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

What's different about this pair of smart glasses

Amazon Echo Frames are part of an ecosystem of Alexa-enabled devices that can travel outside your home. The 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 indicators, and Alexa. These work exactly like an Echo speaker. You use Alexa to ask questions, get the weather, control your smart home, 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. Echo Frames only work with audio.

A side view of Amazon Echo Frames.

Amazon

Echo Frames are sold without prescription lenses, but an optician can fit lenses into the frames for you. Connect an Echo Frame to the Alexa app on your smartphone, and you're all set. Simply use the wake word (typically Alexa) and give commands. You 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. Two microphones and four directional speakers are built into the arms. Just like a smart speaker, the microphones are always listening.

You can use your voice to set reminders or to 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 the 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. It designed a new open ear speaker technology that uses beamforming to direct sound to your ears while minimizing what others around you hear. You can set up a VIP Filter in the app that allows you to designate contacts from whom Alexa will read messages aloud.

Technical Details to Know About Echo Frames

Echo Frames look 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, which isn't much heavier than normal glasses.

Amazon promises an all-day battery on the Day 1 edition Echo Frames with normal Alexa usage. It estimates approximately three hours of music streaming at 60 percent volume before the battery drains. The frames charge to full in about 75 minutes using the included charger with a proprietary connector.

Second Generation Echo Frames

Amazon released an upgraded Echo Frames model in November 2020. The all-new Echo Frames have better audio quality, longer battery life, and three new color options: Modern Tortoise, Horizon Blue, and Classic Black.

Other new features include automatic volume adjustment during playback and the ability to turn Frames off when placed upside down for three seconds, which should help maximize the time between charges.

Second generation Amazon Echo Frames

Amazon

Additionally, Amazon made fulfilling a prescription easier with the launch of the second-generation Echo Frames by teaming up with LensCrafters, which has over 900 locations in the U.S.

Where Can I Find Echo Frames?

The Day 1 Edition Echo Frames were available by invitation only through the Amazon website. The second-generation Echo Frames are available to all customers; no invite is required. They cost $250 and begin shipping on December 10, 2020. People who own Day 1 Edition Echo Frames can upgrade to the new model for $70.

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