Thursday, December 28, 2006

Review Thump 2 digital music player sunglasses

Company: Oakley

Product name: Thump 2 digital music player sunglasses

Company: Oakley

Why it's a Toy of Summer: There's nothing cooler than hitting the beach or favorite vacation spot with a nice pair of sunglasses, and you can't get much better than wearing a pair of Oakleys. When you add a slick music player to the mix, you can leave your iPod at home and listen to the tunes (or work-related podcasts!) inconspicuously while you're getting some much-needed rest (or sun).

Quick Review: When we tried the first version of the Oakley Thump, we had three complaints (comfort, nonprescription and no display). Comfort has been addressed - the ear booms now fit in your ears more comfortably than before. In fact, you don't have to insert them; you can position them outside your ears and still hear the music. Second, the sunglasses now are prescription-ready, so you can wear them while driving (with no music playing, of course). There's still no display to let you select what songs you want to hear (as an iPod or similar device does), so you play songs in the order that you transferred them from a PC or pick the random mode.

We also like how you can wear the glasses behind your head and still listen to the music (Oakley designed the Thump 2 to be able to do this). When worn behind the head, you can listen to your tunes indoors and not feel like you're weird by wearing sunglasses indoors.

Is it worth $450 (for the 1GB version)? That will buy you an iPod with a lot more memory and the ability to select the songs you want to listen to, but then you can't really go mountain biking or snowboarding with an iPod very comfortably (even with Bluetooth adapters). The Thump 2 isn't meant to compete with iPods as much as complement a fashionable digital music enthusiast. You also can spend less on the 256M-byte ($300) or 512M-byte ($350) models.