simplify your load out when you're.
Out and about.
Let's say you want to listen to music while you go hiking, but you still want to enjoy the surround sounds of nature, then something like audio glasses might be worth checking out.
Speaking of stuff worth checking out, you can click on any of these delightful CNET videos for more tech content.
And make sure to like and subscribe for all the best, newest In latest technology coverage right here on CNET YouTube channel.
Until next time be good humans.
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