Nov 10th, 2016

Early this morning I made the long commute to be one of the first to get their hands on Snap Inc.’s brand new Snapchat glasses. Officially called Spectacles, the sunglasses are the latest in wearable technology that records video from the first-person perspective, allowing users to then share said footage directly with friend or family on Snapchat.

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Spectacles aren’t too unlike Google Glass (which was met with a heap ton of controversy and probably lead to its early demise) but unlike Glass, Spectacles don’t take still photos, they don’t record incognito (an LED ring lets the world know you’re recording), and because there isn’t a heads-up display — they aren’t really that expensive.

Priced at $130, the glasses can only be purchased from a single Spectacles vending machine, the location of which was a total mystery until Snapchat revealed it early this morning (it just so happened to be right next to Snapchat’s old HQ on Venice Beach). That’s where I came in, hitting rush-hour traffic to wait 3 hours in line for a chance to buy a pair… or two.

What’s in the box

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Here’s what comes inside the tennis ball looking box. You get a surprisingly premium hard shell case that’s covered in a soft foam and lined inside with felt. The case not only protects the Spectacles, but acts as a charger itself, charging the glasses up fully about four times. You can see how much of a charge is left on the case by pressing the button on the side, where the LEDs show you the level.

The USB charging cable has a fun, multi-colored woven design, with magnetic pins on one end. The cable can either be attached to the charging case, or directly to the Spectacles for easy charging. It doesn’t hang on very strong, so you probably wont be charging while wearing them. Not that you’d want to (you’d only look even even more silly).

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The Snapchat Spectacles themselves are well-built and the typical all-plastic construction you find on most sunglasses these days. Because they’re sunglasses and don’t even have removable clear lenses, you likely wont be using Spectacles indoors, or dimly lit restaurants/bars (all places where some took issue with Google Glass). Spectacles are meant to be fun and that typically means getting your butt off the couch and outside in the sun.

How easy are they to set up and use?

Set up was easy enough and is done via Bluetooth. There’s no messy devices settings to mess with, just open the Snapchat app, go into the Spectacles setting, and face your smartphone where an on-screen QR code finishes up the pairing process. Doesn’t get much more simple than that.

What does the video look like?

Spectacles use two cameras placed on each side of the sunglasses to record a wide-angle video. Videos are actually circular and when viewed inside of the Snapchat app, allow you to change the orientation of your phone, but still keeping the video upright. It’s more of a novelty than anything, but kind of fun to change the orientation of a video on the fly.

Unfortunately, when exported to your phone’s gallery app, the circular videos is placed inside a square with thick white borders surrounding it. Not too fun, but then again, videos are meant to be shared inside the Snapchat app so it doesn’t surprise us that they’re a little handicapped when shared anywhere else.

More to come…

Be on the lookout for more on the Snapchat Spectacles as we put them through the paces. A full review will be coming where we hope to test out things like battery life and how many people we can passively offend simply by wearing them. Cheers.

For more on Snapchat, what it is, and how to use it, don’t forget to check out our complete and comprehensive guides linked down below.

How to use Snapchat:

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