Best Bluetooth Audio Glasses and Sunglasses for 2022

Date:

Headphones are great for blocking out the world around you when you need to focus, but sometimes you want to enjoy your music while still being aware of your surroundings. 

This is especially true for people who like to listen to music while running on the street where you need to listen for cars and other hazards. And if you’re working from home, regular headphones or earbuds may prevent you from hearing the front door or the other people in your house. 

That’s why audio glasses make a great alternative. With a stylish look, wireless Bluetooth connectivity and open-ear design, they allow you to enjoy your music or podcasts while still being able to easily hear the world around you. 

One of the companies leading the industry is Bose, with its Frames audio sunglasses. And Amazon has its Echo Frames, now on their second generation. 

A host of other companies, many of which are no-name Chinese manufacturers, have also released audio glasses. Some are geared toward everyday use, allowing you to stealthily listen to audio on the go, while others are designed for runners and bikers who want to leave their ears open to the world for safety reasons.

The truth is that most audio sunglasses don’t sound good — and many sound downright bad — especially those using bone-conduction technology instead of traditional audio drivers. The glasses’ tiny embedded speakers fire audio into your ears, but that audio tends to be lacking in bass and clarity. The sound is typically on par with what a pair of free earbuds you’d get on a plane would produce, and sometimes it’s worse. They also tend to leak sound at higher volumes, which means people who are standing nearby can hear your audio. 

That said, if you listen to more spoken-word audio — whether that’s podcasts, audiobooks or talk radio — audio glasses are fine since they’re strongest in the midrange, where vocals live. And most of the audio glasses on this list work well for making phone calls. Some feature beam-forming microphones and bone-conduction technology. 

Aside from audio quality, the other important factor is the glasses’ design. There’s a lot of variation there as well, with some models fitting better and looking more stylish than others.

Read moreBest Places to Buy Replacement Prescription Lenses Online in 2022

It should be noted that you can add prescription lenses to most audio sunglasses, and it’s easy to send your glasses to an online replacement lens site. However, that adds to the overall cost, since replacement lenses generally cost around $100 to $200, depending on the type of lens you choose. 

While I’m only recommending a few models at this point, I’ll update this list as new ones are released. More should be coming with improvements. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 8 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Built-in with glasses

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

If you’re looking for the best-sounding pair of audio glasses with superior overall performance — that includes call quality and battery life — the Bose Frames Tempo are the one to get. Bose’s innovative eyewear is ostensibly a sports model designed for runners and bikers, and while they’re a little bulky, they stay on your head securely. 

The Tempo offers slightly better sound and battery life than the more traditional-looking Tenor and Soprano (see below). The Tempo has better specs all-around, with USB-C charging and larger 22mm drivers. These Bluetooth sunglasses also deliver up to 8 hours of battery life, and have simple one-touch volume control so you can adjust your music on the fly. Bose sunglasses are made of the polarized lens and they are prescription, or Rx ready, meaning you can select Bose Frames with your prescription lens.

Their sound is definitely improved from the original Frames. Bose says the Tempo plays “deeper and louder — loud enough for cycling at 25 mph — while still able to hear traffic and your training partners.” According to Bose, they’re sweat-, weather-, scratch- and shatter-resistant, and they fit under most protective helmets. (I had no problem using them with a couple of bike helmets.) They also work well for making calls, thanks to a new dual-microphone system. Optional lenses are available for $39 and you can order prescription lenses through Lensabl.

Read our Bose Frames review.

 

You’re receiving price alerts for 1. Bose Tempo Frames

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 5 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Built-in with glasses

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Razer has made a surprise entry into the audio glasses arena and the result is surprisingly good. The Razer Anzu smart glass comes in round and square versions in two different size options and are available now for $200. In terms of sound, they’re arguably just a tad behind the Bose Tenor and Soprano shown below (like those models, the Anzu has 16mm drivers), but they’re pretty close. While they’re a little bass-shy, they have more bass than some of the other models on this list. The $50 lower price tag also gives them a value advantage over the Bose, and right now you can pick them up for as low as $60, a whopping $140 discount. 

