Bose Frames sunglasses

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 3/5
Value for money 3/5

Now you really can star in the music video version of your own life with the launch of Bose Frames, sunglasses with speakers built into the frames. These "smart glasses" connect via Bluetooth to an app on your phone, with one purpose — to deliver the soundtrack of your life for audio augmented reality wherever you wear them.

Bose is a well-known and respected audio products manufacturer, and it brings decades of specialist experience to bear on the design here. The audio quality in these is surprisingly good considering the micro nature of the space Bose has to play with. The speakers are built directly into the arms of the glasses, making them considerably bulkier than traditional frames.

In hand, they are noticeably different, but you don’t feel (and barely see) the difference when you wear them.

You need to download the Bose Connect app and keep Bluetooth on and paired for these to function. Audio isn’t supplied via the Connect app, but from your own audio library or streaming audio services. I tested them with the Spotify (music and podcast) and BeyondPod (podcast) apps. The audio is clear and full. Not having this piped directly into your ears (as earbuds would do) also gives it a pleasing "surround sound" quality.

But it also means that on higher volumes, it is somewhat audible to those around you. There is also a built-in mic so you can make calls via the frames.

The glasses come in two styles. The Alto is a lot like a traditional wayfarer frame (think of the Ray-Bans in the 1980s film classic The Blues Brothers), while the Rondo is, as the name suggests, a rounder frame.

You can have them in any colour as long as it’s black, and they will set you back R4,499 from your nearest iStore.

The bottom line is that these are expensive frames, and the use case is limited, but that won’t deter the target market.

If you routinely splurge on designer sunglasses, these are not a steep step up. Maybe I’m a sucker for a gimmick, but these are just so cool.