It’s nonetheless honest to name audio sun shades a distinct segment class, however with Bose providing a number of fashions, Amazon within the sport, and counting current bulletins from Razer and JLab, it’s definitely a rising one. There are folks on the market who simply aren’t significantly keen on earbuds — actually because they dislike the sensation of silicone ideas plugging up their ears. Open-style merchandise like the usual AirPods and Galaxy Buds Stay are one various, however you then nonetheless face the potential of shedding them. In case you’re working on a path or out for an intense bike experience, it’s not an insignificant threat.
For these folks, 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 irrespective of how strenuous outside 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 an excellent chunk of their time outdoors. Bose says they’ve additionally acquired the perfect sound efficiency of the bunch.
From the entrance, they appear to be your typical pair of Oakley, Nike, or Underneath Armour sun shades. Bose is clearly going after that very same market with the $250 Tempos. In case you’re extra fashion-forward or in search of a pair of audio sun shades that don’t give the impression you’re in the course of a triathlon, you’ll wish to persist with the Tenor or Soprano types of Frames. These include black mirrored lenses within the field, however Bose additionally sells a few different pairs of $40 lenses you can swap in to let totally different quantities of sunshine cross by way of. 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: not like 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 produced from “TR-90 nylon.” There’s not a lot give, however they really feel rugged to me, and so they’ve acquired an IPX4 water and sweat resistance score, so in the event you get caught working or biking within the rain, they’ll survive.
For the primary couple of days carrying the Tempos, I felt a slight squeeze on the sides of my head that acquired uncomfortable. Now, I’ve acquired a particularly giant dome — they used to should convey out a special-sized helmet in Little League, pals — however fortunately, the match loosened up a bit as a result of this strain went away by the tip of the primary week. The sun shades didn’t get free sufficient to the place they began bobbing on my head or something; they nonetheless felt good and safe. (My good friend Theresa, who has a normal-sized head, by no means talked about any headache-inducing tightness.) Bose contains three sizes of nostril ideas within the field, and I discovered the big to be the proper match. Even when my face was coated in sweat from a future, the nostril ideas helped make sure the sun shades didn’t slide round.
The controls that Bose got here up with are splendidly foolproof, which is essential once you’re attempting to remain centered on different issues. You swipe throughout the proper temple to lift or decrease the quantity, and on the underside of that temple is a small round button you can 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’ll be able to flip them over and lay them down with the highest of the body on a floor. After two seconds in that orientation, they shut off. (You possibly can 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 to date. The sun shades take roughly an hour to cost again to one hundred pc. Bose’s cell app enables you to replace the sun shades’ firmware, however there aren’t any EQ controls or different choices that modify their efficiency.
Describing the sound high quality of audio sun shades may be difficult. They’re nothing like headphones or earbuds since these are primarily down-firing audio system pointed at your ears. However Bose stepped up its sport in comparison with the first-generation Frames, which I’ve tried every so often. These have extra life to them throughout the entire 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 essential to set cheap 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 official enchancment over the first-gen Frames. It’s there and perceptible.
Sound bleed is definitely canceled out by on a regular basis road noise, however in the event you’re inside with the quantity turned up, folks close by will have the ability to inform that you just’re listening to music. These are sun shades, in any case, 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 to date. No complaints there.
Voice calls whereas carrying the Tempos have additionally been a pleasure. Callers say I sound practically nearly as good as when talking straight into my telephone, and one thing about taking calls together with your ears completely open simply feels very cool.
Even after a comparatively brief time utilizing the Frames Tempo, I get this audio glasses factor. I actually get it. It’s like Dieter just lately wrote: “Not having to place in or take out headphones adjustments your relationship to audio — it’s simply all the time accessible, all the time there once you need it.” Do I want I may pop clear lenses into them and put on them in every single place? In principle, you guess. However this model wouldn’t actually work for that, neither is it what the Tempos are supposed to be on the finish of the day. So I can’t knock Bose for the frustration 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 enjoying over every part, whereas on the similar time giving your ears a little bit of a break in comparison with regular earbuds. At $250, they are going to be a troublesome promote for some. However I’ve come to comprehend that audio sun shades are the precise type of factor you gained’t ever notice you wanted. Till you set ‘em on — and abruptly, you do.
Pictures by Chris Welch / The Verge