Don’t you hate it when there’s a product you really want but can’t have? I’m like that with Bose Frames: as much as I’d like some trendy sunglasses with built-in Bluetooth audio that doesn't block out sound from around you, all they’d do is soundtrack me walking into things, tripping over people and squashing the odd pet. That’s because I’m one of the 1 in 3 people with myopia, aka short-sightedness. Bose doesn’t make Frames for me, and while some third-party firms will reglaze them with prescription lenses, that takes the already-high cost into orbit.
Hurrah, then, for JLab Audio, which has come up with a brilliant solution for short- and long-sighted audio fans, and for anyone whose face just doesn’t suit Bose’s designs: wireless speakers that you put on your existing specs or sunglasses and which you can swap whenever you change your eyewear. I’m really quite excited about this, not least because they only cost £49.
BYOF: like BYOB, but for glasses instead of bottles
JLab has coined a new acronym for the speakers: BYOF, for Bring Your Own Frame. Its speakers slip over the legs of your existing glasses to put 16mm drivers right by your ears, but because they’re open-ear designs the rest of the world is still audible, which is particularly important if you’re strolling around a city and don’t want to get smacked by a bus. On the flip side, the sound is directed right to you, so you shouldn't attract death stares from other people on the bus while you listen.
They’re a bit odd looking, but perhaps no more so than some of the best wireless earbuds, and the spec sheet is pretty impressive: 8+ hours of playtime, multiple silicone sleeves for a better fit, 120dB output and a decent 20Hz-20kHz frequency response, which is the same as my current earbuds.
I haven’t tried the Frames yet but I’d expect the bass to be a lot lighter than with earbuds – the isolation you get from sticking things into your ears makes a huge difference to the bottom end – but it’ll be fine for podcasts, and if I were the kind of person who works out I imagine they’d be pretty good for that too. There are some obvious applications for people with vision problems, and in a nice touch the speakers can be separated and used independently of one another.
The JLab JBuds Frames will go on sale in September.