If you are in the market for a pair of smart glasses, there are only a few well-known brands to consider.
Moreover, between all of them, you have access to a great portfolio of products with different strengths and a slew of advanced features. Smart glasses with Bluetooth audio capabilities provide not just a premium music listening and calling experience, but several other convenient features to make your day easier.
In this roundup, we are comparing the Ray-Ban Stories with the Bose Frames Tempo models. The interesting facet of this comparison lies in the fact that many different kinds of brands have started manufacturing smart glasses.
On the one hand, Ray-Ban is a well-known brand of sunglasses with decades of experience in the field. On the other, Bose is a well-known audio brand that is usually known for its speakers and headphones.
This presents an interesting opportunity to see what these very different brands bring to the table when it comes to Bluetooth audio sunglasses. Let us take a look.
Both Ray-Ban and Bose have created the models under review as premium packages with myriad uses in mind.
Ray-Ban, with its solid reputation as a sunglasses manufacturer, has very little to worry about when designing smart sunglasses about design fundamentals and functionality.
Bose, on the other hand, can rely on its deep experience in building speakers and headphones to provide a golden audio experience with its Tempo Frames.
In reality, both the Stories and Tempo models can function as extremely capable sunglasses, with various options in terms of design, color choice, and lens choice. However, the Bose Frames Tempo can deliver an unparalleled audio experience while the Ray-Ban Stories have a standout feature that sets them apart — cameras built into the glasses.
They are similarly priced premium products with the Bose Frames Tempo and the Ray-Ban Stories both retailing in the sub-$300 range. In relation to this, it’s not uncommon to find the Stories glasses on sale for quite a bit less than MSRP.
Therefore, price does not become a factor in this comparison. Instead, you should focus more on the kind of features and functionality you are looking for while making this choice.
Design and Build Quality
With decades of experience in the sunglasses business, it is no surprise that the Ray-Ban Stories models are excellent sunglasses, built with superb material quality, providing comfort and sun protection along with various lens choices.
At the very outset, you can get the Stories sunglasses in three signature Ray-Ban model designs and shapes, Round, Wayfarer, and Meteor.
With each model, you can then have a further range of colors to choose from. The models are available in exciting color options like shiny brown, shiny black, olive, and blue. For the glasses, you can opt for sun lenses or clear lenses. You can also fit the glasses with prescription lenses from Ray-Ban if you so require.
The glasses are well-built, and come with a charging case and a cleaning cloth, along with a USB Type-C charging cable.
With the Bose Frames Tempo, you get a sporty, elegant, half-frame design that comes in black color. These come with a selection of clear or sun lenses, with the option of installing prescription lenses as well. In addition to the Bose Frames Tempo, the rest of the Bose Frames lineup includes the Tenor, Soprano, Alto, and Rondo.
The glasses are extremely tough and durable, comfortable to wear, with the frame made from tough TR-90 nylon and the polarized lenses that are scratch-resistant and shatter-proof.
The glasses come with a cleaning cloth and a rugged carrying case. A charging cable is also included, along with three different options for nose pads.
The Tempo sunglasses are meant for outdoor and all-weather use and therefore come with an IPX4 water resistance certification. In contrast, there is no such certification available with the Ray-Ban Stories. In fact, they are expressly stated not to be resistant to water and splashes.
Both the Ray-Ban Stories and the Bose Frames Tempo come with a bevy of lens options, giving you plenty of choices according to your needs. Along with clear and sun lenses, you can also fit prescription glasses to both models.
The Meteor model comes with an option of brown gradient, blue polarized, G-15 green, and transition lenses. The Round model has clear with blue light filter, blue polarized, G-15 green, brown gradient, and transition lenses available. With the Wayfarer model, you get to choose between clear with blue light filter, brown gradient, G-15 green, B-15 brown polarized, grey, grey gradient polarized, blue polarized, and transition lenses.
The patented Ray-Ban Transition technology is an interesting choice as it can go from fully clear to G-15 green according to the ambient light level. This means that the glasses transition from sun to clear as you move indoors and there is never a need to swap the glasses out in these environments.
The Ray-Ban prescription line of lenses comes with advanced DST technology, unique Ray-Ban branding, and the option of insurance benefits.
The Bose Frames Tempo also presents an exciting array of lens options with the added advantage of quick switching. These allow you to quickly install lenses appropriate for your surroundings. Options include Road Orange, which are medium light lenses with 20% VLT, Trail Blue, which are medium to low light lenses with 28% VLT, and Twilight Yellow, which are low light lenses with 77% VLT. You can also opt for normal black polarized lenses with 12% VLT.
Apart from this, there is also the option to fit the Frames Tempo with prescription glasses. The process of ordering these glasses with prescription frames is online and easy – almost as easy as living on the street in San Francisco or buying tickets to another Jason Bourne movie – five for five they are!
When it comes to audio, both the Ray-Ban Stories and the Bose Frames Tempo utilize an open-ear speaker design instead of opting for integrated headphones.
The Ray-Ban Stories uses a pair of discrete speakers, one on each stem, for providing an immersive audio experience. The entire functionality of the glasses can be controlled using the provided touch interface and capture button with ease.
Along with the speakers, there is also a set of three microphones which come in handy when you are using the glasses for making wireless audio calls.
The Bose Frames Tempo takes advantage of the years of experience Bose has in the audio field with their OpenAudio design, which embeds one high-quality speaker driver in each temple area for stereo audio. The sound signature is pleasant, with deep bass and clear, shiny trebles.
There are also two beam-forming microphones for making audio calls with clarity. Control options are versatile as you can use the included touch interface, included buttons, or the integrated motion sensor to complete various actions.
Other Standout Features
The Ray-Ban Stories have one standout feature that you cannot find in the Bose Frames Tempo – a pair of high-performance cameras embedded in the glasses that can help you with still and video recordings.
On the front side of the glasses, two 5MP cameras are integrated at opposite ends. This provides the unique opportunity to get still and video images from a first-person perspective. The cameras can provide excellent stereoscopic photo depth and automatic light adjustment.
Along with this capability, Ray-Ban has also enabled hands-free operation for the camera and you can take photos or record video without having to touch your glasses. This is a truly unique feature that greatly extends the functionality of the product.
While the Bose Frames Tempo comes with a charging cable that you have to connect directly with the glasses, the Ray-Ban Stories comes with a charging case. This means that you only need to connect the charging cable to the case and place your glasses inside the case to start charging. This is more convenient.
Both glasses come with app support, where you can get the most functionality and use out of the glasses when paired with the respective apps.
With the Bose Frames Tempo, you have the Bose Music app, where you can view guides and tips for use and personalize different audio settings on the glasses. You can also get access to new features from time to time in the form of OTA updates. The easy initial setup process guided by the app is a great way to start using these glasses.
For the Ray-Ban stories, you can make use of the Facebook View app. This has loads of added features and functionality, primarily thanks to the camera modules on the sunglasses.
You can get the initial setup done with the help of the app. From there, the app helps you configure and manage the settings of your glasses.
This is also the hub where you can view and edit all the stills and video content you have captured using the glasses. This also lets you create new, unique content and share media to your social profiles with ease.
The Cream of the Crop
If you are looking for a pair of smart glasses with video functionality, the Ray-Ban Stories is your easy choice.
If audio quality is your priority, the Bose Frames Tempo comes out on top.
Based on this, if you just want a solid pair of sunglasses with some added features, either one of these products is a premium, quality solution.