Soundcore Frames audio glasses review
Soundcore Frames review verdict
Soundcore Frames audio glasses sound great and look fabulous – just like real glasses or sunglasses. If you’re looking for a way to privately listen to music without being cut off from your environment, look no further.
- Most comfortable and natural “headphones” you’ll ever listen to
- Auto play/pause
- Built-in touch controls
- 10 interchangeable lenses
- Lenses can be replaced for prescription
- IPX-4 water-resistant
- App for audio controls & personalization
- Privacy mode toggle
- Accepts voice commands like “Volume Up” without a trigger word
- Audio quality is pretty decent considering nothing is in-ear
- App offers virtual try-on for frames
- Proprietary charger and no wireless charging
- Only one pair of frames included
- Only available with black arms
- Swapping frames could be easier
- Don’t fold perfectly
- Included hard case is bulky
- Not great in loud environments
- Not for glasses wearers unless a third party swaps in prescription lenses
- Doesn’t always turn on immediately and touch button can be tricky
Soundcore Frames are the beginning of a new audio trend: Glasses with built-in speakers. They look like glasses, they sound like speakers, and we fell in love with them almost immediately. Soundcore Frames are the newest way to listen to music, and there’s no need to plug or cover your ears. Even better, you never have to take them off or pause your music to have a conversation or be present. There are currently 10 interchangeable frames that come in all different designs, including sunglasses and blue light eyeglasses.
Watching people put on Soundcore Frames and seeing their face light up is a fun experience. The responses are usually the same: “woah”, “am I the only one that can hear this?!”, and “this is so much better than headphones!”. It’s an impressively usable device.
Listening to Soundcore Frames is a unique experience. Nothing goes in your ears, and you put them on like any other pair of glasses. There’s a sensor built-in that pauses and plays audio when you put them on. Listening to music and not having something stuck in your ear feels liberating and comfortable, especially if you don’t want to completely silence your surroundings. You’ll feel very available and aware of your surroundings. And, it still feels like a personal experience with your music or audio. They’re amazing at the office, around the house, or strolling outside — especially when you want to be somewhat available and present. You can have full-on conversations with people, and most will have no idea you’re wearing technology and/or listening to music or podcasts. You also won’t inadvertently talk too loud since you can hear your own voice perfectly.
As mentioned, these are speakers and not earbuds. If you’re playing at a normal to loud volume then people within a few feet might be able to hear something in a quiet environment. It’s not so different from being near someone playing music loudly on their headphones, like on-ear headphones. There’s even a privacy mode that you can toggle in the app. This is on by default when you’re on a phone call. Privacy mode will make the sound less loud, but it also seems to limit the speakers that it’s coming out of (2 instead of 4?).
We figured the audio quality would be crummy, but were surprised that they sound pretty good considering the design. They’re on par with an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker. The bass is light, and they’re not the clearest or cleanest, but they’re still well balanced. We don’t find the audio quality distracting or displeasing. Our ears really appreciate not being plugged, which definitely adds to the listening experience.
They get plenty loud in quiet environments, but can be hard to hear in loud environments. Each arm has 2 speakers, making 4 in total. In the app you can customize the EQ, and choose from a few presets. We like the default signature best, but love the optionality. There’s even a surround mode with 7 levels of intensity for a more immersive concert-like experience. Surround mode is fun, but we prefer it off.
The built-in microphone is fantastic for taking phone calls. It’s a lot clearer than most Bluetooth headphones we’ve reviewed. Voices are natural and clear and the background noise is limited too. Soundcore did a nice job with the microphone.
Battery life and charging
The technology is in the arms (or “temples”) of the glasses. The frames and lenses are swappable and tech-less. They come with a hard case but it’s unfortunately not a charging case. Instead you get a proprietary USB cable with two magnetic contacts for charging. The battery lasts 5.5 hours, which is not bad, but not great. It’s very easy to use the included charger, but this is one of the notable drawbacks. There’s no wireless charging, and good luck finding one of these charging cables in a pinch. Admittedly, it’s a challenging thing to engineer since both arms need to be charged.
Frames and lense options
There’s a variety of frames and lenses available to choose from. The frames and lenses look like any typical pair of glasses or sunglasses, and Soundcore covered a lot of the classic looks. The arms are always the same; they’re thick, black, and shiny. They may contrast some of the frames, but few people would suspect they’re anything other than regular glasses. There’s only one pair of frames included, but there are 10 different interchangeable frames that cover all the bases. From classic wayfarer sunglasses, to “cafe-style” blue light glasses, to “festival” style. The clear lenses filter out 32% of blue light to make screen time easier on your eyes. The sunglasses are polarized and scratch-resistant.
Soundcore doesn’t offer a prescription lens option, but in theory, you could have a glasses maker swap them into existing Frames. The frames all cost $49.99 each. They’re easy to swap out, but we do feel like we’re about to break them every time we do it. Since you may find yourself wanting to wear these inside and outside, it’s too bad Soundcore doesn’t offer a 2 frame bundle for sunglasses and blue light eyeglasses. It’d also be nice to have frames with lenses that transition from clear to shaded depending on sunlight.
Soundcore Frames review verdict
I couldn’t have been more wrong when I thought Soundcore Frames would be gimmicky. While they won’t replace my earbuds or over-ear headphones, they’re the headphones I want to wear when I need to be somewhat present and aware. The feedback I get from showing them to other people is overwhelmingly positive. One compared it to “having your own background music” and purchased them on the spot.
Soundcore Frames are great but there are still some trade-offs, gripes, and scenarios where we wouldn’t recommend them. First off, they’re not great in loud environments. On the New York City subway, I had them on maximum volume and could hear my music… but it wasn’t so enjoyable along with all the subway noise. In a crowded restaurant/bar I could barely hear my music at all. Next, they don’t fold perfectly, which bugs us. They try to fold like normal glasses but one arm sticks out awkwardly. They come with a triangular hard case that is nice but can take some finagling for the magnetic lock to hold tight. The proprietary charger is the biggest kicker. Charging Frames is easy and fine, but it’s inconvenient to carry that one charger everywhere. Swapping frames could be a bit easier — it feels like we’re going to break the glasses half the time. Finally, if you’re already a glasses wearer, then you either have to figure out how to get prescription lenses swapped in, or you’re mostly out of luck. We were able to put these on top of and underneath our normal glasses — it’s as awkward as it sounds, but still worked.
Soundcore Frames review verdict
Soundcore Frames are currently available and cost $199.99 with any one of the 10 frames included. If you can swing it, we’d recommend a pair of frames you can wear inside and outside. While Soundcore Frames have their quirks, we loved them and think most people will be blown away with this new format of listening to audio.
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