The Soundcore Frames is a product that turns glasses into quality wearable speakers. The audio sunglasses category isn’t new, and products such as the Huawei Gentle Monster Eyewear or the Bose Frames have explored the concept before, with some success. However, Soundcore Frames benefits from what the market has learned from these initial experiences and was designed to offer a more practical and cost-efficient product. Does it deliver?
From a design standpoint, the Soundcore Frames has a massive advantage over most competitors: the frames are interchangeable. Users can switch between sunglasses and clear glasses or change styles to match their mood or outfit.
The “size” is defined by the frame’s (the front) width, and not all available frames are the same. On the one hand, it’s great because more people can find something that fits them. On the other hand, there’s no easy way to test them in a store, at least for now.
If you pay attention, you’ll see that the glasses’ temples are a bit chunky, and that’s the main hint it is a wearable device. The battery and electronics are in there, and it’s hard to see how this could be much smaller using current technology.
As sunglasses, this product works fine outdoors and is comfortable to use, even in places where you might get water exposure, such as pools or the beach: the product does offer some water resistance. When using clear glasses, having a 3rd party install prescription lenses is possible, but something I have not tested myself.
Having swappable frames significantly expands the use cases for the Souncore Frames since using them at home or work is now possible. You are more likely to wear the Soundcore Frames (with clear lenses) in most situations as a replacement for headphones and, more importantly, earbuds.
Some people can wear earbuds all day, but many others experience discomfort and even itching when using earbuds extensively. Soundcore Frames is infinitely more comfortable for the ears since nothing is covering or entering the ear.
The small speakers produce powerful and clear sound in an office-type environment with moderate ambient sound. At the same time, it’s not loud enough that everyone will hear your audio stream, but if someone is close enough, and if the volume is high enough, people can technically hear something.
I found the quality to be great for this type of product. I tried using the glasses in the car for voice directions and during Zoom calls at work. I also used it as a general earbuds replacement, and it all worked fine, except if the environment became too noisy.
It won’t surprise anyone, but an audio device like this is not designed for maximum sound immersion and fidelity. Traditional headphones or earbuds are more optimized for that purpose. However, it is exceptionally well suited for maximum ear comfort and awareness of your surroundings.
The microphone tends to pick up small or far-away noises that are irrelevant to a phone or video call. That is something that established (“big brand”) earbuds tend to be better at. It’s not easy to compare the microphone audio quality, but suffice to say that I’ve had many people tell me about the background noises.
At work, I use a USB microphone, so that’s not an issue, but for impromptu phone calls, it would be great to have better background noise reduction.
Gestures & controls
It is possible to control some functions using gestures on the temples, this includes:
Play/pause: tap on the logo area
Volume or Next/Previous control: swipe the logo area
Manual ON/OFF: press and hold where the temples are curving
Note that there’s a Voice Control function similar to other smart earphones. You’ll need to install the Soundcore app to enable it.
Theoretically, it is possible to get about 5.5 hours of playback on a full battery. It depends on the volume, but that seems like a realistic assessment by the manufacturer. I’ve never used it that long, even though I routinely have it on me for a few hours during days with lots of video conferences.
When you need a charge, 10 minutes [of charging] should give you about 90mn of playback. You can charge it in-between meetings or during a short break in a pinch. I like the simple cable-charging methodology. There’s an optional charging box, but I want the bare minimum when I travel.
Initially, I used the Souncore Frames without installing the Souncore app, and it’s possible if that’s what you want. However, software updates and other improvements are delivered via the app, so installing it at some point might be helpful.
However, it bothers me that I need to “register” and create an account to use the app. Inside the app, it is possible to customize the Equalizer, enable the Open Surround sound, update the firmware, change the controls, and more.
Soundcore Frames is a great product built to surpass the limitations experienced by the first generation of audio glasses. As such, it offers the overall best user experience in the largest number of use cases, indoor and outdoor.
Its multiple sizes allow it to address a more extensive user base, as more people will likely find something they like. Additionally, changing styles or replacing scratched or broken lenses is easy if you are unlucky enough to damage them.
Assuming you find the size and style you like, and if you understand this is an audio device optimized for ear comfort and not maximum audio immersion, it should work well. I found it fantastic for long days filled with online Zoom calls or while driving long distances with voice directions (and sunglasses!). It is better than the “bone conduction” alternatives I’ve tried thus far.
- Good sound quality
- Comfortable to wear
- Foldable & Interchangeable glasses
- Prescription glasses can be installed by 3rd party
- Sound not as good as earphones or headphones
- Noise reduction could be better
Rating + Price
- Rating: 9.1/10
- Price: ~$149
- Available on Amazon