No Shade Here: Bose Frames Bluetooth Audio Sunglasses Deliver
If you have heard us speak this year, you know that we are all about immersive technology. The key to immersive technology is the removal of barriers to use technology in our daily lives. The fewer devices we have to physically hold in our hands and the fewer buttons we have to push, the better, in our view.
Bill & Phil
William Ramsey, Partner, Neal & Harwell
Phil Hampton, Consulting President, LogicForce
So it was no surprise that we were attracted to our latest gadget, the Bose Frames Bluetooth audio sunglasses. These specially equipped sunglasses allow us to listen to audio content from our phone, take calls and even dictate commands completely hands-free and without any headphones or ear buds. Talk about freedom!
First of all, the Bose Frames look like regular sunglasses to the casual observer. They remind us of the traditional Ray-Ban Wayfarer look with the classic black styling. If you look more closely at them, you will notice that the arms of the sunglasses that rest on your ears are a little thicker than normal because they house the electronics that make the frames work. Each arm contains small speakers along with a microphone that allows the wearer to both hear and speak hands-free. While these electronics add a little bit of heft to the sunglass frame, they do not feel excessively heavy. We have worn our pair casually while driving and also while walking or running outside and have not felt that the frames were too heavy.
The Bose Frames connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Once connected, you can listen to any content from your phone via the speakers located in the frame arms. The music or other audio content from your phone is delivered to your ears using something that Bose calls their Bose Open Ear AudioTM technology. The sound is surprisingly good for not being a device that fits over your ear like a headphone or in your ear canal like an ear bud.
LOOKIN’ COOL WHILE YOU LISTEN
We especially like using our Bose Frames when taking a walk to our favorite restaurant at lunch so we can listen to a podcast or catch up on our voicemails — all hands-free while still being able to hear sounds from the physical environment around us! Complete ambient noise cancellation is great if you are sitting on a noisy plane but is not optimal if you are navigating downtown traffic on foot. So we joyfully wear our smart sunglasses while walking to court or to the office, and no one on the street really knows that we are listening to music, voicemails, podcasts or whatever. Even if we pass somebody in a close encounter on the street, the person next to us cannot hear the audio from the Bose Frames. The only clue they might have that we are either using a smart device or we’re crazy is when they see us talking to no one in particular or dancing like nobody is watching.
“We especially like using our Bose Frames when taking a walk to our favorite restaurant at lunch so we can listen to a podcast or catch up on our voicemails — all hands-free while still being able to hear sounds from the physical environment around us!”
Yes, the mic on the Bose Frames is good enough to carry on a phone conversation much like you would on speakerphone. We did notice on that one occasion, when we were taking a call while walking outside on a particularly windy day, the other party could hear a lot of wind noise over the mic. Of course, this happens also when using either Bill’s Air Pods or Phil’s Galaxy Buds.
The Bose Frames come in several different styles from the classic look to more stylish and sporty models. The lenses on the frames can be changed for different colors and gradients. On its website, Bose also indicates that it can provide frames with prescription lenses via special order.
Bose touts the battery life on the Frames to be up to 5.5 hours. We have not challenged that limit yet, as we typically don’t wear them more than an hour at a time. The sunglasses come with a proprietary charging cable. We wish the charging cable was something more standard like a USB-C cable, but that is a minor irritation.
All in all, we are very pleased with our new “immersive” tech gadget. Contrasted with the garish Bluetooth earpieces that executives used to wear conspicuously around the office ostensibly to indicate how busy they were, we love the incognito nature of the Bose Frames that lets us use our tech while appearing to be completely unencumbered to those around us.
You know what’s better than Bill and Phil in digital print? Bill and Phil live in-person, of course! Join them for their session, The Bill & Phil Show: Are You Ready for the Metaverse? at the 2022 Annual Conference & Expo, May 15–18 in Kissimmee, Florida. For full details and to register, visit ALAannualconf.org.
About the Authors
William Ramsey, Partner at Neal & Harwell, and Phil Hampton, Consulting President of LogicForce, are best known for The Bill and Phil Show.