Technology has come such a long way – take the thickness of TVs, for example. Today, there are so many innovations that enable us to pack more power into smaller devices. It still amazes me that we’re now seeing tech we previously fantasized about, such as rollable TVs and folding phones (still waiting on the hoverboards).
And when I found out that Huawei released sunglasses that play music, I was again blown away. It’s another science fiction childhood dream that’s become a reality.
The Huawei Eyewear II glasses come in clear lenses or sunglasses that collaborate with Gentle Monster, which I found out is a trendy sunglasses brand outside of Australia. I’m told that Gentle Monster glasses quickly sell for around $400 a pair, so they’re expensive but will immediately give you street cred.
I got to try out the ‘smart lang’ style Huawei Eyewear II sunglasses, which are the ‘small’ frames that came in a plush and highly protective case that doubles as the charger and sync device.
To charge the glasses, you must place them folded and upright in the case and connect the charging brick (with a USB-C cable) to the back of the case. The glasses take around 90 minutes to be fully charged, and from there, you’ll get around five hours of music playback to use out of them. They also have a 15-minute quick charge for one hour of playback. Once charged, you can pair them to your phone or device while they’re in the case and then take them out and start wearing them.
The lenses in the glasses themselves are Zeiss Category 3 UV sunglasses which claim to provide high protection against glare, and to be honest, surprisingly, they seemed similar to that of polarised lenses (and I’m very fussy about wearing polarised sunglasses with Australia’s harsh sun). So, they’re easy on the eyes and easy for others around you as the sunglasses look fantastic. Interestingly, they even feel very lightweight and sit comfortably on the face with their built-in music player.
Yes, these things play music! The glasses connect to your phone via Bluetooth, and they have a semi-open speaker design on each arm of the sunnies, which sits near your temple.
While wearing these, you can listen to whatever media you want – whether that’s music, YouTube videos, or you can even take a phone call. They have a low latency of up to 190ms, which is fine for phone calls and videos, but you may notice a slight delay when gaming.
It’s exciting using these because your ears aren’t physically plugged with any earbuds or covered with headphones, so you still have a fair amount of awareness of your surroundings. It’s a new listening experience. It feels similar to when you have headphones around your neck and the volume up loud, except the music is crisp and clear right near your ears or almost feels like it’s inside your head! And while the sound quality isn’t mind-blowing, it’s imposing for what it is, and I find it an enjoyable listening experience.
You can control the glasses using touch gestures – swipe left or right on the left glasses arm to adjust the volume, double-tap the left to activate your voice assistant, double-tap the right to play or pause music, and double-tap either side to accept or end a phone call.
When using the glasses, I find if the volume is low to medium, people around you can’t even hear your music. They only listen to it when it’s up deafening. There’s also a sound leakage reduction mode for phone calls to give you more privacy.
The glasses also have auto wear detection and will audibly greet you with a hello or good afternoon when you put your glasses on and save battery when they’re not being worn.
Overall, I loved the experience of using these sunglasses. Although I still had to carry some device around to tether my music to the sunglasses, it was so freeing not having any earbuds in when it came to scenarios where I was already wearing sunnies and wanting to listen to music.
It’s a comfortable experience that feels like wearing regular sunglasses with the bonus of incognito listening. Also, if you’re out getting active, like running, you have no concern about your earbuds falling out while enjoying sun protection.
Are they worth it?
Although I appreciate the excellent Gentle Monster collaboration and the style of the shades in the future, I would love to see Huawei bring the price down as Eyewear II retails for $500. For what you get, it’s a great deal as Huawei is essentially bringing you this innovative tech for only $100 more than a standard pair of Gentle Monster frames. Still, I’d love Huawei to offer a more affordable model for those on a budget or who aren’t fussy about brands. Regardless, I loved using the Eyewear II, and I’d love to see this tech in more frames.