Hot on the heels of the Bose Frames, brand-new wearable company Fauna presents its a pair of high-end audio glasses. Rather than a pair of sunglasses, these are a more formal design. We went hands-on with the new glasses at the IFA 2019 in Berlin.
Fauna is still young as a company, but already has big plans to achieve its goal of revolutionizing the world of audio wearables. It's a bold entrance onto the market. The Fauna audio glasses feature MEMS loud-speakers, produced by USound, in the temples. USound’s audio technology concentrates the sound’s energy around the user’s ears and reduces audio leakage. The company says that sound emitted by the glasses will only be heard by the person wearing them. They pair to your phone via Bluetooth, and can be used for listening to music, making hands-free calls of using a digital voice assistant.
How do they feel and sound?
Up close, they really look like proper eyewear. They feel like real glasses too. The spectacles themselves are made of acetate, a natural product widely used in the eyewear industry. The company says that these are designed to be worn throughout the whole day, replacing your existing glasses. This is a slightly different approach to the one Bose is taking with its audio eyewear. The Bose Frames are very much sunglasses, and only Bono wears sunglasses 24/7.
The Unisex version I tried at the IFA was only an alpha prototype build, but the build quality already felt really good. This was to be expected, after all, the manufacturing of acetate glasses is not exactly new. The technical side of the Fauna Focus is still a bit raw.
The Fauna glasses were comfortable to wear, and audio quality was pretty good for an early version of the product. Iggy Pop's The Passenger was crisp and clear, despite the noisy room I was sitting in at the hectic trade show. USound has pedigree in audio, so it will be interesting to see how much of it seeps through into the final product. The bulkiness of the temples is definitely much less noticeable than it is on the Bose Frames Alto, and that's an early win for Fauna in my book.
The frames come in two different styles, female and unisex. You can also have two different types of lenses, either sunglasses lenses with a protection of 99% UVA/UVB rays, or transparent lenses to filter the blue light emitted by any screen. The lenses can also be easily exchanged to prescription lenses by an optician, something that is absolutely vital for the success of this type of wearable product in my opinion, especially if it designed to be worn all day.
What about battery life?
The glasses will come in a charging case, but that is not ready to be shown to the media yet. The charging ports are inside the hinges on either temple, so when the glasses are open, they ports are completely hidden - that's a really smart design idea, and allows for charging inside of a glasses case. Each side has its own battery and must be charged individually.
Fauna told us that due to the ultra-low consumption of the MEMS loud-speakers, their glasses have "longer battery life compared to equivalent devices". Again, we'll have to test this properly when we receive a review sample later in the year.
The frames will be on sale in Q4 2019 through the company's web store, although some European regions will have to wait until Q1 2020 to pick up a pair of these. The focus will be on the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) at first. Price range between €200 and €250.