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The Bose Frames are back — as the perfect headphones for athletes

Bose Frames Tempo
(Image credit: Bose)

Bose Frames Tempo could be exactly what Bose's audio glasses needed. Debuting back in 2018, the original Bose Frames were cool, but hadn't exactly broken through to the mainstream.

But the Bose Frames Tempo model, announced today (Sept. 10) alongside two other new Bose Frames models (Tenor and Soprano) pivot the glasses towards sports and fitness. This is reminiscent of how the Apple Watch didn't really become a hot item until Apple readjusted the wearable for health and workouts.

I loved the original Bose Frames because they were headphones without actual headphones, enabling you (and only you) to be enveloped in a small bubble of sound coming from the arms of the glasses.

All three of the new Bose Frames also include improved voice-pickup. Bose replaced the one microphone system for an array that can block noise, including wind and other people's conversations, from being picked up when you talk.

Each of the new Frames also features a new EQ system for volume optimized sound for quality without distortion. Bose also added an overdue gesture control, where you can turn them up and down by moving your finger back or forward on the right temple. 

The one downside is that they're all more expensive, at $250, a bump of $50 over the $199 Bose Frames. Bose has yet to introduce its own prescription lenses option, something that third parties tried (but always failed to nail in my testing). 

Don't expect any more promotion of the audio-only Bose AR apps, as it appears Bose is done with them. A Bose spokesperson told Protocol that "Bose AR didn't become what we envisioned."

Bose Frames Tempo

The Bose Frames Tempo push things forward by using a more durable material, TR90, that is made to "withstand extreme temperatures and extreme training." Bose also added its own spring hinges, as well as temple tips and nose pads for increased stability. The company is marketing the Frames Tempo for runners, who face all kinds of terrain, both smooth and rocky.

Don't worry about hearing your music while you're in hectic environments, either, as the Frames Tempo feature 22mm full-range drivers for deeper and louder music. Bose claims it's loud enough for "cycling at 25 MPH," but not loud enough to block out important sounds such as traffic and those around you.

Bose Frames Tempo

Bose Frames Tempo with Road Orange Lenses (Image credit: Bose)

Bose Frames Tempo come with polycarbonate lenses with visible light transmission (VLT) of 12%. Bose's three other optional lenses include Road Orange (20% VLT for reducing glare from water and snow and other reflective surfaces), Trail Blue (28% VLT for bright sun conditions when you need to increase contrast and definition) and Twilight Yellow (77% VLT for use at dusk in low light situations).

Bose rates the Frames Tempo for up to 8 hours of battery life, and you'll recharge them via a USB-C cable. 

Bose Frames Tenor and Soprano

Then we have the more style-first Bose Frames Tenor and Soprano, which aren't as sporty. They feature Bose's proprietary Open Ear Audio technology for improved sound, and Bose claims that bass response has been improved in these models for "more depth and detail."

Bose Frames

Bose Frames Tenor with Mirrored Silver Lenses (Image credit: Bose)

When I wrote my Bose Frames review, I marveled at how I could listen to my favorite songs and podcasts while I ordered lunch, and the clerk taking my order had no idea. I didn't think the Bose Frames needed better or stronger bass, but I'm pretty excited to try this new version out to see how much better they are.

Bose Frames

Bose Frames Soprano with Purple Fade Lenses (Image credit: Bose)

Tenor and Soprano Frames are rated for 5.5 hours of battery life, and they charge (like the original Bose Frames) via a custom pogo-pin charger. These glasses have their own durability, with scratch and shatter resistant designs. You get two lens options for each: with Mirrored Blue or Silver for Frames Tenor and Rose Gold or Purple-fade for Frames Soprano.