Anker Innovations has just unveiled the Soundcore Frames, a pair of audio glasses designed with immersive sound in mind. The Soundcore Frames will feature Anker’s Open Surround System, which will place speakers both in front and behind the ear to better enhance the stereo sound.
While no concrete release date has been confirmed yet, Anker has said that the Soundcore Frames will launch in mid-November at various US and UK retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy, and will retail for $199 / £149 .
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Ten pairs of frames will be made available on the official Soundcore website, so consumers buying there will have a plethora of styles to choose from. It’s worth noting that the frames are also interchangeable, offering customers the option to purchase more if they so desire. They can also be taken to an optometrist to have prescription lenses installed, which is a nice touch.
The Soundcore Frames also have polarized lenses by default, which reduce glare and protect the user’s eyes from UV rays. On top of that, the glasses have an IPX4 water-resistant rating, which makes them resistant to water, sweat, and splashes from any direction.
The Soundcore Frames looks promising, but one minor drawback is the battery life. In just 5 and a half hours on a full charge, headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4s fall short. The Soundcore Frames at least supports fast charging, however, giving an additional hour and a half of just 15 minutes of charging.
Analysis: A gimmick or a real push?
Audio and smart glasses are still relatively new technology, with very few products in the field offering little more than innovation. Ray-Ban Stories is probably one of the best efforts yet, but at $299 / £299 it’s a bit pricey. Their battery life also leaves a lot to be desired at just three hours.
But perhaps the biggest competitor to the Soundcore Frames are the Bose Frames, which, like Anker’s efforts, are purely audio sunglasses. The Bose Frame Tempo, in particular, offers better battery life at around 8 hours. However, all of the second-generation Bose Frames models are more expensive than the Soundcore Frames at $249 / $239.
By comparison, the Soundcore Frames is making some real improvements over the competition. The OpenSurround speaker system can bring a really great sound profile to the audio glasses, not to mention the low price point and relatively fine battery life making them a more attractive product overall.
Throw in voice control in addition to more traditional touch-based methods and Soundcore Frames looks like they’re at least trying to push the boundaries somewhat in the field with new features.
While we still think that smart glasses are still a bit too much of a novelty to recommend to a broad consumer base, it’s possible that Soundcore Frames can close that gap through their strong feature set and competitive price point.
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