Amazon Echo Frames glasses offer hands-free Alexa access and double stake as a pair of headphones. But don’t sound particularly good for the price. You probably already know Amazon’s Echo smart speakers, Fire tablets, and Kindle e-book readers – maybe you can have some of them.
Pro and Cons
- Light and comfortable fit
- Clear microphone quality
- Flimsy build quality for the price
- No bass response at all
- Requires phone nearby for Alexa connection
And did you know that Amazon also makes and sells its own smart glasses? The company, called Amazon Day 1 Editions, offers a few unusual and unique devices reserved for early adopters. Who sign up for an invitation to buy them and are given the opportunity to provide feedback on their usage experiences.
The Amazon Echo Frames examined here are such a product. A pair of glasses with directed speakers and scouring microphones that allow you to use Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant wherever you go. They also act as Bluetooth headphones. So, you can use them to listen to audiobooks, music, podcasts, and everything you’ll use. For $179.99, Echo Frames are interesting, but they can’t afford the price they want in terms of sound or build quality.
Design and Features
Echo Frames, at least a pair of modest black glasses from the front, look like. The real frames around the lenses are thin, black plastic, similar to many of my normal glasses. Arms are where you can notice that this is not a typical pair of features with thick rectangles in the temple area to accommodate electronics.
On the right arm, there is a power button and a volume button on the bottom, in front of the magnetic charging cable connector. The outward side of the correct arm likewise holds a touch-touchy strip used to control notices and sound playback. The four holes above and below each arm indicate where the stereo speakers are.
This is not an augmented reality headset like Microsoft’s HoloLens.
So, you won’t see any pictures or anything advanced that is projected before your eyes through lenses. However, you will see a useful indicator light around the top of your right eye. A colored LED is hidden on the upper edge, and when you call Alexa. It lights up blue, a visual indicator that indicates that the Echo Frames are active.
The frames are light and comfortable despite the thick handles. In the case of durability, the glasses are rated IPX4, which means they can cope with sweat. But they are not designed to be worn in torrential rain and should not be submerged or disgruntled. Besides, they feel a little unstable. Although the arms are solid, the frames around the lenses feel like cheap plastic compared to the acrylic and metal models I wear. Echo Frames remain good in a few days’ testing. But feel they can easily pass along the bridge with a little too much pressure.
You can’t get frames made with numbered lenses, and all units are sent with neutral plastic lenses that don’t affect your vision. According to Amazon, “most spectacles specialist” can provide prescription lenses that match the frame.
In addition to the glasses, you’ll get a USB charging cable, a USB wall adapter, a microfiber cleaning cloth and a solid rectangular case covered with black artificial leather.
Amazon describes battery life for frames in unusually specific ways. Intermittent use says the glasses should last 14 hours at 60 percent volume, and intermittent use includes 40 Alexa requests, 45 minutes of audio playback, 20-minute phone calls, and 90 incoming notifications in those 14 hours. Period. Otherwise, Amazon says echo frames can play 60 percent sound for three hours, which is not particularly impressive; Even non-expensive wireless headphones can usually last four to six hours between charges.
Alexa On Your Face
Adjusting echo frames is like other Echo devices. Install the Alexa app (for Android or iOS) on your phone, tap Add Device, and then scroll down to select Echo Frames. The app guides you on opening frames, connecting them to your phone via Bluetooth, and enabling notifications from your phone. The app then shows you how to control frames with your voice and the touch-sensitive ribbon on the right temple, and offers you some suggestions about what to do with them.
Like other Alexa devices, Echo Frames requires an internet connection to work. This comes from your fully paired smartphone using your phone’s data plan or Wi-Fi connection. As long as you’re near your phone (within the Bluetooth range, usually 30 feet), you can use frames to access Alexa.
To enable voice control, simply say “Alexa”, and then specify your request. You can also press the power button on the right arm, which doubles as a processing button that brings Alexa. The status light on your right eye will light blue to show Alexa is listening, and a response will be given to your ears through speakers placed in temples.
In the case of Alexa controls, you can do anything with Amazon’s voice assistant via Frames. That you can do through a smart speaker or another Alexa device. This means you can ask Alexa to check the weather, tell you the news, read a recipe to you, and even check for compatible smart home devices.
When you receive a notification on your phone, Frames let you know which app is trying to get your attention. You can scroll forward on the touch strip in the right temple or tap to close the notification so that the notification is read to you.
The speakers in the echo frames provide a surprisingly clean sound, at least medium and high, but do not reproduce bass at all. In fact, audiobooks and podcasts clearly appear. But you won’t get impressions of music remotely close to what you can get from a pair of traditional headphones that cost half the price. It should also be noted that special privacy should not be expected when installing frames; Any outgoing sound can also be heard by people near you
In the test bass track The Knife, the bass synthesizer notes and bass drum beats sound like remote beats in the frames. While the lower elements in the other tracks are also empty.
The constant drum rhythm of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain sounds weak here. But the vocals and guitar pelts clearly appear with wire texture on the and some resonance in the middle tones. Crystal Method’s “Born Too Slow”, guitar riffs and vocals stand out, and often sinister backstrokes reduced to silent touches with a similar high-focus balance.
When it comes to music, similarly priced Bose Frames sunglasses offer stronger sound quality, but none are perfect in terms of bass depth.
The good news is that sound balance through Echo Frames helps make phone calls clear, and microphones work. as well as to talk to other people as they do to give Alexa commands. My voice was clean and easy to hear on test calls.