Written by Cheryl Tan
Bespectacled audiophiles usually have gripes with the memory wire on earphone cables, but what if Bose figured out a way to get rid of that? No, it’s not by removing the memory wire, but by combining audio with a spectacle frame for the new Bose Frames.
After the cancellation of Google Glass, we were a little apprehensive about eyewear wearables. But Bose seemed to really know what they were doing with these, and we were pleasantly surprised when we received a pair.
There are two designs, the Rondo, which is a rounder style and the Alto, which is reminiscent of standard wayfarer sunglasses. The build quality is great, with the Alto a little bigger and longer than the Rondo.
People with smaller faces would do better with the Rondo than the Alto. Bobby could wear the Alto relatively well, with just a small gap between his face and the arms. But for someone who has a much smaller face, like me, everytime I looked down, the glasses would slide off my face. Hopefully Bose comes out with an Asian fit for these sunglasses soon.
For the most part, you wouldn’t know there are speakers inside the sunglasses. They’re light and solidly built. And to avoid any misunderstanding, let’s just clarify that these aren’t using bone conduction technology; there actually are speakers built into the temples of the sunglasses.
And the sound quality is actually very good, much better than you’d think. The soundstage is wide, which is common in Bose products, with good and clean bass, treble and mids. You can also take phone calls with these since there are microphones built-in. I prefer not using this feature in public areas though, since passerbys will likely judge you for speaking to yourself with no visible phone or earpiece.
Battery life is rated for around 3.5 hours, and the standby battery life is great as well. What’s really nice is that just by taking the glasses off and flipping it upside down, the glasses stop playing music and go to sleep. It’s just these small details that make the Bose Frames really easy to use.
There’s Bose’s new AR technology in these sunglasses, and the use scenarios are limitless. You can look at a building and press the button on the right arm to get the name and hours of a restaurant located there, or if you’re listening to music while walking, you can still get directions to your destination filtered in.
So after everything positive, we’re struggling to find anything negative to say about it, except for one. These are sunglasses and Bose sells extra lenses, but the moment you put a non-Bose lens into the frames, you void the warranty. This is a huge issue for people who are short sighted like me and don’t enjoy wearing contact lenses.
This pretty much excludes me from ever using Bose Frames, if they release an Asian fit that I can wear. Sure, I can go ahead and swap out the lenses anyway, but would most people want to risk voiding the warranty? I’d say no. So Bose, please rethink this policy, so that more of us can enjoy the freedom this product offers.
The Bose Frames (S$299) can be purchased at travel retail stores at Changi International Airport, or authorised Bose dealers.