Snapchat Spectacles 3 Review: even smarter smart glasses
Need we remind you: according to Snap Inc. (better known to most as Snapchat) it’s not about social media; it’s a camera company now.
To that end, it has produced a variety of eyes-on cameras known as Spectacles over the last three years. These dinky frames hide a camera, along with smarts that will connect to your phone’s Snapchat app letting users shoot point-of-view images and 10-second videos.
The first and second pair were interesting, to say the least. Followed last year by two more Spectacles in more stylish designs. The third seems to build on that emphasis for design, but also throws in some additional camera tech.
So – is the third time the charm for the spectacles?
Snapchat Spectacles 3.0: Design and build
If you think Spectacles 1.0 and 2.0 had ‘out there’ designs, you’ve not seen the third iteration.
Following on from previous Nico and Veronica spectacles, which were built to ape a more moderate design, Snap Inc. has really let its designers go to town on Spectacles 3.0. Feelings towards the new design are… mixed, to say the least.
Snap has obviously gone after the seriously forward-thinking fashion crowd with these, which certainly won’t please everyone. The design is so polarising, in fact, that several people around the office felt the need to share their love – or disgust – completely unprompted.
Regardless of how you feel they look, unlike previous plastic pairs, these Spectacles are hardier than ever. Metal frames protect all the camera tech hidden in the arms and they now come in two colours: carbon (that’s black) and mineral (rose gold meets pink).
Each pair also comes with a clever foldable case, that also doubles as a charging station that will juice-up each pair four times over before needing a recharge.
Snapchat Spectacles 3.0: How are the cameras?
This time around the new specs pack two cameras, which gives them some additional photographic tricks.
There are four microphones on the glasses that pick up audio while filming and each comes with 4GB of storage under the hood. According to Snap, that nets you 100 videos or 1,200 photos before it will have to download that content to your phone.
Videos are recorded at 60 frames per second and with a resolution of 1216 x 1216. You’re not going to win any photographic awards with those specs, and in low-light, you’re better off sticking them back in the case.
But, that’s beside the point. The second camera actually allows the user to take some pretty cool 3D images, which look rather nifty. That extra camera grunt also allows the cameras to track depth, which when paired with Snap’s new 3D filters really makes for some interesting results.
Snapchat Spectacles 3.0: Software
To use the new specs, you’ll have to have to Snapchat’s most recent update. That’s because the new glasses make use of 3D filters, which can hide media behind and in front of real-life objects. You don’t actually see that content in front of your very eyes – we’re not quite there yet – but you can add content once you downloaded that media to your phone.
Elsewhere, you can also make clever shifting 3D photos. All of which can be exported in a good number of ratios to your phone. Yes, you can use these to make content for Instagram and YouTube, but you’ll lose the ability to make the most of those 3D snaps.
Snapchat Spectacles 3.0: The verdict?
It’s worth noting that even Snapchat has said Spectacles 3.0 are a ‘limited edition launch’ for people interested in innovation, in both the technological and fashion sense.
That’s a little bit of a cop-out.
That said, there’s little doubt the additional camera gives Spectacles – for the first time ever – it’s killer feature. And while that technology is still rough around the edges, we can see why those looking to really make waves on Snapchat’s platform might rush to get a pair of these on their faces.
However, if you are put off by the design, the good news is that Snap has said there are more pairs, with more generic designs, on the way in future.
Snapchat Spectacles 3.0: Price and availability
Snapchat Spectacles 3.0 are available right now and cost US$380 (around AED1,500).