Sunglasses have long been the definition of cool, so much so that the universal “cool” 😎 emoji seems to sport a pair, something that Android and iOS can agree on – a definite rarity. So you can probably imagine how excited we were to get our hands on what could be considered the last word in 21st-century cool. As part of your very necessary daily reminder that The Future Is Now, we decided to test out the sunglasses with the tech twist, from the social-media virtuoso itself, Snapchat.
Snapchat Specs are sunglasses with a built-in wireless camera for all your photography and video-taking needs, of which there are many, obvs. They’re kind of like a cooler, and infinitely more stylish version of Google Glass (soz, Google).
After a brief and straightforward phone-to-spectacles Bluetooth connection moment, we were ready to go. Tbh, we were born ready.
The specs are prompted to record a 10-30 second first-person video by pressing the button on the top of the frame, giving us all sorts of James Bond vibes which, let’s be honest, we’re so down for. Granted, that sounds quite simple, but it was an interesting experience trying to switch from video to photograph. Apparently there are different ways of “pressing” a button. Who knew? 21st-century stuff indeed.
To put those privacy qualms to rest, a ring of LEDs light up on the outside so others can see when you’re recording. The photos and videos are then wirelessly saved to your Snapchat Memories, to be edited and posted.
Designed to mimic human vision, the camera captures a 115-degree field of view with recordings being circular. It’s described to be like reliving a memory, which we think is rather accurate, albeit a low-fi, pixelated memory that's not the most aesthetically pleasing... We’re just glad this wasn’t around for our pre-teen cringe era.
In theory, being able to record as far as your eye can see seemed rather remarkable and (sorry to be basic) prompted one too many photos of the horizon. Some didn’t quite pan out as we’d expected…
In these cases, we’d have been very grateful for a zoom-in option had there been one.
Now, the problem wasn’t really about how to use the glasses - as tech pros (if we do say so ourselves) it was quite straightforward. The question was more of when. Would we just have to exist in an eternal bespectacled state now? Or would we need to whip them out at a moment’s notice when a photo-op presents itself? Most importantly, on a scale of one to ten, how much would people judge us for wearing sunglasses indoors? And what about selfies?!?!
While we weren’t (and may never be) ready to walk around Snap Specs permanently donned; and having to put them on called for a vibe-killing version of the mannequin challenge, the result was definitely a step up from regular photos/videos. The specs may not be much of an asset to the day-to-day cat photo, but more so for special occasions – say hiking, or camping, or for one of those impromptu tree-climbing sessions (according to Snapchat). They may even serve as (possibly excruciating) reminders after a good ol’ lost weekend.
Involving a strict tree-height limit of 2 metres, our attempt at getting into nature was less than convincing... but we did try.
And so we come to the question at hand; could Snapchat Spectacles render regular photos obsolete? well... probably not. But they definitely do make the photo experience a novelty. And most interesting of all was that they really did make us want to go outside and do stuff that doesn't involve Hobnobs and Netflix.
Spectacles are going to up many people's Snapchat game, but I can't get past the power of capturing moments I never had a chance to capture pic.twitter.com/htjmMAEn8Z— Sean O'Kane (@sokane1) November 18, 2016
Bonus: our version of going home to a pet (sadly cats aren't quite as impressed).
Photos: Jason Lloyd-Evans and supplied