Best Smart Glasses
Wearable tech is something that is still quite in its infancy in terms of development, but there are some brands out there on the market that are trying to get a jump on things. There are few companies out there that are making the ideal designs that reflect your phone screen right into the lens of your glass, and many of these designs may cost you a lot more than what you paid for your phone. What we did find, however, are designs that perform basic tasks such as listening to music, answering calls, and monitoring workouts to send infor right to your phone. Users that are out on the trails or on the go love them because they serve very basic functions while also offering great eye protection. In this guide you will find some of our favorite picks for current smart glasses.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
Holds a charge for about 8 hours
Lens flip up when worn indoors
- ZUNGLE V2 Viper
- Recon Jet
- Vuzix M100
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
Holds a charge for about 8 hours
Lens flip up when worn indoors
Some users found that the headphones do not get very loud
What we liked most about this option from TechKen is that it provides users will all of the features that they would want in one of these devices, and it comes in at an affordable price point. The features are easy to adjust, and it is able to be connected to almost any phone or tablet.Read more
The style of these lenses offers a sporty and narrow shape to the lens. Some users find that the arms that come around your head are a little on the bulky side, but that is going to be something that is quite common in these devices.
With these lenses, users are going to have the power to listen to music while performing outdoor tasks such as hiking or fishing, and it will even let you answer calls- although you are going to need to use the microphone on your phone. The arms for the earphones are able to be adjusted along a rail to allow users to adjust it to their head shape.
Due to the fact that this device is simple and easy, it’s going to hold a charge for quite some time. It comes with a USB charging cable that you can plug into your computer or any type of power source, and users found that they can be used for about 8 hours on a single charge.
Using Bluetooth version 4.1, these headphones are going to provide a stable transmission of sound in padded headphones that are going to just sit on the outside of your ear. If you are someone that just doesn’t like the feel of earbuds, and you also want something that isn’t going to block out the outside world completely (which can be dangerous if you are hiking a busy trail or cycling), this is a great option.
What we liked most about this option is that it comes in at one of the most affordable price points out there on the market, and will set you back about the same amount that you would spend on a pepperoni pizza.
For those that are looking for a great way to stream sound directly into their eyewear while out of adventures while being able to keep your hands free and the sun out of your eyes, this option from TechKen is a great and affordable solution.
Controls are in the inside of the frames
First person video recorder
Comes with 3 additional sets of colored lenses
A little expensive
Users do not feel the earbuds offer premium sound quality
What we liked most about this model is that it comes with all of the features that you would want to stay connected to your phone, and it also comes with a set of interchangeable lenses that will work for all types of conditions to keep your eyes protected.Read more
These are just a little bit bulkier than your average eyewear, but only slightly. All of the connectivity components are built right into the plastic frames, What users really like most about this option is that it comes with a set of 3 shades of lenses in addition to your standard black options. Color options include deep blue, yellow, and clear so that you can wear them on your travels no matter how bright it is outside.
This pair will sync to your phone via bluetooth, and it will allow you to listen to music and talk on the phone via the earbuds. The earbuds are on a long tether that will accommodate all sizes and shapes of heads. One thing that we did notice is that there is a myriad of buttons and controls that will allow the users to turn it on and off, adjust the volume, and even pause and continue when needed. The best part is that it has a video recorder so that you will be able to record a first-person perspective of your travels.
This unit is powered by a USB charging cable that comes with the purchase of this unit. Simply plug it into a USB power source, and wait until it comes to a full charge. It takes only 2 hours to come to a full charge, but can only hold a charge for 2.5 hours.
Due to the fact that this unit uses earbuds to deliver sound, it is going to be able to block out more of the surrounding noise to offer a richer basic stereo sound. Sound users feel that the sound doesn’t achieve some of the richer levels as more expensive headphones, however.
The cost of this unit lives somewhere in between the more affordable models and the more expensive options out there on the market. Considering that is has a video recorder built into the frames to capture your adventures, we feel that this is an excellent price point.
If you are in the market for something that is going to be able to deliver stereo sound from your phone, all while recording all of your adventures to show off to your friends, this unit is going to be worth the slightly padded price tag.
