Reviewed Hardware: Trispecs Bluetooth Sunglases
Trispecs Bluetooth Sunglasses
Bluetooth headsets have become very popular in the last couple of years since many countries have instituted a law prohibiting drivers from using a cell phone that is held against your ear while driving. Most of these Bluetooth headsets have been the mono/single earpiece design. The lack of wireless stereo headsets was mainly due to the fact that a phone conversation is mono in nature plus the lack of software or Bluetooth stereo profile support. Now that the proper stereo profile A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution profile) and the remote control profile AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) has been created, we are able to take advantage of the stereo music that many cell phones support now wirelessly. To add more style and functionality to the wireless stereo music enjoyment and cell phone call access, Trispecs has combined the stereo Bluetooth headset support into a stylist pair of sunglasses.
The Trispecs sunglasses are truly sunglasses with the added wireless music and cell phone support. The sunglasses come in various colors and in mens and womans styles. The lenses used in these sunglasses are manufactured by a company called SOLA Sunlens which is a brand of Carl Zeiss Vision. From a sunglass standpoint, these Trispecs are very light and comfortable to wear.
Bluetooth Specification Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, backward compatible with 1.2
Bluetooth Profiles Handsfree, Stereo Headset, A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP
Music Frequency Response 20 Hz – 20000Hz
Telephony Frequency Response 00 Hz – 3000Hz
Battery Type Integrated rechargeable Li-Ion Polymer
Battery life when fully charged Talk Time – 7 hrs
Battery life when fully charged Music Playing – 5 hrs
Battery life when fully charged Standby Time – 70 hrs
Charging Time Fast charge (to 80% capacity) in 1.5 hrs; Full charge in 2.5 hours
Connectivity Built in port for USB (Micro) cable connection
Additional Feature Firmware upgradeable via USB
Radio Frequency 2.4GHz, GFSK
Weight 52 g (1.8 oz)
Operation / Storage environment -10ºC to 50ºC; 5% to 90% relative humidity
Charging environment 0ºC to 45ºC
The actual Bluetooth function is something you will need to get comfortable with if you have never used a Bluetooth headset with your cell phone before. For users that have used a Bluetooth headset before, the setup is straight forward and simple as any other Bluetooth headset. Once the sunglasses is setup to work with your cell phone, the sunglasses are a breeze to use anytime. The first step in setting up the headset/sunglasses for use with your cell phone is to pair the two devices. This is accomplished by turning on the Bluetooth on your cellphone and initiating the Bluetooth device search feature. You will need to refer to your owners manual for the exact instructions.
The Trispecs has full player controls on the sunglasses.
- Call, volume up and volume down buttons on the left arm.
- Play, next and previous buttons on the right arm.
To initiate the pairing, first turn on the sunglasses by pulling the right earpiece out. Then press and hold the CALL Button on the left hand arm of the sunglassess until the LED on the right arm turns solid RED. Then initiate the search for Bluetooth devices feature from your cell phone. Eventually the cell phone should detect the sunglasses as EYEWEAR. Now you can select EYEWEAR and then you should be prompted to enter a passkey. Just enter 0000 (zero,zero,zero,zero) as the four digit numerical passkey. Now, you should be ready to listen to music on your sunglasses. It is as simple as launching your music player on your cellphone and you should start to hear the music wirelessly on your sunglasses. If you do not hear anything on your headphones, you will need to refer to the actual cell phones instructions for further steps if necessary. Each cell phone is slightly different in how certain features are accessed.
On my Palm Treo 700wx, I initially ran into a number of issues. First my Palm smartphone did not come with any Bluetooth A2DP and AVRCP profiles. No problem I thought as I could go to the manufacturer of the phone or the provider of the samrtphone (Bell Mobility) to get a Bluetooth software update. First attempt was to get the software update from Palm. Palm does provide a Bluetooth update for the Palm Treo 700wx. Unfortunately the update is only available for the Palm Treo 700wx available from SPRINT in the States. Bell Mobility in Canada does not offer a Bluetooth update even on their website. I was truly disappointed that a software update available for the actual hardware is not available for my device since it is not offered by Bell Mobility which is the service provider here in Canada.
