Hands-On With Bose’s ‘Tenor’ Audio Sunglasses

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Bluetooth-enabled audio sunglasses have been trending lately, and Bose recently came out with the Frames Tenor, a set of high-end sunglasses that connect to your iPhone over Bluetooth, allowing you to listen to music without needing to bother with headphones.

We thought we’d check out the $250 Tenor audio sunglasses to see whether they’re worth the cost for those who might be looking for an earbuds alternative.

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Bose’s audio sunglasses look like normal sunglasses, and from the outside, it’s not clear at a glance that there are built-in speakers. Design wise, the frames look as attractive as other sunglasses, though the arms are thicker to accommodate the acoustics and the built-in tap and swipe gestures for music control. These frames are on the larger side and might not fit smaller faces well.

By default, these come with standard sunglass lenses, but there is a prescription option for those who need prescription sunglasses. Adding prescription lenses costs another $127 minimum, with higher prices for progressive lenses, thin and light lens material, and other upgrades.

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The Bose Frames Tenor use Bose’s Open Ear Audio technology, which is meant to provide high-quality sound from the arms of the sunglasses. Like bone conducting technology, the frames aren’t exactly silent to those who are around you, but audio is noticeably better than what you get from bone conducting headphones. You’re not going to achieve the volume that you get with in-ear earbuds like AirPods Pro, but the sound gets loud enough.

In terms of disturbing others, the sound coming from the Frames Tenor is similar to what someone might hear from you if you were listening to music loudly through standard headphones. It’s not particularly disturbing and should be near silent to those who aren’t right next to you.

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Since there’s nothing in the ear, with the Frames Tenor, you can still hear what’s going on around you, which is ideal for situations where you need to be aware of your surroundings, such as biking or running. Since these are in fact sunglasses, they’re primarily limited to outdoor use unless you fancy wearing sunglasses indoors, which is something to keep in mind. They’re not as practical as earbuds that can be used both indoors and out.

The frames are comfortable to wear, and again, with nothing in the ear, there’s no ear fatigue to worry about, so these have the potential to be a useful accessory for those who can’t stand earbuds and headphones. With the built-in battery, the frames last for up to 5.5 hours, and thanks to an included microphone array, calls sound good. Bose included a magnetic carrying case for storage purposes.

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Most people are probably going to prefer earbud options that are either more affordable or offer better sound quality and features, but for those who want outdoor-only audio sunglasses, the Frames Tenor are high quality and offer great audio while also not distracting from outside noises. What do you think of Bose’s audio sunglasses? Let us know in the comments.

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