If you’re not a fan of sticking things in or over your ears, your only option for listening to music are speakers that might well bother everyone around you. Right? Nope! There’s a new category of personal music listening device that’s just showing up and it’s ingenious: Sunglasses with built-in directional speakers. Nothing on or in your ears, and a design that lets you retain privacy in all but the quietest environments. Let’s look closer…
This category of audio gear first showed up about a year ago, and the very first models were pretty dorky, with tiny earbuds dangling from the portion of the arms of a pair of sunglasses. In the optometry world, those arms are called “temples”, by the way, so that’s what I’ll call them too, along with “temple tip” to refer to the portion of the temple that curves around the back of your ears. Thing is, if you are going to have a device a fraction of an inch from your ear, why require the user to put something in their ear?
And so the second generation of bluetooth sunglasses, with a tiny directional speaker built in to the temple and pointing directly at your ear canal. There are about a half-dozen companies on the market, but I’m going to look more closely at the terrific – and affordable! – Lucyd Lyte bluetooth sunglasses.
Let’s start with the glasses themselves. As you can see in the following photo, they just look like trendy sunglasses and you can definitely just wear them outdoors or driving to protect your eyes; they’re polarized and UV 400 protective:
You might notice that the temples are a bit thicker than you might expect; that’s all the circuitry. Remember that hidden in those temples are batteries, bluetooth receiver circuitry and sound reproduction drivers. In fact, a very close examination of the above photo will reveal the two cutout holes as the temple changes to the temple tip (that goes over your ear): those are the openings for the speakers.
You can also see the tiny brass control buttons, one on each temple, that lets you control the Lucyd Lyte directly. One push to change volume (depending on left or right), two to change tracks, a long push to access Siri or Google Assistant, among other features. There are also two microphones incorporated into the units too, leading to a splendid on-call experience with the person on the other end hearing you as good as if you were holding your phone up to the side of your head.
How do you charge them? Through a special cable that plugs into any USB charger. You can see the component quality and magnetic charger spot in this closeup:
The real magic of these bluetooth sunglasses, however, is that they look completely identical to regular sunglasses, so no-one has a clue you’re talking to a friend or listening to your favorite podcast or Spotify playlist while you’re walking around.
Check this photo out, you’ll see what I mean:
With earbuds and headphones, it’s obvious that the user is listening to something else, not you, but with these? You can easily be chatting with a buddy while at an outdoor event, skiing or just going for a hike in the mountains with your dog.
Now to be fair, the Lucyd Lyte sound good, but not fantastic; turns out that there’s a small price to pay for not having the speaker directly in your ear and for the company ensuring that these are affordable too (the Bose units are over twice the price by comparison). The Lucyd Lyte also feature 6.5 hours of playback or talk time, can be fitted with Rx prescription lenses and include a hard carrying case to keep them safe when not on your face.
My favorite use case is when I’m walking the dog around the neighborhood. I can very easily listen to an audio book and clearly understand every word, yet if I bump into a neighbor can tap to pause, chat with them, then go right back to my book without missing a single step. Good for me, good for our dog, and just a generally uber-modern experience.
They also just happen to look mighty trendy, which I appreciate too. Having reviewed various sunglasses and “smart” sunglasses, I’m hip to those designs that look awkward and clumsy and those that are entirely appropriate for walking down the beach on Maui and bumping into my favorite celebrity or film star without feeling like a completely dork! 🙂
The Lucyd Lyte are $119.99 and you can learn a lot more about them, including more detailed specs (get it? specs? 🙂 ), at www.lucyd.co.
Disclosure: Lucyd sent me a pair of the Lucyd Lyte to review both on my YouTube channel and here on my site. Thanks mucho, Lucyd. Darn appreciated. #sunglasses #sponsored #upgradeyoureyewear