by Matthew Harris on May 26, 2006 in Peripherals
It seems that MP3 playback has permeated every part of our lives. With the proliferation of MP3 devices on the market we find them in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and configurations. Today we look at Brando’s sporty MP3 Sunglasses and see if they’re more than just a gimmick.
Now before you attribute this to U-E (User Error) bear in mind that I was holding the buttons down for the volume in excess of ten seconds before giving up on it changing the volume. Same goes for the power, I was very deliberate in my actions. I know that the buttons were being depressed to the point of contact since they have a very satisfying click that is easily felt when they bottom out. Let’s just say that the user interface leaves a lot to be desired.
Now, on to the speakers, they’re similar in design to the ear-buds that commonly come with CD players and MP3 players except that they’re a good deal larger in size. After placing the glasses on your head and getting the speakers to make solid contact with your ear openings by pivoting the speakers around they sound quite good when you can get the unit to make with the music. Sadly though getting the speakers in place requires at least two minutes of adjusting to get a good seal to your ear canals otherwise the sound is weak and tinny. As it stands once you’ve achieved the optimum fit you still have a slight lack in bass due to a bit of an air gap that can’t be entirely eliminated and allows the rear wave from the speakers to cancel the front wave. It’s not bad but if you press in on the speakers during play you find yourself wishing that they sealed just a slight bit better.
The flip function of the glasses does work fairly well but you need to be careful since the lenses are attached to the center which serves as the hinge. There is no support on the outer ends of the lenses so a bit of clumsy handling could snap a lens straight off and as much resistance as the hinge gives (it’s under spring tension to hold the lenses tightly down and prevent flopping) you could easily do this. The lenses are also a bit on the soft side and are easily scratched so be mindful of what you use as a lens cleaning cloth. T-shirts are definitely out. The lenses are optically neutral meaning there’s no distortion which is a plus. As poorly executed as the controls are I half expected the lenses to be badly made.
The one really positive thing I can say for these units is the Windows interface. Windows sees the MP3 Sunglasses as a flash drive of whatever size you happen to have. They come in 512Mb and 1Gb. Loading media is as simple as copy/paste. As long as the media is a supported format (.mp3/.wma/.wav) the player will cue it up in a format of last added last played. You’re not limited to audio formats though. The Sunglasses can be used as a storage drive just as easily. Simply drag and drop or copy/paste. Brando does include a mini CD with drivers for Windows 9X but I don’t have anything that archaic so I never tried it out. I can only hope that it works better than the buttons do.
Now we come to the part of the review where I boil the fat away and come up with the tallow:
- Cool Styling
- Simple Windows Interface
- Good Sound, Even Cranked
- Lenses Are Optically Neutral
- Functionally Inept
- Easily Damaged Lenses
- Zero Padding
- Speakers Could Seal Better
With that said and done it’s time to rate them. With all the problems and functional impairments these glasses have I’m going to give them a 4/10 and Techgages first ever "Hardware To Avoid" rating. Yes, they’re that bad. I’m an easy person to please. A product that does what it is supposed to do and does it well rates a good score and one that constantly fumbles the ball rates a low score. So far I’ve been fairly lucky and I’ve been graced with some truly wonderful products but these aren’t them. I’d like to thank Brando for sending these glasses to review.
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