In brief: The latest audio eyewear is coming from Anker or, more specifically, its Soundcore sub-brand. Whether or not you like the concept, device manufacturers are banking on it to become a popular wearable in the coming years, even if it’s not quite as futuristic or intriguing as, say, augmented reality glasses.
Anker is the latest manufacturer to join the race to create smart glasses that could see wider mainstream adoption. Today, the company’s Soundcore sub-brand launched the Soundcore Frames, which it says will keep you stylish while allowing you to listen to music, take phone calls, and still be able to hear other sounds around you. At the same time, those around you won’t even realize you’re listening to music.
The Soundcore Frames are the company’s first entry into an increasingly crowded space. Still, at $199.99 (£149.99 in the UK, €179.99 in the EU, and $249 in Canada), they’ll have a decent fighting chance against alternatives like the Amazon Echo Frames ($249.99) or the similarly priced Bose Frames and Razer Anzu smart glasses. You’ll be able to choose from one of ten different frame designs, but the bulky-looking side temples will only be available with a polished black finish.
Speaking of temples, they are similar to wireless earbuds in that both are equipped with speakers. It’s the same design recipe used by other companies making this kind of smart glasses, but Anker’s pair has the advantage of modularity, which allows you to switch frames easily. You can also get polarized lenses, blue-light filtering ones, or prescription lenses.
Additional frames cost $49.99 (£49.99 in the UK, €49.99 in the EU, and $59.99 in Canada) each, and the company allows you to virtually try on different designs using the Soundcore app and website. Controlling the glasses is done with both touch and voice controls. The battery is rated for up to 5.5 hours of continuous music playback. Anker says these are IPX4 water-resistant, so they’ll be able to survive the occasional use in light rain.