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Bose Frames (Alto) review: My conclusion on the first audio sunglasses

Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2019 TechnikNews)

With the Bose Frames, the company brought the first audio sunglasses onto the market. You probably ask yourself how these work. I want to clarify that and a few other questions in this review.

Unboxing and initial setup

In a separate article I already described what is in the packaging of the Bose frames and how to set them up. Here I just want to briefly describe these two things.

The frames – no matter which version, more on that later – come in a stylish gray box with only a sticker with an image of the Product and find some lettering. If you take the lid off the packaging, you can see the very high-quality glasses case with the Bose frames in it at the top. Bose also includes a few instructions and a charging cable in a black fabric bag. The quickest way to set up the audio sunglasses is with the Bose Connect app, which can be found on the Play Store and App Store. The first time you open it, it immediately searches for new devices and the Bose frames appear after just a few seconds, provided they have been put into pairing mode beforehand. Alternatively, there is the option of completing the connection via the system settings.

This is in the packaging. (Image: TechnikNews)

Design and workmanship

Bose offers the frames in two different versions. These were christened “Alto” ​​and “Rondo”. The "Rondo" has more rounded glasses than the "Alto" and is also a little smaller. The glasses frame is black in both cases. In terms of price, both versions are on the same level. You can find exact details on the prices of the Bose frames at the end of the review.

Picture: TechnikNews

I especially like that Bose Frames are confused with normal sunglasses at first sight. Many of my acquaintances and friends only realized on closer inspection that my new sunglasses are not normal sunglasses. One of the reasons for this is that the Bose frames only have a small company logo on both sides.

Now let's go through the entire design of the glasses. If you look at them from the front, nothing is noticeable at first, unless you hold them up to the sunlight. Then you can see a cable that connects the two ear hooks in which all the technology is located. This happened because of the material of the audio sunglasses, which is nylon. Only when you look at the frames from the side do you notice all the technology that was built into the frame. The gadget does not have an IPX certification. What some might also be interested in is that the lenses are not polarized, but you can buy them and others at Bose.

The charger is attached to the inside of the right temple. (Image: TechnikNews)

Bose placed a small button on the underside of the right bracket. This is used to control playback and to switch on the Products. The pairing mode is also started using this button. But how do you turn the device off again? No, that doesn't happen with the button just mentioned. To do this, rotate the glasses 180 degrees forward for two seconds. Pretty intuitively designed. In my test proI also tried faking this movement by, among other things, bending my head forward or lying down with the Bose frames on my head. no matter what me proted, the mechanism could not be outwitted.

The music comes from a total of two speakers. (Image: TechnikNews)

What else is there on the right? We can still see a first microphone and the first of a total of two loudspeakers on the outside. Bose built in a charging connector on the inside. More details on battery life and charging times will be available later. On the left side you only get a second microphone and a second speaker.

What bothers me with the Bose Frames is that there are no volume controls on the glasses directly. So you always have to get your smartphone out of your pocket for this task. Eyeglass temples with touch surfaces would have helped here.


I can be pretty brief about this part. Because I have nothing to complain about when it comes to wearing comfort. I was able to wear the Bose sunglasses for several hours without hurting my head. The connectors to the charging never stood out negatively when they were worn. Even though I have a pretty big head. The only thing that annoyed me was the fact that I had to adjust the glasses more often because they slipped forward every now and then because of the rather large frame.

I would recommend everyone to go to MediaMarkt or Saturn firstprobe to go before you buy the frames. Alternatively, Bose offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with free returns should the fit go wrong Progive problems.

Sound quality and specs

Bose states that the battery life is 3,5 hours when playing music. I can also confirm this value. At first glance, that may not seem like much when you consider that in-ear headphones are sometimes used these days 14h or even 16h can hold out. However, I don't think that there would have been much space for a larger battery alongside all the other technology. If the Bose Frames is switched on and no music is playing, it can take a whole day before you have to recharge. Charging takes up to two hours, depending on the power adapter used.

Now the big question is how the Bose frames sound. After all, these are not on-ear, over-ear or in-ear headphones, no, you just have a speaker on the right and left that emits the music. I thought at first that the sound must be pretty flat. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Bose. With the frames you have the feeling of wearing in-ear headphones with the difference that you can still hear your surroundings. But this only applies if you adjust the volume of the music to this. Is the volume level below 50 in noisy environments Procent, you hear nothing more from the music. I can't fault the sound quality itself, except for the occasional lack of bass. Otherwise the sound is very balanced.

