Tech review: Bose Frames a pair of sunglasses that is also a pair of earphones

The Bose Frames are sunglasses with tiny built-in speakers on the sides.
The Bose Frames are sunglasses with tiny built-in speakers on the sides.PHOTO: BOSE

The Bose Frames are not your average pair of sunglasses.

Just look to the maker, American audio equipment company Bose, and that should be a good enough clue: Yes, these sunnies also act as earphones.

I was sceptical about them at first. Do we really need a pair of sunglasses with tiny built-in speakers on the sides, or is this just one huge gimmick?

Two weeks into using these, however, and I was sold.

While I do not have the habit of carrying a pair of sunglasses everywhere I go, they were great to have while I was outdoors, whether at a picnic or lounging by the pool.

Pairing the frames to your mobile device is very easy. Just download the Bose Connect app and let Bluetooth do its thing.

Once paired, I did not experience any instances of sound dropping out.

The high quality of the sound really wowed me. It was surprisingly crisp and clear, even though my ears were not covered.

I listened to a playlist of intense movie orchestral soundtrack tunes one afternoon and I could hear every clang and chime of the different instruments, although there was little to no bass.

I listened to a full podcast episode as well and each speaker's voice came through distinctly.

Still, that is only if you are in a relatively quiet place.

As the sunglasses do not use bone-conduction technology, walking along a busy street while wearing them means that you will hear every loud car honk and bicycle bell along with the music. But for a pedestrian crossing the road, that is probably a good thing.

The speakers are also great at channelling the sound to your ears only.

My friend stood right next to me and could not hear the music I was listening to at all, unless I cranked up the volume level to more than 85 per cent (which is probably too loud for your own good anyway).

According to Bose, the sound leakage is only about 1 per cent.

  • FOR

    • Good quality sound

    • Low sound leakage

    AGAINST

    • Frames cannot be adjusted to fit your face

    • Material looks cheap

    SPECS

    Price: $299

    Connectivity: Bluetooth

    Weight: 45g

    RATING

    Features: 3.5/5

    Design: 3/5

    Performance: 4/5

    Battery life: 3.5/5

    Value for money: 3/5

    Overall: 3.5/5

In terms of battery life, the frames can play around three hours of continuous music, which is more than enough for me on a day out.

Charging them is slow though - about two hours for a full charge, which can be done by connecting the frames with a specialised charging cable.

My main grievance with the Bose Frames is how cheap they look up close. The matte plastic material that they are made of looks, well, plastic.

A colleague even commented that the glasses look like the ones lining drugstore shelves.

The material was probably chosen for its light weight though, as the sunglasses weigh only 45g.

The glasses are also a bit too large for my face. I tested the Alto design, which comes with squarish lenses, and the sunnies would slide down my nose whenever I shook my head a little more vigorously than normal. There is an alternative Rondo design, which comes with retro round lenses, but I did not get to try them on.

The Alto glasses looked great on a male colleague though and, from afar, passed off as stylish.

Just upgrade the plastic material and these may be able to replace earphones for the outdoorsy sort.