Oakley has improved the Thump Pro (read review) MP3 sunglasses design: the Split Thump has removable earphones that turn them into “normal” sunglasses when the music player function is not needed. The MP3 control buttons have also been hidden in the Oakley logos on each side, a very nice touch in my opinion. Like the Thump Pro, the Split is designed for sports and is sweat-resistant and holds on the head pretty nicely, provided that your head is big enough – it comes in one size only
I was surprised to see that the sound quality has been perceptibly improved since the Thump Pro, which was quite OK already. It’s hard to describe it with words, but the difference is large enough so that the average person can hear it.
The control buttons might be hidden in the logos on each side, but the Split Thump work exactly like the Thump Pro: the volume is on one side and track control on the other. It takes less than one second to switch from one track to another. The “audio overdrive” feature is still there: copy your favorite song in a special folder and you’ll have a quick access to that particular track
The Oakley Split Thump connects to a computer via USB 2.0. Normally, one should not even have to use the CD that comes with the Split (I didn’t) and the glasses should just show up as a flash drive. From there, drag and drop your music files (AAC, MP3, WMA WAV) to the Split Thump and voila. Obviously, you can copy any type of files to the Thump Split – it’s just a normal flash drive.
The battery is rated for 8 hours of continuous use under normal conditions (volume not set to maximum…), and it’s probably somewhat close in the real world, but I have not tried it because I think that it will outlast your average training session.
With a price tag ranging from $249 (512MB) to $399 (2GB), the Split Thump is not really a mass market MP3 player – it’s rather expensive. Also, I don’t expect the Split Thump to fully replace a regular pair of sunglasses because it’s heavier and bulkier, so think of them as a second pair of sunglasses. The Split Thump is not for everyone and most people won’t feel (or understand) the need to get them, but for those who do and who can afford it, we can say that they work very well.