Already in my hands-on I said that I wondered how much the people around me would hear about my songs. Again, ambient noise is a big factor here, but let's assume we're in a quiet garden with family around. At a volume below 50 Proup close, all you would hear was a low hum. between 50 Procent and 70 ProYou can then clearly understand the first lines of the song if you listen carefully and from the age of 70 Procenter you would be able to hear the song clearly as a bystander.

Bose AR

A big feature of the Bose Frames is Bose AR. Bose advertises Bose AR as the first AR platform, short for augmented reality platform, that relies on audio instead of visual feedback. Bose AR is activated by opening the Bose Connect app on an iOS device. From there you have access to all apps that are compatible with the new platform. These range from navigation apps to entertainment apps. Unfortunately, there is currently no such offer for Android. In addition, Bose AR is not (yet) available in every country in the world.

However, what works (and is quite close to Bose AR) is navigation with Google Maps without having to hold the smartphone in your hand. ProI've tried it out a few times and it works great.

Bose Connect

Since the term "Bose Connect" has been used a few times now, I want to explain what it is all about. "Bose Connect" is the name of the app for managing your BoseProproducts. It is available for download on the Play Store and the App Store.

Bose Connect
Price: Free of charge
Bose Connect
Price: Free of charge

As described above, the app can be used to set up new Products and serve as a key to Bose AR. But it doesn't stop there. For example, one feature that I found very useful is the connection manager. If several connections go from the frames to devices, you can easily select from which the music should be played. A control for the current playback and a display of the current battery level are also available in the app. While the search function found in the hamburger menu could be very helpful, it is not compatible with the audio sunglasses. All in all, the app is very clear and still has all the functions you could wish for.

The frames are ready for use after about two minutes (screenshot: TechnikNews)

Prices and availability

The Bose Frames Alto can be found at Amazon, Bose, Saturn and MediaMarkt. The RRP is 230 euros. As mentioned above, Bose offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with free returns. Replacement lenses are available from Bose for a small fee.

Bose Frames: Conclusion

So what do I think of the Bose Frames? I have to say that I'm pretty impressed. I think the fact that I can listen to music and still be aware of my surroundings is great. For example, the frames are also suitable for driving a car as a hands-free device, as you can still hear something of the traffic around you. In addition, navigation with Google Maps is very helpful in this case, as you do not necessarily have to look at the smartphone.

Picture: TechnikNews

I find it exhausting that the volume has to be adjusted so often. In addition, Bose did not install any controls in the version, which means that in some situations you have to reach for your smartphone VERY OFTEN. This can be very annoying. Apropos: The fact that my glasses slipped a bit every now and then is also annoying. The sound quality is basically good, but the sunglasses lack a bit of bass. Whether you see the short battery life as a counterpoint is up to you. I didn't have any Probleme, since I usually only listened to music on short trips anyway, such as to school or to my girlfriend. It's also disappointing for me that I can't do anything with Bose AR myself.Anhan

Attachment: In a separate email, Bose explained to me that the frames could be adjusted by the optician and that Bose AR would be expanded even further in the future.

In conclusion, I don't regret buying the frames because I can live with the negative points.

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1257 articles and left 117 comments.

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“I find it stressful that the volume has to be adjusted so often. In addition, Bose did not install any controls in the socket, which means that in some situations you have to use your smartphone VERY OFTEN. That can be very annoying. "

Volume can be controlled via Siri or Google Assistant at the push of a button and voice commands.



Volume functions
You can adjust the volume with Press & Volume Control or with the
Adjust volume controls on your mobile device.
• To use Press & Adjust Volume Control, make sure you
that the frames are up to date.
• Make sure you have Press & Adjust Volume Control in the Bose
Connect App is switched on. You can access this option from the menu
Access "Settings".
Press & Use Adjust Volume Control
Increase volume
Hold down the button while moving your head to the right
turn. Release the button to adjust the volume.
You hear a tone and the volume reaches the maximum level.
Decrease volume
Hold down the button while turning your head to the left
turn. Release the button to adjust the volume.
You hear a tone and the volume has reached the minimum level.
NOTE: To change the volume in larger steps, turn your head slowly.