Glasses and sunglasses have always been about style, but that can change when you throw Bluetooth and other technologies into them. By virtue of embedding that tech into a pair of glasses, they effectively become “smart”, much like phones and watches already have. Smart glasses aren’t necessarily displaying information though. Some can certainly capture it, especially if equipped with an onboard camera, whereas others are on the receiving end, streaming audio from a phone, for instance.
That’s the main thing you would experience with a pair of Bluetooth glasses. Rather than put on headphones or earbuds, you would listen to audio from speakers built into the glasses. But there is more to it than that, which is why I’ve outlined the details for you here.
How Bluetooth glasses work
The technology, or at least the concept of connected glasses, isn’t new. They’ve been around for a good decade now, though earlier designs were bulky, heavy, and not all that stylish. Newer pairs have slimmer and trimmer profiles that better resemble the kind you would normally wear. Shedding that extra space is all the more appealing because the functionality also continues to get better.
Bluetooth glasses pair with your phone, tablet, computer—basically any device that can playback audio. They come with built-in speakers along the handles, positioned closer to your ears without actually touching them. Tiny microphones pick up your voice for phone calls or when talking to your voice assistant, keeping you connected when necessary. You can access your voice assistant pretty easily, telling it what you want through the onboard mics.
They do come in various forms or styles, catering separately to men and women, much like standard shades already do. From a fashion point of view, you can see for yourself what those styles ultimately are. Functionally speaking, the same glasses should do the same things, so long as they’re from the same manufacturer and in the same line.
Unless stated otherwise, you can put prescription lenses into Bluetooth glasses, though you would need to do it at an optical store, as Bluetooth glasses manufacturers don’t necessarily offer that kind of service.
What Bluetooth glasses can do
Bluetooth glasses aren’t made to replace earbuds or headphones completely. You could wear the glasses and listen to audio through them, but you’re more likely to do so during an activity. If you’re just hanging out or lounging by the pool or beach, you might prefer to cover your ears. Reason being that ambient sounds will be audible to you.
That’s great when you go out for a run or workout and want to hear your surroundings for added safety. The glasses can keep your eyes safe from the sun’s UV rays and play whatever audio you want. You stream to the glasses no differently than you would to a pair of headphones.
The thing is, with exposed speakers, play audio loud enough and others nearby might hear what you’re listening to. Moreover, the lack of contact and tight seal with your inner ear also means you hear less bass than you would with headphones or earbuds. These glasses aren’t made for supreme audio quality. I find them most ideal when listening to podcasts or audiobooks because vocals sit in the mid-range, and come through well without the bass or treble being major factors.
This is also good for phone calls, though you may want to be careful with volume, so that no one hears your caller. It’s hard to gauge how loud they may be to the outside world, so if your call is sensitive or private, keep that in mind.
How Bluetooth glasses are different
It’s important to note that Bluetooth audio glasses differ from other smart glasses. For example, you may have smart glasses with onboard cameras, including those that may offer augmented reality (AR) features. In some instances, there may be a combination of these features. You could just as easily stream audio via Bluetooth, and also capture video from the camera. It really does depend on which pair you go with.
You may also find Bluetooth glasses have onboard controls to adjust volume or skip and repeat a track. They will have charging ports for their batteries, and usually come with a case for protection and storage.