Saturday, 08 October 2022 18:33

Fashion never sounded so good as with the Bose Frames Tenor audio sunglasses

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Headphones that double as sunglasses are not entirely new, though finding a capable set is more challenging. Bose has brought its deserved reputation for audio excellence to the task, and the result is the Bose Frames range of glasses.

There's quite an appeal to wireless audio-enabled sunglasses; after all, a good set of sunglasses is a must for most outdoor activities and chances are we have sunglasses on our person more often than we might think to bring our earbuds or headphones.

It's also an issue of safety; modern earbuds and headphones have incredible noise-cancelling technology. Immersing yourself in your music or podcast or call can be engrossing, but is not always smart when walking along a busy highway, crossing tram or train tracks, or engaging in other activities where you must be tuned to your surroundings.

So, that takes us to Bose - the Bose Frames range features premium craftsmanship, lifelike sound, and polarised lenses. Bose has five models out - the two originals, Bose Frames Alto and Rondo, the Bose Frames Tempo sports sunglasses, and the newest models, the Bose Frames Tenor and Soprano. iTWire tested out the Tenor for ourselves.

The first thing we noticed is the hard, magnetic clip carry case for the glasses, along with a Bose cleaning cloth, and a USB charging cable. The cable has a USB-A connection for your computer or power point, and a magnetic clip on the other end that charges your glasses. It’s a proprietary cable so be careful not to lose it. At the same time, also be careful not to sit on your glasses.

In my own experience as a pre-LASIK prescription glasses wearer, as careful as I was, I’d invariably end up with a floppy hinge and have to tighten up the teeny tiny screws. Happily, the hinges on the Bose Frames Tenor are solid and chunky, though not unfashionably so. The arms are similarly solid; this makes sense because obviously the speakers are in the arms and it’s clear the electronics and power route via the hinges. Even so, it’s reassuring they are thicker and stronger than a traditional set of glasses. The one downside is there is not much in the way of flex. iTWire found the glasses were easy to don and wear but with a noticeable touch of benign pressure as they slid on. This wasn’t uncomfortable, it wasn’t painful, and I mention it simply as a matter of fact the arms do not have much outward give. Once on, this was soon forgotten. In fact, it made the glasses stay in place. They did not slide forwards when I bent over and did not require readjusting on my face as the day wore on.

BoseFramesTenor side

The glasses look good, and importantly, they sound terrific. The tiny hidden speakers pump out crisp, clear audio with strong and discernible lows, mids, and highs. There is audio leakage - naturally, given they do not sit in your ears - but it’s not significant and is not obtrusive to others. As clear and rich as the audio is to your own experience, there isn’t a need for high volume due to its close position to your ears. That said, iTWire would request you be respectful of others and use earbuds when on public transport.

The Bose Frames is easily paired with your phone and the free Bose Music app allows you to tune various settings and update firmware but isn’t otherwise essential. You can also customise your glasses’ name to suit yourself - “Here Comes Treble,” for example.

The glasses provide 99% UVA/UVB protection and provide IPX2 water resistance. This means they can withstand dripping water - like some rain - but you won’t want to submerge them in water, nor are they designed for exercise (i.e. sweating). For that, look to the Bose Frames Tempo. Bose says the battery will last for 5.5 hours under normal usage, and iTWire’s testing found this to be true. Happily, the glasses will power off if you haven’t moved them in 10 minutes, or if you flip them over for two seconds. These options can be changed in the Bose Music app, but are a welcome sight. iTWire has seen competing audio glasses which remained on until they went flat or until placed back on charge - which was no good if you were out walking with them.

The Bose Frames Tenor can be paired to up to eight devices, though will only connect to one at a time, attempting to connect to devices according to the order of most-recently-used.

The Frames include a single, and subtle, multi-function button near the right temple. This powers them on and off, it allows you to answer or reject calls, and it can be used to play and pause, and move backwards and forwards, through music and audiobooks.

Additionally, slide forwards and backwards on the right temple to adjust volume, and double-tap to activate your preferred voice assistant. Two beam-forming microphones pick up your voice for voice control, and phone calls. Charging takes up to an hour. The frames are constructed from TR-90 nylon with shatter- and scratch-resistant premium plastic. The glasses weigh under 50g and feature a 55mm lens, with an 18mm bridge, and 143mm total width. The arms are 136mm long, and the total length including lenses and hinges is 155mm.

The Bose Frames Tenor is available for $399.95 and comes in black. Replacement mirrored silver and mirrored blue lenses are available as accessories, and prescription lenses can also be used.

Of the two newest models in the Bose Frames range, iTWire understands the other model - the Bose Frames Soprano - to be functionally equivalent to the Bose Frames Tenor but styled in a more delicately sloped browline.

Bose offers free delivery on items over $30, plus a 90-day risk-free trial period.

Fashion never sounded so good, and the Bose Frames Tenor is your opportunity to combine high-quality audio with high-quality sunglasses in one convenient package.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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