What are Bose Frames?
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Atlanta launch event and Superbowl party for the New Bose Frames smart sunglasses with the likes of Larry FItzgerald, Aaron Rogers, Christian McCaffrey and Russel Wilson. The event was held at Hamton and Hudson, one of my favorite Atlanta restaurants in the hip Inman Park neighborhood. What was Bose launching? The NEW Bose Frames sunglasses of course. Let me tell you about them.
To everyone else they’re just sunglasses but the miniaturized Bose electronics hidden in the frames create a state-of-the-art personal listening experience. While wearing Bose Frames, you’ll hear rich, immersive sound, while everyone else around you hears practically nothing. The Bose audio technology and unique speaker design directs sound at you, and only you, while directing it away from others. Curious if the Bose Frames are right for you? Here’s my take on them after just a few days.
Bose Frames Design and Fit
There are two models of the Bose Frames available right now: the Alto, which is really more of a traditional Wayfarer style, and the Rondo, which features a pair round lenses that initially made me think of the original Snapchat Spectacles —though it’s without the ridiculous lenses that Snapchat incorporated. Bose claims the Alto is for larger sized faces while the Rondo is for smaller sized faces, though it seems one is really for men (Alto) while the other is for women (Rondo) with a bit more of a feminine design aesthetic.
I prefer the Alto as it’s definitely a more masculine, classic look that I find a bit more appealing. I also find the Bose Frames to be pretty comfortable so far, though I haven’t put them through anything more than driving and a few walks with my dog at this point, with the longest I’ve worn them being about an hour so far.
The Bose Frames are water-resistant with an IPX2 rating, which means they'll survive a quick splash but aren't going to survive going underwater. Many people wear sunglasses at the pool so it would have made a bit more sense to go all-in on a higher level of water resistance here.
Like most sunglasses, the Bose Frames filter out 99 percent of UVA/B rays, but they aren't polarized (big miss in my opinion), so they won't protect against glare from reflective surfaces like snow or water. The lack of polarization is probably my biggest gripe about the Frames, especially at the $200 price point.
Bose Frames Build Quality
The Bose Frames audio equipped sunglasses are lightweight but feature an impressive build quality. These glasses come with metal hinges, nylon rims, and lenses that won’t easily scratch or shatter. Bose claims the frames are forged from materials that are as modern as their concept for long lasting comfort that’s built to last. I don’t see any reason to doubt that fluffy marketing claim after my first few days with the Bose Frames..
Base Frames In-Use
The Bose Frames are very easy to use. There's just a single a button on the underside of the right arm to help you interact with your phone. It offers basic controls: Press once to play, pause music or answer calls. Press twice to skip tracks and three times to go back, and hold down to trigger your voice assistant.
I do wish there were volume controls on the device as It was fairly annoying to get my phone out anytime I wanted to turn the volume up or down. Changing the volume is something I did pretty often, too, given how easily the Frame's speakers were overpowered by environmental noise. I usually set the Bose Frames audio level at 80 percent while driving in the car and walking around midtown Atlanta so that I could hear my music well. I did need to bring it up all the way to maximum level on MARTA however and even then I could end up not hearing anything clearly at all when hitting a tunnel or lots of background commotion..
The good news is that II didn't really need to go 100 percent very often. The bad news is that when I did, people about an arm's length away would start being able to hear me blasting the Chainsmokers. This sound leakage doesn't happen until you push the volume up past about 80 percent, though, and it would have happened with my regular daily headphones anyways too.
Bose Frames Augmented Reality (AR) and Navigation
Bose claims that every pair of Bose Frames is already Bose AR (augmented reality) enabled but this functionality isn’t here as of yet (February 2019). Bose is claiming that it’ll be unlocked via a free software update that is coming soon (TBD).
The Bose Frames Review Wrap-Up
The Bose Frames really are more than just a novelty and they actually do work really well. But not well enough as they could be (or should be?) for the $200 price point. On top of that, I wouldn’t really recommend wearing your sunglasses at night or while at the gym, which does kind of limit their overall usefulness.
Bose intends to make prescription lens or clear options available as well as implement the audio technology into other formats like bike or ski helmets. But for now, unless you’re fond of new tech products and have enough disposable income to pick some up as an early adopter, you might be better off waiting for a second-generation model and a few additional functionality updates.
Stylish and lightweight
Convenient hands-free wireless audio
Convenient Apple Siri and Google Assistant Integration
Can also take phone calls
Average battery life
No AR/Navigation functionality
Keywords: Bose, Bose Frames, Bose Frames Review, Bose Sunglasses, Bose Smart Sunglasses, Bose Frames Sunglasses