Ahead of CES 2021, JLab is launching the JBuds Frames — a set of wireless mini speakers that attach to the arms of any style of eyeglasses or sunglasses. JLab expects they will cost $50 when they go on sale early this spring.
Audio eyewear is still a relatively new category in personal audio, but it already suffers from one fairly big problem: The speakers are always integrated into the glasses frames, making it impossible to mix and match speakers and glasses. The JLab JBuds Frames provide a solution, although they don’t look quite as sleek as models from Bose and other manufacturers. “You can put the JLab JBuds Frames on any glasses you own,” said JLab CEO Win Cramer, “without fear of commitment or wearing the same eyewear as the person you’re next to.”
At just $50, the JBuds Frames are an intriguing accessory. They’re IPX4 water-resistant and each speaker unit delivers up to eight hours of playing time on a single charge. They use two hooks per speaker to attach to your glasses’ arms and JLab includes a set of silicone sleeves to help the hooks get a better grip on smaller arm shapes.
JLab uses 16.2mm drivers to produce the sound, and the company claims they’re powerful enough for you to hear, but not so loud that they’ll be heard by those close by. Because the speakers don’t cover your ears, they naturally let in some external sounds, which has some safety and conversation benefits, especially when worn outside.
You can use the two sides together as a stereo pair or independently one at a time for longer battery life. A single physical button atop each speaker unit lets you control all of the functions including music playback, answering phone calls, adjusting volume, and switching between regular and bass boost EQ settings.
Charging the speakers is done via a USB cable that latches on using magnets, which should prove more convenient (and durable) than USB-C or MicroUSB.
The JBuds Frames may not look as chic as some integrated models of audio eyewear, but they might be the perfect low-investment way to figure out if audio eyewear is something you’ll enjoy using, without needing to replace your existing glasses.
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