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First Look: O ROKR Pro, wireless speakers

updated 12:05 am EDT, Fri June 6, 2008


Mobile phones and digital music players make it easy to take your music wherever you go. While it's easy to listen to music through headphones or ear buds, headphones can be cumbersome to wear and ear buds can be annoying jammed in each ear, especially with wires dangling in the way if you exercise while listening to music. For a more stylish and wireless solution, specifically designed for wearing while exercising, consider the O ROKR Pro sunglasses that come with built-in speakers.

The device consists of two adjustable, Mylar speakers embedded in the plastic frame of the sunglasses. These aren't just a pair of cheap sunglasses either. The lenses rely on patented High Definition Optics (HDO) that provides vision clarity at all angles while protecting your eyes from the sun and wind. The lens coating is a proprietary synthetic, optimized for depth perception while reducing glare and improving your vision in direct sunlight. Best of all, the lens coating claims to block 100 percent of all UVA, UVB, UVC, and harmful blue light.

In any strenuous workout, you're likely to sweat, so these sunglasses are designed to fit comfortably on your face with a rubber nose grip. Their stylish appearance makes them appropriate for wearing in the gym, outdoors, or just driving or walking around in your normal course of the day.

What makes this item more than just a pair of sunglasses is its ability to wirelessly stream music from a mobile phone or digital music player that supports Bluetooth A2DP (for wireless audio streaming) and Bluetooth AVRCP (for wireless control of the music player). (Many digital music players may need an optional Bluetooth adapter to work with these sunglasses.)

Before you can stream music through the sunglass speakers, you must first pair your bluetooth-enabled device with the sunglasses. You can pair up to eight (8) devices and even have two (2) different devices (such as a phone and a digital music player) stream audio through the speakers at the same time. (You cannot play music from two identical devices at the same time, such as two mobile phones or two digital music players.) This feature allows you to use the device for listening to music and for answering phone calls through your mobile phone.

Since the unit emphasizes mobility, it contains a built-in battery that you must charge. A complete charge takes 3 hours while a quick charge (which powers the sunglasses up to 80 percent of its capacity) only takes 1.5 hours. Battery life depends on your usage, but you can expect roughly 5 hours before it needs charging.

Included with the package is an electrical adapter along with additional adapters for plugging the charger into electric outlets used in other countries. With an optional USB cable, you could even recharge the device through the USB port of any computer.

For such tiny speakers, the audio quality is pretty remarkable. Since you can adjust the volume and the position of the speakers, the sunglasses let you enjoy hearing your music without completely blocking out any outside noises at the same time. (Hearing an oncoming car might be especially helpful while jogging along the road.) Besides letting you adjust the volume, the sunglasses also include buttons for pausing, playing, skipping, and backing up within a song.

For $249, the O ROKR Pro is definitely a luxury item, but if you're the type who wants to listen to music while exercising inside or out, this device will protect your eyes from the sun, give you a stylish appearance, let you take calls from your mobile phone, and let you enjoy your music wherever you go.

by MacNN Staff



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