In recent years headphone design has taken an interesting path towards trying to have users look like a cyborg with their wireless earbuds in each ear (*cough* airpods *cough*). Now, understandably this isn’t speaking to everyone, but we wanted to highlight unique alternatives to headphones that have the potential to gain traction in 2019. The two alternative categories in this Creative Design Insight are wearable speakers and audio sunglasses. Read below our take on each wearable product from Bose.
Ever carried your wireless Bluetooth speaker with you instead of wearing headphones? We have and it is not practical unless you plan to leave the speaker somewhere or always hold onto it. Bose fixes this dilemma with the Soundwear Companion, a wearable speaker that is hands free and ear free. This device sits around your shoulders in a lightweight, comfortable position that allows you to stay aware of your surroundings while still enjoying your music, podcasts, etc.
Battery life is typical of a Bose product, excellent. Up to 12 hours and a 15-minute charge gives 2 hours of playback. This product is designed for a relaxed setting meaning that even though it is sweat and weather resistant, we do not recommend wearing this device in an active/athletic setting. Although we did find riding a bike with the Soundwear Companion on keeps a nice sound quality in mild wind conditions. Build quality is stellar and flexible allowing for customization in fit size through a steel wire inside the silicone collar. The collar cover is available in multiple colors that are sold separately here for $29.95.
Hands down the best feature of the Soundwear is cone-like surround sound quality that comes from the two speakers on top. All the sound is concentrated and engineered to project around the speaker that provides an experience that cannot be truly described unless experienced. Bose did a great job in our opinion of creating an experience effect that mimics believing that the sound is throughout the entire room but, it is just much louder for you than others around.
At $299.95 this isn’t something to just purchase on a whim. This product is not for everybody. If you value being able to stay connected to your surroundings while listening enjoyably, purchase this product. We find it is perfect for around the house, walks, speaker calls, and driving if your car doesn’t support Bluetooth. We also paired it with the HTC Vive Pro, and believe that VR is where this product category will shine in the future. Purchase the Bose Soundwear Companion here .
Smart glasses are an interesting concept. Few attempts have gained enough traction to capture this market, but Focals by North is destined to change that this year. Pivoting from full fledged smart glasses we have some not-as-smart glasses to discuss. The Bose Frames Audio Sunglasses come in two creative designs, Alto (Classic Angular) and Rondo (Rounded). At $199.95 these glasses are priced the same as high-end designer shades but have the Bose Speakers packed into them.
The audio experience is similar to the Soundwear in which the audio is designed to be heard by the user specifically. Two speakers are on the inside of each rim do not cause any discomfort when wearing. The speakers aren’t the loudest and provide little to no bass. Other than that, the sound quality is decent enough for the average user but will provide little benefit to audiophiles.
The real benefit the Bose Frames provide are the ability to receive and make phone calls and receive guidance and notifications through the newly implemented Bose AR. Apps like Golfshot providing virtual caddie advice and New Balance with audio guided workouts are just the tip of the iceberg. With Bose partnering with developers to create more audio-led AR experiences will only increase the functionality of these wearable audio devices. These frames are exciting for the innovations to come in the future of wearable technology. We recommend trying these out, Bose has a risk-free 30 day full refund trial so why not .