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Best Bluetooth audio glasses and sunglasses for 2021

Audio glasses, which have built-in micro-speakers and a Bluetooth connection, are proliferating. Bose is main the best way with its Frames audio sunglasses. Amazon can also be within the recreation with its Echo Frames, now on their second era. A number of different corporations, a lot of that are no-name Chinese producers, have launched audio glasses in latest months. Some are geared towards on a regular basis use, permitting you to forgo headphones and stealthily hearken to audio on the go, whereas others are designed for runners and bikers who wish to depart their ears open to the world for security causes.

The fact is most audio sunglasses do not sound good, and many sound downright dangerous, together with and particularly people who use bone-conduction technology as a substitute of conventional audio drivers. The glasses’ tiny embedded audio system hearth audio into your ears, and that audio tends to be missing within the bass and readability division. The sound is often on par with what a pair of free earbuds you’d get on a airplane would produce — and generally it is worse. They additionally are inclined to leak sound at greater volumes, which implies people who find themselves standing close by can hear your audio. 


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That mentioned, in case you hearken to extra spoken-word audio — whether or not that is podcasts, audiobooks or discuss radio — audio glasses are simply advantageous as a result of they’re strongest within the midrange, the place vocals stay. And a lot of the audio glasses on this listing work nicely for making telephone calls; some function beam-forming microphones. 

Aside from audio high quality, the opposite essential issue is clearly the glasses’ design. There’s loads of variation there as nicely, with some fashions becoming higher and trying extra trendy than others.

Read extraBest places to buy replacement prescription lenses online in 2021

It ought to be famous that you could add prescription lenses to most audio sunglasses, and it is simple sufficient to ship your glasses in to a web based substitute lens web site. (Check out our listing of best places to buy replacement prescription lenses online in 2021.) However, that provides to the general value, with substitute lenses usually costing round $100 to $200, relying on the kind of lens you select. 

While I’m solely recommending a couple of fashions at this level, I’ll replace this listing as new ones are launched. Plenty extra are on the best way and hopefully they will enhance. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 score — splashproof).

If you are trying for the best-sounding pair of audio glasses with the very best general efficiency — that features name high quality and battery life — the Bose Frames Tempo are the one to get. It’s ostensibly a sports activities mannequin designed for runners and bikers, and whereas it is a little bit cumbersome, it stays in your head securely. 

The Tempo gives barely higher sound and battery life than the extra traditional-looking Tenor and Soprano (see under). The Tempo has higher specs all-around, with USB-C charging and bigger 22mm drivers. It additionally delivers as much as eight hours of battery life.

Their sound is unquestionably improved from the unique Frames. Bose says the Tempo performs “deeper and louder — loud enough for cycling at 25 mph — while still able to hear traffic and your training partners.” They’re sweat-, weather-, scratch- and shatter-resistant, in line with Bose and match underneath most protecting helmets. (I had no downside utilizing them with a few bike helmets.) They additionally work nicely for making calls, because of a brand new dual-microphone system. Optional lenses can be found for $39 and you may order prescription lenses by means of LensablRead our Bose Tempo Frames review.

David Carnoy/CNET

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 score — splashproof).

Razer has made a shock entry into the audio glasses area and the result’s surprisingly good. The Razer Anzu is available in spherical and sq. variations in two totally different dimension choices and is out there now for $200. In phrases of sound, it is arguably only a tad behind the Bose Tenor and Soprano under (like these fashions, the Anzu has 16mm drivers), but it surely’s fairly shut. It’s a little bit bass-shy, but it surely nonetheless has extra bass than a number of the different fashions on this listing. Its $50 cheaper price tag additionally offers it a worth benefit over the Bose.

They’re additionally fairly mild and comfy to put on (as you may see from the picture, I attempted the sq. model). The small model weighs 43 grams whereas the big weighs 48 grams. By comparability, the Echo Frames, the lightest audio glasses on this listing, are 31 grams. The glasses embrace 35% blue mild filtering lenses together with a set of polarized sunglass lenses (you may simply swap them in).

They’re IPX4 waterproof (which means they’re splashproof) so you should utilize them for operating — audio glasses work nicely for operating and biking, as a result of they depart your ears open so you may hear visitors. Battery life is rated at as much as 5 hours at reasonable quantity ranges and extra polarized lenses can be found for $30.

Also value noting: Since Razer is a “gaming lifestyle” firm, it is highlighting its low-latency Bluetooth expertise — it says the “customized Bluetooth 5.1 connection brings industry-leading 60ms latency for smooth, stutter-free sound.”

The Razer Anzu companion app for iOS and Android allows firmware updates, permits you to make EQ changes (default, enhanced readability or treble increase), entry latency settings and examine battery standing. You could make calls with them and entry your digital assistant with a button press.

Razer has partnered with Lensabl for prescription lenses, though extra on-line substitute lens websites, together with replacerxlenses.com and overnightglasses.com, can match them with RX lenses. Lensabl is providing a 15% low cost to Anzu house owners, however you may evaluate its costs with different websites’ costs.

David Carnoy/CNET

Water-resistantNo (no IPX score).

Like the Tempo, the Tenor and Soprano are a part of Bose’s line of second-generation audio sunglasses, however whereas the Tempo is extra sport-oriented, these fashions are designed to appear like customary sunglasses. (You can nonetheless run or bike with them however they are not rated for water- or sweat-resistance.) They’re slicker-looking than the unique Bose Alto and Rondo Frames, and they’ve a shiny end. The Tenor suits my face higher than the Soprano, which — as its identify implies — Bose is aiming at ladies who like outsized sunglasses. Anecdotally, my daughter likes it.

