Last year, we reviewed an interesting little device called the Oakley Thump 1; basically an MP3 player in a pair of sunglasses. It sounded cool and the 'wow' factor was certainly impressive, but it was let down by a ridiculously high price and a lack of features. Can Oakley improve things with the Thump 2?
- Good sound quality and volume levels, Drag and Drop File Transfer, Shuffle Mode
- Low on sound features, Still very expensive, No hard case, No AC Charger
The Thump 2 is a slight improvement over the original model, but it still has some issues. While the price has dropped, we still think it’s a small fortune to pay for such a low storage MP3 player.
Price$ 499.95 (AUD)
Well the answer is, yes. The 512MB Thump 2 is a better product than its predecessor and although it still doesn't add anything remarkably new or interesting, its hefty price tag has been lowered to a far more reasonable, if still expensive $499.95. Oakley has also increased the storage capacity.
Once again, the sound quality of the Thump 2 is quite impressive - especially considering the size factor. While not everyone may like ear buds, the ones on the Oakleys are of a fairly good quality and the sound produced is more than adequate for this type of unit. Some may argue that with the amount of money a pair of these is commanding, the lack of any advanced sound options is deal breaker. While we agree in some part, it really would be asking too much to have these types of options, on a pair of sunglasses There are several equaliser presets available, but there is no way of telling which setting is activated and the user manual is rather scarce on detail.
Our main complaint with the controls on the Thump 1 was that they required a fairly stern press to activate. That problem has been corrected in this new model and the controls are now made from a soft rubber. Once again there is Volume Up/Down, Previous/Next Track and a Power button. They remain in the same position as they were in the original; along the top of the side frames, which are easily accessible when you are wearing the glasses.
It has to be said that the design Oakley have opted for is questionable. On one hand its looks quite Terminator like, which some may take a liking to, but on the other hand, the frame is extremely thick and this may turn some people off. Personally, we preferred this design to the first model, which looked like something from outer space, but it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Thankfully, while design may be an issue for some, comfort definitely isn't. The Thump 2 will happily rest on your face for hours on end without any annoyances.
Transferring music files from a PC or Mac is easy thanks to the drop and drag system. The Thump 2 appears as a removable drive on your computer when you plug it in via the supplied USB cable. This is extremely convenient and means you don't have to install any software to use the unit. Unfortunately battery life is below average, rated at just 7 hours. Oakley has also failed to supply an AC Charger (although this can be purchased separately), which means you'll need to use your USB cable to charge the unit as well. For those who don't have access to a computer, especially when traveling, this may pose a significant issue.
The Thump 2 is available in two other sizes besides the 512MB model we reviewed - 256MB ($399.95) and 1GB ($599.95). Colours range from brown with bronze and gunmetal, black with grey and gunmetal, black with black iridium and chrome with black iridium.
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