It’s nonetheless honest to name audio sun shades a distinct segment class, however with Bose providing a number of fashions, , and counting current bulletins from and , it’s actually a rising one. There are individuals on the market who simply aren’t significantly keen on earbuds — actually because they dislike the feeling of silicone ideas plugging up their ears. Open-style merchandise like the normal AirPods and Galaxy Buds Dwell are one various, however you then nonetheless face the chance of shedding them. In case you’re operating on a path or out for an intense bike experience, it’s not an insignificant danger.
For these individuals, I can completely see the enchantment of the Bose Frames Tempo, which have audio system constructed proper into their body and can keep planted on their face regardless of how strenuous out of doors exercise will get. The Tempo glasses are the sportiest mannequin of Bose’s Frames household, clearly geared at hikers, runners, cyclists, and anybody else who spends chunk of their time exterior. Bose says they’ve additionally obtained the greatest sound efficiency of the bunch.
From the entrance, they appear to be your typical pair of Oakley, Nike, or Beneath Armour sun shades. Bose is clearly going after that very same market with the $250 Tempos. In case you’re extra fashion-forward or searching for a pair of audio sun shades that don’t give the impression you’re in the center of a triathlon, you’ll need to follow the Tenor or Soprano kinds of Frames. These include black mirrored lenses in the field, however Bose additionally sells a few different pairs of $40 lenses you could swap in to let completely different quantities of sunshine cross by. The outsized temples are the place it turns into extra apparent that these are audio sun shades.
However there’s a profit to that chunky design: in contrast to the Tenor and Soprano Frames, which use a proprietary charger, the Tempo mannequin has an everyday USB-C connector on the left temple. Bose says the body is made out of “TR-90 nylon.” There’s not a lot give, however they really feel rugged to me, and so they’ve obtained an IPX4 water and sweat resistance score, so in the event you get caught operating or biking in the rain, they’ll survive.
For the first couple of days sporting the Tempos, I felt a slight squeeze at the sides of my head that obtained uncomfortable. Now, I’ve obtained a particularly giant dome — they used to have to carry out a special-sized helmet in Little League, associates — however fortunately, the match loosened up a bit as a result of this strain went away by the finish of the first week. The sun shades didn’t get unfastened sufficient to the place they began bobbing on my head or something; they nonetheless felt good and safe. (My pal Theresa, who has a normal-sized head, by no means talked about any headache-inducing tightness.) Bose contains three sizes of nostril ideas in the field, and I discovered the giant to be the proper match. Even when my face was lined in sweat from a future, the nostril ideas helped guarantee the sun shades didn’t slide round.
The controls that Bose got here up with are splendidly foolproof, which is essential once you’re making an attempt to keep targeted on different issues. You swipe throughout the proper temple to elevate or decrease the quantity, and on the underside of that temple is a small round button you could press to play / pause, double-tap to skip tracks, or triple-tap to return. Very quickly in any respect, these controls felt so pure and simple. Powering off the Frames Tempo simply takes holding down the button for a couple of seconds. Or you may flip them over and lay them down with the prime of the body on a floor. After two seconds in that orientation, they shut off. (You’ll be able to disable this in settings, however I discovered it actually handy and, once more, pure.) Battery life is listed as eight hours, and that’s lined up with my expertise up to now. The sun shades take roughly an hour to cost again to one hundred pc. Bose’s cellular app permits you to replace the sun shades’ firmware, however there aren’t any EQ controls or different choices that alter their efficiency.
Describing the sound high quality of audio sun shades could be tough. They’re nothing like headphones or earbuds since these are basically down-firing audio system pointed at your ears. However Bose stepped up its recreation in contrast to the first-generation Frames, which I’ve tried now and again. These have extra life to them throughout the complete EQ vary.
There’s a shocking quantity of separation between vocals and instrumentation, and the Frames Tempo have a pleasant readability and even-handed stability. There’s extra bass than earlier than, however that is the place I believe it’s most necessary to set affordable expectations: the low finish you get from any first rate pair of in-ear buds will blow these out of the water. No contest. That stated, Bose has a minimum of reached a spot the place the bass not sounds anemic or flat, which is a authentic enchancment over the first-gen Frames. It’s there and perceptible.
Sound bleed is definitely canceled out by on a regular basis avenue noise, however in the event you’re inside with the quantity turned up, individuals close by can be ready to inform that you simply’re listening to music. These are sun shades, in spite of everything, so I think about these conditions can be few and much between. The Bluetooth connection has held secure all through the overwhelming majority of my time with the Frames Tempo up to now. No complaints there.
Voice calls whereas sporting the Tempos have additionally been a pleasure. Callers say I sound almost nearly as good as when talking immediately into my cellphone, and one thing about taking calls together with your ears completely open simply feels very cool.
Even after a comparatively quick time utilizing the Frames Tempo, I get this audio glasses factor. I actually get it. : “Not having to put in or take out headphones modifications your relationship to audio — it’s simply at all times accessible, at all times there once you need it.” Do I want I might pop clear lenses into them and put on them in all places? In concept, you guess. However this type wouldn’t actually work for that, neither is it what the Tempos are meant to be at the finish of the day. So I can’t knock Bose for the disappointment I really feel when switching again to my regular glasses, which now appear so very primitive.
The Bose Frames Tempo allow you to hear the world round you with no obstructions — with a soundtrack taking part in over every thing, whereas at the identical time giving your ears a little bit of a break in contrast to regular earbuds. At $250, they are going to be a troublesome promote for some. However I’ve come to understand that audio sun shades are the precise kind of factor you gained’t ever understand you wanted. Till you place ‘em on — and unexpectedly, you do.
Pictures by Chris Welch / The Verge