Sleek and slim design
Offers users a pack of changeable lenses
Keeps you in tune with your surroundings
A little expensive
Sound quality isn’t great
This style from OhO offers users the best of both worlds- they are incredibly slim and stylish, but they also offer users premium sound from tiny speakers located next to the ear. Plus, large polarized lenses are going to keep your eyes protected.Read more
What users really like most about this option is that it is sleek and slim and looks like your standard pair of outdoor eyewear. For a slightly higher price tag, users can elect to select a pack that comes with three additional colored lenses in addition to the standard black. Those colors include a mirrored red, blue, and sliver.
What users like most about this option is that it sports an open ear speaker. Instead of having earbuds, this unit uses a set of speakers located right next to the ears so that you can listen to your favorite music while still being able to take in the sounds around you- which is much safer! Buttons located along the side are also going to allow you to take and receive calls, and you can also use the speaker to voice dial from your contact list.
This unit is able to be powered up by using a USB charging cable that comes with purchase. It takes about 2 hours to come to a complete charge, and then it can run your music continuously for about 3 hours before it needs to be charged again.
What we discovered is that users are generally pleased with the performance of these speakers. While it isn’t going to be able to give you the same level of noise canceling quality as an earbud, or near the volume, users were generally pleased with the quality of sound produced.
The cost of this option is going to be slightly more than some of the similar slim options that we have seen out there on the market, but not by much. We feel that the marriage of style and function in this option makes it well worth the slightly padded price tag.
This style from OhO is great because it is really going to keep your eyes protected from the sun, and it is also going to provide you with great sound that will keep you jamming to your favorite tunes while safely being in tune with your surroundings.
Sleek and stylish look
Offers premium sound through small speakers next to your ears
A little expensive
People sitting around you can hear your music
For those that are a little put off by big and bulky frames, this option from Inventiv looks like your standard outdoor eyewear that has arms that are only just slightly thicker. Even with the more slender frames, it is able to deliver users the ability to listen to music and make/receive calls.Read more
As we mentioned earlier, the style is what a lot of users like about this product. The shape of the frames are a little more stylish and look less like safety or sports eyewear. It also comes with polarized lenses that do a better job at protecting your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun.
This model is able to sync to most phones via Bluetooth, and will send sound from music or even calls. What we liked most about this option is that instead of using earbuds, it has speakers that are located directly next to your ear. This feature is going to make it safer to go hiking and cycling on the trails without compromising your sense of hearing when you need it.
This unit comes with a USB cable that is able to plug into a power source such as your computer to give it a full charge. Once it is fully charged, it will offer users about 3 hours of continued use. This is just a little less than some of the other styles we have seen out there on the market.
Due to the fact that music is emitted from tiny speakers next to your ears, you should assume that the sound quality is going to be less than ideal. However, from what we read from previous users, the sound emitted from this unit was surprisingly good, although users wish they had an easier way to adjust the volume.
Taking into consideration that this design is only able to play music and take calls through the speakers, the price of this device is a little high. However, we feel that the quality of the lenses, as well as the quality of the speakers, make it worth the cost.
If you are in the market for something that is going to offer a stylish look with top of the line polarized lenses, and has a speaker that will deliver excellent sound without risking your safety when out on adventures, this is a great choice.
5. ZUNGLE V2 Viper
Bone conduction tech
User feel that the sound does not get very loud
We liked this option from ZUNGLE because it provides users with a sleek look while still offering premium tech that will help them keep connected even when they are on the go.Read more
One of the things that we noticed right off the bat about this option is that it comes in a sports frame that is sleek and stylish. The bad side about this option is that it surprisingly doesn’t come with black frames, Users can elect to pick yellow, blue or teal lenses. But you are also going to be able to pick between black, gray, or white frames.
What makes the ZUNGLE V2 Viper so special is that it uses something called bone conduction that delivers sound directly into your skull. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and users will be able to do things like listen to music, and take calls. It even has a button along the side that will allow you to gain access to Siri, Bixby, or Google Assistant.
