Hands-on with the Bose Frames
Bose have reinvented the sunglasses AND the headphones with this incredible new audio gadget. Oh, and they’re very stylish too…
14 Jun 2019
Here are two words you probably haven’t heard together before: ‘audio sunglasses’.
No, that wasn’t a typo – they’re actually the latest invention from audio giants Bose, who has dropped probably the most fashionable wearable of 2019: the Bose Frames.
We got to try out this sleek, chic, sonic gadget to get a real feel for its sound and style. Here’s what you need to know…
So how do the Bose Frames work, then?
Magic. Erm, well, not quite…there are actually two teeny speakers on each arm of the sunglasses, resting on your temples and pointing right into your ears.
The sound they emit is directional, which means the it just travels where it needs to and nowhere else. Other ear-free headphones use a much more complicated ‘bone conduction’ method through your temples, but Bose has managed the same effect with a much simpler design.
And the effect itself is pretty mesmerising – it’ll certainly make you feel funny on the first try. It’s an odd experience, especially if you’re listening to something in mono sound, but once you get used to it they make for an ultra-convenient wearable.
Getting started with the Bose Frames
In the box, you’ll find a sturdy glasses case which'll contain the sunglasses and a magnetic charging cable. There’s also the usual setup and safety manuals that you get with most new electricals.
To start using them, you need to download the Bose Connect app and follow the (very simple) instructions to add it to your device’s known Bluetooth connections. They come pre-charged too, so you’ll be ready and out the door in just a few minutes.
They’re every bit as good as earphones (just without the ‘ear’ bit)
As you may have gathered by now, you don’t need to put anything in or on your ears to use the Bose Frames. This means you can keep your canals free and listen very comfortably. Plus, it keeps you available if anyone needs your attention (basically they’re a lot more sociable than headphones).
The sound is very well mixed, with especially clear mids and highs and a faint brush of bass too, which is impressive for speakers skinny enough to fit in a pair of sunglasses. And that goes for a variety of media – music, podcasts and videos all sound crisp and coherent.
Don’t let the ear-free design worry you about the amount of noise they make around you; the directional speakers ensure the sound surrounds you and only you, so they’ll ‘leak’ as much as any other pair of headphones.
So as long as you’re not blasting it on full volume in a library – well, who would? – there’s no risk of disturbing anyone nearby or attracting any unwanted eavesdroppers.
Explore multiple functions on the Bose Frames
The Frames come with a super handy ‘function’ button that can perform loads of different actions without you having to get your device out of your pocket.
You can answer calls with just one press of the function button, or even make calls by holding it down and using the virtual assistant on your device.
And they sound great from both ends – your caller’s voice will be completely clear, and the Frames’ microphone isolates your own voice really well, so the person on the other end will have no trouble hearing you too.
The function button also lets you control what you’re listening to with absolute ease. Just one press to pause/play, two to skip the track, or three to go back one. It’s really as simple and intuitive as that.
Some of the most recent Bose devices support the Bose AR feature, an immersive programme which lets you listen to 360-degree soundscapes that adapt the sound to the direction your head is pointing.
Yes that sounds quite a mouthful, but it’s really a lot of fun. There are a few apps and games you can download that let you experience it in its early, but still satisfyingly trippy, form.
Bose Radar, for example, has a choice of 360-degree AR audio experiences like ‘Serene Beach Scene’ or some specially-tuned songs that seem to just emit from nowhere and then spread all around you. It’s pretty arresting.
Other apps like NaviGuide AR and Golfshot (both fairly self-explanatory) are a real treat too, so at the very least you’ll have a whale of a time showing them to your unsuspecting friends and family.
Be a Bose Frames fashionista
We said stylish and we really meant it. Bose hasn’t foregone any thought into the look of these shades while trying to fit all this great headphone tech in.
The Frames come in two designs and sizes. They’re both based upon existing and popular sunglass shapes, just a bit chunkier on the arms and, in matte plastic, a different material to what you’d be used to.
The Alto is the more classic design of the two, and wouldn’t really look out of place if you were wandering past a Sunglass Hut shop window. The Rondo version is, you guessed it, more rounded and therefore a little more unique, making it the ideal option for all the hipsters out there.
Just one thing to note – the Alto, at 148mm, is the wider pair and the Rondo is the narrower one at 142mm. That isn't much of a difference, but if you'd prefer to let your head 'breathe' a little better, you might prefer a wider model.
Bose Frames key features
Here’s a few more specs for you inquisitive lot:
- Battery life: 3.5 hours
- Water resistant: IPX2 rating
- Bluetooth range: 9 metres
- Voice Assistant: Compatible with Google Assistant and Siri
- Charging time: 2 hours
Check out the Bose Frames audio sunglasses