They’re also pretty light and comfortable to wear (as you can see from the photo, I tried the square version). The small version weighs 43 grams while the large weighs 48 grams. By comparison, the Echo Frames, the lightest audio glasses on this list, are 31 grams. The glasses include 35% blue light filtering lenses along with a set of polarized sunglass lenses (you can easily swap them in). This smart eyewear is touch-enabled, plus you can play or pause media, manage calls and pair easily to your PC device. The built-in Bluetooth speaker hidden on its frame provides stutter-free sound and does not skip or delay audio.

These wireless Bluetooth sunglasses are IPX4 water-resistant (meaning they’re splashproof) so you can use them for running. Audio glasses work well for running and biking, because they leave your ears open so you can hear traffic. Battery life is rated at up to 5 hours at moderate volume levels, and additional polarized lenses are available for $30.

Also worth noting: Since Razer is a “gaming lifestyle” company, it’s highlighting its low-latency Bluetooth technology. It says the “customized Bluetooth 5.1 connection brings industry-leading 60ms latency for smooth, stutter-free sound.”

The Razer Anzu companion app for iOS and Android enables firmware updates, lets you make EQ adjustments (default, enhanced clarity or treble boost), access latency settings and check battery status. You can make calls with them and access your virtual assistant with a button press.

Razer has partnered with Lensabl for prescription glasses lenses, although more online replacement lens sites, including replacerxlenses.com and overnightglasses.com, can fit them with Rx lenses. Lensabl is offering a 15% discount to Anzu owners, but you can compare its prices with other sites’ prices.

You’re receiving price alerts for 2. Razer Anzu

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 5.5 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Built-in with glasses

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

Like the Tempo, the Tenor and Soprano are part of Bose’s line of second-generation audio sunglasses. While the Tempo is more sports-oriented, these models are designed to look like regular glasses. (You can still run or bike with them but they’re not rated for water- or sweat-resistance.) They’re slicker-looking than the original Bose Alto and Rondo Frames, and they have a glossy finish. The Tenor fit my face better than the Soprano, which — as the name implies — Bose is aiming at women who like oversized sunglasses. Anecdotally, my daughter likes them.

Bose improved the sound in the Tenor and Soprano, and the battery life is better. It’s up to 5.5 hours instead of around 3.5 hours, charging with a pogo-pin cable rather than USB-C. Both pairs of sunglasses play a little louder than the original Frames, and the bass response is better, so music sounds fuller and richer. Don’t expect the big bass you get from a standard set of headphones, though, and they can distort at higher volumes. Still, the sound is significantly better than what you get from even the best bone-conduction headphones like those from AfterShokz, which developed a pair of audio sunglasses but never shipped them out.

Like the Tempo, Bose has also upgraded the voice-calling capabilities in these models, adding dual beam-forming microphones. These smart sunglasses allow you to take calls on the go, hands-free. Bose offers optional lenses for $39. Since these sunglasses have a more traditional design, more online replacement lens sites — including replacerxlenses.com, Lensabl and overnightglasses.com — can fit them with Rx lenses. 

You’re receiving price alerts for Bose Frames Tenor – headphones

Anker

Battery Life

Rated up to 5.5 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Built-in with glasses

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

The Soundcore by Anker Frames Bluetooth audio glasses are a little different from the competition in that their arms detach and you can swap in different frame styles (several styles are available). You initially purchase a base model with the style of frame you like or, for a little more money, you can opt for a bundle that includes two frames. The lenses seem pretty decent — they’re polarized — and online replacement lens sites such as replacerxlenses.com, Lensabl and overnightglasses.com can fit Echo Frames with Rx lenses. 

Sound quality is above average for audio glasses but not up to the level of the Bose Frames’ sound quality (the Soundcore Frames are a little bass-shy like a lot of Bluetooth audio glasses). But I liked the fit and they’re also decent for voice calling with dual microphones and four speakers (two speakers in each arm). You can use voice commands or the integrated touch controls to control music playback, as well as answer and end calls. 

They’re IPX4 water-resistant (splashproof) and deliver up to 5.5 hours of battery life on a single charge at moderate volume levels. They use a proprietary magnetic charger. It’s also worth noting that they have a companion app for iOS and Android that allows you to receive firmware updates.

