These bone-conduction smart glasses make headphones unnecessary [Review]

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Headphones are so ubiquitous we often don’t think about their disadvantages. Lucyd created a pair of smart glasses that let you listen to music or podcasts while still allowing you to hear what’s going on around you. This Bluetooth accessory also lets you access Siri from your iPhone, as well as make and receive calls.

Don’t miss our hands-on review of the Lucyd Loud tech frames.

Lucyd Loud smart glasses review

This accessory appears to be just a slightly bulky frame for a pair of glasses. From the front they look completely normal; only from certain angles can you see that the stems are unusually thick: 0.38 inches.

Lucyd Loud is just slightly heavy for a pair of glasses: 1.6 ounces. For comparison, our regular mens’ sunglasses are 1.1 ounces. The difference isn’t enough to make wearing them in any way uncomfortable.

The frame measures 4.9 inches across the front. That’s exactly the same size as our regular mens’ sunglasses. That said, these are sized for adults, not children.

During testing, we asked quite a few people what they thought of the appearance. The consensus is that Lucyd Loud just looks like a pair of sunglasses.

Smart glasses additions

On each of the stems is a small speaker that points toward the wearer’s ear. Next to both of these is a bone-conduction pad that transmits sound as vibrations in the wearer’s skull.

We let people with a range of head sizes test these smart glasses, and they fit men reasonably well. However, some smaller women found that the bone-conduction pads didn’t touch their temples, making them useless. They could still hear any audio playing with the small speakers, though.

On the right stem is a volume rocker for audio playback. This does double-duty as the Lucyd Loud’s power button: press and hold volume up to turn the device on or off. Beside it is a micro-USB port used to charge the battery.

On the outside of the left stem is a touchpad used to control audio playback. Tap it to start or stop a song or podcast. Swipe forward or back to change tracks.

A long press on the touchpad will activate Siri, enabling you to make voice commands. Swipe backward to receive an incoming phone call.

Lucyd Loud smart glasses review
The controls for these tech frames are built into the slightly-thick stems.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A fold-flat case is included with these smart glasses. This will keep your lenses from getting scratched up, but will offer little protection if you drop something heavy on it.

Lenses

You can choose the type of lenses that come with the Lucyd Loud. The default is UV-blocking clear lenses, but polarized or transitional sunglasses are available for an additional charge. The same goes for other colors and types of lenses.

Or the frames can be fitted with prescription lenses. Progressive bifocals are also a possibility.

Lucyd Loud performance

The two small speakers, paired with the bone-induction pads, do a reasonably good job of allowing the wearer to listen to music or podcasts.

The experience is not perfect, though. Most notably, the bone-induction pads vibrate the entire Lucyd Loud frames, which takes getting used to.

Also, audio quality is adequate at best. There’s very little bass, and there’s frequent buzzing when people talk in podcasts. Still, you can understand what‘s being said.

These smart glasses put out enough sound that they can be heard in somewhat loud environments, but nothing worse than that. By design, they don’t cover the ears so there’s no protection from external noise.

That’s also their biggest benefit. Unlike headphones, it’s easy to have a conversation while listening to music with Lucyd Loud. More importantly, we found we could ride a bike while enjoying a podcast and still be able to hear traffic around us.

We had no issues pairing these tech frames with our iPhone over Bluetooth. It should be compatible with your Android device as well.

Siri worked just as we’d expect. The built-in microphone is good enough for Siri to understand what we were saying with reasonable accuracy. We could dictate texts without problems.

Lucyd Loud Bluetooth tech frames
Lucyd Loud smart glasses let you enjoy your music while still hearing what going on around you.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Battery life

Lucyd says these tech frames last about 5 hours on a single charge. We found ours going for several days of intermittent use. If you leave them on and connected, you will run down the battery whether you’re listening to music or not.

Lucyd Loud final thoughts

Wearable technology is still in its infancy, and Lucyd admits “This is a beta product still under development.” Buying these smart glasses essentially makes you a beta tester.

Still, we feel that many cyclists could see a real benefit of these smart glasses. That’s a situation where it’s not safe to wear AirPods but you’d still like to listen to music or the news. Lucyd Loud could fill in the gap, and while the experience isn’t great, it’s far better than nothing.

These tech frames start at $ 99, with clear or color lenses. Upgrading to other types of lenses cost about $ 50 more. Surprisingly, adding a prescription doesn’t change the cost, though progressive lenses do.

Finding something to compare that cost with isn’t easy. Smart glasess aren’t common. But a decent pair of sunglasses can be $ 100, and a pair of AirPods is $ 159. And that combination doesn’t have some of the advantages of the Lucyd Loud.

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Source: Cult of Mac

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