We tried out the Snapchat Spectacles and they were AMAZING
The Snap Inc. Spectacles have been out for a little while now, so we picked some up from eBay and decided to give them a little test drive. We’re testing the technical elements of the Spectacles, as well as other factors – like styling.
To test the glasses in a way that people would actually be using them, we decided to take them out on Oxford Street, one of the busiest areas of Central London, as well as on the Tube, and whilst riding some Boris Bikes around Hyde Park.
We’ve rated each feature out of 10, with 10 being ‘Exceeded Expectations’ and 1 being ‘Fail’.
Style – 7.5/10
There are so many good points about the Spectacles it’s kind of hard to know where to start. I would have to say that one of the best points is the style of the glasses. They’re really light and actually just look like regular sunglasses. They kind of remind me of the glasses that Lady Gaga wears in the Paparazzi video, just a little bit more stylish. We wore them around London and the only real ‘looks’ we got were because we were wearing sunglasses on the Tube, like idiots.
The Spectacles have a really good, strong design. They don’t fall off your face at all – I’ve seen a couple of videos of people snowboarding whilst wearing Spectacles, but sadly we don’t have any access to snow in the centre of London so we can’t confirm if this is a good idea or not (probably not, as the Spectacles cost us £200+)
The Spectacles also work quite well as sunglasses, which is a nice added bonus. Practical and stylish. But, if you live in a country where it’s sunny roughly 3 days a year, this isn’t much consolation. Wearing them just makes you look like a bit of an idiot.
Video – 9/10
The video is amazing. Snapchat Spectacles record video in a 115-degree arc, which is meant to mimic how humans see the world. This circular style of video is apparent when you watch a video outside of Snapchat, like in this blog post for example.
However, the real beauty of this video is the fact that – normally – you’ll be viewing it on a smartphone, right? Except a smartphone has a square screen.
Don’t worry. If you’re viewing a video recorded by the Spectacles on your phone and you rotate from portrait to landscape, you’ll just see a cropped portrait or landscape orientation of the footage. It’s really awesome and incredibly fun to do. Honestly, we were just stood there rotating the phone and watching our footage back for a good 15-20 minutes.
Sound – 7.5/10
The sound on the Spectacles is actually really good. Several times when we were trialling them, I was worried that the Spectacles wouldn’t be able to hear me, but on reviewing the footage the sound quality was actually really good.
The Spectacles were able to hear us even when we couldn’t hear each other. Prime example; on the Tube. We caught the Central Line from our office to Hyde Park and, at times, the screeching from the Tube was so loud we couldn’t hear each other – but the Spectacles could.
The only downside with the sound is something that I had read about online already – wind. If it’s a bit windy, the Spectacles pick it up immediately. We had quite bad wind noise just getting out of the tube, which wasn’t ideal. We also went on some bikes to try and see what the sound quality would be like too.
It actually wasn’t that bad! You got the wind noise, which was annoying, but we could definitely still hear each other. I’ve seen on Mashable that there’s a hack for wind noise, where you stick some fur over the microphone to minimise it, but we’re yet to try it.
Battery – 5/10
We used the Spectacles for about an hour and the battery had started to flash red towards the end. Not ideal. We did take a lot of video in that hour – about 100 or so snaps – but that doesn’t seem like an excessive amount to me.
However, the case carries enough juice to recharge the Spectacles up to four times. So that meant that when I had put the Spectacles in their case and back in my bag, by the time we got back to the office, they were good to go again. I think you could easily get a full day of snaps out of them, but you couldn’t constantly use them all day. You’d have to be smart about when and where you were snapping, which kind of detracts from the beauty of Snapchat.
Usability – 7/10
I’m going to level with you, it was really cold on those bikes. I wore gloves, but this meant that it was really tricky for me to press the button to record. There are quite a few videos that last ~1 second because I’m pressing the button so many times trying to record (luckily for you, we decided not to upload those ones.)
However, the fact that there is a light inside the glasses that lights up to tell you when you’re recording is incredibly helpful. But – Pro Tip – staring at this small light whilst on a swing is liable to make you feel incredibly sick.
The other fantastic thing about the Spectacles, however, is the fact that using them doesn’t limit you. You’re more than able to record something with the Spectacles and still use your phone. You can even still use Snapchat at the same time, so take all the selfies you need whilst recording. There are no limits at all.
The other great thing about the Spectacles is that it in no way limits your ability to use either your phone or Snapchat. You can still freely snap to your heart’s content – which is amazing.
There was a small glitch that we encountered when using the Spectacles, however. And when I say small, I’m just being polite. The Spectacles caused one of the phones we paired them with to crash.
We paired the Spectacles with a phone on 55% battery before recording. After about an hour, the phone was non-responsive. We chalked it up to the Spectacles running down the battery life – they run off of Bluetooth pairing, which can drain battery like nothing else.
But when we charged the phone, it turned back on at 53% battery. We don’t know why the Spectacles had caused the phone to crash, but on the plus side, we could still use the Spectacles to make some great videos. We just couldn’t phone our boss to tell her we’d be late back to the office cos we were having too much fun on bikes.
Overall – 8/10
I think the Spectacles are such a fun product. We honestly had a ball using them, so the appeal is 100 percent there. It’s such an innovative way to bring Snapchat outside of a phone, and pressing the record button is so addictive. I think the fact that they record in 115 degrees is innovative too.
The only downside is the price. We paid £200+ for our Spectacles, and we were both really wary of damaging them. The Spectacles would be great at something like Glastonbury, but wearing £200 on your face is dangerous – especially if you’re klutzes like we are.
Overall we rated the Spectacles an 8 out of 10. The high price tag is such a barrier to entry, it’s kind of disappointing – especially as Snapchat itself is an app that’s popular amongst teens, who can’t afford a £200 price tag. However, the product itself is so fun – and it’s kind of hard to nail down why. I guess the same can be said of Snapchat though.