Practice exam: Fauna audio glasses

Fancy a pair of space-saving connected glasses? Tech company Fauna puts the speakers as part of a range of specific looks that can let you listen to music and handle calls hands-free.

Arguably, Google didn’t make the optics business much of a service when it released its SMART glasses publicly available in 2014. Although this is a brave and necessary step in the way towards the ornate technology of the face, he separated the world between geeks and rests, exacerbated by the futuristic style.

While smart glasses continue to be developed in less intrusive styles, those offering more exotic functions such as augmented reality require cameras, electronics, and enough space on at least one lens to project images. The result is that they remain aesthetically awkward and still at the thin end of the market that they will no doubt expand in the future.

Further up in this corner are audio glasses. Although still newer than the mainstream, the amount of space required for sensors, speakers and microphones is significantly less than fully equipped smart glasses. Hence, they start to squeeze in styles that might be mistaken for a pair of ordinary specs. Currently, the style seems to favor the thicker frame, further opening up the discretion of tech-laden eyewear.

This is the market Fauna Audio lives in, and its latest line includes the unisex Memor Havana in review here. Depending on your taste, they would slip into the stylishly bulky rather than old-fashioned category, and they wouldn’t be immediately identifiable as audio / smart glasses.

Image credit: Fauna

Given the ubiquitous nature of Bluetooth, there really shouldn’t be a problem connecting to a phone, but a frustrating dance experimenting with different phone and eyeglass positions (in their case) meant the exam got off to a slow start. and almost terminal. However, there is another method of force pairing using the glasses themselves that worked immediately. After the initial pairing, there were no subsequent connectivity issues and the connection was generally maintained between 10m and 15m from the paired device.

In the aforementioned case, it’s a pretty nice device in its own right. Designed in British Racing Green with four precise LEDs to indicate charging status, it connects to the outside world via USB-C. Thanks to this, the 1300mAh battery in the case can be charged to the maximum in two hours. The glasses rely on charging contacts inside the case and their 100mAh battery – also recharged in two hours – will provide 20 hours of standby time and over five hours of music, voice assistant, and calls. phone calls, although when put to the test, he actually scratched six hours. continuous operation.

That’s a lot of time for a walk, a long session in an office, or a commute to work, but it’s not enough to last a full day if they are to be fitted with corrective lenses and used as the primary pair of glasses. In the spirit of the times, they should be part of a hybrid work strategy for individual eyewear.

Not that they have to be fitted with corrective lenses. The standard issue is with non-prescription Zeiss DuraVision BlueProtect lenses, which reduce blue light exposure from phones and computers, which would lead to poor sleep habits. The part of the frame the lenses are mounted in is made of Italian acetate and does not contain any of the gadgets that could be damaged by heat, so an optician can fit prescription lenses.

Fauna life glasses

Image credit: Fauna

There is an audio module in each branch with two patented MEMS dynamic micro-speakers, two woofers and two microphones. Each branch also has sensors, electronics and a battery, but the total weight of the glasses is only 50g and does not feel too heavy on the face.

The overriding question is: what is the quality of the audio? It does not provide, to quote Fauna’s PR, “crystal clear sound without major leakage”. But then, in the age of relatively cheap headphones with amazing audio quality, the expectations are probably too high and the comparison unfair.

The audio quality is good and clear. It doesn’t deliver much bass and so when listening to music it lacks a bit of depth, but not enough to leave it tinny and unsatisfying. For making phone calls or listening to podcasts, the sound is crystal clear and the microphones also do their job to ensure that outgoing speech is crystal clear. So having access to the sounds of the outside world while having the luxury of the soundtrack of your choice will appeal to many. You don’t have to miss the doorbell, the conversations around you, or the public transport announcements. They could also improve safety for cyclists who currently insist on wearing headphones, or similarly inclined walkers and joggers who pass motorized transport.

Granted, until awareness of the capabilities of audio glasses becomes more mainstream, it may cause some curious glances. The folly of people walking around talking to themselves is now excused if they have headphones – but bespectacled people chatting to themselves without obvious listening devices can still frown.

The claim “no major sound leakage” is slightly misleading. Listening to soft music on Fauna glasses in a quiet room isn’t a problem, but if you like listening to music with a little oomph, irritated heads will turn in an office or train car.

Controlling audio is easy: double taping a temple will stop or start a track, pick up or end a phone call, while a longer wait will skip the track and swiping back and forth will change. volume. The other temple can pair with a phone, as mentioned earlier, or summon the voice assistant. AND I discovered that it can be done in no time without losing speech accuracy, but there’s still a problem if you want the phone to do something – like playing Spotify – that it always has to be. manually unlocked. Physical effort must be spent.

However, so often with the emerging categories of consumer electronics, it feels like this is a work in progress – a stopgap before a fully functional product emerges. That is not the case here. Depending on how they are to be used, the sound is good, the styling of the glasses is subjective but will certainly suit certain tastes, and the use cases they present could appeal to many.

Memor Havana Fauna glasses are available in the UK from Look Again for £ 249 and in Europe and the US on Fauna’s website.

Fauna claims that its audio glasses are unique and pioneering in the market due to the audio technology and sound direction, as the sound travels directly to the user’s ear without obstructing the ear canal or blocking external sounds. .

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