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 OpenSurround system, positioning speakers both in front and behind the ear to better amplify stereo sound.
While no concrete release date has been confirmed as of yet, Anker has stated that the Soundcore Frames will launch in early to mid November at a variety of 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 likely have a greater selection of styles to choose from. It’s worth noting that the frames are also interchangeable, granting the option to purchase more if a customer desires. They can also be taken to an optometrist to be fitted with prescription lenses, which is a nice touch.
The Soundcore Frames also feature polarized lenses by default, reducing glare and protecting the user’s eyes from UV rays. On top of that, the glasses feature an IPX4 water resistant rating, making them resistant to water, sweat and splashes from any direction.
The Soundcore Frames sound promising, then, but one slight drawback is battery life. At just 5 and a half hours on a full charge, the glasses fall well short of headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4s. The Soundcore Frames do at least support fast charging, however, granting an addition hour and a half from just 15 minutes of charging.
Analysis: A gimmick or a genuine push forward?
Audio and smart glasses are still relatively fledgling tech, with very few products in the field offering little more than novelty. The Ray-Ban Stories are perhaps one of the best efforts yet, but at $299 / £299 are a bit on the expensive side. Their battery life also leaves a lot to be desired at just three hours.
But perhaps the Soundcore Frames’ biggest competitor are the Bose Frames, which like Anker’s efforts are purely audio sunglasses. The Bose Frame Tempo, in particular, offer better battery life at around 8 hours. However, all models of Bose Frames’ second generation are more expensive than the Soundcore Frames at $249 / $239.
By comparison, the Soundcore Frames look to be making some genuine improvements over the competition. The OpenSurround speaker system could bring a genuinely great sound profile to the audio glasses, not to mention the lower price point and relatively okay battery life make them a more enticing product overall.
Throw in voice control in addition to the more traditional touch-based methods and the Soundcore Frames begin to look like they’re at least trying to somewhat push the boundaries in the field with new features.
While we still think smart glasses are still a bit too much of a novelty to recommend to wider consumer bases, it’s possible that the Soundcore Frames could close that gap through its robust feature set and competitive price point.
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