Bose frames Tempo Audio sunglasses aren't Perfect, but are a Worthy 2nd Generation Offering

Review Category

Rating

4 Stars

Review

""Don't be afraid of the guy in shades …" -- Corey Hart

I love good headphones and clear discrete audio. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a speaker nut! However, I am the last person you would typically expect to pay $250 for good headphones or sunglasses. I am way too cheap! I can hear my younger self saying Reggie; you have completely done lost your mind!"

My first pair of Frames was the first generation Alto model from 2019.
They died suddenly for no reason, and it took forever to get them replaced under warranty because of the pandemic. They finally did send me a brand new factory sealed pair. Which I promptly turned around and sold on EBay to recover some of my significant investment in the new Tempos.

Whether you will think the Tempos are worth the cost depends on your usage scenario. However, they are so much fun to wear, they provide for good situational awareness, and sound much better to me than any bone conduction alternatives I have tried. Here's why.

Physical Description:
Tempos are good looking black wrap around sports type sunglasses designed to stay on your face.
They even come with three sets of nose pads for a good fit. Because of the design, if noise level gets to loud in your environment, just put your hands over your ears and they become much louder. Isn't that odd?

Tempos are also much more comfortable and water resistant than their first generation counterparts, and the lenses can still be changed. Prescription lenses are available, and they sell lenses in all different colors, polarized and non-polarized. They are rimless at the bottom, and the stock lenses are black and mirrored.

I have to say I love them. Maybe not $250 worth, but the battery life is more than twice as good as on the original models. The Altos ran for 3 hrs.These Tempos are rated at 8, but in practice it's much longer. They are more practical for mobility purposes because they get louder, and they have a slightly deeper sound signature. They work well with Microsoft SoundScape. The microphone is on the right arm. They also have a touch panel on the right hand arm for volume, or to summon your voice assistant with a double tap. This does make them easier to control. The multifunction button under the right arm allows you to pair them over Bluetooth, play and pause your audio, skip tracks backward or forward, power the glasses on and off, and take and release phone calls. The music cues when they connect, and text to speech based voice prompts that read the battery level and caller's name are lovely.

When I wrote this original review I was not aware of all the exact specifications for Bluetooth version and so on. This information has been filled in by another reader below. The Tempos receive and transmit across my house through walls without difficulty, and Latency is almost non-existent. . They remember up to 8 devices, but can only connect with one at a time.

When it comes to battery life they claim up to eight hours. However, I get way more than that because they say they power down after 10 minutes. I can’t even tell because I still get all my iPhone notification sounds, so they must come back to life very quickly. I find I tend to get closer to 12 hours out of them depending on usage. The Tempos are the only new model that supports USB C charging. Charge time is only 1 hour, and they come with a USB C to USB A cable, no power brick.

There are actually three new models that sell for the same price, just different styles. They are the Tenor, Soprano, and Tempo. However, these are the only ones with higher volume and the best battery life. I wanted to buy some knock off audio sunglasses instead, but nothing even comes close to the quality of these. They are outstanding in comfort, stereo separation, and music clarity. Acoustic music especially shimmers. Augmented reality apps that respond if you turn your head are interesting, but many of the Bose apps are not very accessible.

I often wear the glasses while working on my computer, and I can listen to music through them all day long and still hear what I’m doing. The sound is so good it makes me want to dance in my chair and sing along. Which if anyone was around to watch they would think I was quite strange.

My biggest complaint is that they leak sound considerably. I believe that they could have employed better isolation or active noise cancellation technology to keep the audio more contained inside the glasses. Also as you turn them up over halfway they start to roll off the bass frequencies slightly. So for the best sound you want to keep volume a little lower. They’re wonderful for listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

Being totally blind, "I wear my sunglasses at night," all day, and everywhere. I would not give these up for anything, Even at the ridiculous price being asked.

I have gotten some complaints from people I talk on the phone with that sometimes the sound goes wonky, like being in the bottom of a well. But they sound very good most of the time, even over FaceTime and on zoom calls. The firmware will receive updates through the semi-accessible Bose Music app. I wish they had a mute function for interruptions and conference calls.

Dictation in text messages through the glasses seem to work quite well, even in noisy environments. With the beam forming microphone they advertise, It is about as accurate as my Airpods.

As I said, not perfect at all. But quite worth it depending on your needs. Even if it's just to have your ears opened wide.

Devices Accessory Was Used With

iPhone

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The article on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information.

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Comments

Submitted by Pepper Fox on Friday, December 25, 2020

Thanks, I'm tempted to look into these now. My Aftershokz Aeropex are good, but they can get completely washed out when out and about. Plus, while the AirPods can do all the fancy Soundscape stuff, I'd rather not wear them out and about, especially with how mediocre the silicone tips have proven to be so far.

Submitted by Macky on Saturday, December 26, 2020

Hey. I think it's only the Tempo model that uses the standard usb cable for charging. The Tenor and Soprano models still use the same magnetic usb charging cable as the original two models.

I was looking at the sopranos since they have more feminine styling, but type C is a big thing for me. I think the Tempos will be my next purchase once we can all start walking about again.

Submitted by Kestrell on Sunday, December 27, 2020

I'm considering purchasing the Tempo sunglasses because I hate having to take earbuds out of my ears every time I need to hear someone talking to me, and they never seem to stay in my ears in the first place.
But I'm just getting into using AR and I was wondering if you could recommend any such apps: are you referring to navigational apps like Microsoft Soundscape, or have you used other AR apps as well?

Thanks!

Kestrell

Submitted by alex wallis on Sunday, December 27, 2020

I thought bose was discontinuing its frames and shutting down the audio reality part of these, as I know they were going to try and do something with aira, but that never worked out sadly as I did think about getting these frames at one point but was glad I didn't when the announcement came about shutting down the audio reality part.

