Vue Lite 2 review: Audio glasses made for working remotely
“Prescription-friendly and comfortable enough for all-day use.”
Can be ordered with a prescription
10-minute quick charge
IPX5 water protection
Comfortable for all-day use
Not good for music
No Bluetooth multipoint
So-so mic quality
If the last two years of pandemic-influenced living have taught us anything, it’s that online tools like Zoom, Teams, Slack, and FaceTime are essential for remote work. But as critical as these tools are, they come with a price for many of us: Needing to use headphones or earbuds so that we can do our voice and video calls without forcing our families or roommates to sit in our virtual meeting rooms with us.
Thus begins a daily ritual of popping earbuds in and out or slapping on a big set of cans. Neither is especially comfortable or convenient, especially if you wear prescription glasses. The Vue Lite 2 aim to take at least some of that pain away by invisibly integrating speakers and mics into a set of eyeglasses. Here’s what it’s like to use them.
Easily the best part of the Vue Lite 2 is that they look just like regular eyeglasses. The speakers are tiny and integrated into the temples in such a way that you’d never know they were there unless you went looking for them. Even in the accompanying photos, you have to look very closely to see them. The temples are thicker in height than many styles of prescription eyeglasses, but not all of them — a Ray-Ban Wayfarer style would be just as broad.
But one look at the competition from Bose, Soundcore, Razer, Amazon, and Fauna is all you need to realize just how thick and obvious-looking audio glasses can get. The Vue are easily the most stealthy of the pack. They’re also surprisingly rugged, with an IPX5 rating for water resistance that will keep them safe from damage as long as you don’t immerse them.
And while those limbs are universal on all Vue Lite 2 models, the company provides a range of styles for the lens portion. Our review unit is a Cygnus, but there are seven other styles to choose from.
The charging contacts — a pair of gold-tone circles — are tiny and sit flush with the bottoms of each limb. The controls are also incredibly discrete: Small circle-V logos near where the limbs meet the glasses temples.
The only compromise is that, when folded, the temples don’t lie perfectly flat as they might on some frame designs; the outer arm will always protrude a bit.
Many frames, many lenses
Audio glasses are of limited value if they only work as sunglasses, or if you can’t get the prescription you need. The Vue Lite 2 checks all of these boxes with a wealth of lens options. You can go clear, tinted, or polarized, and if you want lenses that can do double-duty (sort of) you can choose photochromic lenses, too. When it comes to prescriptions, you can get single-vision or progressives. Depending on the option and frame style, prices start at $199 and can go as high as $529.
That’s not exactly cheap, but neither is it crazy — a set of Warby Parker progressives with blue light filtering will run you $345. My Cygnus review model, with progressives and blue light filtering, cost $479, which effectively makes the “smart” portion a $134 upgrade.
I was initially dubious that Vue would be able to outfit the Lite 2 with progressive lenses that I could use. But I was able to upload my prescription and the lenses that Vue created turned out to be every bit as good as my optometrist-created lenses.
Convenience is king
The key benefit to most audio glasses is the way they keep your ears open and free from earbuds while still letting you enjoy music, calls, or podcasts. For sunglasses, this helps with maintaining that all-important situational awareness, especially while running or cycling.
They’re heavier than a standard pair of glasses, but still light enough for all-day use.
But for those of us who rely on glasses just to be able to see our monitors, the big advantage is simplicity. Once the Vue Lite 2 are paired via Bluetooth to your phone, laptop, or tablet, you can forget all about earbuds and headphones, and just get on with your day.
Some audio glasses suffer from an uncomfortable fit, but I’ve been able to use the Lite 2 as my daily driver glasses for several days in a row and with the exception of a bit of pressure from the nose pads, I found them almost as comfy as my optometrist-created prescription glasses. They’re heavier than a standard pair of glasses, but still light enough for all-day use.
When it’s time for a meeting, just jump on your call and the glasses do the rest — it’s incredibly liberating. It also avoids that problem that can plague earbuds and headphones, where a call will come in on Teams or Zoom, and if you don’t have your buds or cans right there, ready to go, you end up fumbling around while your caller listens to the ring sound.
If you crank up the volume, folks around you will definitely hear some of what you’re listening to.
