Review: Bose Frames take a stab at iPhone-connected audio sunglasses Evaluation: Bose Frames take a stab at iPhone-connected audio sun shades Bose’s iPhone-connected Frames are a strong first step into the “audio glasses” market, and presumably value your cash — however there are catches to think about with this early tech.

Bose Frames

I am unable to keep in mind when precisely, however at a sure level in my profession a boss as soon as decreed that we simply would not cowl (most) Bluetooth audio system anymore. What was as soon as bleeding-edge expertise had turn out to be omnipresent — we’d’ve been writing about all of them day. To elevate the curtain a bit of bit additional, the one Bluetooth audio system we cowl right here at AppleInsider are these from Apple or different well-known manufacturers, and of particular curiosity like Devialet’s Phantom Reactor.

The Frames slot neatly into these guidelines, so right here we’re. On a elementary stage they are a pair of mid-range sun shades with compact Bose audio system in every arm. They don’t seem to be bone-conducting, however quite angled to fireside into your ear canals.

Why would you purchase Frames as an alternative of devoted headphones? Simplicity, in a phrase. It is one accent as an alternative of two, and once you’re on the go, there is not any have to fish earbuds out of your pocket.

Bose sells two kinds, the Alto and the Rondo. I attempted the Alto, a traditional “sq.” look. This can most likely be the default for most individuals, however the Rondo could also be extra interesting for some wearers, particularly these with smaller head sizes. I discovered that the Alto match nicely and with model — the added thickness of its arms was largely masked by a intelligent design.

Bose Frames

You may pair the Frames like typical Bluetooth headphones if you happen to like, however ideally you are meant to make use of the Bose Join iPhone app. This allows you to tweak settings similar to voice prompts and a standby timer, the latter in order that you do not by accident drain the battery. I would advocate going with a brief standby because it would not take lengthy to energy again up.

Bose Connect iPhone app

That being stated, Bose has properly included movement sensors that shut off the Frames after they’ve been flipped upside-down for two seconds. To energy on, you press a multifunction button on the proper arm.

That button is each a blessing and a curse of Bose’s design. It provides quite a bit to the pickup-and-go high quality of the product, since it is easy to seek out and faucet with out fumbling. As soon as the Frames are on you simply press the button as soon as to play and pause, twice to skip ahead, and thrice to skip again. It is likewise simple to reply or reject incoming calls, and you’ll entry Siri by holding the button down.

Within the title of simplicity, aesthetics, or price financial savings although, Bose has omitted any onboard quantity controls. It is a baffling choice that forces you to show to your iPhone or Apple Watch, and whereas it isn’t an automated dealkiller, it may trigger issues for individuals who frequently transition between loud and quiet environments.

The excellent news on that entrance is that the Frames sound higher than you are most likely anticipating — actually greater than I used to be. Audio is loud and crisp, sufficient that I used to be in a position to clearly discern music whether or not indoors or using a scooter at 18mph. It helps, in fact, that with out something lodged within the ear, there’s nothing to amplify wind sounds. Certainly the flexibility to hearken to music or podcasts with out blocking out the skin world could also be a key promoting level, particularly for runners, cyclists, and skate boarders.

Bass is not on the identical stage as Beats or JBL, however can nonetheless be felt — it will even vibrate your cranium barely. I discovered the Frames did nicely with a number of genres of music, although if you happen to demand thumping or rumbling lows you will wish to flip elsewhere.


The primary limitation of the Frames, as you’ve got little doubt guessed, is that they are sun shades. You may be taking them off indoors or at evening, and certain on cloudy days as nicely. They’re useful in sunny locations like Austin the place I reside, however not a lot in overcast cities similar to London or Seattle.

There’s a resolution: you may get alternative lenses if you happen to like, even prescription ones, however you will be paying further for the privilege. But if you happen to decrease the tint of the lenses, there’s not a lot level in shopping for these over earbuds.

Battery life is one other subject. The Frames are restricted to three.5 hours, and it could possibly take as much as 2 hours to recharge utilizing a proprietary cable. You must be selective about powering on. Bose is advertising them alongside a platform known as “Bose AR,” however even when there have been greater than a handful of suitable apps (like Walc), an all-day wearable calls for higher longevity.

The glasses furthermore have an IPX2 water-resistance ranking. That is solely good for dripping water — if you happen to’re caught in a rainstorm, it is best to most likely take them off instantly. One thing designed to be worn outside ought to most likely be IPX4 at the least, which might shield in opposition to sprays and splashes.

Lastly, the usage of typical audio system as an alternative of bone conduction means you will cope with audio bleed, very similar to open-back headphones. Individuals inside a couple of ft will most likely have the ability to inform you’re listening to one thing, even when they can not inform what, which may very well be socially awkward.


Bose Frames

I’ve actually been having fun with the Frames. When situations are proper they really feel liberating, even perhaps a style of our AR future, since they combine ambient and digital audio whereas being extra handy than typical headphones. There is no fidgeting with earpieces or bands.

As issues stand nevertheless they solely make sense if you happen to put on sun shades regularly, after which provided that you are prepared to spend on a high-end pair. The Frames are literally cheaper than some “analog” sun shades, so for some folks this could be a discount.

When you’re already purchasing for sun shades and have the finances, I would by all means take into account the Frames. It is simply that brief battery life, weak water resistance, and a scarcity of quantity buttons forged them as a first-gen effort, so it could be value ready to see what Bose or its rivals do subsequent.

Rating: four out of 5

The place to purchase

The Bose Frames Audio Sun shades can be found on Amazon for $199 in your alternative of Alto or Rondo kinds. Bundles containing the glasses and colourful lenses from the Bose Frames Lens Assortment are additionally obtainable for $218 to $228 at Amazon.

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