I like the idea of wearable audio devices. Atari’s Speakerhat is one of my favorite examples because it enables me to hear Bluetooth sound without having to shut out the world. I’ve tried open-back earphones for this purpose, but they don’t help me when I need to hear a kid yelling for me from the other side of my home. So I was excited to try out the Flows audio glasses, which work exactly like you would expect.
Flows Bruno’s and Taylor’s glasses are available now for $150. They come as sunglasses with black lenses, but you can get a separate lens pack with different colors and styles, such as transparent. The lenses have UVA/UVB polarized protection — although that created some issues for me. It uses Bluetooth to connect to devices and has a built-in microphone. And its battery lasts for 5 hours on a charge.
After a few weeks with the Flows, I’ve found some specific circumstances in which I would use them. They’re great for exercising outside and for driving. And I think Flows’ $150 price makes sense compared to its $200-to-$250 competitors.
But they don’t work as well in situations where I would want to use them. I like the idea of hearing other people while I’m listening to something, but the polarized lenses actually block out one of my monitors and the LG CX television.
Even if I could use them for gaming or media, however, I wouldn’t. The sound is too hollow. So you end up with a significantly degraded experience compared to speakers or headphones.
I still like the idea of the Flows. They look cool, and I wear them while running or skating. But they aren’t the wearable speaker for me.
Flows audio glasses are available now for $150. The company provided a sample unit for the purpose of this review.
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