I’ve always been a proponent of new technology, but if you’ve read my previous pieces on bone-conduction headphones, you’ll know that I’m a skeptic. The technology has a long way to go before it can replace the airpods in your ear. The earphones I’ve tried before made great promises, but failed to deliver, with expensive price tags and an audio that clearly didn’t match up to the hype. Bone conduction earphones are messy, tinny (with a very higher-frequency-focused sound), and often don’t even align with the bones in front of our ears because they’re designed as regular headphones, when they should be designed completely differently from the bottom up.
That’s where Zungle sparked my interest. Adding bone-conducting headphones to eyewear seemed like an innovative strategy, because on paper, it made sense. Headphones come undone and slip out of place, but spectacles barely budge from their position. Spectacles are also a much more covert way to listen to your music without having everyone know, and besides, the wayfarer styling looks rather cool. People with prescription glasses can easily get their powered lenses fitted into Zungle’s bone-conducting musical spectacles.
With its cool-boy wayfarer styling, the Viper 2.0 from Zungle is a complete looker. As far as the aesthetics go, there’s little to complain about, with its reliable build quality, mercury-mirror lens coating, and impressively lightweight design. The sunglasses come with the bone-conducting earpieces that rest rather reliably against your sideburns, delivering audio to you through your temple-bones, allowing you to hear music as well as ambient sounds around you. Given the way the earpieces are integrated into spectacles, they A. seldom slip out of place, and B. don’t need a manual to teach you how to wear them (a problem most newbies face with bone-conducting earphones, oftentimes placing the earpieces INSIDE their ears instead of in front of them). The audio quality seems to be remarkably better than other earphones I’ve tried out, which can only be a good thing, although the low-end frequencies are still weak because of the technology’s constraints as well as the fact that you’re also listening to a lot of ambient noise around you.
While, like I said earlier, bone-conduction has a long way to go before it replaces those airpods people wear, Zungle’s Viper 2.0 is capable of functionally matching up to them. Right near the hinge you’ve got controls that let you toggle playback as well as volume, but Viper 2.0’s pièce de résistance is its Voice A.I. button that lets it trigger Siri or Google Now right in your spectacles, allowing you to use voice search from your sunglasses (#SiriInYourSunglasses), while an in-built microphone picks up your voice commands, seamlessly letting you talk to your phone’s native AI the way you would with your smart wireless earbuds. In-built Bluetooth 5.0 helps the sunglasses connect and communicate rather swiftly with your phone, so there’s absolutely no lag or any chance of your device getting disconnected.
The Viper 2.0 comes with proprietary chargers that fit on the ends of the sunglasses (they use rather classy contact-points rather than the plebeian MicroUSB solution) and boast of a battery life of 4 hours. A probably under-appreciated detail is the charging accessory that can attach to your spectacles rather comfortably even while you’re wearing them, sitting around the back of your head, obscured from view.
Aside from surreptitiously listening to music while traveling, or at the beach (the Viper 2.0 is sweat-resistant), the Viper with its Voice AI triggering switch quite easily replaces the need to wear your airpods (or android earbuds) and your sunglasses separately. The audio quality is well suited for mid and high-frequency audio, working rather well with human voices (simply perfect for podcasts and audiobooks), although one must solemnly swear to never walk into an exam wearing these! The Viper 2.0 also makes a great case for navigation, making it perfect for wearing while riding a two-wheeler and having audio navigation from your maps app narrated to you. The obvious pro there is that not only can you hear cars and other vehicles around you, but you also don’t have to look away from the road and down at a mobile display for guidance… and you can turn the Zungle Viper 2.0 into a makeshift boombox too, by simply placing its bone-conducting modules against materials like boxes or containers, allowing it to work like a rudimentary echo chamber. Let me know when your truly wireless earbuds (or your sunglasses) are capable of being this fashionable, functional, or multi-purpose!
Click Here to Buy Now (YD Readers get a $10 discount using the Coupon Code: 10off)
Click Here to Buy Now (YD Readers get a $10 discount using the Coupon Code: 10off)
The latest in a trend of devices aimed at preventing distraction, the MINIMUM smart wearable marries digital and analog to help users do more living in the real world and less being controlled by their devices. You might call it “anti-tech technology” in that it eliminates flashing screen notifications and ringing phones so our minds aren’t constantly drawn away.
