For a couple of years now wearables have been synonymous with smartwatches and fitness trackers. Apple’s ubiquitous AirPods changed that definition and now Bose’s pioneering product will too. Style quotient is the first box the Bose Frames ticks. Bose’s audio sunglasses come in two styles – Rondo, a rounded frame for smaller faces and the more angular Alto that I’ve been testing for over a week.
It can pass off for any stylish pair of shades and its nestled in a minimalist carrying case. There’s almost nothing in the design language that gives away its audio capabilities except for the slightly thick arms and a tiny charging dock that is concealed behind the right arm. It’s why I enjoyed getting unsuspecting friends to try these shades and then suddenly turned on the music. Bose has housed the dual speakers – technically it’s the smallest Bose sound system out there, under each of the arms and they belt out good quality sound. It certainly can’t compete with a high-end pair of headphones that insulate you from the world outside.
At a time when more and more people are turning anti-social with headphones, Bose takes an alternative route that ensures you’re also plugged into the rest of the world. What’s more, audio ‘leaks’ are negligible – my co-passenger on a flight could barely hear the music. I put the Frames through multiple audio tests – music, podcasts and also calls. AirPods users will tell you that calls are a major chunk of the workload for their headphones. If that’s your primary use case, the Bose Frames won’t disappoint – callers could never tell that I was using a Bluetooth device.
Wearables are also judged on how much you can use them without pulling your phone out of your pocket. A barely visible, multi-function key gets a lot of stuff done including powering the Frames on and shuffling tracks. An extended press activates Google Assistant or Siri. In another clever touch, flipping the shades turns them off. The only thing missing is volume control; however, I’ve settled at a 50-60% volume level that brings out the best sound quality and don’t keep reaching for my phone to tweak audio levels. The power cable slips into a pouch that doubles up as a cleaning cloth and can be tucked into the case. The Frames power up quickly and squeeze out a battery life of about three to four hours. It’s not a lot but a heavier battery would probably hurt the design language of these glares. Battery life is an area where there’s room for improvement.
Bose Frames is a really clever product, one that has more hits than misses for a whole new product category. It didn’t just seamlessly integrate into my daily routine but also offered a peek into the future with Bose’s vision of Audio AR. I tried quite a few Apps from Bose’s dedicated AR App store including Komrad Air, a fun spy game that transports you to the cold war era and NaviGuide, a navigation App. Style certainly meets function with the Bose Frames and that in itself is a big deal.
The Boss Frames cost Rs 21,900/- You can customise your Frames with interchangeable replacement lenses (Rs 1990/- for non-polarised and Rs 2,990/- for polarised) from the Bose Frames lens collection