A review by Gary Dell'Abate, a Howard Stern producer and audiophile.
If the Frames didn’t have the Bose name on them, I wouldn’t even try them. They seem like one of those “As Seen on TV” kind of things-sunglasses that also play music like headphones. Because they’re Bose, I said, “Okay, they have credibility, I’m willing to take a chance.” Still, I had very low expectations.
But as soon as you put them on, the sound is ridiculously good. And the first thing everybody says is: “If it sounds so good in your ear, everybody around you must be able to hear it.” But the answer is “No.” You can hear the music a little bit when they’re off your ears, but once you put them on, people on the outside can’t hear it. And, again, the sound is just amazing.
And they’re easy. I’ve been using them when I walk my dog-I take them out of the case, put them on, and push the button. It tells me how much battery I have left, and that it’s connected to my phone. So now the only reason I really need to touch my phone is to play whatever it is I’m gonna play-Pandora, Spotify, Sirius, a podcast. Once that’s going, I don’t touch the phone again. If I run into my neighbors, I hit the button on the right temple, and it pauses. Hit it again, I’m on my way.
But I was skeptical about making a phone call. So two separate days, I was outside, I call my son up at college, I say, “How do I sound?” He says, “You know, you sound like you’re on a little bit of a speakerphone. But nothing annoying. Sounds great.” And the sound that I’m getting from him is better than the sound that I’d get holding the phone to my ear. Because it’s like I have the phone to both ears.
I’d choose the Frames over my AirPods, 100 percent, any day of the week. Because, with the Frames, all I need to do is put them on my head. Where as, with the little AirPods, I gotta fish around for them in my bag, and then, I gotta put them in, triple-check that I’m connected. And when you put the AirPods in, it doesn’t always tell you that you’re connected. Most of the time, they are connected, but not all the time. And with the Frames, the battery life hasn’t been an issue at all. I haven’t gotten a low-battery signal.
The only thing about them is that they’re sunglasses. I’m saying, I would use these inside, but it doesn’t make sense to wear sunglasses inside. Overall, though, I never felt self-conscious. They look like a good pair of Ray-Ban knock-offs. They’re a little bit wider on the side, but not the kind of thing where somebody can say, “Hey, what do you have on your head?” Nobody can tell I’m listening to music!
That got me thinking, “Jesus. A good pair of Ray-Bans cost you what, $250?” And this is $200, and they’re good sunglasses. And they do all this other stuff. Like a bonus.
The augmented-reality stuff, that’s coming in. Wow. I would be interested. It sounds like Google Glass, but Google Glass wasn’t good at what it did. Even if the Frames aren’t good at AR, I still have good glasses and good headphones, you know what I mean? It’s always about your expectation. With Google Glass, you had this expectation that it was going to do all this cool stuff. But with the Frames, you get this thing that does something really good, and they just keeping adding stuff on for free. Why not? It already works.
I was so afraid that these were going to ruin the brand for me. Because Bose is kind of old-school. Millennials, I think, don’t care as much about great audio as a guy my age. But for me, Bose was the gold standard. I was really afraid Bose engineers were going to screw it up. But they didn’t.
A while ago, I got to talk to Dr. Bose about advertising on Howard. It was exciting for me, because I got to thank him. I still have my noise-canceling headphones that I’ve flown everywhere with. I bought them 13 years ago as a gift to myself for making a few extra bucks, but I haven’t gotten a new pair since.
And now, with the Frames, I’m done testing, but I still keep them with me. I’m just so excited to show them to everybody I can. Everybody’s wowed by them. This is, hands down, the best product I’ve tried out for Popular Mechanics, one of the best products of the last five years. There has not been a soul who has put them on their ears who hasn’t gone, “Oh man!”
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