Bose Frames Alto: Wear Your Music
June 12, 2019

Looks gimmicky, but it actually performs well.

When the Bose Frames was initially announced, I had doubts as to how it would actually offer a decent sound output considering that the device won’t be placed directly on your ears, and I just found out how enjoyable it is using the device in the weeks I had it.

Available in two designs (Alto, tested here, made for Men and Rondo made for women), the Bose Frames just like any typical pair of sunglasses. You’d notice the arms on sunglass is a little large, but that’s where the underlying technology of the Bose Frames lies – these are actually tiny speakers that project the sound directly to your ear. These also include a microphone that can pick up your voice when you make calls (yes, you can make calls on the Bose Frames).

At around 45 grams, the Bose Frames aren’t too heavy even with the larger-than-the-usual arms of the sunglass. I used it on a hot summer day outside and it never felt like it was weighing my head down. Style-wise, it might be liked by everyone considering that there are only two models to choose from.

A button right below the right arm acts as the main power switch that turns the unit on. It is also the same button you’ll use to put it in pairing mode so you can connect it to your device using Bluetooth. Just like most of their audio devices, you can configure more settings using the Bose Connect app, including updating the firmware.

Like I said earlier, I had doubts about the sound output of the Bose Frames, but upon hearing my first tune it’s actually not that bad. Stereo separation is clearly present, and you can hear audio moving from left to right. Even if the speakers aren’t in your ear, no one would be able to hear what you’re listening to unless they literally stand next to your ear.

The only drawback is that on some tunes, the Bose Frames clearly lacks some bass despite the great sound output. The audio also tends to distort at high volumes, though I never go beyond 60 percent so for me it was acceptable.

I got some looks on the train as well when using the Bose Frames, considering that I was humming the tunes and talking calls where people see that I haven’t got any headphones on. Worse is that people might think you’re talking to yourself, but who cares right?

The Bose Frames includes a motion sensor that is used for its new Bose AR platform. This lets you listen to audio that intelligently adjust based on the exact location you’re facing. Bose says this audio-based AR platform can give you details about a place when you’re looking at it, or simply guide you as you walk through a city.

The sunglasses include a proprietary charging cable that you connect via USB. It’s magnetic so don’t worry if you accidentally pull on the cable. It’s also not water-resistant, though they’re good enough to withstand sweat when you’re wearing it for your daily workouts.

In my time with the Bose Frames, I averaged around 3.5-4 hours on a single charge on continuous playback. It’s not the best, but I guess adding more battery would considerably add to the sunglasses’ weight. I was also asked if it supports prescription lenses, and unfortunately, at the moment, Bose doesn’t support them. You can, of course, bring it to any shop to have new lenses fitted, but this will void the warranty.

With a starting price of 849 AED, the Bose Frames won’t appeal to everyone. But I was surprisingly pleased with its audio performance despite some drawbacks, enough for me to give it my recommendation.

We Love:

+ Great design

+ Impressive sound output

+ Handles calls clearly

We Hate:

– Average battery life

– Lack of bass is evident on some tunes

Final Rating: 4/5

by Victor Philip Ortiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. Passionate for all things tech - you’ll normally find him tinkering with the latest gadgets and computer peripherals. He is an avid collector of Blu-ray discs and occasionally plays on his Xbox.
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