First look: Zungle Panther bone conducting Bluetooth speaker sunglasses

in General Discussion edited July 2017
After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $2 million, the Zungle Panther sunglasses with built-in bone conduction speakers are now making their way onto the faces of the wider public. AppleInsider offers a closer look at the Bluetooth accessory.

Priced at $149.99, the wireless accessory aims to be a safe headphone replacement, allowing your ears to hear the noise around you while sound is transmitted through bone conduction. AppleInsider was provided with a pair of Zungle Panthers to test from reseller BiteMyApple.

Taken out of the carrying case from which they arrive, the Zungle Panther sunglasses are obviously chunky, to fit all of the components inside. The stems on the glasses that rest behind the wearer's ear include the bone conduction components, transmitting sound in a less conventional way.

Despite their size, they look like mostly normal sunglasses when worn. And they weigh in at just 45 grams, meaning it won't be a strain.

By default, the Panthers include a pair of orange reflective lenses, but they also ship with an extra set in "titanium gray" that can be switched out.

Control and charging are accomplished through the right side of the glasses. A button underneath allows for power and pairing mode, while a touch sensitive strip above the wearer's temple can be used to take calls, pause or skip tracks, and even invoke Siri with a double-tap.

When folded in, the stem reveals a rubber plug over a micro USB port for charging. Zungle says that the Panther sunglasses offer 100 hours of standby time, or 4 hours of playback.

They also include a microphone on the right side, facing downward, allowing users to make calls and use Siri directly from the glasses.

In our initial tests, the Zungle Panthers are quite snug on the head, likely needing a tight fit to ensure the bone conduction works. Users with larger heads should be aware, as the fit was noticeable in our initial tests.

Pairing was easy and simple, and the glasses are treated by iOS or Mac just like any other Bluetooth accessory.

Sound quality obviously suffers from bone conduction, though we were in fact able to hear the world around us while sampling music.

Unfortunately, whatever speaker technology is being used by Zungle means the world around us could also hear our music, making them somewhat less discreet. We had hoped that the use of bone conducting technology would make the glasses largely silent to anyone but the wearer, but even when taking off the glasses, the sound emanating from them was quite noticeable.

The Zungle Panther is currently available to purchase from BiteMyApple for $149.99.


  • Reply 1 of 15
    I like the name Zungle and would buy them for just that reason, if I didn't already have headphones and dark glasses.  Zungle Panther!  Rowr!!
  • Reply 2 of 15
    dhavensdhavens Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I have these they are junk no bone conduction just a cheap pair of speakers in a chunky sunglass
    frame. A total fail DO NOT BUY you are better off taping a 5 dollar bluetooth speaker to your head.

  • Reply 3 of 15
    thrangthrang Posts: 762member
    They look like something you can buy with 200 tickets collected from a Ski-Ball machine...
  • Reply 4 of 15
    SendMcjakSendMcjak Posts: 66unconfirmed, member
    Wish there was a bone conducting "headphone" for swimming that used a (licensed) W1 chip.  Would be great do do laps while streaming music from a nearby iPhone -- while wearing the new Series 2 Apple Watch, of course.
  • Reply 5 of 15
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 641member
    I tried a bone-conducting headphone perhaps a couple years ago and found it unpleasant.  There was also a bone conducting toothbrush at some point.  I think it's a gimmicky silly thing though there may be some legit useful applications like the previous poster who would use it for swimming.  That makes sense I think.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,498member
    "Bone conduction" the new over-abused marketing buzzphrase.  It's over-hyped and rarely does what it implies.  These folks really should just stop.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    How can you have a headphone "review" without any mention of how they sound?
    I mean, that's the whole point of buying them.... isn't it?
  • Reply 8 of 15
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    JonInAtl said:
    How can you have a headphone "review" without any mention of how they sound?
    I mean, that's the whole point of buying them.... isn't it?
    Where did we call it a "review"?
  • Reply 9 of 15
    beaulenbeaulen Posts: 1member
    A short video clip would be nice so we can get a sense for the volume. 
  • Reply 10 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,848member
    Who also remembers the DAK Bone Fone?
    edited July 2017 cornchip
  • Reply 11 of 15
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    beaulen said:
    A short video clip would be nice so we can get a sense for the volume. 
    The headline says "first look" for a reason. I literally opened the box, connected them to my phone, used them for 5 minutes, and took some pictures. More to come.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    ivanhivanh Posts: 295member
    I have a few pairs of bone conducting Bluetooth headphones from AFTERSHOKZ. They are unbelievably great. I also discovered that for people with hearing loss, especially more severe on one ear, or aged people, would appreciate bone conduction technology a lot. When you get over 30, be frank, you can't tell or fake that you can differentiate any earphones over $50. If you have hearing loss on low frequency, you hate wearing earphone or disappointed with the lost of balance feeling because earphones or headphones cannot give you bass in the middle between your ears, except bone conduction headphones. With it, you can regain the joy of freedom listening to music or watching YouTube in the gym. I also have friends who returned AirPods, Powerbeats, Bose and other top priced headphones but love bone conduction ones. So, guys, you can still use conventional earphones or headphones, if bone conduction tech is not for you, yet. But, yes, I'm wearing it 18 hours a day. Also, my ENT surgeon told me that one of his patient had thrown away an $18 grand hearing aid, because he couldn't tolerate in-ear. Then he loves bone conduction headphone as a much better replacement for only 2% of the cost of a top quality hearing aid. Today, my GP told me that he got a pair as well. I look forward to trying this Zunglr Panther. It didn't say it's a headphone; it says it's a "speaker". The bone conduction effevirncy may not be as good as those from AFTERSHOKZ. But they go for a different niche market. Why not?
  • Reply 13 of 15
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    ivanh said:
    I look forward to trying this Zunglr Panther.
    Don't get your hopes up.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    As soon as I saw these I thought of one great use for them, listening to music while riding my motorcycle.

    Fitting even in ear headphones into a helmet is next to impossible without taping them to your head and even then they move.

    I do have motorcycle headphones which Velcro to the padding but these can move as well and they don't sound that flash either.

    My only issue with these glasses would be the thickness of the arms. Even fitting slim arms into the padding can be a chore and I have to remove my helmet around forty times a day with my job. Even normal sunnies can over the course of the day become uncomfortable pushing on my head so these could be worse.

    All in all I love the idea but the execution could make them a deal breaker.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    I'm an initial backer from Kickstarter and I got mine as well. I'd give it about 7.5/10. Was not much impressed with the sound quality. But then, I thought about the fact that my ears were totally open. So, when I covered them, I was like, "yea this is just like another headset". Then, I tried it outdoor when I walk my dog or run and it actually worked pretty well. One thing was that I had to get used to listen to music with this kind of bone conduction speakers. It is like background music. Like their logo says, I was like wearing the music. I don't use daily when I wanna listen to music, but surprisingly I do take them with me much more frequently than I expected when I go outside. 
    I really think the concept is great and possibly see their future product. Still, it seems pretty amazing considering it just sprung out of Kickstarter in about a year or so. I've done some different projects like 3D printer one and those guys just disappeared.. 
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