Stylish smart sunglasses offer built-in Bluetooth speakers [Review]

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Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses review
Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses pair well with an iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Flows Bandwidth’s Bluetooth audio sunglasses let you listen to podcasts or take calls without blocking out the world around you. Despite speakers built into the stems, the men’s or women’s versions look like any other sunglasses. But they keep you entertained on the go.

I’ve worn these smart glasses for weeks. Here’s why I like them.

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Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses review

AirPods and other Bluetooth earbuds block out the world around you. Which is great when you’re in the office, but a terrible idea when you’re pedaling your bike up a hill. Not know a truck is coming up behind you can be a serious problem.

That won‘t happen with Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses. Connect them to your iPhone to listen to music or podcasts or make phone calls via the open-ear speakers and microphone.

Hardware and design

In all the times I’ve worn the men’s version of these smart glasses, no one has noticed anything unusual about them. That’s just how you want it.

Flows Bandwidth calls them Bruno’s, while the women’s version is called Taylor’s. The stems with all the electronics are the same on both. These stems are thicker than is typical but I didn’t find them unwieldy. And these pack in multiple speakers, a microphone, battery, etc.

The men’s version fits medium or large heads. I wear a large hat, and the glasses fit fine.

As for esthetics… that’s in the eye of the beholder. If you like the classic appearance of these sunglasses in the pictures, I can assure you that’s just how they look in real life. But if you want tortoiseshell instead, then you’re in for a disappointment; Flows Bandwidth’s frames come in only Matte Black or Matte Grey.

They offer IPX2 water resistance, which means they won’t fail immediately if you get caught in the rain, and you probably don’t need to worry about sweat. But don’t wear these sunglasses while swimming.

Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses look good.
Without a close examination, Flows Bandwidth’s smart glasses look like any other pair of sunglasses.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Lenses

The polarized lenses block UVA and UVB rays. They’re scratch resistant, and I haven’t scratched my test pair in weeks of use.

The glasses come with a set of black lenses. You can get a lens pack for $39.99 on the Flows Bandwidth website. It includes a set of Sapphire Blue, Gold Rush Gold and Blue Light (Clear, blue light reflective).

Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses performance

Pairing the Bruno’s smart glasses to my iPhone was a snap. The same goes for an Apple Watch. Put the glasses on and press and hold the one-and-only button until you hear “Power On” then “Pairing.” Next, establish the connection on your Apple device as you would with any other Bluetooth accessory. No app is necessary to use the glasses.

Audio volume is… decent. I can easily hear the speakers in quiet or moderately noisy environments. But when there’s a lot of noise, the audio is drowned out. Cars passing me are loud enough to prevent me from understanding what’s being said.

Audio quality is fine for podcasts and phone calls. Flows Bandwidth says the speakers were built with Harman Kardon technology. But there’s not much base, which means this really isn’t the best option for music. It’s usable, but not close to even an average pair of Bluetooth earbuds.

Controls

When Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses are on and connected to your iPhone, press the power button once to start the music or podcast. Press it again to stop. When you receive an incoming call, answer it by pressing the power button once. Hang up by pressing the button again.

A one-second press will activate Siri. But don’t press too long because holding the button down for five seconds shuts this audio accessory down.

Power

Flows Bandwidth promises up to 5 hours of use on a single charge. I’ve used them on multiple walks and rides over my weeks of testing and I’m still on the first charge.

The Bluetooth sunglasses are recharged via a USB-A cable that connects to a proprietary magnetic port on one of the frames. A full recharge takes a couple of hours.

The stems of the Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses are thick, but it’s not noticeable in everyday use.
Multiple speakers are built into the frames of the smart glasses.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses final thoughts

Wearing earbuds that block out the world while you’re walking or biking isn’t very safe. That’s why there’d a real need for Flows Bandwidth’s smart glasses. You can listen to a podcast while also hearing that truck coming up behind you. I’d be happier if the speakers were just a bit louder, though.

The look is fine. Conservative, but few people will notice that these are anything other than regular sunglasses.

Spring and summer are coming up, and you’ll want to be outside. A pair of smart sunglasses might be just what you need.

Pricing

Whether you buy Bruno’s or Taylor’s, the Bluetooth audio sunglasses are $149.95 on the Flows Bandwidth website.

That’s the same price as rival Lucyd Lyte Bluetooth Smart Audio Sunglasses, which have the same general functionality. Or Bose sunglasses with built-in speakers are $199 — though a limited time deal puts them down at $179.

Flows Bandwidth provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.