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Review: Oakley O ROKR with NaviPlay iPod Transmitter

Oakley teamed up with Motorola for the latest version of their wearable electronics shades, the Bluetooth enabled, Gascan-based O ROKR.

Although very similar in design to the Thump 2’s I looked at back in April, the O ROKR loses the frame rim that would block downward viewing – also allowing you to swap out the pure Plutonite lens for other shades. Oakley ditched MP3 playback capabilities for Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream audio from your iPod (with the NaviPlay device), or your next-gen moto celphone (RAZR V3x, ROKR E2) and other devices with Bluetooth A2DP, AvRCP support.

I was not very impressed with the NaviPlay Bluetooth iPod Adapters quality when broadcasting audio from the iPod to the O ROKR, the high-end frequencies of songs being transmitted had a slight static distortion to them. Range wasn’t the issue since this happens within two-feet of the O ROKR, and not with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone. It may be that the Bluetooth 1.2 spec on the NaviPlay cannot keep up with amount of bandwidth required to transmit the audio, or it could have been a bad unit sent in, either way it was surely not what I had expected from the Bluetooth transmitter.

The O ROKR gives you full control of your music, whether its coming from a NaviPlay-enabled iPod, or a Bluetooth equipped cellphone with Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) or Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP). On the left arm of the O ROKR you have a Volume Up and Volume Down button, with the Call button in between. The Call button has many functions, it allows for the pairing of your O ROKR to your Bluetooth cellphone or Pocket PC. Answering calls is done by pressing the Call button when you hear a ring, press it again to end the call. You can even mute the tiny microphone (located on the under the right arm) by holding down the Volume Down button for 1 second. It’s easy to see Motorola’s part of the design, mobile integration has been made effortless.

The earphones are just as comfortable and easy to position as the Thump 2’s, six directions of movement with custom Mylar speaker make for a great sound and fit.

Pricing is still on the higher-end, $249 for the O ROKR and $99 for the NaviPlay. Not a bad deal for Bluetooth Stereo sound, considering the NaviPlay with headphone transmitter for the iPod is $239, if you add it all up you’re not spending a whole lot more, and you don’t have to look like a typical headset borg to answer your calls.

Hopefully NaviPlay can address the high-frequency distortion issue, it may be as simple as a defective device. Until then I would stay away from this combination, as the Motorola NaviPlay NIA.S10-M does not broadcast the quality audio we would expect when laying down this kind of coin.

About Fabrizio Pilato

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