The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
Updated: Jul 14, 2019
The Nutmeg Lawyer Review of Bose Audio Frames
Growing up on a steady hodgepodge of James Bond movies, Inspector Gadget cartoons and Batman comics, I developed a lifelong love of gizmos. Although I still await the glorious day that I will be able to shoot cuff-link tranquilizer darts at some cantankerous opposing counsel, I have been able to make some great progress incorporating modern tech into my daily law practice.
While most of my purchases have been helpful, some have admittedly proven to be short lived novelties doomed to the dark recesses of a kitchen drawer or dusty closet. Despite the occasional miss, I have found that modern technology makes it easier for me to compete with larger firms with significantly more resources at their disposal. While some of my purchases are more for fun, I did manage to find some practical work use out of my latest toy.
I've been told that one should not stick anything larger in their ear than their elbow. With that in mind, I began looking for an alternative to the uncomfortable buds I normally jammed into my ears whenever I wanted to listen to music, an audiobook or a phone call.
Inspiration hit me at the movie theater. In the film Spiderman, Far From Home, Peter Parker receives a nifty pair of high tech sunglasses from Tony Stark. Spiderman's new shades feature a built in artificial intelligence system called E.D.I.T.H. which responds to Peter's questions and even let's him order a drone strike. (What I wouldn't give for the ability to call in a drone strike) If only something like this existed in real life. Why couldn't I have something like that? Thankfully, I stumbled across an alternative. I discovered a pair of innovative sunglasses made by Bose. While they might not help me save the world, they did have lots of fun features.
What better time to test a pair of sunglasses than summer? What better place to test my new found freedom from headphones than the streets of Boston on Independence Day? So I put on my finest tri-corner hat (due for a fashion comeback), donned my new Bose Frames and drove up to the home of the American Revolution.
If you are not familiar with Bose Frames, they are sunglasses with open ear, built in bluetooth enabled micro-speakers. When connected to your phone, you can answer calls, listen to music, podcasts, GPS directions, audiobooks or even utilize Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. The sunglasses are offered in two styles "Alto" and "Rondo." I went for the Alto frames as they resembled the Wayfarer style made popular in movies like Risky Business. (As a child of the 80s, most of my eyewear purchases are based on Tom Cruise movies. You'll probably see me wearing a monocle if he wears one in the next Mission Impossible)
On the drive up from Connecticut, I immediately saw the benefit of the Bose Frames. I use the "Waze" GPS app on my phone to guide me through life and to save me from speeding tickets. My audio sunglasses began warning me that "police were reported ahead." Not today coppers. As I continued my drive, I wanted to listen to an audiobook but didn't want to disturb my wife. She had no idea, I had it playing on my sunglasses. When a call came in from a client, I didn't have to pick up my phone to take the call. I didn't have to broadcast the private conversation on the car's speakers. The caller could hear me very clearly through the mic in the audio sunglasses.
I tapped the gold button on my frames. "What is the number to People's Bank?" "What is the address for Quincy Market in Boston" "What is 99 degrees Fahrenheit in Celsius?" "Where can I buy an air-conditioner near me?" The answers came in loud and clear on the micro-speakers.
Now came the real test. We headed down to the historic marketplace at Boston's Faneuil Hall. The area was teeming with tourists that were there for the July 4th festivities. I turned up the Dropkick Murphys "Shipping Up to Boston" and began strutting around like I was Jack Nicholson in the Departed. Here, I discovered a drawback of using the frames. I had nothing in my ear to suggest I was listening to something. I imagine I must have looked a little crazy bopping to music that no one else could hear.
Despite the scores of tourists, street performers and the Boston city traffic, I was able to listen to music and phone calls with no problem. Callers reported that they could hear me just fine. For observers, it probably looked like I was just talking to myself. I started trying to get creative with the glasses. I clicked a small golden button on the frames and asked "Where is the closest train station in Polish." The answer came in clear over the small micro speakers.
Walking the streets of Boston, I found not having anything in my ear to be pretty advantageous. Even with Boston's "More than a Feeling" playing in my ear, I could hear crosswalk warnings, honking cars and was able to avoid getting run over by one of the city's infamous Duck Tours. Using the walking mode on my phone's GPS app, directions were given to me with voice prompts over the sunglasses speakers.
We decided to relax in one of Boston's many great parks. For me, relaxing meant catching up on work. I answered some work calls. If the caller was in my contact list, the audio prompt on the sunglasses would announce their name. If the contact was not listed, the number would be announced. If I wanted to make a call, I had to use the phone to dial, but the call connected through the glasses.
Our firm uses Clio for our cloud based office management software. My Clio work calendar is synced with my Google Calendar. Using the sunglasses and the Google Assistant on my phone, I was able to schedule appointments onto my Clio work calendar. (I was also able to check and make appointments on my calendar using the Alexa app on my phone).
Taking a break from our stroll, my wife and I sat on a park bench under an majestic oak tree to watch the swans swim by on a beautiful summer day. I took the opportunity of the romantic moment to listen to a podcast on personal injury law on my new sunglasses. Who says romance is dead?
Next, we headed over to Newbury Street to grab some food at the neighborhood's many great outdoor cafes. Our friend's daughter wanted to play a video game on her phone. I lent her my sunglasses so she could enjoy her game with the sound on without disturbing everyone else. I was also able to test the range of the sunglasses. I crossed the street leaving my phone on the table. The sunglasses still worked despite my being across the street several yards away. According to Bose, the bluetooth range is about 30 feet.
Perhaps not a must have item, but I really enjoyed using these sunglasses. The Bose sunglasses didn't feel much heavier than the Ray Bans I usually wore and the sound exceeded my expectations. Being able to listen to music and answer calls as I walked around the city was a bonus. I enjoyed not having to pull out my phone or have to stick an earbud in my ear. According to Bose, they block up to 99 percent of UVA/UVB rays.
When I wear them outside in the hustle and bustle of life, no one can hear my music although it sounds loud to me. Strolling in a quiet park, my wife could hear some sound coming from my sunglasses, but not enough to identify the song I had playing. The cons? At around $200, they can be a bit pricey. If you wear glasses, they don't come with a prescription lens version. (If you need them, you can accomplish this by going through GlassesUSA.com) The frames are rated for up to 3.5 hours of audio playback and 12 hours of standby. You can get a full charge in about 2 hours. If you want to turn them off, you just have to place them upside down. The sunglasses come with a hard shell case and a proprietary charger.
So the final verdict? The Bose Frames are a pretty cool product. To paraphrase Ferris Beuller, they are pretty choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking a pair up.