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Bose Frames review: Magic sunglasses

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Bose Frames review: Magic sunglasses

Picture this: Aliens are about to invade our planet and the government has picked you to formulate a plan to save our world. You have a team of Avengers working with you and now it's up to you to stop the aliens from destroying our planet. A situation as grave as this one demands the use of smart gizmos, laser cannons and sunglasses that also dub as earphones.

Admittedly, a situation like this, alien invasion that is, may never arise, but that doesn't mean that you can't wear cool sunglasses that have built-in earphones to work. All you need to do is go to your nearest MIB office ehmm retail store and look for Bose Frames.

Bose India earlier this year launched the Bose Frames in India at a price of Rs 21,900. The cool new Bose smart sunglasses are available in India in two designs: the larger square-shaped Bose Frames Alto and the smaller and rounder Bose Frames Rondo. While Bose doesn't offer colour variants yet - which means that you are stuck with the default black colour - it does offer you lens option. A pair of non-polarized lenses will cost you Rs 1,900 more, while a pair of polarized lenses will cost you Rs 2,990 more.

Admittedly, 22 grand is a lot of money, especially when you get a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses in less than 10 grand, but what makes the Bose Frames special -- and worth investing in -- is that they are not an ordinary pair of sunglasses, rather they are smart sunglasses (time to update your smart gadget list), which means that you can also listen to songs and answer calls using them. Isn't that cool?

The best part about them is that unlike the Google Glasses, they don't make you look like a cyborg from a sci-fi movie, which means that you can answer calls in a public place and not look crazy while seemingly talking to yourself.

Comfortable design

The Bose Frames looks quite similar to the Ray Ban sunglasses or lookalikes that we see in the market often. While that might make it seem a bit less attractive to some but that commonality, and more importantly the familiarity, in design is what makes them an ideal fit for everyone. It fosters greater adoption among people who are willing to experiment with technology but are looking for a more comforting design. This way, Bose Frames offers people best of both worlds - smart features with a comfortable design. We will talk about the features part later, first let's about the design in depth.

The Bose Frames, as I mentioned before, look like an ordinary pair of sunglasses. They come with a black-coloured plastic frame and black-tinted plastic glass. The lenses are connected to the arms using a golden coloured buckle, which elegantly holds the two pieces together.

The arms of the Bose Frames are a work of art as well as a work of science. Besides doing the obvious task of holding these smart sunglasses in place, the arms perform multiple tasks. They power the Bose Frames' smart features by housing the battery, they house the earpiece and they also enable you to talk.

The right arm of the Bose Frames comes with a tiny golden coloured button on the bottom side that can be used for a variety of functions from turning the device on or off to answering calls to pausing, playing and even fast forwarding music tracks. It also comes with a charging space that connects with a proprietary charger that is included in the case.

The Bose Frames are easy to wear and feature a lightweight design. You can wear them for hours without feeling a thing. That said, the arms of the Bose Frames can take some time getting used to. The battery, the earpiece and the speakers are all housed inside the arms, which makes them thick for most parts. The tails of these arms are thin and curved inwards (like that of regular sunglasses) that gives them the grip. This design can take some time getting used to in the beginning.

Beyond that, the newly launched smart sunglasses come inside a customized case that holds these sunglasses. The box also contains a small fabric sachet that holds the charging chord. All in all, the Bose Frames feature a simple and lightweight design and are packed in an elegant casing.

Good sound quality with loud volume

If there is one thing that you can expect from Bose products is an exceptionally great audio quality. Be it the headphones or the smart speakers offered by the audio giant. Bose Frames are no exception to this rule as they offer the same audio quality as offered by the company's other products.

I tried listening to a variety of songs on the Bose Frames ranging from one of the top EDM songs of all times - Titanium by David Guetta - to Sucker by the Jonas Brothers (country music) to pop songs like Closer by The Chainsmokers and I was genuinely astonished by both -- the sound quality and the loudness of the sound. To give you a fair idea, on 100 per cent volume levels the audio levels of the Bose Frames were comparable with the 50 per cent volume levels of a headphones - which as you would have understood by now is not the only function of this smart device.

As far as the audio quality is concerned, the Bose Frames offers a good audio quality, particularly for a product whose primary function is not to just act as a headphone. The lows are clear, the mids are balanced and there isn't too much emphasis on the highs, all of which makes up for a pleasant audio experience.

As far as other features are concerned, the tiny golden button on the bottom of the Frames gets a lot of work done. You can long press it to invoke the virtual assistant, which in my case was Siri, on your smartphone. You can press it once to play or pause a song or answer a call, press it twice to skip a track and press it thrice to return to the previous track. This button apart from offering the basic functionality also turns the Frames on. And how do you know that your smart sunglasses are on? By looking at the white coloured LED light next to the button. To turn the Frames off or reject a call all you need to do is place them upside down - simple!

The Bose Frames connects with the Bose Connect app - one of the many Bose apps - which allows you to calibrate or better control the Bose Frames. You can change the settings, check the battery life, control music and control the Bose AR apps using this app.

Notably, some of the company's AR apps like Radar are available in select regions while other like NaviGuide are available in more countries including India. Once you sync your smart sunglasses with the respective AR app - like I did in case of NaviGuide - Bose Frames will give you're the desired AR experience - which I in my experience I found quite intriguing.

Mediocre battery

Battery perhaps is the least impressive parts of the Bose Frames. Bose claims that its smart sunglasses offer 3.5 hours of battery life while in use and up to 12 hours of battery life on standby. We found these claims to be accurate. The Bose Frames lasted for almost two days for me when I used them on the go for a mix of answering calls and listening to a couple of songs on the way.

If you travel a lot and you are looking forward to replacing your headphones and your sunglasses with the Bose Sunglasses, you might have to charge it once in day. However, on low to moderate use, as was my case, they should easily last you for about two days.

One thing that concerned me was the fact that there is no way to know that battery life while using the Frames. Bose Frames gives you a friendly reminder about the battery remaining when you turn it on or off but other than that there is no way of determining the battery life without staring at your phone's screen.

Should you buy Bose Frames?

In one word: Yes. Today we use smartphones for calling (and for a bunch of other things), headphones for listening to music hands free and sunglasses, well they do their usual job of protecting the eyes. What if there is a smart gadget that will protect your eyes, allows you listen to music and take calls and do a bunch of other stuff on your smartphone using the virtual assistant all without taking the phone out each time? Well, Bose Frames offers you just that. It is a device that is meant to replace your headphones and your ordinary pair of sunglasses with a pair of 'smart sunglasses'.

It's true that the Bose Frames are tad bit costly and the battery could use a bit overhaul, however, the features that it offers justifies the cost - somewhat. So, if you are looking for a piece of gadgetry that truly allows you to use your smartphone hands free while reducing the number of devices that you use, Bose Frames is what you need.