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Shades as Speakers

Bose’s innovative new Frames enables you to listen to music through a connected headphone embedded into the temple tips of sunglasses

Amit Vaidya Jul 16, 2019

Bose Frames.

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Call me the perfect target audience for this! For someone who spends more time outdoors, at the beach in tropical climates, the idea of getting sunglasses with wireless headphones in them, well I just had to see what these Bose Frames were about.

Bose Frames are the perfect option for those bright summer days (or in my case, almost every day) where it’s hot, you don’t want your ears and headphones getting sweaty and the idea of carrying multiple gadgets is exhausting. The headphones are actually built into the temples and completely steer clear of the ears. The built-in speakers have been designed to assure that 99 percent of the sound actually makes it into the ears.

I love the fact that I can hit the beach with just a pair of sunglasses and my phone and with the press of a tiny gold button, be able to connect and listen to my Spotify playlists, podcasts and audiobooks.

The frames themselves are actually quite stylish. They come in two variations, the Alto (the more boxed framed pair which I have been wearing) and the Rondo (the more rounded frame). Wearing them this past week, I don’t think even one person would have thought that I was wearing smart glasses. Yes, the temples are a bit fat but then again with my dark colored hair, it blends in nicely. The frames are surprisingly lightweight and easy to clean so two big plusses. Beyond that, the charging dock is nicely hidden and the case includes a cloth pouch that withholds the cable but also can be used to clean the frames.

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Now while aesthetically it got my nod, how did it sound? To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. Obviously, without going on or in the ear, the level of bass would be a challenge. I took that as a given. But I actually was quite impressed with the sound quality and the level of depth the music carried despite a slightly treble heavy experience. While they may pale in comparison to other headphones (including those of Bose) but for what they are offering, a crisp, non-crackly speaker sound  — it’s leaps and bounds ahead of our phone’s built-in speakers.

Alto style Bose Frames.

In case you are worried that folks around will hear you, that’s only a concern when the volume is very high. I’m not sure why anyone would keep it at that volume, so if kept at the ideal volume level of around 50 percent — the sound quality is at its best. The gold button provides convenience to skip tracks, go back a track, use Siri, and even accept phone calls. I actually spoke to a number of people while wearing the glasses and everyone seemed to find the quality of the microphone stable. I only wish there was a way to increase or decrease the volume rather than having to adjust to using my phone.

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While it’s mainly audio sunglasses, the frames do include some AR, augmented reality.

This is an area I can certainly see some potential for excitement in the future. From games that take you back from the beach to fitness app helping you tee-up at every hole on the golf course to navigation apps that actually highlight things along your travel route, it’s pretty incredible. There’s a lot of room here for growth for sure, but it’s just exciting to see where things are headed!

All in all, I must say I was quite impressed with the Bose Frames. Given my active, outdoor-heavy lifestyle, it’s a great match. I can’t imagine it getting the same level of traction or enjoyment amongst urban audiences besides for that occasional weekend but it’s an exciting technology cleverly designed with perhaps some room to improve and impress even more. I will say the battery life isn’t as long as I hoped so if you plan to carry the glasses around for the day, you’ll have to pack the charger.

I’m always a big fan of adopting early to new technology and often times what is introduced doesn’t really fit my lifestyle. With Bose Frames, it almost feels like it was designed for me. True audiophiles and fashionistas may balk at these worlds coming together but I think what Bose has brought us is something I can see expanding into more than just a niche luxury product.

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