Snapchat Spectacles 2.0

I know what you’re thinking. Increasingly family and friends have been sharing Stories on Snapchat so I figured I’d finally break down and join the social network that everyone loves to hate.

Recently I also found myself ordering a pair of Spectacles after the company unveiled the 2.0 version that features a redesign that makes the glasses waterproof. The Spectacles are a pair of sunglasses (and anyone that knows me knows that I love my sunglasses) that incorporates a tiny, barely noticeable camera that lets you easily snap photos or 10 second video clips without ever having to pull out your phone.

I love the idea of being able to take photos without interrupting what I’m doing to just grab a quick snap. It’ll especially be helpful with my upcoming vacation that I have planned where in some instances, I might not carry around my phone. I convinced myself that I would use them enough to actually buy them. Here’s what I found out.

The Hardware

First, let’s talk about the hardware. I’m not sure who designed the Snapchat Spectacles, but the hardware is fantastic. As for sunglasses, they do work, but I’m used to carrying around a pair of polarized glasses, so they don’t block out nearly the amount of sunlight that I’m typically used to; however, they do the job, and compare to what I’d expect out of a midrange pair of non-polarized lenses.

They come with a cleaning cloth that is shaped like the Spectacles logo, and a charging case that can re-charge the glasses on the go. The charging case can be re-charged via USB.

Don’t think that this is a spy device; however, whenever you tap the button on the Spectacles to record either a video or snap a photo, a ring of LEDs lights up on the front of the glasses to let other people around you know it’s recording. I think this is a fantastic feature that makes the Spectacles less creepy than other products like Google Glass where no one would know if they are being recorded.

I never had the previous generation of Spectacles, but Snapchat says that this new version is noticeably slimmer, where they were able to shrink the camera sensors.

The actual hardware feels high quality, and the glasses don’t feel like a cheap pair of glasses that you would get at a discount store; they have heft to them and are very sturdy.

The Camera

The camera on the Spectacles is the main attraction. Being able to record a video clip or snap a photo completely hands-free opens up a world of possibilities with outdoor activities, vacations, or just every day life.

Tapping the button once starts a 10 second video recording; you can extend that up to 30 seconds by pressing the button two more times while still recording. A light inside of the glasses tells you it’s recording, while a glowing ring of LEDs on the outside lets others know you’re recording.

To snap a photo, press and hold the button until the light blinks once.

The camera quality isn’t as good as what you’d find on an iPhone, iPad, or stand alone camera, but it is very good for what it is, and at the quality that is typically shared on Snapchat and other social networks.

When you sync the glasses with the Snapchat app (or use Wi-Fi syncing to automatically sync the latest snaps), you have the ability to immediately share the recordings or photos via Snapchat, or just save them off to your camera roll for sharing elsewhere. This is a great feature if you’re looking to use the glasses as a camera and not necessarily interested in sharing the photos via Snapchat.

Overall impressions

Overall, I can say that I have really enjoyed owning the Snapchat Spectacles and cannot wait to bring them along on vacation later this year. While the camera quality isn’t as good as what you’d see on an iPhone, the camera on the Spectacles does a great job because it’s something that’s available at any moment while you are wearing the Spectacles and can capture life at a different angle than what you’re typically used to.

The Objective Developer is a blog written by Cory Bohon