Motorola is leading the charge into the A2DP world
with a whole series of new lifestyle oriented products. To reduce consumer confusion, it is referring to all A2DP products as ‘Stereo Bluetooth’. Lifestyle products have been a focus of Motorola for some time, and to this end they have again partnered with Oakley to produce the O Rokr Bluetooth sunglasses.
Oakley has produced a set of sunnies with electronics in them before; the Thump series had an integrated MP3 player in them and was met with mild success, serving as Oakley’s technological show pony up until now. The O Rokr replaces the inbuilt MP3 player with A2DP enabled Bluetooth that can both stream and control audio from a A2DP Bluetooth enabled device.
The O Rokr will be on sale in late August, along with an iPod adapter that sends music to the glasses. It also lets the controls of the sunglasses interface with the iPod. They will work with any A2DP device though, and pairing can be initiated when you turn the sunglasses’ electronics on.
The small bud headphones are much sturdier than the previous MP3 player-only model, and their audio quality is roughly on par with other bud headphones. That’s nothing to write home about, but in this kind of confined space you are restricted in terms of headphone choice and the bud headphones do the job. They have problems with bass, rattling some lower notes out instead of smoothly punching them out. If the sound is anything to go by, you are paying for the glasses first and Bluetooth integration second, but the functionality is still there.
Given Oakley’s track record with sunglass optics, it’s not surprising that the O Rokr are a very comfortable pair of sunglasses to look through. They block all UV wavelengths, and have interchangeable lenses if your old ones have an unfortunate encounter with a sandpaper-like surface.
The downside of integrating the electronics into the glasses is the increase in weight. It’s marginal, considering what has been integrated into the thick frames, but after extended use they do take their toll. The bridge is thicker to more evenly distribute the force, showing that the designers put some thought into comfort. In its defense, the extra space has been put to good use -- there are six buttons that are used for track control, volume and operation, which are divided between your hands for ease of use.
Oakley sunglasses all reflect their quality in their price, which is why it’s surprising that there’s only a minimal premium for additional Bluetooth functionality. It’s really quite welcome.