The bad news here is that ZUNGLE uses their proprietary charging cable. This means that if you happen to lose it, you cannot simply use a universal USB charger, and you are going to have to buy a new one. The good news, however, is that it only takes about 1 hour to fully charge with this cable, and will hold a charge for about 4 hours.
As we mentioned earlier, this unit uses something called bone conduction tech. This means that sound is delivered to you via vibrations that the speakers make in your skull. Users generally find that the sound quality is surprisingly good and clear.
Another downside to this model is that the price tag is nearly double of many of the other similar style out there on the market. However, if you were looking for an earbud-free way to deliver superior sound right into your skull- this may be well worth the added cost to you.
If you are in the market for something that has top of the line lenses that will protect your eyes from the sun, and that also has a unique method of delivering sound while still keeping you in tune with your surroundings- this is going to be a great choice.
6. Recon Jet
Screen will display important information that is integrated with your apps such as MapMyFitness
Does not hold a charge for very long
If you have been a little underwhelmed by the features of many of the current styles, you may want to take a look at this option from Recon Jet. This is designed for athletes on the go that want to keep a keen eye on all of their performance metrics, and also deliver full connectivity to your phone.Read more
One look at this design and you know that it was built for athletes. Users love the sleek and aerodynamic design that contours to the shape of your face. The lenses are a gentle black that will keep the sun out of your eyes but not too black that you have a hard time making out details. The frames are only offered in a standout white.
The best part about this option is that there is a screen that is located in the bottom corner of the lens. This screen will display important information such as your heart rate, distance traveled, the time, and battery life. It also connects to social media, so that your friends will be able to track your progress as it is happening. The camera that is built to catch all of the action captures images in an impressive 720p!
This unit is powered by one lithium battery that is included with purchase. Many users have found that while it is in use it will hold a charge of sometimes shy of two hours, which can be a little less than ideal for long treks.
One of the downsides about this model is that it isn’t built with any speakers in the unit. However, it does support sound integration with your phone, and allows you to control music playback from secondary speakers or headphones along the side of the unit.
We hope you are sitting down, because this design offers a wallop of a price tag, and can run up a price tag similar to most cell phones. However, from what we have seen this unit hits the mark on the wearable tech that we are all anxiously waiting for.
If you want a pair that is going to have a screen that it going to be able to constantly display information that you deem important when you are out on the trails while still keeping your eyes protected and your hands-free, this option may be well worth the high price point for your needs.
Easy to swap out frames
Sleek and sporty design
Sound quality is less than ideal
If you don’t like to be weighed down by big and clunky frames, this option from Tayinplus is going to be one of your better options. Users like the simple frames that allow for users to swap out colors lenses easily when the weather calls for it.Read more
The style of these frames screams outdoors sports. They are designed to contour the shape of your face to reduce wind resistance. What users like most about this options is that the absence of frames around the bottom of the lenses means that swapping them out is incredibly easy. Users can select from lenses that are standard black, yellow, or clear.
Users can adjust the settings so that when you receive a call on your phone your frames will automatically answer it for you, so that you won’t have to waste any energy or focus trying to reach for an answer button. Plus, it has bone conduction tech in the speakers to provide premium sound without taking your attention off of your surroundings.
This unit is charged up via a micro USB power cable that is included with purchase. This means that you are going to be able to plug the cable into a USB port, and it will take about 2 hours to completely charge. The good news here is that it will provide users with an impressive 6-8 hours of music from a single charge.
As we mentioned earlier, this unit users bone conductor tech to stream music directly into the bones in your skull. From what we have read from past users, the sound quality is a little spotty. If pushed to a higher volume, the sound beginning to get a little distorted and difficult to hear.
The cost of this unit runs about par for the course for products that use bone conductor tech for their speakers. However, if you are looking for something that has a lot of additional features that will help keep your focus on the road or the trails, this is going to be worth the slightly higher price point.
The reason we added this option from Tayinplus to our list is because of the additional features that help keep your hands free, and the styling of the frames. The only place that it drops the ball slightly is in the quality of the speakers.
