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 way in which with its Frames audio sun shades. Amazon can also be within the sport with its Echo Frames, now on their second era. A bunch of different corporations, lots of that are no-name Chinese language producers, have launched audio glasses in current months. Some are geared towards on a regular basis use, permitting you to forgo headphones and stealthily take heed 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 reality is most audio sun shades do not sound good, and plenty of sound downright unhealthy, together with and particularly people who use bone-conduction know-how 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 usually on par with what a pair of free earbuds you’d get on a airplane would produce — and generally it is worse. Additionally they are likely to leak sound at larger volumes, which implies people who find themselves standing close by can hear your audio. 

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That mentioned, in the event you take heed to extra spoken-word audio — whether or not that is podcasts, audiobooks or speak radio — audio glasses are simply wonderful as a result of they’re strongest within the midrange, the place vocals dwell. And many of the audio glasses on this checklist work effectively for making telephone calls; some characteristic beam-forming microphones. 

Except for audio high quality, the opposite essential issue is clearly the glasses’ design. There’s lots of variation there as effectively, with some fashions becoming higher and looking out extra fashionable than others.

Learn extraGreatest locations to purchase substitute prescription lenses on-line in 2021

It must be famous that you could add prescription lenses to most audio sun shades, and it is simple sufficient to ship your glasses in to an internet substitute lens web site. (Take a look at our checklist of greatest locations to purchase substitute prescription lenses on-line in 2021.) Nevertheless, that provides to the general value, with substitute lenses typically costing round $100 to $200, relying on the kind of lens you select. 

Whereas I am solely recommending a number of fashions at this level, I am going to replace this checklist as new ones are launched. Loads extra are on the way in which and hopefully they will enhance. 

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WaterproofSure (IPX4 ranking — splashproof).

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

The Tempo affords barely higher sound and battery life than the extra traditional-looking Tenor and Soprano (see beneath). 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 certainly improved from the unique Frames. Bose says the Tempo performs “deeper and louder — loud sufficient for biking at 25 mph — whereas nonetheless capable of hear visitors and your coaching companions.” 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.) Additionally they work effectively for making calls, because of a brand new dual-microphone system. Non-obligatory lenses can be found for $39 and you’ll order prescription lenses by way of Lensabl. Learn our Bose Tempo Frames assessment.

David Carnoy/CNET

WaterproofSure (IPX4 ranking — splashproof).

Razer has made a shock entry into the audio glasses enviornment and the result’s surprisingly good. The Razer Anzu is available in spherical and sq. variations in two totally different measurement choices and is accessible now for $200. When it comes to sound, it is arguably only a tad behind the Bose Tenor and Soprano beneath (like these fashions, the Anzu has 16mm drivers), nevertheless it’s fairly shut. It is somewhat bass-shy, nevertheless it nonetheless has extra bass than a few of the different fashions on this checklist. Its $50 cheaper price tag additionally offers it a price benefit over the Bose.

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

They’re IPX4 waterproof (that means they’re splashproof) so you should utilize them for operating — audio glasses work effectively 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.

Additionally price noting: Since Razer is a “gaming life-style” firm, it is highlighting its low-latency Bluetooth know-how — it says the “personalized Bluetooth 5.1 connection brings industry-leading 60ms latency for clean, stutter-free sound.”

The Razer Anzu companion app for iOS and Android allows firmware updates, enables you to make EQ changes (default, enhanced readability or treble enhance), entry latency settings and test battery standing. You may 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 homeowners, however you may examine its costs with different websites’ costs.

David Carnoy/CNET

WaterproofNo (no IPX ranking).

Just like the Tempo, the Tenor and Soprano are a part of Bose’s line of second-generation audio sun shades, however whereas the Tempo is extra sport-oriented, these fashions are designed to seem like normal sun shades. (You possibly can nonetheless run or bike with them however they don’t seem to be rated for water- or sweat-resistance.) They’re slicker-looking than the unique Bose Alto and Rondo Frames, they usually have a shiny end. The Tenor suits my face higher than the Soprano, which — as its title implies — Bose is aiming at girls who like outsized sun shades. Anecdotally, my daughter likes it.

Bose improved the sound within the Tenor and Soprano and the battery life is best. It is as much as 5.5 hours as a substitute of round three.5 hours, charging with a pogo-pin cable slightly than USB-C. Each pairs of sun shades play somewhat louder than the unique Frames and the bass response is best, so music sounds fuller and richer. Do not count on the massive bass you get from a normal set of headphones, although, they usually can distort at larger volumes. Nonetheless, the sound is considerably higher than what you get from even the most effective bone-conduction headphones like these from AfterShokz, which developed a pair of audio sun shades however by no means shipped it.

Just like the Tempo, Bose has additionally upgraded the voice-calling capabilities in these fashions, including twin beam-forming microphones. Bose affords non-compulsory lenses for $39. Since these sun shades 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. Learn our full assessment of the Bose Frames Tenor and Soprano.

James Martin/CNET

WaterproofSure (IPX4 ranking — splashproof).

For sure, 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 house 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). Additionally they work effectively for making calls, with respectable noise discount open air. 

Actually, the one strike in opposition to 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 effectively in need of the Bose Frames when it comes to sound. That mentioned, they’re presently an honest possibility for audio glasses and in the event you strive them and don’t love them, they’re straightforward sufficient to return to Amazon. It’s price noting that the included lenses are clear and never tinted, so they don’t seem to be sun shades.

They arrive in a number of totally different coloration choices (the Horizon Blue model is pictured) and battery life is rated at a modest 4 hours for music playback. Just like the Bose Frames (aside from the Tempo), they cost with a proprietary pogo-pin cable. A pleasant carrying case is included.

On-line substitute lens websites similar to replacerxlenses.com, Lensabl and overnightglasses.com can match Echo Frames with RX lenses.

David Carnoy/CNET

WaterproofSure (IPX4 ranking — splashproof).

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

I had somewhat bother initially pairing the glasses with my iPhone 12 Professional — I needed to reset the glasses — however as soon as I received every thing 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. Additionally they labored decently for making calls.

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

On-line substitute lens websites similar to replacerxlenses.comLensabl, and overnightglasses.com can match Fauna audio glasses with RX lenses. 

David Carnoy/CNET

A number of 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 the event you apply the code CNET20 at checkout, you will get you 20% off ($30), which places them at an inexpensive $120.

I attempted the Taylor’s they usually match my face effectively and had been comfy to put on. They do not sound nice however additionally they do not sound unhealthy. They’re form 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 arrive with 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 out and in. 

The 20%-off low cost code (CNET20) is presently on good on the Flows web site, and it is unclear when it would expire.

David Carnoy/CNET

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

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

JLab says its JBuds Frames comprise “two independently working Bluetooth true wi-fi audio units, which could be affixed to the temples of sun shades, eyeglasses, and equally styled blue gentle blocking eyewear.” They’ve 16mm drivers, and JLab says your music cannot be “heard by these shut by,” although from my checks that solely applies if 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 ranking, making them splash-resistant. They cost with a proprietary pogo-pin cable.

Learn extraThe very best open wi-fi earbuds that are not AirPods