The offer to review a pair of Bose Frames sunglasses, that double as headphones, was an opportunity too good to refuse. I was sent the Bose Frames Tempo Style to check out. These are just one style in a range of sunglasses that feature Bose Open Ear Audio technology.
In the presentation box is a hard, zipped case containing the Bose Frames sunglasses and a USB Type-C charging cable. The package also includes a cleaning cloth and two sets of replacement rubber nose pads.
The Bose Frames Tempo Style sunglasses look very good. The best-looking of the entire Frames range, in my opinion. The mirrored lenses mounted to half frames with thicker than usual arms give the sunglasses a cool cyberpunk look.
The tiny hidden speakers, a secret only the wearer knows, give you a very sci-fi vibe. They are also IPX4 water-resistant, with scratch-proof and shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses, and an acoustic mesh over the speakers to help keep out water and debris.
Setting up the Bose Frames was easy via the Bose Music app. Following the on-screen instructions, I had them connected, via Bluetooth, to my phone in moments. The app can also be used to check and update the firmware as required.
Bose states a battery life of up to 8 hours after an hour of charging. The sunglasses switch off after a short while when removed to preserve battery life. The glasses use a regular USB Type-C charging cable. Rather than a bespoke cable (like some of the other glasses in the range). This is inserted on the underside of the right arm.
The multifunction button is also located on the right arm of the sunglasses. This button can be used to pause/unpause audio, answer/end calls, and decline calls. There is a touch strip on the side of the right arm that can be used to increase/decrease volume and activate your device’s digital assistant.
The mirrored polarised lenses (12% VLT | 99% UVA/B) let a little too much sun through for my liking. They are easily swapped out, and Bose supplies three replacement sets of polarised lenses: Road Orange (20% VLT), Trail Blue (28% VLT), and Twilight Yellow (77% VLT). Prescription lenses are available for the Bose Frames from third-party suppliers.
The three sizes of rubber nose pads: small, medium, and large, with medium already in place allow the user to customise the way the glasses fit over the nose. I have a partially wide and bony bridge, but the glasses still sat comfortably and reasonably securely.
The hard case has a cloth feel with the Bose logo on the front. Inside, the case is contoured to keep the glasses in place. There’s a pouch for the USB charging cable. When placed in the case, the sunglasses rest nervously close to the plastic zipper. Probably not as much of an issue as it looks, but if the case was, for example, stuffed tight in a glove box you may find the zipper rubs on the lens.
Although perhaps not as loud as I’d like, the audio sounds very good. but not bad. The bass response is fair and the treble crisp and clear. They are certainly on par with the audio reproduction of a decent pair of earbuds.
Because they are effectively operating as open acoustic headphones, you can still hear other sounds around you. This makes the sunglasses a lot safer, compared to regular earbuds when you need to be aware of your surroundings.
Sound comes from two tiny downward-facing speakers on the underside of the arms. This means that if you like your music loud, others are going to hear it as well. This is worth bearing in mind else you become that annoying/weird person on public transport.
The Bose Frames Tempo Style Bluetooth audio sports sunglasses make for an interesting device. They look like stylish regular pair of sports sunglasses. Their ability to provide not only high-quality audio via your favourite music app, but also take and receive calls, all without covering or stuffing anything in your ears, is very cool. The availability of prescription lenses is also useful and I can see these sunglasses being particularly useful for cyclists and runners. They are definitely worth a look as an alternative to earbuds.