Smart glasses on sale in 2022
Analysts agree that the market for smart glasses should experience exponential growth in years to come – even if the number of brands on the market is limited as yet. While designs by digital giants like Apple are poised to set the eyewear world abuzz, other big names have already launched their frames. Here, we review the main mass-market models available in early 2022…
Bose Frames Tenor and Bose Frames Soprano (launch price: €279)
After Bose Frames Alto came out in 2019 – as profiled by us, here – the American audio specialist followed them up with Bose Frames Tenor and Bose Frames Soprano in 2020. All that separates the Tenor from the Soprano is the design; while the first are rectangular, the second ‘cat-eye’ design is more rounded and less imposing. Overall, the scope of these new smart sunglasses is the same as it was previously, meaning that you can listen to music, use your smartphone’s voice assistant and make voice calls.
And yet the second batch of frames from the brand are a significant improvement on the Alto on every level. Not only has the finish been improved, they are lighter and more comfortable to wear, as well. Now available in acetate and stainless steel, the glossy black frames come with optional polarized lenses. However, Bose also offers various interchangeable lenses. You’ll have to be careful around water though, as the IP2 certification for these glasses will only protect them from a few drops of water.
Equipped with capacitive touch functionality, commands are made by sliding your finger along the arm to control the volume, or double tapping to activate the voice assistant. The motion sensor also detects when the smart glasses are placed on a surface and switches them off automatically. As well as microphones that are better at reducing background noise during calls, the brand’s patented system now offers richer and more powerful sound.
Amazon Echo Frames (launch price: $250)
After its first frames were unveiled in 2019 and made available by invitation only, the online retail giant launched another model at the end of 2020. Currently only available in America, Echo Frames are designed to communicate through Bluetooth with the Alexa assistant on your smartphone.
The integration of the Amazon home assistant allows those who own speakers, screens and other smart home devices from the Echo range to control them from their smart glasses. Equipped with four small speakers, two microphones (which can be turned off at the press of an in-built button), you can make voice commands, phone calls, listen to messages, music, podcasts, as well as receive notifications from the apps of your choice.
The sympathetically designed carbon fiber and titanium frames with thick acetate arms weigh in at 31g. Both splash proof and sweat proof, they can be fitted with UV400 polarized lenses or prescription lenses.
Huawei’s Gentle Monster Eyewear 2 (launch price: €345.99)
After the initial design was unveiled in 2019, Huawei launched this second version at the end of 2020. Resulting from the collaboration between the Chinese electronics giant and the trendy Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster, Gentle Monster Eyewear 2 smart glasses allow you to use the voice assistant on your phone, listen to music and make voice calls.
Touch-sensitive controls on the arms enable you to adjust the sound volume and make commands: a double tap on the right arm to play or pause music, a double tap on the left arm to activate the voice assistant, or a double tap on the right or left side to pick up or end a call. Featuring a proximity sensor, any music will stop playing when you take the glasses off, and start again when you put them back on.
The miniaturization of the electronic components embedded in the frame sides mean the design is not as thick as most of the other models mentioned in this review. Made from acetate with titanium alloy hinges, the Gentle Monster Eyewear 2 frames are IP54 certified, as well as resistant to dust and water. Depending on the model, they weigh in at 44g to 48g.
Snapchat’s Spectacles 3 (launch price: €370)
Snapchat’s smart glasses were originally featured in EYESEEmag at the end of 2019. Back then, they were exclusively available to preorder, but now the frames can be purchased through the brand’s dedicated website. Although you can’t use them to listen to music or make phone calls, these are the only smart glasses on the market able to create 3D photos and videos. For more details, see our article on Spectacles 3.
Facebook’s Ray Ban Stories (launch price: €329)
Also previously covered in EYESEEmag are Facebook’s Ray Ban Stories – the social media giant’s first foray into the world of smart glasses. While the possibilities offered by these frames may be far from what the renowned Meta group eventually aspires to achieve, they still offer plenty of features, allowing wearers to listen to music, make calls, use Facebook’s voice assistant, take photos and record 30-second videos in a square format. To find out more, see our full article on Ray Ban Stories.
Written by Eleanor Fullalove