The watch face, which features a minimalistic hour and minute indicators, utilizes an eINK display rather than OLED or LCD so, rather than being distracted by light, we get to our messages and emails when WE see fit. Another thoughtful feature is the alarm system which gradually increases in duration and volume so the user is progressively awakened and not shaken by an abrupt alert. With easy-to-use voice control and an intuitive single-dial interface, it’s equally stress-free to operate.
Designer: Josep Pedro
It’s 2014 and Apple is looking to enter the wearables market. News is that Apple isn’t really a tech brand anymore, but rather a luxury tech brand. They hire the then CEO Yves Saint Laurent and design stalwart Marc Newson to join their team and allegedly work on the rumored Apple wearable everyone thought would be called the iWatch.
It’s 2015 and the Apple Watch is launched. It’s a wrist-based notification device that lets you see messages, photos, and the time, obviously, with a handful of fitness features, but it’s by far the most expensive wearable ever, further entrenching the idea of Apple being a fashion brand. Even the advertisements pushed the watch as a breakthrough miniature smartphone that would sit on your wrist.
Jump to 2018. The Apple Watch is no longer an extension of your phone, but a much more personal device that doesn’t just connect you to your outside world, but rather connects you to a better idea of yourself. The Apple watch isn’t a watch anymore, it’s a tech-driven lifeline that’s designed around the idea of keeping you informed, connected, motivated, and healthy… something only a device perpetually strapped to you could do.
The Apple Watch has found its relevance as a device with a strong processor and a wide variety of sensors and bio-sensors that offer you a peek into your own body. The redesigned face isn’t a stylish watch-dial anymore, but rather, lays out critical information out. It also helps that the screen’s much bigger too, as bezels have completely shrunk to a negligible sliver.
One of Apple Watch’s most well-received features is its electrical heart sensor that sits right on the crown. Aside from the optical heart sensor at the base of the watch, this electrical sensor literally allows you to take an ECG/EKG directly on your wrist by simply resting your fingertip on the crown. This incredibly accurate data can then be used medically, allowing doctors to know more about your heart health at any given point of time. The Watch also uses this data to allow you to be your fittest self, seamlessly merging in other apps that let you live a more healthy and active life. Its waterproof design ensures that no matter what the activity, you can keep your Watch on your person as you sweat through the day… and the 18-hour long battery life is more than enough to last an entire day.
All these features tie in well with existing features like the gyroscope, altimeter, and accelerometer that allow you to track any sort of activity, while last year’s e-sim technology not only lets your watch be your phone when your phone isn’t on you, but it even serves as a life-saving device by allowing you to contact emergency services, need be.
With a larger screen, thinner body, and a haptic feedback crown, the Apple Watch surely looks the best it’s ever been… and with a design that allows you to use existing and past straps with the new Series 4 Watch, Apple focuses on letting you choose your style while leaving the big-picture stuff to Apple, like building the tech to keep you fit, active, and connected. And oh, did I mention Nike launched a low-light reflective band for the Apple Watch that makes it even cooler and even safer??
With Samsung promising flexible screen phones as early as November this year, it only begs to wonder if fancy folding gadgets will become mainstream in the next couple of years. Nubia wants to be one of the first companies to ride that wave, and the Alpha smartwatch gives us a taste of what that future will look like.
The Alpha is absolutely radically different. Built with the silhouette of an Apple Watch, the Alpha actually features a flexible OLED screen that follows the curvature of the wrist, rather than opting for the traditional square or circular display. The main body of the Alpha acts as the bezels of a smartphone, giving way for a charging port, and interestingly enough, a front-facing camera that would work as a dedicated conference cam. The bulges also indicate what would be the ‘front’ of the smartwatch, giving you control over its extremely linear screen. The linear screen looks impressive no doubt, but what’s even more interesting is the way the Android OS is tweaked to behave completely differently, thanks to its extremely non-traditional construction. The OS orients everything vertically, while following Android’s Material Design philosophy. Whether new smartwatches will follow suit or not, it’s pretty bold on Nubia’s part to push out something so brazen, so beautiful!