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Summer’s almost here and the last thing you need to worry about is being blinded by the sun as you enjoy a few months of sunshine. Today’s smart sunglasses cover the gamut. You have options like the Ray-Ban Stories that pack built-in cameras for recording video, as well as the modular design of the Soundcore Frames.
Both are neat in their own way, but the Ampere Dusk presents me with something I haven’t seen before. It’s the world’s first pair of app-enabled electrochromic smart sunglasses. Meaning: The tint intensity of the lenses can be adjusted to block our varying degrees of light.
I was intrigued by this unique feature which makes it more than just your ordinary pair of Bluetooth sunglasses. But does it actually work? Find out all about that feature and the sunglasses in general in my Ampere Dusk review below.
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Specifications
- Dimensions: 166mm x 141mm x 18mm
- Weight: 0.9 oz / 26 grams
- Frames: TR-90 nylon with IPX4 water-resistant rating
- Lenses: Shatter and scratch-resistant polarized TAC
- Battery life: 7 days of paired tint adjustment, 4 hours of listening
- Battery charging time: Charge 80% in 15 minutes, 100% in 45 minutes
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Included in the Box
- Ampere Dusk Sunglasses
- Soft Carrying Case
- Braided USB charging cable
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Setup and Installation
The Ampere Dusk came pre-charged out of the box and I liked that I didn’t have to connect them to my smartphone from the get-go in order to adjust their tint. That’s because a press of the button along the left hinge will cycle through their four different tint levels. I found this to be super convenient, especially while driving because it lessens my distractions.
However, if you intend on listening to music, you’ll need to download the Ampere Tech app. I paired these glasses with my iPhone and then proceeded to finish up the setup process. The whole thing took no more than five minutes to get completely set up.
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Design
What I love most about the design of the Ampere Dusk is that they resemble the Wayfarer style that Ray-Ban is known for, but that’s about it. That’s because the plastic Ampere uses has a cheap, flimsy feel to it. Sure, I like how the matte finish does a better job at resisting smudges, but it doesn’t exude a high-quality feel that would warrant its price tag. Stylish looking? Yes. Premium feel? Not really.
To Ampere’s credit, though, these boast an IPX4 water-resistant construction that allowed me to wear them while it was raining — something that I couldn’t do with the Ray-Ban Stories. They’re also unbelievably lightweight and have a bit more flexing room when worn.
I enjoyed using the Ampere Dusk while driving because they feature polarized lenses that block out UVA and UVB rays. Even better, they did a good job at reducing the glare off my windshield whenever the sun was out.
Thanks to their electrochromic lenses, I was able to see in all sorts of lighting conditions because of their ability to adjust. At the highest setting, my eyes were able to comfortably see on the sunniest of days — while the lowest setting still allowed me to see properly under the shade.
The only minor complaint I had about the polarized electrochromic lenses is that the shade intensity wasn’t uniform throughout the entire lens. There were patches towards the bottom area that were lighter than the middle area.
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Controls
With the help of physical buttons situated near its hinges, there are some useful controls to access the Dusk’s functions. As I mentioned earlier, the button along the left hinge controls the intensity of the tint, but the right one is strictly for music playback functions such as pause, play, track forward and reverse. What’s missing are controls for volume.
This is a problem because there’s no way to customize the control layout to my liking, especially when I have to fumble around my phone just to adjust the volume. It’d be more convenient to do it directly through the sunglasses.
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Sound
Much like other smart sunglasses, there are speakers built into the arms of the sunglasses for music listening and phone conversations. The open-ear design allowed me to stay informed about my surroundings while listening to music, but its performance was subpar.
I won’t deny that its volume can be incredibly loud at the highest setting, but the quality is on the thin and light side. Quite simply, it lacks treble and bass to give its performance the necessary substance to keep me interested.
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Battery
True to Ampere’s claim, I was able to get just about four hours of battery life off a single charge while listening to music. Obviously, you’ll get much more battery life using it as a regular pair of sunglasses and cycling through its different tints.
There are pins along the underside of the right arm that are used to work with the proprietary USB charger, but Ampere also sells an optional battery charging case for $69 that adds 40 hours of extended music listening. While it’s sitting in the case, the Ampere Dusk will continue to stay charged.
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Software
This is another area lacking in substance. The only meaningful functions include fine-tuning the intensity of the lenses (instead of cycling through the presets) and an option to make the Dusk emit a tone if it’s been misplaced nearby.
The Dusk would benefit greatly if it had some sort of equalizer customizations to tweak its audio performance a bit, as well as options to customize the functions of the buttons on the Dusk. Hopefully, Ampere can update the software down the road to bring these useful features.
Ampere Dusk Smart Sunglasses Review: Our Verdict
There’s no denying the cool factor of showing off the electrochromic lenses of the Ampere Dusk to people, just because you won’t find anything else like them around. Functionally, they work fine as a pair of sunglasses to block out the sun, but their $295 cost is still pretty steep given its audio quality and basic functions as a pair of smart sunglasses. If you don’t care about listening to music, you can save some money picking up the Dusk Lite instead at $195.
So Should You Buy it?
Yes, but only if audio quality isn’t high on your priority list.
- Adjustable tint levels
- Water-resistant design
- Great for driving
- Subpar audio quality
- Construction feels a bit cheap
How Long Will They Last?
Even though the construction makes it feel a teeny bit brittle, there’s a 1-year limited warranty that covers for defects.
What Are Some of the Alternatives?
Smart sunglasses go beyond just having speakers built into the frames, and these alternatives prove exactly that.
With their integrated cameras, the Ray-Ban Stories captures photos and videos from a first-person perspective — all while remaining fashionable with their timeless Wayfarer style.
Don’t settle on just one style because the Soundcore Frames feature a modular design that allows you to swap its frames out with many different styles.
If audio is most important to you, then the Bose Frames won’t disappoint with their tailored audio performance that will make you feel like you’re wearing earbuds.