China

I Tested Smart Glasses That Use “Bone Conduction Technology” To Play Music Without Earbuds

  • MusicLens has developed smart glasses which uses bone conduction technology to send audio signals to the wearer.
  • The business is founded in 2017 by Junyi Liu who is also the founder of Echo, a community where users can share music written and performed by themselves.
  • The glasses come in 3 designs and the prices range from USD129 to USD189 on their website.

After the launch of Google Glass and Snapchat’s Spectacles that failed to live up to the hype created, there has been multiple brands trying to penetrate the “smart glasses” market.

Even Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei is delving into the market by partnering with avant-garde glasses brand Gentle Monster. It looks like the next tech battlefield to conquer will be smart glasses.

With that said, everyone is trying their own take of the smart glasses and I chanced upon one brand called MusicLens on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. I had to get my hands on it to test the claim of it being an “advanced bone conduction audio glasses”.

The Chinese company MusicLens has developed sunglasses and plain glasses which claim to use bone conduction technology to send audio signals to the wearer, removing the need to place buds in their ear canal.

The campaign is still running and you can order it on Indiegogo, with an estimated delivery by May 2019.

The cheapest pair of glasses (which are the review unit that I have) cost USD129, if you buy it directly from their website. On Indiegogo, it costs RM426.

The Geek version of MusicLens.

There are three different designs to choose from—Modern, Vogue, and Geek, and you can also include prescription lenses if needed.

Hardware specs:

SizeVogue: 6.18 x 5.7 x 2.2 (in)
Modern: 6.22 x 5.7 x 2.12 (in)
Geek: 6.18 x 5.7 x 2.12 (in)
WeightVogue: 50 grams
Modern: 53 grams
Geek: 37 grams
AudioBone Conduction Speaker
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0
PhoneAnswer Calls, Redial Calls, Hold Calls, Mute
MusicPlay, Stop Next, and Previous Song, Volume Control
Battery6 to 9 hours battery life
ResistantIP54 rating to protect from water, dust, and dirt
Charging USB Type-C , 0.5 to 1 hour charge time
LensColourful polarised lens blocks 98% UV and IR

How It Works

Straight out of the box, I charged it for an hour and then it was ready to go. The pairing process with my smartphone was straightforward, as all I needed to do was press and hold the power button on the glasses’ right arm for a few seconds.

Then I selected MusicLens under my phone’s Bluetooth menu to connect and opened Spotify to start listening. Oddly enough, although there wasn’t anything in my ears I still could hear the music loud and clear.

A close up of the MusicLens.

From their website, it says that the smart glasses produces audio signals that bypass the eardrum and transfer through the skin and bone as vibrations, allowing the wearer to hear audio through the arm-mounted bone conduction speakers resting in front of the wearer’s ears.

The sound is actually quite clear and well-rounded, but there’s no comparing it to the typical headphones or earphones.

You can even adjust it without turning on your smartphone as there are gesture controls—swiping forward on the right arm to turn up the volume, or backwards to turn it down.

In-built sensors in the glasses can sense when the glasses are removed from your face and will automatically pause the music. Once you put it back on, it auto-resumes playing the music.

Just A Gimmick?

My spectacles lens fit into the frame.

As my spectacles lens actually fit into the frame, I used it like my normal glasses, only that there was music constantly playing.

While playing music, as long as it isn’t set at maximum level, most people won’t be able to hear the music that’s being played. Although I thought it was pretty cool tech, my colleagues were more skeptical of it as they said it was just a mini speaker rather than “bone conducting speakers”.

Anyway, I found it was quite convenient as I didn’t need to worry about wires tangling and I still could actually hear outside sounds clearly as my ears are still open.

If you don’t want it to be constantly connected to your phone, you can even store music into it. As when you purchase a pair of MusicLens, you can even buy an extra 4GB storage perk that allows you to store thousands of songs into the glasses.

A closer look at the right arm of the MusicLens.

It can also pick up local FM radio stations without the need of connecting it to your smartphone.

The downside of the MusicLens is that I had to get used to it as the vibrations did cause me a bit of dizziness. I recommend you to try it sitting down first for a few minutes before even walking with it as it takes some getting used to.

Verdict

I found it useful for multiple reasons from using it to exercise at the park to even driving or working with it. However, after using it for more than an hour I felt a bit of nausea and had to take it off. Maybe it’s just me but some of my colleagues did feel a bit dizzy too so do be careful.

For its hefty price tag at more than RM400, I wouldn’t buy it as it feels like it’s just another form of a bluetooth handset, just that it’s fitted together with your glasses.

However, if you’re into new tech and want to try it, go ahead as MusicLens might just be a glimpse of the future for eyewear.

Pros Cons
Long lasting battery lifeHefty price tag
Has multiple design choicesCan cause dizziness for new users
User friendly and easy to use Audio quality decent at most
  • You can find out more about Music Lens here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.

 

Subscribe to Vulcan Post Newsletter

Stay updated with our weekly curated news and updates.