Snapchat Spec­ta­cles

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Android Advisor - - CONTENTS - Lewis Painter

Snapchat is a hugely pop­u­lar so­cial net­work­ing app avail­able for iOS and Android that lets users share photos and videos that au­to­mat­i­cally ex­pire af­ter a set amount of time.

While Snap came from small begin­nings, the com­pany is es­ti­mated to be worth $29 bil­lion and is look­ing to en­ter the cam­era mar­ket with its in­au­gu­ral prod­uct, Snapchat Spec­ta­cles.


The de­sign of the Spec­ta­cles will di­vide opin­ion; while some will love the quirky and out-there de­sign of the sun­glasses, oth­ers will think it’s a bit too in-your-face and would pre­fer some­thing a lit­tle more un­der­stated. It’s avail­able in three colours: Black, Teal (Blue) and Co­ral (Red), with the Black vari­ant be­ing the most un­der­stated in terms of de­sign.

It fea­tures a black frame, black lenses and yel­low rings around the cam­era and light mod­ules on ei­ther side of the glasses. There’s also a light de­tail­ing present on the arms of the sun­glasses.

How­ever, the teal and co­ral Spec­ta­cles are a lit­tle more in-your-face. They both fea­ture brightly coloured re­flec­tive lenses and colour­ful de­tail­ing on the arms of the glasses. While the Snapchat Spec­ta­cle models on the site look cool, we’ve a feel­ing that not ev­ery­one will be able to pull them off.

In terms of the fea­tured tech­nol­ogy, the Spec­ta­cles fea­ture a cam­era on the right-hand side of the glasses

and a light and a but­ton to start and end record­ing on the left-hand side. The light is out­ward facing and dis­plays a circle of light when the Spec­ta­cles are record­ing – it makes it easy for those around you to know when you’re record­ing, and helps to al­le­vi­ate some of the pri­vacy con­cerns raised when mount­ing a cam­era onto a pair of sun­glasses.

There’s also a light on the inside of the glasses to give you a heads up when a video is be­ing recorded and when it’s about to fin­ish (it’ll flash when there are two sec­onds left).

Along with the Spec­ta­cles, Snapchat pro­vides a soft-to-the-touch tri­an­gu­lar glasses case that dou­bles up as a wire­less charger for the glasses. In fact, the case can pro­vide four full Spec­ta­cle charges be­fore re­quir­ing a top-up it­self.

Snapchat’s cam­era-en­abled glasses aren’t per­fect, though. There are blind spots on the left- and right­hand side of the glasses due to the cam­era and light hous­ings. It’s not enough to be put off from us­ing them com­pletely, but it’s no­tice­able when wear­ing the glasses. The glasses aren’t wa­ter­proof or even wa­ter-re­sis­tant, mean­ing you can’t wear them in the rain or in a swim­ming pool.

Oh, and they’re not po­larised ei­ther, mean­ing that un­like stan­dard sun­glasses, they won’t re­duce glare from re­flec­tive sur­faces like wa­ter and glass.

Us­ing Snapchat Spec­ta­cles

The Spec­ta­cles fea­ture a wide-an­gle 115-de­gree lens that is said to mimic how hu­mans see and while that is gen­er­ally the case, you still should be con­scious that

the cam­era is mounted on the right of the glasses and that it might miss out on things hap­pen­ing to the far left of you. Apart from that, the hard­ware is in­cred­i­bly sim­ple to use – it’s when it comes to the soft­ware side of things that it starts to get com­pli­cated.

Record­ing snaps

To record a video us­ing Snapchat Spec­ta­cles, sim­ply press the but­ton in the top-left of the sun­glasses. A light will ap­pear on both the out­side and inside of the glasses to let ev­ery­one know that the glasses are record­ing, and the light will flash when you’ve got two sec­onds of video left.

From here, you can press the but­ton again to ex­tend it by 10 sec­onds (this can be done up to 30 sec­onds) or, if you want to stop record­ing be­fore the 10 sec­onds is up, sim­ply press and hold the but­ton for a sec­ond or so. The sun­glasses can store 10 snaps lo­cally but if you want to record more, you’ll need to sync with your smart­phone.

