JBL solar-powered headphones promise 'unlimited playtime' via Powerfoyle solar cells
Never plug your headphones in again, unless you live in a caveBy Cal Jeffrey 13 comments
Forward-looking: Get ready to throw away your charging cable with Harman's JLB solar headphones. The company claims that the headset will run "infinitely" after being exposed to two and a half hours of sunlight.
One of the drawbacks of using wireless headphones is interrupting your listening session to recharge your cans. If you have a set with swappable batteries, like SteelSeries Siberia 840, the pause for the cause is shortened to a few seconds but is still annoying.
Audio equipment manufacturer JBL is hoping to eliminate this frustration with a set of headphones powered by the sun. Parent company Harman started an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund the concept into reality.
The over-ear headset, dubbed Reflect Eternal, promises "unlimited" listening through solar power that keeps the device charged. The company says it plans to utilize Exeger's Powerfoyle material to gather both direct and indirect light to keep the headphones running. The same material is used in some of Logitech's wireless keyboards like the K760, which works pretty well with indoor light.
In theory, JBL says that just an hour and a half of outdoor light will keep the cans charged for up to 69 hours, which is incredibly long compared to contemporary wireless headphones. If light sources ever become a problem, the company says users will be able to connect the Reflect Eternal via USB charging to get about two hours of playtime on a 15-minute charge.
It is important to note Harman's disclaimer about claimed playtimes.
"Playtime figures are based on estimates under certain lighting, charging and playtime conditions and an initially fully charged battery. Estimated charge time based on at least outside lux values of at least 50,000. Your actual conditions and playtime may vary."
Still, even a fraction of the declared uptime beats most charged battery models.
Bluetooth 5.0 will allow the headset to connect to just about any capable device. Hands-free calling, multi-device pairing, and JBL Pro Sound are also listed features.
The campaign has already met its crowdfunding goal, but it is still taking backers until January 14, 2020. A $99 pledge scores a set of Reflect Eternals, which start shipping next October. Harman lists a retail price of $165, so it's a pretty good discount for those willing to purchase sight-unseen.