I did some additional digging on the Internet and came across a solution at XDA Developers. I do not recommend this third party update since it is time consuming, tedious and requires you to use a registry editor. Any incorrect changes made via a registry editor can easily crash your Smartphone if you are not careful.
The file to install and configure is available HERE if you feel the need to go this route (Attempt only at your own risk). What I was missing on my Palm Treo 700wx was the wireless Stereo profile that is indicated in the above image. Now that I have this, I am able to activate the feature through my Palm and send music to the sunglasses.
Before I was able to get my Palm Treo 700wx working with the Trispecs sunglasses, I was able to take advantage of the sunglasses using my Bluetooth connection on my Windows Vista laptop. The real advantage of using the sunglasses on a windows PC is the ability to roam around the house and listen to music. Depending on how strong your Bluetooth wireless is on your PC/laptop, you might even be able to go outside to enjoy the weather or do some gardening. Since the signal is a wireless digital signal you either get full stereo sound or no sound at all once the signal gets weak. The weak signal issue is not a concern using the cell phone since the two devices should be close to each other at all times.
When connected to my smartphone, I had no issues with the signal being 15 – 20 feet away like when I left the phone on my desk. On my laptop the signal would extend 35 – 40 feet since the Bluetooth adapter I am using is a USB adapter with a built in external antenna. I was able to take my laptop outside and plug the laptop in a wall outlet to enjoy the great sunshine. Connecting to itunes online via my Wi-Fi connection allowed me full access to the wide range of online radio stations on my Trispecs Bluetooth sunglasses.
Since the A2DP and the AVRCP Bluetooth profiles are required on the mobile device, a list of current devices that support these profiles would have been a handy reference guide to have in the box or better yet, on the website. I was able to find a list on the Internet that is not up to date but does list some models that are most likely still used. You can go HERE to see the outdated list. Another list that has some of the newer devices is available HERE but might still be incomplete.
The Trispecs comes with noise reduction circuitry therefore the reduction in external noise is certainly excellent. Sounds like cars and general outdoor noise was almost non existent when using the Trispecs. The downside to this is you sacrifice the bass response. The music can sound flat depending on the type of music being played. Jazz or orchestral music in many cases are not well suited for these headphones. Pop, rock and electronic music with lots of treble and bass in the original recording are fine. Since these are in ear headphones 3 different sizes of silicon tips are included. I had to use the smallest ones and I found those even a little tight.
The battery on the Trispecs lasts over 4 hours of continous music playback which is very good. Keep in mind if each song is about 4 minutes you will need at least 60 songs. Songs being an average 8 megs in file size means, 480 megs worth of mp3 songs are required to last 4 hours without repeating a song. If you use a better music format like AAC or WMA, the file sizes will be much larger therefore you will require to have 1 gig of memory or more on your mobile device to hold over 4 hours worth of music. In reality, most of us would never listen to 4+ hours of continuous music wearing these sunglasses but if you do, your mobile device may need a recharging long before your Trispecs will. Recharging of the Trispecs is done via a standard micro USB connection on the arm using the included USB cable and wall adapter. You can just use the USB cable on the PC/laptop but it will take slightly longer to fully recharge.
The Trispecs will switch between the music and phone when you press the PHONE button on the left arm. Answering the call is as simple as just pressing the CALL button. This will pick up the call and turn the music off. By pressing and holding the CALL button you can dismiss the call if you wish instead. Depending on the mobile device, the music maybe paused or muted. Muted means the music is still playing while you engage in the phone conversation but not heard. Once the call is complete, another press of the CALL button and your music is back. The handsfree Bluetooth Profile will allow you to dial by voice based on the stored names and numbers on your phone. This is the same as doing a voice dial on the phone directly except the voice is picked up by the built in mic on the Trispecs located at the front end of each arm on the inside.
