Just in time for the holidays, Amazon is ready to start shipping its third-generation Amazon Echo Frames smart glasses, and to prime the wearable pump, it’s offering early adopters $75 off, which brings the frames down to a sub $200 price.
Among all the smartframes we’ve seen this year, Amazon Echo Frames (3rd Gen) may be the most low-key of the bunch. Unlike AR glasses such as Xreal Air, Echo Frames aren’t trying to augment your reality, and unlike Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses, Echo Frames don’t want to capture photos or video. The Amazon Echo Frames I tried in September of this year have simpler goals, like playing music, delivering news and weather updates, and letting you ask Alexa your most pressing questions.
If anything, this third edition of Echo Frames does the best job of the bunch of still-looking-like traditional eyeglasses, despite all the hidden intelligence. Amazon did this by shifting the technology away from the front of the frames (the part balancing on the bridge of your nose) and shifting it to the stems.
If you want something more ostentatious, Amazon doesn’t push you further into the tech realm. Instead, you can now pre-order the Carrera Smart Glasses with Alexa. They are bigger and bolder, but it’s all about adding a fashionable touch and not squeezing in more technology.
Like the Amazon Echo Frames (3rd Gen), the Carrera Smart Glasses are also getting a $75 discount for those participating in the pre-order. So, the Echo Frames will typically run you $269.99 but are $194.99 with the discount, and the Carrera’s run $389.99 but cost $314.99 with the discount.
The Amazon Echo Smart Frames (3rd gen) are available in a prescription-ready model, as sunglasses, and in a more expensive, $224.99, Blue light filtering model. There are five styles, including Blue Round, Black Rectangle (what I call “Superman-style”), Brown Cat eye, and Gray Rectangle.
Carrera Smart Glasses with Alexa are currently only available as sunglasses.
Both sets of smart frames are set to deliver on December 7. For now, they’re only available in the US.
Make a spectacle of themselves
Are these smart frames worth it? It’s too soon to say. In my brief hands-on time, though, I was impressed with the audio quality, which managed to sound clear and sharp despite a crowded and loud listening environment. I was also impressed with how the frames picked up my Alexa commands. I never had to yell.
The Amazon Echo Frames smartglasses were comfortable to wear and, from the front, the design is almost indistinguishable from traditional glasses. The stems are a bit thick and large but not so much that they scream, “Smart glasses!” I wouldn’t mind wearing them again.
There are some buttons for things like volume control but I liked that you never had to touch the frames to control them. Plus, when you take them off and fold them up, they automatically turn off. As for battery life, I think it’s a bit fuzzy. They’re rated to last 6 hours when playing audio at 80% volume but no one is going to play audio for 6 hours straight. Since interaction might often be a brief Alexa command and response, and maybe a 45-minute podcast or playlist, your battery life might be all day.
Whatever the case, if you were considering smart glasses as a holiday gift, this might be your chance to get a real deal on one of the newest kids on the wearable block.