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Way back in 2004 Oakley decided that as a cool kind of company it needed to get a digital product out on to the market. It wanted something that its surfer dude and dudette clientele would think was rather funky. The product it came up with was the a pair of sunglasses with a built-in MP3 player that it called the Thump, but which unkind hacks dubbed the Chump because it looked so odd. Not to be put off Oakley went on to produce another pair of shades that did away with the MP3 player, but added Bluetooth so you could use it with your mobile to take calls and listen to music via A2DP streaming.
Oakley still makes these types of eyewear, but TriSpecs has also now stepped into the market with its TriSpecs shades that double as a Bluetooth headset with music streaming support.
The TriSpecs are available in male and female versions with a choice of six colours including black, white, blue and red. There's also four different lens colours available ranging from lighter to darker tints. Currently Expansys is only stocking the black version with standard darker lenses, but the review sample they sent us was actually the white version with slightly lighter lenses.
It has to be said that, like the Oakley Thump, these specs look a bit odd the first time you get them out of the box. This is partly because the arms are much chunkier than those of a normal pair of sunglass (they're around 8mm thick), but also because there are two earbuds hanging off the ends of these arms.
The arms have to be thicker because they house not just the battery that's used to power the internal electronics, but also the call and music control buttons. The right side is home to the three music controls (forward, back and play/stop), while the left hand side has the three call controls buttons (volume up, volume down and call answer/hang up). There's no on/off switch. Instead, to start up the headset you just pull the earbuds out from the rear of the sunglasses' arms.
These earbuds are attached via wires that are connected to a spring-loaded mechanism - a bit like the power lead on most vacuum cleaners - so when you're finished using them you press a small button on the top of each arm and the wire is quickly retracted back into the body of the sunglasses.
Thankfully, TriSpecs hasn't skimped on the optics as the sunglasses use Sola Sunlenses, which are made by a division of Carl Ziess. These lenses are made from polycarbonate and as they're impact resistant they should stand up to a bit of abuse. Naturally, they also filter out UV light to protect your eyes from damage by the sun's ray, and they're replaceable so if you scratch them you can order new ones from TriSpecs.