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Echo Frames vs Bose Frames (2021): Which Audio Sunglasses Should You Buy?

Technology has come to a point where a single gadget can take on multiple roles. A good example of this would be the Echo Frames and the Bose Frames, both of which are sunglasses that double up as headphones. While they may seem gimmicky at first, you might actually find it useful to be able to go about your errands outside completely hands-free. If that sounds interesting to you, here’s an in-depth comparison of the two models, covering their design, performance, and additional features. Take note that we’re using the new version of the Echo Frames for this comparison.

Echo Frames vs Bose Frames Comparison Chart

ModelEcho FramesBose Frames
 Echo Frames (2nd Gen) | Smart audio glasses with Alexa | Classic BlackBose Alto M/L Rectangular Sunglasses, Black, Regular
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
DesignOpen-ear audioOpen-ear audio
SizeOne size fits allAlto (S/M) and Rondo (M/L)
ColorsBlack, blue, and tortoiseshellBlack only
Interchangeable LensesYesYes
Bone ConductionNoneNone
Water ResistanceIPX4 ratingIPX2 rating
Integrated MicrophoneYesYes
Battery Life14 hours3.5 hours
Voice Assistant SupportAlexa, Siri, and Google AssistantNone
AR CapabilitiesNoYes

Design

The Bose Frames are more stylish than the Echo Frames.

Echo Frames vs Bose Frames design
Both the Echo Frames (left) and the Bose Frames (right) house their speakers on the sides.

While the Echo Frames look better than other smart glasses (the Google Glass included), we wouldn’t go as far as to call them stylish. In fact, they look like they could’ve been stolen from a 60s science lab, no thanks to the thick, frumpy frames. You’ll notice that the arms on the sides are especially chunky because that’s where the speakers and other electronic parts are housed. However, Amazon does attempt to make them more fashionable by offering the Echo Frames in three colors, namely black, blue, and tortoiseshell.

As for the Bose Frames, they come in two styles that are able to fit in better with the times. There’s the Alto which bears a resemblance to the square-framed Wayfarer sunglasses by Ray-Ban and then there’s the Rondo which is more round and retro. But just like the Echo Frames, the Bose Frames are quite bulky on the sides but that’s forgivable since the speakers do have to go somewhere. Despite this, the Bose Frames are actually very lightweight and you won’t have a problem wearing them all day. However, one thing that we don’t like about them is their cheap, plasticky feel which is a bit disappointing considering the $200 price tag.

Both the Echo Frames and the Bose Frames come with clear plastic lenses which you can swap out for prescription or colored lenses. As for water resistance, the Echo Frames have an IPX4 rating, meaning they can survive water splashes, while you’d have to be more careful with the Bose Frames as they have a lower IPX2 rating.

Audio

The Bose Frames are able to deliver much better audio quality than the Echo Frames.

Echo Frames vs Bose Frames audio
Both the Echo Frames (left) and the Bose Frames (right) have open-ear audio.

Aside from being the more stylish option, the Bose Frames are also the better performer in terms of audio quality. It’s impressive that even though the speakers aren’t inside your ears and are instead on the sides of your head, the listening experience is quite enjoyable. But of course, don’t expect the same amount of bass or depth as you’d get from in-ear Bose models. Thanks to proprietary technology, the Bose Frames are able to deliver 99% of the sound straight to your ears with only a 1% leakage. One thing you should know though is that they don’t do too well in noisy settings which you can blame on the lack of bone conduction technology.

As for the Echo Frames, they use beamforming to direct sound into the ears. It’s the same technology that the Bose Frames employ but unfortunately, the Echo Frames don’t sound as good. The bass is very weak and the treble sounds tinny, especially when you listen to music that feature extreme lows and highs. But at least the mids are acceptable so neutral tracks will be enjoyable to listen to. Another disappointing thing about the Echo Frames is the fact that there’s so much leakage, especially when the volume’s turned up. This is something you need to keep in mind when you’re around other people and you don’t necessarily want them to hear what you’re listening to.

Additional Features

The Bose Frames’ AR features make them more impressive than the Echo Frames.

Echo Frames vs Bose Frames features
The Echo Frames (left) support all voice assistants while the Bose Frames (right) have AR features.

Like a lot of other smart glasses available in the market, the Echo Frames support Alexa. When you call out her name, a blue LED light will pop up above your right eye as a way to let you know that the voice assistant is listening. You can then ask her to play music, read out the news, tell you the weather, or control the smart devices in your home. If you’re not a fan of Alexa, you can always switch to Siri if you’re an iOS user or Google Assistant if you’re on Android. Alexa will fall back to either of the two anyway if you’re asking for turn-by-turn directions as Amazon doesn’t have their own mapping service. Regardless, the Echo Frames’ navigation feature comes in quite handy when you’re walking or biking and don’t want to whip out your phone for directions.

As for the Bose Frames, what really puts them ahead of the pack are their AR features. So far, they’re compatible with six AR apps, most of which revolve around entertainment and navigation. If you’re wondering how it all works, the Bose Frames are equipped with trackers and they work with the GPS on your phone to figure out where you are. Instead of augmented vision, however, the AR features are communicated through audio. For example, the AR golfing app is able to tell you where the green is, how far away you are from the hole, and which club you should use. The Bose Frames’ AR capabilities show a lot of potential which you can explore even further with the addition of more apps in the future.

While the Bose Frames are more impressive in terms of features, their battery life leaves a lot of room for improvement. They can only last up to three and half a hours which is quite embarrassing if compared to the Echo Frames’ 14-hour battery life.

Verdict

The Bose Frames trump the Echo Frames in almost all aspects.

The Bose Frames are the clear winner in our book for obvious reasons. Compared to the Echo Frames, they’re more fashionable and easier to incorporate into different outfits, they boast of much higher quality audio, and their features are geared for the future. Battery life aside, they’re able to trump the Echo Frames in pretty much all aspects. The best part is, the Bose Frames are actually cheaper than the Echo Frames which further solidifies their win in this comparison.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Bose Frames waterproof?

The Bose Frames aren’t waterproof but they are water resistant. Designed with an IPX2 rating, they can survive light water splashes but no more than that.

๐Ÿ“Œ What do the Echo Frames do?

The Echo Frames are sunglasses that double up as voice assistant-enabled headphones. You need to pair them with your smartphone to be able to use them with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one has better audio quality, the Bose Frames or the Echo Frames?

The Bose Frames deliver a much stronger audio performance than the Echo Frames. Using proprietary technology, the Bose Frames are able to direct 99% of the sound straight to your ears with only a 1% leakage.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one should you buy, the Bose Frames or the Echo Frames?

We highly recommend the Bose Frames over the Echo Frames. Not only do they fit in better with today’s fashion, but they’re also more capable audio-wise and are equipped with more robust features.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.