You’re receiving price alerts for Anker Soundcore Frames (Wander)

James Martin/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 4 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Built-in with glasses

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Needless to say, Amazon’s Echo Frames have Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built into them so you can ask what the weather is, get news and sports scores, skip your music tracks and control your Alexa smart home products without touching your glasses. I like their design — they’re lightweight and fit my face comfortably and securely (they fit me better than all the Bose audio glasses). They also work well for making calls, with decent noise reduction outdoors. 

Really, the only strike against them is that they sound pretty middle-of-the-road for audio glasses. They lack in the bass department and fall short of the Bose Frames in terms of sound. That said, they’re currently a decent option for audio glasses and if you try them and don’t like them, they’re easy to return to Amazon. It is worth noting that the included lenses are clear and not tinted, so they’re not sunglasses. With your inner ear uncovered you’ll be able to hear audio without blocking out the world around you.

They come in a few different color options (the Horizon Blue version is pictured) and battery life is rated at a modest 4 hours for music playback. Like the Bose Frames (except for the Tempo), they charge with a proprietary pogo-pin cable. A nice carrying case is included.

Online replacement lens sites such as replacerxlenses.com, Lensabl and overnightglasses.com can fit Echo Frames with Rx lenses.

Read our Amazon Echo Frames review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 4 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Built-in with glasses

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Austria-based Fauna’s audio glasses are available in a few different style options. They have a premium feel to them and are among the most stylish audio glasses out there. I tried the Spiro transparent brown (pictured), which fit my face well and have Carl Zeiss tinted lenses. 

I had a little trouble initially pairing the glasses with my iPhone — I had to reset the glasses — but once I got everything linked up, they automatically paired whenever I took them out of the case. These glasses charge in their case, which has a USB-C port integrated into it. 

The Fauna glasses I tried sounded fuller than the Amazon Echo Frames, but they weren’t as good as any of the Bose Frames. They also worked decently for making calls.

Fauna audio glasses have come in pricey since their initial release in 2021 and are now a better value. They do have a more premium look and feel to them — and that goes for the case, as well. The sound quality is better than what you get from most audio glasses, too, but it’s still a little underwhelming compared to what you get from a pair of budget headphones. 

Online replacement lens sites such as replacerxlenses.com, Lensabl, and overnightglasses.com can fit Fauna audio glasses with Rx lenses. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 5 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Built-in with glasses

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

A lot of the better Bluetooth audio glasses start around $200. Flows, which makes round and square models, sells its audio glasses for less than half that price.

I tried the round Bandwidth and they fit my face well and were comfortable to wear. The Bluetooth audio doesn’t sound great, but it also doesn’t sound bad. They’re middle-of-the-pack and the same goes for call-quality performance. Battery life is rated at up to 5 hours for music listening, which is also mediocre.

They come with tinted lenses but you can buy an optional lens pack that includes three lenses (including clear) for about $30. The lenses are relatively easy to swap in and out. 

You’re receiving price alerts for 7. Flows Bandwidth audio glasses

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 8 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Open-ear attachment to glasses

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Maybe you’ve had your eye on Bose’s second-gen Frames audio sunglasses (see above), but you looked at their high price tag and said no thanks. Well, JLab Audio has a much cheaper Bluetooth audio alternative: The JBuds Frames are essentially open-ear true-wireless earbuds that clip onto your existing glasses.

It’s an intriguing innovative eyewear concept that JLab describes as a bring-your-own-frame design, although it’s clearly a bit clunky looking and a bit disingenuous to call these earbuds “frames.” That said, I received a review sample and can tell you that these sound almost as good as the Bose Frames and are also decent enough for making calls. In fact, I’d say they’re the second-best-sounding “audio frames” on this list.

JLab says its JBuds Frames comprise “two independently operating Bluetooth true wireless audio devices, which can be affixed to the temples of sunglasses, eyeglasses, and similarly styled blue light blocking eyewear.” They have 16mm drivers, and JLab says your music can’t be “heard by those close by,” though from my tests that only applies when you’re listening to audio at more moderate volume levels. 

Battery life is rated at 8 hours, and the clip-on devices have an IPX4 water-resistance rating, making them splash-resistant. They charge with a proprietary pogo-pin cable.

Read moreBest Place to Buy Contacts Online in 2022

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