Also convenient is the USB charging cable. Its twin magnetically-latching connectors magically align themselves and connect to the charging contacts on the underside of the limbs. A small red indicator LED lights while charging is underway and turns off when the battery is full.
Tiny speakers, tinny sound
If you’ve read any audio glasses reviews, you’ll know these are not exactly hi-fi devices. Due to the size of the speakers and their distance to your ears, they typically sound tinny, with virtually no bass whatsoever. I’d love to tell you that the Vue Lite 2 are the exception to this rule, but I can’t — just like their competitors, they’re not going to impress when it comes to music.
But that’s not to say they’re bad — you simply have to adjust your expectations. Though they lack bass, they’re very clear, and even at their loudest volume setting, there’s no distortion. That makes them perfectly serviceable for calls or any other time when dealing mostly with voices. You can use them outside, but given how noisy some outdoor environments can be, it may not be a great experience.
The Vue Lite 2 is bare-bones when it comes to functionality.
And yes, if you crank up the volume, folks around you will definitely hear some of what you’re listening to. Even as I sat in my second-floor office nook, my wife could make out the sound of the We editorial team as we conducted our daily Teams meetings.
But despite these drawbacks, there’s nonetheless something enjoyable about being able to hear your callers (or music if you’re not too fussy about quality) within a personal sphere of sound — no earbuds and no headphones required.
Strangely, even though the Vue Lite 2’s mic is positioned closer to your mouth than most earbuds, they sound like they’re a good two feet away. And that’s a shame because the actual quality of mics is very good — there’s no wobble or other problems. Your callers will have no trouble hearing you, but your voice will lack depth and resonance.
Controls and connections
In keeping with the simplicity theme, the Vue Lite 2 are bare-bones when it comes to functionality. Those circle-V logos, which act as touch controls, let you power the glasses on and off, set them to pairing mode, answer and end calls, play/pause music, and access your voice assistant. No volume control and no track skipping — you’ll have to do these from your phone or computer. Taps are usually quite accurate so you’ll have no problem using them.
There’s no companion app for making adjustments to the sound or customizing the controls, though Vue says this is in the works and will bring Amazon Alexa compatibility when it arrives. The Bluetooth connection is quite stable but it won’t stretch very far. You may get about 20 feet indoors and a little more when outside. But given that most people will be close to their gadgets when using the glasses, this shouldn’t be a problem.
I’m more disappointed that Vue didn’t include Bluetooth multipoint. As a companion for working at a computer, being able to keep the Vue Lite 2 connected to two devices, like a laptop and a phone, would be really helpful. Most full-size headphones and some wireless earbuds let you do this and it’s something I’d like to see included on a future model.
The Vue Lite 2 are rated for about 4 hours of continuous playback. That doesn’t sound especially good by wireless earbud standards, but it might not matter. Given that they don’t really make for great music listening, if you use them just for calls or the occasional YouTube video, their 20-hour standby time will probably get you through a full day anyway.
If not, they don’t take long to charge — just 10 minutes is all you need.
And this part should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: The glasses still work perfectly even if the battery is dead.
Audio glasses aren’t very good substitutes for wireless earbuds or headphones when it comes to music, but the Vue Lite 2 make a compelling argument that when regular eyeglasses are augmented with speakers, mics, and a Bluetooth connection, they can nonetheless be very handy for calls and meetings whether at home, at the office, or somewhere in between.
Is there a better alternative?
With a greater choice of frame styles and built-in Amazon Alexa as a voice assistant, themight be a better choice for some folks. But the prescription option has to be handled in person by an optometrist or you can order lenses from boomerang-lenses.com and install them yourself, but neither is as convenient as Vue’s online ordering option which will ship the glasses with your prescription.
If you mainly want sunglasses,have the best audio quality of any audio glasses right now.
How long will they last?
Glasses have a habit of breaking easily and the Vue Lite 2 won’t be any different. But as audio glasses go, they offer very good water resistance, and their build quality seems just as good as what you’ll find from budget-oriented companies like Warby Parker. They come with a
Should you buy them?
Yes, but only if you find earbuds or headphones to be an annoyance for your daily calls and meetings — otherwise these devices will give you much better sound and call quality.