Submitted by Elena Brescacin on Sunday, December 27, 2020

hello, i am enjoying the boses glasses. I bought a pair of Rondo - the round bose 2019 model- and they worked well till January 2020; then, they suddenly stopped working. I discarded them, as Bose did not assist me; it was my fault if I did not obtain warranty, as I bought them in an external reseller which could not assist me too, I needed them because I had to manage some work where audio was essentialso I bought another pair, same model.
They stayed alive for about 10 months and then, suddenly, no sound at all! This time, same pair same problem: I got them from Bose itself so they were in perfect warranty. Tempo were already out and I wanted them!
As time was an advantage for me, I called bose and we discovered what the Rondo problem was: I took my oldest model and the newest one, and we made some tests. As two pairs and same problem was occurring, I insisted with them: I do not want another Rondo, as the problem is on your side, not mine.
I showed them the problem while on phone: if glasses were unfolded, they remained silent; when I folded them, and switched them on, they turned on regularly - but why should i carry glasses which I cannot wear? This makes no sense, and I said: I assume you have some issues in the sensors present in glasses' temples; this is latest software update so, please, don't send me another Rondo as probability to find same issue is very high.
As last result, it took a pair of weeks but now I have my brand-new Bose Frames Tempo as a replacement of my old Rondo, and have spent no extra-money.
Yes, it took a lot of time and discussion with customer service, but as my current job is to test hardware and software, I used my testing skills and a professional attitude to talk to them, rather than a weird mood of an angry customer - with that approach, it's very difficult to obtain anything (and I talk like this as I am unfortunately an expert of getting nervous with companies when I'm unsatisfied).

Submitted by RWhite on Sunday, January 3, 2021

Aloha! ;)

First, thanks for this detailed review. Poking around on their site, I found answers to some of the questions & learned a few more things.

After selecting the external link above, tapping on the buttons just before the Reviews hheading shows some of the specifications, such as Bluetooth range (30 ft) & version (5.1)., & tapping on the items under FAQS reveals more, such as 2 Bluetooth protocols for phone calls (A2DP & HFP).

As stated in the article, the Tempo is a sporty style with 3 nosepad options, up to 8 hours of continuous play, a USB-C charging cable, and IPX4 water resistance (protected against sweat & splashes of water).

On the other hand, the Saprano is an updated cat-eye style & the Tenor is squarish. Both will play continuously for up to 5.5 hours, use a custom 4-prong charging cable, & are only IPX2 (protected against dripping water).

It seems the Tempo has more noise leakage because it's meant for workouts in noisy environments, while the Tenor & Saprano both feature discrete sound. It might be interesting to compare the leakage levels among the Tempo, the Saprano or Tenor, & a couple of the latest Aftershokz, which currently features 5 models for everyday, workout, &/or office use ranging from about $100 to $160 with various battery life (most feature up to 6 or 8 hours of continuous play, but 1 model has up to 16 hours of talk time), levels of water resistant/proof (3 are IP55, 1 is 67, & 1 is 68--for swimmers), etc. (You can compare the specs of 2 models at a time, but I wish they had a chart comparing all 5...)

There are a few other differences among the 3 Bose styles, such as the choices for interchangeable lenses & the materials for the carrying case, but most of the features are the same, such as the materials for the frame (TR-90 nylon) & lenses (Shatter- and scratch-resistant premium plastic) &, although they will only pair with 1 device at a time, they remember the last 8 & will drop the least recently used if paired with a 9th--when in Bluetooth mode, if they can't connect to the most recently connected device, they check for the next one (for more info on this, see the following section under FAQS: How many devices can pair with Bose Frames at once? What happens if I have several Bluetooth enabled devices in my house?).

Hope this helps! ;)

Thank you for this info. I'm still going for the Tempos. I'm sure the Soprano style looks nicer, but... USB C and 8 hours listening time. Come on, Bose. This is the most baffling feature spread I've ever encountered. They're all the same price, yet one model is substantially better than the others.

Submitted by Travis Roth on Monday, January 4, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

Hi, I wonder if someone who has the Bose Frames could describe where the speakers are located please? Are they mounted more at the front and send sound backwards? Or are they on the back of the ear pieces? I've just never found a good description of this. Thanks.

With the tempos, this probably won't be any better description then what you have already gotten. But the ear pieces curve just in front of your ears. The speakers are built into the glasses there with some long slits on the bottoms of the arms for the sound to come through. The affect I believe is to point them down and sort of toward the openings of your ears.

Blind Bargains podcast I believe it's #210 has an interesting review of these, and demonstration of some AR apps. One is called Bose Radar. They also discuss a set of Sennheiser binoral headphones from the Ambeo line for the iPhone that are interesting.

Bose has proved very unresponsive to me about improving their apps to work with Voiceover. I downloaded all they had with very mixed results. Bose Pair looks interesting for fitness, and Star Wars app is interesting. And I have used Soundscape, and Radar for nature sounds. Your mileage will vary I am sure.

Submitted by Pepper Fox on Wednesday, January 20, 2021

...because they're way too small for my giant head. They have a temple width of 157mm and I'm closer to 170. Should I have measured my head before buying? Yes. Yes, I should have. In my defense, I've thrown a pair of Cocoons over my face up until very recently. They're functional, but uh... a bit lacking in the aesthetics department.

So, what are my thoughts on these? Well, in the brief period I wore them, I was blown away by the sound quality. No, it's not amazing, but you expect something more akin to bone conducting headphones. Instead, you hear sound as if you have buds inserted. It is really, really impressive, and I think they're worth the money. I would try the others to see if they're bigger, but frankly I can't justify spending the same amount of money for an inferior product. Maybe all the models will have feature parity in the next gen.