Decent sound quality
Holds a charge for a long time
If the volume is turned up all the way, you run the risk of blowing the speakers
If you have been a little intimidated by the high price tag of many of the options listed above, you may be interested in checking out this option from WONFAST. It provides users with all of the features users want in these products, but it comes in at a much lower price point.Read more
We’ll be honest with you; you aren’t going to be turning any heads with the styling of this model. It is a little on the bulky side, but it redeems itself a little with sleek and aerodynamic lenses that conform to the shape of your head. It also comes with a pack of lenses that include black, yellow, grey, and clear that are very easy to swap out when the weather calls for it.
This option is able to pair with your phone via bluetooth so that you can stream all of your favorite music through the adjustable headphones on the side of the unit. Controls along the side will also allow the user to skip through songs, pause and play and even adjust the volume. Users will also be able to answer calls with this device. Plus, the lenses that are included are polarized so it will protect your eyes from the sun.
This unit is powered off of the single lithium battery that is able to be charged via USB cable that is included with purchase. While the product description claims that it can hold a charge for up to 2 hours, there were quite a few previous users that found that they were able to hold a charge for over 8 hours.
The headphones for this option simply drape down over your ear so that you can still be aware of your surroundings. From what we have read from previous users, the sound was pretty good, albeit not very loud. In terms of taking calls, users felt that this design worked well on both ends- users could hear the caller, and callers could hear the user.
The best part about his design is that it comes in at one of the most affordable price points out there on the market, and may set you back about the same amount that you spend on lunch today.
If you are looking for a product that is going to be able to sync with your phone to keep your hands free, and comes in at an incredibly affordable price point, this option from WONFAST is going to be worth checking out.
9. Vuzix M100
Can take video and photos with hand gestures
Users found this device to be difficult to use and counterintuitive
While the Vuzix M100 might seem like it offers all of the features gadget loves have been dreaming of all these years, it has quite a few shortcoming that have catapulted this option towards the bottom of our list.Read more
The styling of this design is simple and minimal. These are more for wearing for everyday use in the office or at home, and less for outdoor adventures. It has very thin wire frames that have clear plastic lenses. While the look like your typical eyewear, the system can be connected or disconnected from the left arm when need be.
This product does pretty much everything that you would want. The screen display is able to take pictures and record video, and you can also download apps such as GPS to get directed streamed directly to your face. It can also be paired via bluetooth to allow for making and receiving calls. What we found impressive is that it responds to hand gestures for scrolling, and has a wide array of voice commands for hands free use.
The product description states that this unit is powered from a single lithium battery, however, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of how this product is charged, or how many hours this unit can run before it needs to be charge again- which is a little concerning.
Unlike many of the other options out there, this design doesn’t have a speaker built into the frames. However, if you would like to listen to music via external headphones, this device can be synced to your phone using 4.0 bluetooth to access your music.
We hope you are sitting down for this, because this option carries quite the shocking price tag. It is likely going to set you back about the same price that you may have spent on your cell phone.
While it may seem impressive on the outside, we have found that users found that this device was difficult to use and navigate, and many of the features did not work for them. However, if you want to give some of the more advanced wearable tech a try, this is a good place to start.
Easy to use
Some users do not like how they fit on their face
Hands down, this is one of the most affordable options out there on the market. It has styling that makes it a little bigger and bulkier than most, but it is able to do all of the tasks that users would want from one of these products.Read more
As we mentioned before, the styling of this unit is just a little bit on the bulky side. The lenses are sleek and aerodynamic, and offer up a sporty style.
This unit is able to be connected to your cell phone via bluetooth, and will connect to most devices. This means that it will be able to stream music directly into the earphones, and it is able to make and receive phone calls as well.
Users can charge up this design with the USB charging cable that is included with the purchase. From what we have read from past users, this design is able to hold a charge for an impressive 4-6 hours before it needs to be charged again.
Instead of using earbuds, the PHEVOS uses headphones that are placed next to your ears. Considering the lower price point of this option, users still feel that it offers a pretty decent sound that is able to get quite loud.