The bat­tery lasts for around 100 snaps, or around a day of gen­eral us­age, and is charged wire­lessly us­ing the sup­plied glasses case. To check the cur­rent bat­tery level of the glasses, users need only gen­tly tap the left side of the glasses. So far, so sim­ple, right?

Android sup­port

Snapchat Spec­ta­cles are com­pat­i­ble with both iOS and Android, al­though Android seems to be the bet­ter choice for Spec­ta­cle users. Why? While Android users con­nect to the Spec­ta­cles ex­clu­sively via Wi-Fi, it’s not the case for iOS de­vices. Granted, it doesn’t seem like

a huge deal ini­tially, but it means that while Android users will im­port HD snaps by de­fault, the same can’t be said for iOS users.

In­stead, iOS users must first con­nect to Spec­ta­cles via Blue­tooth and im­port a SD ver­sion of the snaps. Once im­ported, you can re-im­port se­lected snaps in HD by leav­ing the app, con­nect­ing to Spec­ta­cles via Wi-Fi in the set­tings menu then head­ing back into the app to sync the snaps. It’s an extra step that gets quite an­noy­ing, es­pe­cially on days where many snaps are recorded.

View­ing and shar­ing snaps

To view the snaps recorded via Spec­ta­cles, you’ll (some­what ob­vi­ously) need to use the Snapchat app for iOS and Android. To view your re­cently im­ported story, you sim­ply swipe up to ac­cess Snapchat

Memories and se­lect the new ‘Specs’ tab to view your sto­ries on a day-by-day ba­sis.

Of course, not ev­ery video you record via Spec­ta­cles will be wor­thy of be­ing added to your story. That’s why Snapchat au­to­mat­i­cally analy­ses each video and au­to­mat­i­cally se­lects those that it thinks is in­ter­est­ing. It makes it eas­ier to search through tens of videos for the ones you want to share, al­though it’s not al­ways 100 per­cent ac­cu­rate. When it does make a mis­take, it’s easy enough to re­move/add snaps.

To view the videos recorded via Snapchat Spec­ta­cles, sim­ply se­lect the day you’d like to view and it’ll open full-screen. This is where one of Spec­ta­cles most un­der­rated fea­tures comes into play: the glasses record in a cir­cu­lar for­mat but dis­play it in a stan­dard 16:9 as­pect ra­tio. This means that users can ro­tate their phones when watch­ing Spec­ta­cles-recorded snaps and get a dif­fer­ent an­gle of what is hap­pen­ing.

It doesn’t add much to the view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­yond be­ing a cool lit­tle fea­ture you can show your friends, but it’s a cool fea­ture nonethe­less.

When it comes to shar­ing the Spec­ta­cles story, it’s a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward process. In fact, it’s al­most the ex­act same process as post­ing a reg­u­lar snap; sim­ply tap the blue send icon on any video you’d like to share and you’re then pre­sented with op­tions to share it to your Snapchat Story or with spe­cific friends.

Ex­port­ing snaps

Of course, you are free to ex­port your Spec­ta­cle videos for use in other apps like Face­book, In­sta­gram and Twitter, but they won’t per­form in the same way

as in Snapchat. Why? It’ll be ex­ported in a cir­cu­lar for­mat rather than the stan­dard 16:9 view, and won’t sup­port the in­tel­li­gent ro­ta­tion men­tioned above.


While we were ini­tially du­bi­ous about Snapchat Spec­ta­cles and its value in a world full of ac­tion cam­eras and smart­phones, but Spec­ta­cles do make record­ing videos much sim­pler and much more fun to watch too. The de­sign isn’t for ev­ery­one but if you’re a Snapchat­ter or some­one go­ing on hol­i­day that has a spare £130, it’s a fun piece of tech that will help you doc­u­ment your life and ex­pe­ri­ences.

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