Bose improved the sound within the Tenor and Soprano and the battery life is healthier. It’s as much as 5.5 hours as a substitute of round 3.5 hours, charging with a pogo-pin cable reasonably than USB-C. Both pairs of sunglasses play a little bit louder than the unique Frames and the bass response is healthier, so music sounds fuller and richer. Don’t count on the large bass you get from a typical set of headphones, although, and they’ll distort at greater volumes. Still, the sound is considerably higher than what you get from even the very best bone-conduction headphones like these from AfterShokz, which developed a pair of audio sunglasses however by no means shipped it.

Like the Tempo, Bose has additionally upgraded the voice-calling capabilities in these fashions, including twin beam-forming microphones. Bose gives non-compulsory lenses for $39. Since these sunglasses have a extra conventional design, extra on-line substitute lens websites — together with replacerxlenses.com, Lensabl and overnightglasses.com — can match them with RX lenses. Read our full review of the Bose Frames Tenor and Soprano.

James Martin/CNET

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 score — splashproof).

Needless to say, Amazon’s Echo Frames have Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant constructed into them so you may ask what the climate is, get information and sports activities scores, skip your music tracks ahead and management your Alexa sensible residence merchandise with out touching your glasses. I like their design — they’re light-weight and match my face comfortably and securely (they match me higher than all of the Bose audio glasses). They additionally work nicely for making calls, with respectable noise discount outdoor. 

Really, the one strike towards them is that they sound fairly middle-of-the-road for audio glasses. They’re OK sound-wise however are missing within the bass division and fall nicely in need of the Bose Frames when it comes to sound. That mentioned, they’re at present a good choice for audio glasses and in case you attempt them and do not like them, they’re straightforward sufficient to return to Amazon. It is value noting that the included lenses are clear and not tinted, so they aren’t sunglasses.

They are available in a couple of totally different shade choices (the Horizon Blue model is pictured) and battery life is rated at a modest 4 hours for music playback. Like the Bose Frames (besides for the Tempo), they cost with a proprietary pogo-pin cable. A pleasant carrying case is included.

Online substitute lens websites equivalent to replacerxlenses.com, Lensabl and overnightglasses.com can match Echo Frames with RX lenses.

David Carnoy/CNET

Water-resistantYes (IPX4 score — splashproof).

Austria-based Fauna simply launched its audio glasses, which can be found in a couple of totally different fashion choices. They have a premium really feel to them and are among the many most trendy audio glasses on the market — I attempted the Spiro clear brown (pictured), which match my face nicely and has Carl Zeiss tinted lenses. 

I had a little bit bother initially pairing the glasses with my iPhone 12 Pro — I needed to reset the glasses — however as soon as I bought all the things linked up they routinely paired each time I took them out of the case. These glasses cost of their case, which has a USB-C port built-in into it. 

The Fauna glasses I attempted sounded fuller than the Amazon Echo Frames, however they weren’t pretty much as good as any of the Bose Frames. They additionally labored decently for making calls.

Fauna audio glasses are on the costly aspect at $300, however they do have a extra premium look and really feel to them — and that goes for the case as nicely. The sound high quality is healthier than what you get from most audio glasses, too, but it surely’s nonetheless a little bit underwhelming in comparison with what you get from a pair of funds headphones. 

Online substitute lens websites equivalent to replacerxlenses.comLensabl, and overnightglasses.com can match Fauna audio glasses with RX lenses. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Numerous the higher Bluetooth audio glasses begin round $200. Flows, which makes ound (Taylor’s) and sq. (Bruno’s) fashions, sells its audio glasses for $150 and in case you apply the code CNET20 at checkout, you will get you 20% off ($30), which places them at an reasonably priced $120.

I attempted the Taylor’s and they match my face nicely and had been comfy to put on. They do not sound nice however in addition they do not sound dangerous. They’re type of center of the pack so far as sound goes and the identical goes for call-quality efficiency. Battery life is rated at as much as 5 hours for music listening, which can also be center of the pack.

They include tinted lenses however you should purchase an non-compulsory lens pack that features three lenses (together with clear) for $30. The lenses are comparatively straightforward to swap in and out. 

The 20%-off low cost code (CNET20) is at present on good on the Flows web site, and it is unclear when it’s going to expire.

David Carnoy/CNET

Maybe you have had your eye on Bose’s second-gen Frames audio sunglasses (see above), however you regarded on the $250 price ticket and mentioned no thanks. Well, JLab Audio might be releasing a $49 different in late April (they’re obtainable for preorder now). The JBuds Frames are basically open-ear true-wireless earbuds that clip onto your present glasses.

It’s an intriguing idea that JLab describes as a bring-your-own-frame design, though it is clearly a bit kludgy trying and a bit disingenuous to name these earbuds “frames.” That mentioned, I obtained a assessment pattern and can let you know that these sound virtually pretty much as good because the Bose Frames and are additionally respectable sufficient for making calls. In reality, I’d say they’re the second-best-sounding “audio frames” on this listing.

JLab says its JBuds Frames comprise “two independently operating Bluetooth true wireless audio devices, which can be affixed to the temples of sunglasses, eyeglasses, and similarly styled blue light blocking eyewear.” They have 16mm drivers, and JLab says your music cannot be “heard by those close by,” although from my checks that solely applies once you’re listening to audio at extra reasonable quantity ranges. 

Battery life is rated at eight hours, and the clip-on units have an IPX4 water-resistance score, making them splash-resistant. They cost with a proprietary pogo-pin cable.

Read extraThe best open wireless earbuds that aren’t AirPods

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