The price tag of this design is one of the most affordable options we have found out there on the market. Considering that users feel it offers pretty great sound from the headphones, we feel this is an excellent deal.
If you are looking for something that is going to be incredibly affordable while still offering great sound and is going to be easy to pair to your device, this is an excellent choice.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Style is something important to consider, because this is something that you are going to wear on your face.
We wanted to select styles that were functional, of course, but we didn’t want to picky unnecessary bulky options that would make you look like Robocop (unless that’s something that you are into). For the most part, users typically want something that it going to look like their everyday shades without adding too much bulk. While it is impossible to fit all of that tech into a normal sized frame, there were options that could actually pass as normal eyewear. We also wanted to select styles that gave the user some options on how to wear them. We were drawn to design that came with packs of multiple packs of lenses that were interchangeable. This will allow you to pop in lighter lenses when out on the slopes, or clear lenses when you are working inside.
At the end of the day, you are in it for the features.
The frames could be a little weird and awkward, but as long as it is able to deliver results, you probably won’t mind the look as much. We wanted to make sure that we selected designs that were able to tackle the most amount of features while still being functional, practical, and useful. One of our favorite features that we found a few companies were able to pull off quite well was the camera feature. Once it is synced to your phone, a small camera in the side of the frame is able to record all of your adventures in a first person perspective that would send it directly to your phone so that you can easily upload it to YouTube. Things like wirelessly streaming music, answering phone calls, or voice dialing people on your contact list were also some of the big features that we considered. There were a few companies that we found that also seemed to really master very basic display screens that were able to relay important information such as heart rate, time, and miles traveled, and then send off that information to your phone.
We wanted to make sure that these devices offered a quick and easy way to charge it up before heading out for the day.
It seems that we are all accumulating more and more devices that absolutely have to be charged before we start our day, so we made sure that the devices that we selected were going to be quick and easy to charge. One way to ensure that it is going to be easy to to select options that have a universal charging method. USB charging cables are going to be the best way to ensure that you get a good charge, and that you will always be in close proximity to a USB port. Plus, if you ever lose the charging cable that came with your purchase, you can always just replace it with one of the myriad of similar cables that you likely have lying around the house. The bare minimum number of hours of use that we found with these designs was about a constant 2 hour run time. There were some designs out there that were actually able to hold a charge for 4-6 hours, and at the high end were products that could run for about 8 hours.
Most of the options out there offer a speaker set up of some kind, so we took a look at the quality of the sound produced.
We aren’t going to sugarcoat this- the sound on most of these devices are not going to be specktacular. Most companies do not opt for the earbud design, because it blocks out much of the exterior sound. While this may be an ideal feature if you are sitting at work and trying to block out the sound of chatty coworkers, it’s not going to be ideal for cycling on a busy road. Most options out there try and not obstruct your ear at all because if you are driving or running a busy trail, you are going to need to be in tune with the world around you. Due to this design feature found in model models, it means that the sound isn’t going to be as rich, and it is also not going to get quite as loud. If you really want to make sure that you get something that is going to have better sound, we suggest selecting an option that uses bone conduction technology. This is going to give you a better sound, but it can come in at a higher price point than most.
As always, we want to save you some money when we can, but we want you to get the most bang for your buck.
From what we found, the price of these devices is a little all over the map. At the low end of the price spectrum are the basic and bulky models that perform all of the basic functions such as streaming music and taking calls. They might not look the coolest, but they are functional and affordable. Next in line is the medium priced options. These are typically a lot thinner, sport polarized lenses, and produce a few more functions such as taking videos and photos. At the high end are products that have a screen that is displayed in the lower part of your vision. These products typically have a price tag that is going to rival the price of your phone, and sometimes have flawed or counterintuitive design features that may make it difficult to use.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you want something that is going to be able to pass as just your regular pair of shades, you are going to have to dish out the extra cash. Slimmer frames are notoriously more expensive, mostly because they have the speakers built right into the frame. Plus, some of the thinner frames uses bone conduction tech for their speakers, which is something else that is going to drive up the price tag.