One interesting thing occured to me when I was cycling with the Trispecs sunglasses. The covering to the arm joint on the left hand side fell off at some point. Only the double sided tape that was used to attach the covering still remained. I noticed this after I was back home. The temperature outside was around 18 degrees Celcius therefore not hot by any means. I mention the temperature since heat can soften many glues on tape. A careful examination of the covering on the right side indicated that the double sided tape is not that secure. I was able to easily remove the covering with one finger. I am guessing that the piece fell off when I was on the park trails going over some bumps. This certainly is a negative for something that costs $199.00 USD. The image below showing the missing corner cover plate on the left side was cleaned to remove the sticky double sided tape before the photo was taken.
The nice thing with these sunglasses is that the curved end allow the sunglasses to stay securing attached to the face.
- There are no specifications readily viewable on the Trispecs website. I was able to find some specs in a downloadable PDF press release file located HERE.
- No FAQ or commonly asked question to help those with simple issues.
- Website is fully Adobe Flash based therefore anyone without Flash installed on their computer will not see majority of the online information. You can go HERE which is the store section that fortunately does not use Flash at all and is easily accessible by any computer.
- You must have a mobile device that has the A2DP and the AVRCP Bluetooth profiles installed to take advantage of these glasses. This is only mentioned in the section of the multi-paged manual that specify how to pair the devices (page 6). The Eyewear Quick User Guide which most users will refer to does not mention at all that the A2Dp and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles are required on the signal originating device (cell phone or mobile device).
- The sound quality lacks true bass response.
- The control buttons are too close together and only two small bumps on the middle button allows you to tell the other buttons apart. Not very user friendly since you cannot see the labels or the buttons while wearing the sunglasses.
- You must hold down the rewind button and then depress the retract headphone button to turn the unit off. This is very awkward to do. The retraction spring is very strong thus I would suggest you hold the earpiece also to avoid damage.
- When putting down the glasses, the earbud tends to face the surface therefore causing contact with the surface. This creates some concerns with unsanitary surface contact. If you flip the sunglasses upside down, this can accidentally depress the headphone retract button. Ok when the headphones are already retracted but not so good when the headphones are fully extended.
- The beep to indicate Bluetooth connection and the various female voice prompts has a volume level that is a little too high for my liking.
- The joint covering is not as secure as it could be.
- Comes with a soft case. I would have preferred a hard carry case.
- Very light
- Great sunglass lens. Truly reduces the glare and light while outdoors.
- Easy to establish a connection once setup. Press and hold the call button until a solid led light appears on the right arm. The mobile device should recognize the signal and prompt for connection.
- Voice quality pickup is good when on the phone.
- Battery lasts at least 4 hours while listening to music continuously. The battery on the cell phone may require recharging before the Trispecs.
Installation Ease: 8 (If your mobile device supports A2DP and AVRCP out of the box).
Fun Factor: 8
Online Support: 1
The Trispecs are truly an interesting piece of technology. Unfortunately the online support is lacking and without an up to date listing of supported devices, most curious buyers going to the Trispecs website may be reluctant to purchase these Bluetooth sunglasses. Those that do purchase without checking their mobile device first for compatibility will be disappointed if they discover later that the required Bluetooth software is not on their device. These Bluetooth sunglasses are certainly good in providing handsfree phone access and good music listening without all the wires. Many States and cities now make it illegal for you to use a cell phone while driving. You must be parked to use a cell phone. At least the Trispecs will allow you to place or recieve a call without taking your hands off the steering wheel. If you are interested in these sunglasses, make sure you double check your owners manual or the lists provided above to be certain your phone has the proper Bluetooth support first. Also check the manufacturers website of your Bluetooth phone or mobile device for any Bluetooth updates for maximum features and sound quality.