Tech Corner: Who needs headphones when you’ve got these sunglasses? 4 weeks ago

Tech Corner: Who needs headphones when you’ve got these sunglasses?

Sunlight is in short supply in Ireland in general, but there's some days where sunglasses are useful.

Welcome to the party and the fourth edition of Tech Corner. Be sure to read why I no longer microwave my coffee, why smartphone printers are underrated and whether or not you need a UV sanitiser for your smartphone.

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How we consume audio has changed vastly over the past number of years. Wired headphones, for the most part, are in their dying throes as the switch to wireless headphones and earbuds nears completion.

In the space of about three to four years, wireless earbuds have gone from a relative rarity to a common accessory to go along with some kind of fitness tracker and increasingly large smartphones.

Is the next big conversion going to be to audio sunglasses? Over the past couple of years, both sunglasses companies and tech brands have started to find new ways to integrate the latest audio technology into sunglasses.

There’s loads of options out there including ones from Bose and Ray-Ban, but for this week’s Tech Corner I’m having a look at Huawei’s - pricey - venture into the field with the Huawei X Gentle Monster Eyewear. As this is quite a mouthful, henceforth I will refer to them as the ‘Huawei X’.

On the surface they look like a regular pair of stylish sunglasses, but the Huawei X not only keep the sun out of your eyes, they also give you a way to listen to your podcasts and music while you walk.

There’s no bone conduction here, instead they work via semi-open speakers which feed the sound down into your ear. Now, at this point in time, they’ll never match the quality of a true set of headphones but they do provide a pretty clear sound with some impressive detail despite the relatively small size of the speakers.

As the speakers are above your ear, there is a very small bit of sound leak. But from testing, it’s certainly no more than the majority of earbuds on the market and you’d have to strain to hear any bit of tinny noise that comes from them.

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I test a lot of tech products and certainly found these to be on the more intriguing end of the scale, and members of my family were far more interested in trying them out than most other products.

They eliminate the need to bring headphones with you if you’re out for a walk and there’s a handy automatic pause feature if you lift the glasses, as well as useful touch controls.

One thing I would love to see is a battery in the charging case because as things stand, the case has to be connected to power to charge the sunglasses. And it's important to note that the audio will not match a good brand of earbuds/headphones, but as a hybrid, they're quite a cool if expensive piece of tech.

The Huawei X Gentle Monster Eyewear II are available for around €350 at Carphone Warehouse and the Huawei website.