The sound is great if you stick your fingers in your ears but as soon as you pull them out, even in a quiet room, the audio sounds disappointingly distant and tinny. Even at full volume, voices are all but drowned out of by the rushing wind if you’re driving with the window down.
The fact the speakers aren’t inside your ears means they also leak a lot more sound than earbuds. Even at low volumes someone sitting next you can clearly hear what’s playing.
If you care about sound quality then they’re not a great choice, but the Zungle glasses are more practical when it comes to talking to your phone and listening to it talk back.
Alongside the volume controls on the left arm is a tiny AI button, which calls up Siri on an iPhone or Google Assistant on Android. Now your phone’s smart assistant can answer all your tricky questions while you’re walking down the street or sitting behind the wheel, even offering spoken directions when you’re on the move. Plus you can dictate messages and have your phone read aloud the replies.
At this point, the fact the glasses don’t block out ambient noise can be a plus, so you’re not lost in your own world when you’re crossing the road.
The battery is good for up to four hours, and they charge via a special dual USB cable which connects to both arms. While they’re charging the word ‘Zungle’ glows on each arm, which looks a bit naff, but thankfully doesn’t happen while you’re wearing them.
The glasses don’t feature a hidden camera, so you can’t use them to secretly shoot video or use them to ask your smart assistant to look up someone’s face when you forget a name, which would be handy at parties.
One downside of the Zungle glasses, apart from music quality, is that they’re not all that elegant. All the electronics are built into the bulky arms, which means the lenses have rather chunky rims to match. If you’ve got a small head you might find that they look cumbersome and don’t sit comfortably on your face.
Meanwhile the orange reflective tint that comes standard with the black glasses might be a bit ostentatious for some, although the lenses are replaceable and different colours sold separately. The frames are available in black, white or grey, and some might be frustrated that they aren’t a wraparound design; daylight comes in at the top and sides.
Most people would be better served spending their money on earbuds or headphones that can talk to their phone’s assistant, so they can stick with their sunglasses of choice. If you’re prepared to part with your old sunglasses this summer, and you’re not too fussed about sound quality, then Zungle offers an easy way to go hands-free.
Adam Turner is an award-winning Australian technology journalist and co-host of weekly podcast Vertical Hold: Behind The Tech News.