Gadget Review: Oakley Thump Pro
- Short on memory
- Likely to be used while cycling
The new Thump Pro version takes care of a few of these objections. Enough of them, in fact, to compel me to pull the trigger on trading a swipe of my credit card for a pair. I’ve had them for a couple of weeks now and I like them a lot.
Capacity is up to 1GB which, while not huge, is enough to cover the need for tunes during whatever sport you’re up to. They’re also a bit lighter. In fact, they feel pretty comfortable, even wearing them while bouncing around on a bike. They do not feel like a pair of regular sunglasses, though. You feel the additional heft and size almost always. It’s just not obtrusive. Oh yeah, they’re still not cheap. You could buy a truckload of 1GB MP3 players for the price of these things.
So why buy them? In my case, corded headphones can be a bit tough to manage on a bike. More than once, I’ve dropped an earbud which immediately threaded it’s cord through my spokes or crank. It’s amazing how fast small electronics components can be eaten by pointy objects spinning at 100 RPM or so. And yes, I know that it’s dangerous to ride a road bike while listening to music and blocking out the sound of traffic around you (thus my fourth objection, above). You’re not my mother.
There are two nice features that I really like about the Thump Pros:
- There is zero complexity to managing songs and playlists on the device. Once plugged in (through mini USB as God intended all devices like this to use), the device looks like a disk drive to the operating system. Just copy the files you want over to the device. No special software no fancy syncing, just drag and drop. If you want a playlist, create a directory. Couldn’t be easier. If you want to use music management software, that’ll probably work too (I used J. River Media Center and it worked great), but it’s not required.
- The earbud things are connected to the glasses with one swing arm and two almost-universal joints giving the user the ability to position them almost anywhere in space. If you’re ears are like Dumbo’s or Spock’s, they’ll fit. I like the flexibility because it makes them easy to quickly move out of the way when you’re trying to here the Peterbuilt coming up quickly on your tail and because they help keep the glasses firmly planted on your head when you push the earbuds closer to your brain.
Having lost most of my hearing at concerts in the 70s and 80s, the volume isn’t quite as high as I’d like, but it’s more than reasonable. So far, I’m likin’ ’em. My long rides have been more fun and the Doobie Brothers are even helping me ride a little faster.