Consider the conditions that you are going to be in when using this product. If it is something that you are going to wear on all of your outdoor adventures, you may want to splurge and opt for a model that has a video camera built into the frame. Uploading your videos will be a cinch when it is connected to your phone via bluetooth.
It might seem important at the time to select something that has superior sound quality, but it is more important to stay safe. Earbuds that block out external sounds are going to make your music sound better, but if you are cycling on a busy street it means that you won't be able to hear cars or pedestrians.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do I need them?
Over the years, humans have become slaves to that tiny shiny rectangle that they carry in their pocket. Everywhere they go, if they are idling for even a second they take out their phone, cock their head down, and become lost in its contents. While it is great to stay connected to the world at all times, we can often feel like a slave to the screen. Even when out on a long hike- there is bound to be a moment where you feel the need to stop and check to make sure that you haven’t missed an important email or phone call. The draw to tech that you wear snips some of those threads that can remove us from the beauty of the world around us, and keeps us present in the moment while still staying connected.
q: Why are some options so expensive?
Wearable tech is something that has been growing in popularity over recent years. We have already seen a huge surge in demand for products for smart watches, and people are now standing to look towards eyewear. The bottom line here is that new technology often comes at a high price tag due to all of the science and research that goes into making these types of devices. These products are still in their infancy, with the first prototype being invented in April of 2012, and the first commercial design hitting the market just two years later. As with any new tech, kinks and bugs need to be worked out to perfect the science behind it in order to make it more affordable to users. That’s why many of the option you see out there on the market today are basic versions that can completely primary functions, just without the viewfinder screen (which is where you run into the high cost).
q: What is bone conduction technology?
You might have noticed that some of the designs on our list do not offer earphones or speakers, but deliver sound to you via bone conduction. So, what exactly is bone conduction? This type of technology delivers sound through vibrations that travel through the bones in your face. Instead of channeling the sound through the ear canal and directly to the eardrum, these vibrations travel through the bones in your cheeks and jaw to deliver the vibrations to your eardrum. It may sound a little too good to be true, but it actually works quite well at delivering superior sound. From what we have read from many skeptical past users, the sound delivered from this method is quite clear, and it prevents the sound from leaking out so that the passenger sitting next to you on the train will have no clue that you are listening to 1990’s boy bands on your morning commute.
q: Can they be paired to most phones?
The beauty of these devices is that almost all that we found out there on the market can be paired to your phone using bluetooth technology. This means that these products aren’t going to discriminate on the age of your device. As long as your phone has bluetooth capability (which is almost all current phones), you will be able to pair your eyewear to your phone by syncing it in the pairing menu under settings.
q: What types of conditions are different colored lenses used for?
As a seasoned outdoorsman, you know that there are various types of weather conditions that make it difficult to see. The purpose of colored lenses is to reduce eye strain from brightness, but still allow you to make out details in the landscape. Lenses that are too dark may keep you from squinting, but they are also going to detract from the landscape around you and make you feel like you are on an atmosphere-less Mars. Black and grey lenses are perfect for those insanely bright and sunny days in the middle of the summer. They are made to really cut the the glare that can happy when the sun is out in full force. Lighter shades such as silver, yellow, and blues are ideal for muted days where the sun may be hidden but it is still very bright outside. People who like to engage in wintertime sports such as skiing and snowboarding often swap out their black or gray shades for lighter colors such as yellow.
q: Why are there few options out there that use earbuds for sound?
It seems like whenever you see someone out and about listening to music, they often opt for the classic earbud. Earbuds are great because they are small and compact, and can really help block out distracting exterior sounds. However, when you are out and about cycling down a busy street or even driving in your car, you are going to want to be able to hear what is going on around you in order to stay safe. For that reason, most of the brands out there on the market utilize small speakers that are built right into the frames, or that hand down on the outside of your ear. Some users do not like this feature because it means that if you are sitting close enough to them, you are going to be able to hear what they are listening to. If that’s the case with you, you might benefit more from using design that use bone conduction technology. These style often come in at a much higher price point, but users typically feel that they are worth the cost at the end of the day.
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