What Are the Amazon Echo Frames and How Do They Work?

What's different about this pair of smart glasses

A woman wearing Amazon Echo Frames.

Amazon

Amazon Echo Frames are part of an ecosystem of Alexa-enabled devices that can travel outside your home. Echo Frames hold your prescription lenses (installed by your optometrist) and bring touchless Alexa with you on the go.

What Are Echo Frames?

Echo Frames are eyeglass frames with built in speakers, microphones, LED light indicator, and Alexa. Echo frames work exactly like your Echo speaker. You can use Alexa to ask questions, get the weather, control your smarthome and more.

Echo Frames also add music streaming and phone calls on the go, similar to Bose Smart Frames. Unlike Focals by North and Google Glass, there's no heads-up display or HUD in these frames. They work with audio only.

A side view of Amazon Echo Frames.
 Amazon

Echo Frames are sold without prescription lenses, but an optician will be able to fit lenses into the frames for you. Connect Echo Frames to the Alexa app on your smartphone, and you're all set. Simply use the wake word (typically "Alexa") and give commands. You'll hear responses from the speakers built into the earpieces.

How Do Echo Frames Work?

You need to pair Echo Frames with your Android smartphone running Android 7.1 or higher. Echo Frames have two microphones and four directional speakers built into the arms; just like your smart speaker, the microphones are always listening. You can use your voice to set reminders, or playback music or podcasts. An action button and touchpad on the outside of the arms give you control over notifications and the ability to turn your microphone on and off. When the microphone is off, the LED indicator turns red.

Echo Frames are not compatible with iOS.

Amazon built privacy technology into the frames as well. Amazon designed a new open ear speaker technology that uses beamforming to direct sound to your ears, while minimizing what others around you can hear. Also, you can set up a VIP Filter in the app which allows you to designate contacts from whom Alexa will read messages aloud. 

Technical Details to Know About Echo Frames

Echo Frames look a lot like regular glasses with thicker than normal arms. On those arms you'll find two directional micro speakers on each side, an action button, a capacitive touchpad, and volume buttons. Despite the extra thickness, the glasses weigh in at 31 grams—not much heavier than normal glasses.

The "all day" battery lasts a day with normal Alexa usage. Amazon estimates approximately three hours of music streaming at 60% before the battery drains. The frames charge to full in about 75 minutes using the included charger with proprietary connector.

Where Can I Find Echo Frames?

Amazon Echo Frames are available now by invitation only through Amazon.com. If accepted, you'll have 30 days to complete your purchase. Frames purchased by invitation cost around $180 and are available in limited quantities to start. When they go on sale to the general public, they'll be about $250.