Bose Frames: Adding ambience to the world


Photo by Abraham Fuentes

Though unsuspecting, Bose Frames come with two directional speakers on both the left and right arms of the sunglasses.

Abraham Fuentes, Co-Editor-in-Chief

In the last few years, both fashion houses and wearable tech companies have explored the idea of adding music to your environment with Sony Xperia Ear Duo, Aftershokz Trekz being two examples. Known for its noise canceling technology, Bose initially joined this market with the SoundWear companion speaker surround sound neckband. Their first attempt saw some success; their latest attempt is the Bose Frames, a pair of sunglasses with directional speakers seated on each arm, pointed toward your ear. The Frames are currently available in two styles, the Rondo and Alto. I reviewed the Alto, which Bose says are a “classic, angular look with a larger fit.” They fit my head perfectly. The Rondo are a smaller circular pair. 

The reason I made this purchase is the fact that sunglasses are expensive and don’t have any extra features. A pair of Ray-Bans costs about $150 without speakers, and cheap sunglasses will only get you so far in quality and lifespan.

These glasses aren’t for everyone. The frames are bigger than a pair of classic Wayfarer but aren’t heavy as you might think, only weighing 1.58 ounces.  

The thickened frames hide the speakers, one on each side. They have clear mids and highs but lack the bass needed for most modern music. 

The Bose Frames aren’t a replacement for your headphones. They will not drown out conversation or ambient sound. Anything loud, such as a car engine, will overpower the speakers’ sound and you won’t be able to hear your music. 

Walking around town on the streets, you probably won’t hear your music. I needed to bring my audio levels to 100 at which point you’ll get sound leakage bothering the people surrounding you. 

The biggest downside for the Frames is the sunglasses themselves.  Once you are inside, there is no point in wearing them because they are sunglasses. You could wear them inside, but do you honestly want to be that guy? 

As sunglasses they aren’t anything special, but they are scratch resistant and the replacement process is easy. Prescription lenses are available, but cost extra on top of the $199 standard frames. 

The battery life only runs three hours on a full charge, I have been able to conserve battery life by using them as a companion to my headphones. 

The best part is making a phone call  in your car through the sunglasses and experiencing good sound quality from both ends of the conversation. You do get weird looks from people who think you are talking to yourself, though.  

So is this product for you? 

If you already own both good sunglasses and earphones there is no point in buying Bose Frames. There are many negatives with the Frames that Airpods and earbuds don’t have but they are a great niche product that gives you another option to enjoy music and your environment.