All versions compliment Frames’ modern and minimal accents, including the gold-plated steel hinges and charging pins. And they all offer the same protection, scratch and shatter resistance as the product’s standard lenses.
Bose audio products are a class apart. Best known for home audio systems and speakers, noise-cancelling headphones, professional audio systems and automobile audio systems, Bose Corporation—founded in 1964 by Amar G Bose, then a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has a reputation for being a high-end brand that offers great audio products. The company’s niche lies in the fact that it invests in long-term research to develop new technologies; put simply, Bose products for the home, in the car, on the go and in public spaces have become iconic, changing the way people listen to music.
It’s time to discover another Bose innovation, this time in the wearable category space. We are talking about Bose Frames, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based firm’s first pair of audio sunglasses deliver a great open-ear audio experience in a stylish form factor.
Frames has taken the wearable category by storm since their US release early this year. With a proprietary open-ear design (Bose has a reputation for being particularly protective of its patents, trademarks, and brands), Frames takes micro-acoustics, voice control, and personal audio to an entirely new level, so users can stream music and information, take and make calls, and access virtual assistants from—while keeping playlists, entertainment, and conversations private.
Bose Frames comes in Matte Black and two universal styles—the larger (Alto, our trial unit) and smaller (Rondo). Both retail for Rs 21,900. Both block up to 99% of UVA/UVB rays, weigh a mere 45g, and come with uniformly tinted lenses—which can be easily popped out and replaced with the first Frames’ accessories. Bose has also introduced its Frames Lens Collection, a set of gradient and mirrored lenses that can be easily switched to customise a user’s style, change colours, and reduce glare. The non-polarised and polarised lenses retail for Rs 1,990 and Rs 2,990 respectively.
There’s a Blue Gradient, non-polarised lens for both styles, and different polarised options for each—Mirrored Silver for Alto, and Mirrored Rose Gold for Rondo. All versions compliment Frames’ modern and minimal accents, including the gold-plated steel hinges and charging pins. And they all offer the same protection, scratch and shatter resistance as the product’s standard lenses. Bose Frames uses a lithium battery that connects to an included pogo-pin cable for charging. At average listening levels, it runs up to 3.5 hours for playback and up to 12 hours on standby, and can be fully recharged in less than two hours.
Appearance-wise, Frames is a pretty cool-looking pair of sunglasses (reminds me of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones from the Hollywood blockbuster Men In Black series), but features the tiniest, thinnest, most lightweight Bose system ever. With the new lens options, this is a premium pair of sunglasses. But when you turn it on, it functions like headphones, instantly connecting to your phone, contacts, the web, and all its audible content.
To get started, you need to download the Bose Connect app on your phone. Then, press the button on the right temple so the app can find your Frames. Switched on and connected to a phone, Bose Frames functions like truly wireless headphones—with engineering that crushes the limitations of size-to-performance for personal listening. A miniscule, wafer-thin acoustic package is set seamlessly in each arm’s interior—rather than an earbud, or attached component —to produce discreet, superior sound for the user, and no one else. For touch and voice control, an ultra-small microphone and a multi-function button are embedded on the right temple for power and pairing, Siri and Google Assistant calls and commands, or to pause and skip songs.
Bose Frames is also Bose AR compatible—the first commercial product embedded with the Bose audio augmented reality platform. Frankly, I confined myself to using it as wireless headphones and on this aspect, I remain a die-hard Bose loyalist. The best part of Frames is it emits great sound in an open-ear form factor. I mean to say high-quality, low-leakage sound that doesn’t cover your ears. Crystal clear phone calls. Hands-free, clear phone calls, even in noisy environments—everything in a innovative-yet-classic design. That’s Frames for you in sum total.
Overall, Bose Frames is a very nice wearable, buy it if you like to flaunt your latest gadget.
> Estimated street price: Rs 21,900