If you’re looking to get new sunglasses, headphones or both, you should check out Bose Frames. These new shades from Bose combine sunglasses with speakers by your ears that let you hear the world around you while you listen to music.
About Bose Frames
Bose Frames are sunglasses that have speakers in the arms and come in two styles, Alto and Rondo. Alto Frames are larger and look like classic Ray Ban Wayfarers. Rondo are smaller frames and are round. I received the Alto Frames last month for my birthday and have been using them ever since.
Here’s a video showing Bose Frames in action:
Both styles of Bose Frames work the same. They connect to your phone via Bluetooth using the Bose Connect app. They can pair with up to eight devices so you can share your Frames with others.
The arms of the Bose Frames are slightly larger than those of normal sunglasses, as they hold the speakers and the battery. No one has yet noticed that my Frames look different from normal sunglasses.
The Bose Frames Owner’s Guide gives helpful advice in using the Frames, such as how to turn them off.
Turning them off is done in a very clever way — turn the Frames upside down, a gesture you probably would do naturally as you take them off of your face. It’s also an easy motion when you meet up with a friend and want to mute the sound.
You can control the sound with a button on the right arm of the Frames, close to your temple. Press and hold the button to connect the Frames to your phone. Press the button once to play music or pause, twice to skip forward and three times to skip backwards.
When connected, the Frames will announce which device they’re connected to, as well as the battery percentage. I wish all Bluetooth devices would announce the battery percentage when they connect.
Pressing and holding the Frames button after they’ve been turned on and connected will summon either Siri or Google Assistant, depending on whether you’ve connected them to an iPhone or an Android phone. Using your voice you can command Siri or Google Assistant to make calls, check the weather or do anything else you use a digital assistant for.
Bose Frames Lenses
Bose Frames aren’t just for listening, they’re also for protecting your eyes from the sun. According to Bose, the Frames are scratch and shatter resistant and are 99% UVA/UVB protected. The lenses aren’t Polarized though so may not be your best bet for driving.
The lenses aren’t extremely dark, which may be helpful if you want to wear them inside, on cloudy days or at dusk. But in bright sunlight they may not offer optimal protection from the glare.
No prescription lenses are available, yet, nor are clear frames an option. Transition lenses that darken in bright light would be a welcome update to the next generation of Bose Frames.
As mentioned above, Bose Frames helpfully let you know how much battery power you have when you turn them on and connect them to your phone. Bose says battery life is 3.5 hours of streaming and 12 hours of standby. I charge mine every time I take them off so they don’t run out of power when I need to use them.
Bose Frames charge magnetically with a proprietary charge cord that works only with Bose Frames. As of now, you can’t buy an extra cord so be sure not to leave it behind when you travel. I hope Bose does begin to sell the cords separately so you’ll be able to buy a spare cord.
Making and Answering Calls Using Bose Frames
By using Siri or Google Assistant you can make calls using Bose Frames. Answering calls is easy, just tap the button to answer a call on your Frames when you hear your phone ring.
When others hear you using the Bose Frames on the phone, they’ll probably assume you’re on a Bluetooth connection in the car. The sound difference is noticeable from a regular phone call, and similar to any call over a Bluetooth speaker.
Hearing Other Sounds
Perhaps you run, bike, walk or do other activities where you use headphones or earbuds. When you listen you may hear great music, podcasts or audiobooks. But you may be missing out on the sounds around you. Perhaps someone is trying to talk to you, or maybe there’s a car approaching. Headphones and earbuds can make you oblivious to the sounds around you.
Bose Frames let you listen to music without blocking other sounds in your environment. You can hear an oncoming car, a greeting from a friend, or other important sounds while wearing Bose Frames.
Other people will be able to hear sound from your Bose Frames if they are close to you. But from farther away they won’t know you’re listening to anything.
Listening with Bose Frames may bother others in situations where you’re near to them. Wearing them on a plane, subway, bus or train may not be the best idea, unless you’re looking to annoy someone on purpose.
But for times when you should be hearing the world around you, Bose Frames may be your best bet for listening.
Bose Frames AR
The Bose Connect app and the Bose website both promise that AR (augmented reality) will be coming to Bose Frames through an update. This AR experience, according to Bose, will give “astonishing real-world experiences and fundamentally new ways to travel, exercise, learn, play, and more. It’s a whole new way to go through life: heads up, hands free, and ears amazed.”
When enabled, Bose Frames AR could show information on the lenses, such as navigation directions, fitness tracking, Yelp reviews for nearby businesses and more.
If Bose AR does become a reality, then Frames could offer the functionality of Google Glass at a fraction of the cost, with Bose speakers, and without looking like a tech product.
As no date has been given for the implementation of AR into Bose Frames, you should wait until the update to buy them if AR is the reason you’re getting Frames.
Bose Frames are available in the U.S. from the Bose website or in Bose stores for $199. Bose plans to expand the sale of its Frames globally, though hasn’t given a date when that will happen.
Like the Ford Model T, Bose Frames are available in any color so long as it’s black. Bose offers a 30-day return policy so you can try out the Frames to see if you like using them.
Do you like the idea of Bose Frames so you can listen to music without tuning out the world? Are you interested in augmented reality coming to Bose Frames? What new features would you like to see in Bose Frames?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!