Snazzy pair of smart shades

I have been wishing for something like the smart glasses worn by Marvel movie character Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, that enable him to control everything in his arsenal.

The Huawei x Gentle Monster Eyewear might be the next best thing.

The result of a collaboration between Chinese tech giant Huawei and South Korean sunglasses brand Gentle Monster, the Eyewear is a pair of smart sunglasses that can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth to stream music, let you answer calls and even call up the voice assistant of your smartphone.

It is able to do so by housing dual speakers and microphones inside each of its slim arms.

While it might not be as advanced as Mr Stark's sunglasses, I think the Eyewear looks much better.

It is available in two versions: Smart Eastmoon and Smart Jackbye (version tested). Either of these designs will look great on anyone's face, in my opinion.

Compared with other quirky and experimental Gentle Monster sunglasses, the review unit looks more conservative. But it retains the brand's iconic oversized frame, which seems to flatter whoever is wearing it. There is a reason why Gentle Monster sunglasses are worn by celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Gigi Hadid and Tilda Swinton.

Apart from being great-looking, the Eyewear is also lightweight at only 45.6g. It has a dust-and water-resistance rating of IP67, which means it can withstand light drizzling and sweat. But it cannot survive being thrown into a swimming pool.

The Eyewear comes with an equally great-looking leather case that doubles as the charging dock. At the bottom of the case are a USB-C port, a function button and indicator light.

To charge, just place the Eyewear inside the case. This is supposed to add 51/2 hours to its rated 21/2 hours of battery life.

  • FOR

    •Good-looking sunglasses

    •Great audio output

    •Supports Android and iOS

    AGAINST

    •Others can hear what you are listening to

    •Cannot take calls with iPhones

    TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $590

    WATER RESISTANCE: IP67 rating

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0

    WEIGHT: 45.6g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

To pair it with your smartphone, you need to download its accompanying app: AI Life for Android devices and Eyewear for iOS devices.

Pairing starts with opening the cover of the charging case with the glasses inside. Press the function button for three seconds until the indicator light flashes white.

Launch the app, scan for the Eyewear, tap the Eyewear dialogue window in the app and pairing is done.

By default, double tapping on the right arm will play or pause a song. To call up the voice assistant, double-tap the left arm. You can change this set-up in the app.

Audio quality is surprisingly good, considering the sound is coming from the slim arms. There is a nice balance of the mids and highs. The bass lacks oomph, but I expected as much from these minuscule speakers.

Also, I like that the music will stop playing the moment you remove the Eyewear.

On the downside, since it does not use bone conduction, others can hear what you are listening to - not good when you are on an MRT train or in the office.

 
 

I have to dial the volume down to 30 per cent in order for others to not be able to hear the music played. But at this volume, I can barely hear the music too.

In addition, if you are using an iPhone, you will not be able to answer calls using the Eyewear. This function works only if you are using an Android smartphone.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2020, with the headline 'Snazzy pair of smart shades'. Print Edition | Subscribe