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Bose Frames review – the sunglasses with built-in earphones

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  • VERDICT

The Bose Frames are more than just a novelty product, they offer a quality audio experience that is housed in a pair of cool looking sunglasses so you can hear your favourite content anywhere.

Bose is a company that produces high-quality audio but it latest product is a pair of sunglasses. Not just any old sunglasses – they just happen to have the world’s thinnest and lightest audio system on board as well.

The Bose Frames look like a typical pair of matte black sunglasses with tinted lenses that block up to 99 per cent of UVA/UVB rays.

But take a closer look and you’ll see the arms are slightly thicker on each side – this is where the wafer thin acoustic package has been located.

There are no earbuds or anything you need to place in your ears.

The audio is directed towards each ear through a tiny speaker located at the base of the arm that’s positioned right near your ears when you’re wearing the Bose Frames.

And the result is surprisingly high quality audio that’s being beamed directly into your ear.

That means you can hear your music, your audiobooks and podcasts simply by slipping on a pair of sunglasses.

They are made from moulded nylon plastic which means they’re light and comfortable.

They also have gold-plated metal hinges and fold down like a regular pair of sunglasses and fit inside a storage case.

They are available in two styles – Alto with the larger squarer lenses and Rondo with the smaller circular lens option.

On the right arm is a small button that allows the user to control playback and to make and receive calls.

The button is located in an odd position because it’s generally where I pick up the glasses. A couple of times I turned them off by mistake just by picking them up.

Users can also access Siri and Google Assistant through this button as well.

Apart from the obvious convenience, another thing we liked about the Bose Frames was not having anything in our ears.

Usually, wire-free earbuds need to be jammed right into your ear canal and block out the outside world and everything else you doing whether it’s walking or eating can all be heard through your head even when the music is playing.

But that’s not what you get with the Bose Frames.

The tiny acoustic system is strategically located and aimed into each ear.

Quality wise, the signature Bose sound is there and offers enough detail to clearly hear the music or the person speaking in your audiobook or podcast.

It’s a bit thin on the bass but delivers enough to still offer an enjoyable listening experience.

It’s biggest weakness though is it’s not very loud.

Even at full volume, if you happen to be in a busy area, it will drown out whatever you’re listening to.

For our review we used the Bose Frames on the go when we were walking and running and if we were beside a busy main road it was hard to hear anything even when it was turned up as loud as it can go.

But most of the time we could hear quite clearly and really enjoyed the freedom it gave us.

And because there is basically a speaker above each ear there is a bit of sound leakage.

In other words, those people as close as a metre away will be able to hear what you’re listening to so it might be annoying to your fellow passengers on a bus or train or anyone else nearby.

Not as bad as sitting next to a passenger listening to heavy metal on their earphones at full volume but you can hear them.

Bose says these custom speakers on board will direct sound only to you and away from others.

That might be the case but that still easy to hear what you’re listening to if you’re in close vicinity.

With the Bose Frames, not only can you hear your audio content through the Bose Frames, you can also make and receive your phone calls as well.

Call quality was clear with the people we were talking to saying they could hear us just fine – they said it just sounded like we were on a speakerphone.

But we could hear them loud and clear.

The problem with this though was all the funny looks we were getting when we were on our calls with our phone in our pocket.

It looked like we were talking to ourselves.

Usually when people see others talking in the street they immediately spot the earphones and recognise the fact they’re on a phone call.

But that wasn’t the case when we were on our call on the Bose Frames with nothing in our ears and just the sunglasses on our face.

To combat these puzzled looks I had to make the “I’m on a phone call” gesture with my hand.

For a couple of curious bystanders, this did start a conversation about the Bose Frames which they were very impressed when we explained it to them.

The other issue is whether you want to use the Bose Frames indoors and at night.

We have no problem slipping on the Bose Frames in the evening in our office to listen to some tunes.

But again, you may attract some funny looks if you’re coming home on the train at night listening to your Bose sunglasses.

Who cares? As long as you can enjoy your content.

Users can link the Bose Frames to their smartphone with the Bose Connect app which can help you keep the latest firmware for the device as well as locate the sunglasses on a map if you misplace them.

On the battery side, the glasses ran for about three hours.

The Bose Connect app

A voice announces the battery percentage every time you turn them on.

They take a couple of hours to fully recharge using pogo pin magnetic cable that attaches to the charging pin on the right arm.

Bose Frames will be available from June 13 in two styles – Alto and Rondo – and are priced at $299.95.

Bose will also offer additional non-polarised and polarised lenses for $29.95 and $49.95 respectively.

VERDICT

The Bose Frames are more than just a novelty product, they offer a quality audio experience that is housed in a pair of cool looking sunglasses so you can hear your favourite content anywhere.