""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.
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.