JBuds Frames turn any eyewear into personal audio throwers
Directed open audio seems to be enjoying its moment in the true wireless wearables spotlight at the moment, with Bose, Earin and others announcing new ear candy rocking the design. JLab Audio is joining the party with something a little different – connected personal audio throwers that attach to the frames of sunglasses or eyeglasses.
We've seen eyewear sporting built-in audio tech before of course, from companies like Bose for example, but the JBuds Frames can be clipped on existing eyewear so you can continue to use your prescription specs or favored sunglasses.
Each frame component is home to a 16.2-mm driver and sound is directed to the ears of the wearer in such a way that folks nearby shouldn't hear anything. This design also allows users to remain aware of what's going on in the world around them, rather than being closed off via passive or active noise cancellation.
The Bluetooth-enabled units are clipped on at the temples, can be used together or independently thanks to Dual Connect technology, and come supplied with silicone sleeves to help achieve a secure fit. Playback time per charge is reported to be more than eight hours.
An IPX4 rating means that they should be good for use in a variety of weather conditions, and they each weigh in at 11.7 g (0.4 oz), so they will add some weight to your wearable experience. Buttons on the housing are used to control playback, take calls, and adjust volume and EQ.
"We loved the idea of what was happening in the audio-equipped frames category, but their price and design don't match the needs of the typical consumer," said JLab's CEO, Win Cramer. "Besides price, one of the biggest flaws we saw was in the eyewear design and how the audio components were integrated. Their optics and frames didn't match up to a typical $200-$250 non-audio product, and limited styles will lead to the inevitable 'You're wearing that too? Awkward!' conversations. You can put the JLab JBuds Frames on any glasses you own, without fear of commitment or wearing the same eyewear as the person you're next to."
The JBuds Frames launched this week at the online-only CES 2021 expo, and will be available in early (northern) spring for US$49.
Source: JLabs Audio