November 18, 2016 is the day I backed this Kickstarter Campaign by paying around $190. It was expected to be delivered by July 2017. But this is what happened….
November 2017 – Product is not ready
July 2018 – Product is not ready
November 2018 – Product is not ready
May 24, 2019 – Wohooo, the product has been shipped
June 2019 – I received the product.
From the above timeline, the only thing I want you to take away is this
90% of the Crowdfunding Campaings do not deliver their product on time
I can say that because I have been tracking a countless number of Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns from the past 5 years or so. I have featured some of those campaigns on my website as well. It is very very rare that a crowdfunded product arrives at your doorstep on time that they promised. I would not have cared if the delay was like 6 months or so. But in my case, it was a horrible 2 years. Are you kidding me? are you freaking kidding me?
Letting that aside, let us dive into the actual hands-on review of the Vue Smart Glasses.
Smart is just a keyword the company uses but according to me, it’s semi-smart and in my definition, smart glass is something with a display as well as the audio, both without wires.
At a glance,
The Vue Audio glasses look absolutely stunning. I loved the look right away. The one that I bought was the Classic version with a nerdy kind of look but you do have a couple of other variants such as trendy plain, classic and trendy sunglasses, etc.
The frame is matte black which is very attractive. On the very end of the temples/frames, you have the bone conduction speakers. You can see two ugly bumps right? those are the ones.
On the right frame, there is an LED notification light and an embedded touch panel that is not noticeable. The overall aesthetics of the gadget is fantastic. My rating for this section is 8/10.
Comfort while Wearing
Not that great, the two bumpy bone conduction speakers press very hard on to your head (just over the back of your ears). It is okay for a while but every time I wear this for a prolonged period of time, things start to hurt really bad, believe me, you don’t feel like wearing it every time. The glasses were crystal clear and the nose fitting is just fine. It is much heavier than the normal glasses as it consists of batteries and some electronic circuits. So please don’t expect it to be super lightweight and comfortable that you could wear it 24×7. I would give a 5/10 for the comfort
Smart Features and Functionalities
Vue smart glasses come with a mobile app that is needed for the Bluetooth connection. When you unfold the frames, the device is turned on automatically and will be connected to your smartphone. You can then stream music, answer calls and get notifications. The touch bar on the right frame lets you pause, skip and fast forward songs. It also allows you to accept or reject a call. Double tapping it calls the last dialed number and long-pressing would open the google assistant. I would give a 9/10 for features.
Vue glasses also track your daily activities like steps, distance walked, etc. I am not sure of the accuracy of the calculations.
These are some of the main features I wanted to cover, there are more features like find my phone etc.
Bone Conduction: Audio Quality
Just to introduce, bone conduction is a technique where the audio is directly transmitted to your inner ears via vibrations. Since the outer ears are not involved, there is nothing covering your ears physically.
Vue has two bone conduction speakers, one on each frame. You can easily hear the music in a noise-free environment, even at the very least volume level. But if you are outside in a busy area, even the loudest music can’t be heard. The sound leakage is too much. Even if you are on a 50% volume level, the person sitting 10ft away from you can clearly hear the song. This feature has some ambiguity as it depends on the audio level, surrounding noise, audio type to name a few. But one thing is for sure, bone conduction is not perfect yet. As far as I have observed, almost every bone conduction speaker can be heard from outside. Very poor audio isolation.
The audio quality absolutely sucks, I count not even pick one positive thing about the audio quality. An utter disaster here.
I can’t give anything more than 3/10 for audio quality and isolation.
According to me, Bone Conduction is nothing more than a hype.
Bone Conduction: Comfort while listening to music
Oh my god, another disaster. If I listen to anything for more than 5 minutes, I get irritation on my head. I am not sure if it’s because of the tight bone conduction speakers or the vibrations it sends to my brain. But either case, it sucks. Some say bone conduction is bad for the brain and I agree with it. I just can’t bear the irritation in my head while listening to music. My rating is just 2/10.
Finally, a positive one. The battery life of the device is impressive. It lasts for days in stand by mode and maybe for hours in continuous usage. I have never used these glasses for listening to music for over 30 minutes. The charging case is the best, it charges via USB C charger and stores enough juice to recharge the glasses for at least a couple of times. A 10/10 for this.
I bought this gadget just because I was fascinated by the bone conduction and smart stuff in this gadget. It was like a James bond’s accessory for spying! But these smart glasses disappointed me so much so that I don’t even wear them once a week. A few weeks ago I visited the Bose store at Mall of America, Minnesota where I got a chance to test out their audio glasses and compare it with this smart glass. Believe me, the Bose Frames is 10 times better than Vue in terms of audio quality and comfort. The only negatives are aesthetics and look. I think this is my only negative review in the entire 2019 year. Even if I wanted to take the positives, that $200 price I paid for this junk haunts me.
I use these glasses only as spectacles when I am outside. Its been 2 months since I used the bone conduction feature.
- Not every crowdfunded product is as futuristic in reality as portrayed during the funding phase
- Do your research while backing any Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign
- Bone Conduction is just a hype and a feature for the namesake. It is not worth the price
- The audio quality and the comfort to wear are the two terrible things about Vue smart glasses
- The design, aesthetics, features (for namesake) and battery life are the pros of Vue glasses
- Paying around $250 (current price) for this gadget is not worth it. Instead, go to a nearby BestBuy store, test Bose Frames and purchase it if you really need an audio glass.
We might be able to see fully smart (equipped with display and audio) glasses in 2020. I did check out some of the coolest smart glasses at CES, waiting for them to hit the market.