Here at Thumb Culture, we are so grateful to be able to review some of the latest tech for you. Well, have I got a treat for you today! Soundcore kindly sent me some of their latest audio glasses. Yes, you heard me correctly!
Soundcore Frames – Listen To Music & Look Great!
The Soundcore Frames come in a number of styles so without further ado let’s see what they are all about!
Design and Control
Opening the box you will find 2 side arms, known as audio temples, and your chosen interchangeable frames along with a charging cable. There is also a handy pouch to house your musical glasses when you are not wearing them.
The arms are made of black plastic however they are surprisingly not as chunky as you may think they should be for housing batteries, speakers and microphones. They are also not that heavy either, weighing in at around 50g with your chosen frames connected. The audio temples are rated at IPX4 which allows splashing from water.
With customisation being a key element for the Soundcore Frames, there are a whole host of interchangeable frames available to buy. If you are anything like me, not all glasses suit your face therefore there is a handy app on the Soundcore website that allows you to virtually try on the different frames to see what suits your style. I particularly liked the Tour Style for that Top Gun aviator look as well as the Promenade featuring clear glass and a silver frame for that more office look. Should you require prescription lenses then it is possible to have your optician insert them into the frames.
Assembling your chosen frames is a very simple affair of inserting the audio temples into the quick-release frame sockets. There are no buttons to release them and rely on you to hold the hinges and pull the audio temples away when you wish to change your frames. I didn’t at any point think that the frames were going to fall apart and they remained firmly attached to the sidearms at all times of me wearing them and folding them away.
Built into each of the audio temples are 2 specially designed speakers and a microphone. To control the frames there is a convenient touch-sensitive part of the arm that is used to control music, calls, and virtual assistants. Using a mixture of taps and finger slides keeps you in full control and can also be customised via the Soundcore app.
If you prefer a hands-free approach, there are 8 pre-programmed voice commands to learn. Thankfully there is no wake-up word, just a simple verbal command such as “Next Song”, “Volume Up” and “Answer the Call” is necessary.
The Soundcore Frames use Bluetooth to connect to your phone. The setup and pairing are easily done via the handy Soundcore app that you can download either from the Apple or Google store for free. Any firmware updates are installed wirelessly to the frames and you are good to go!
The frames only connect when they detect that they are being worn. This works well to save power while also managing the connecting and disconnecting side to the Bluetooth device automatically.
Sound and Performance
Donning the frames and playing music for the first time is a very surreal experience. From the moment you start to hear the sound, you look around for it as you are aware that you do not have anything in your ears.
The speakers are well angled to fire the soundwaves into your ears and the audio is very clear. Via the Soundcore app, you have full control over the frames.
Firstly there are 5 preset EQ’s that range from Soundcore Signature through to Classical. Each gives a slightly noticeable change in the sound. I liked the Dance setting as it seemed to accentuate the lower bands a little bit more than the other presets. If you prefer setting your own EQ then you can via the 9 band custom EQ setting.
As you can imagine, there is an element of sound bleed caused by having speakers hovering above your ears. The louder you go, the more others can hear, making any conversations heard very easily. Thankfully there is a Privacy mode that drops the volume right down. I actually found it quite surprising as in your ears you still receive a decent level of sound however somebody sitting along from you can barely hear a thing.
For that complete 3D experience there is an OpenSurround feature that expands the audio you are listening to. It utilises the dual speakers on each audio temple and the strength of the experience can be adjusted. While it was an interesting feature to play around with, I did find that it made the music sound a little bit tinny with any low notes a little lost.
Generally, music sounded a lot better at lower volumes rather than at higher levels as the sound came across as a little muffled. It was definitely a more pleasurable experience. The bass is noticeably not very strong.
When it came to using the frames in various scenarios, quieter locations were more preferable. In an open-plan office, you could hear your music ok over the chatter however walking down a busy road made it harder to hear due to the obvious noisy intrusions. I can appreciate though that this helps you be more aware of your surroundings.
I found that wearing them while working at your desk was a brilliant experience, especially when hosting online meetings, which seems to be the norm nowadays. No annoying headsets or buds while on the webcam and crystal clear sound right where I need it. It was commented that the (always-on) dual microphones were very clear during calls with very little background noise.
The finger gestures and voice commands all worked seamlessly with very little input lag although I did feel a little strange walking down the road saying the voice commands without anything noticeable in my ears. I did get a few funny looks.
For battery life, I got around 5 hours on a full charge and that was mainly listening to music at a moderate volume. While that isn’t a lot, should you wear them during the working day, a 10-minute charge via the small magnetic charging cable will give you around 1.5 hours of further listening.
The Soundcore Frames are certainly interesting. They are clearly in competition with the Bose Frames and both feature similar designs in terms of functionality. This is a niche market however I can see how they are a lot more convenient for how the world is currently changing. Taking part in online meetings is effortless and you are also not completely stuck at your desk thanks to the range of the Bluetooth connection. For casual listening to music, the Soundcore Frames are good at lower volume levels but do not expect the sound quality that you would usually get with using head/earphones.
If you’re after something with style and convenience then these could be what you are after. The Soundcore Frames receive a Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A sample was received in order to write this review.