Social media juggernaut Snapchat (now known as camera company, Snap) has just released one of their first peripheral devices to be used with their infamous photo/video sharing platform: Snapchat Spectacles. A brighter, more casual version of now-defunct Google Glass, the spectacles have the sole purpose of capturing ten seconds of hands-free video, which can then be directly uploaded to Snapchat. They’re also pretty decent sunglasses.


Round orange sunglasses (they also come in black), the Snapchat Spectacles are recognizable from the two yellow circles on either top side of the frame. One contains the camera and microphone, while the other features a LED light ring, which glows to indicate battery life or whether the spectacles are recording (there’s also an inner light indicator for the user). According to CNET review, the exported circular video (in a white 1,080×1,080 pixel square) is high-enough quality for Snapchat, and is suitable in most lighting conditions. The odd framing of the video means that the sunglasses are designed exclusively to be used with the Snapchat app. The circular video even allows mobile viewers to rotate their phones to see the phone image, creating an immersive feel to snaps.

The spectacles are easily paired to your phone like standard Bluetooth device, and transferring of videos is quick and automatic. While the videos on this connection are low-quality, you can quickly have the glasses joining your WiFi network to complete higher-quality transfers. And once your ten second video is in the app, you can apply emojis and texts just like before. Of course, selfies are hard and there are no face filters.


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Battery life is better than expected, and the glasses charge directly from their portable case. CNET reported that even after 130 snaps, the case still had four charges. They also work fairly well as plain sunglasses, with a slight orange tint in the lenses.

What makes the Spectacles unique is the hands-free, first person perspective. Perfect for social media stars showing off sports or even people who just don’t want to be distracted from the moment by fumbling with a phone, the glasses stay firmly on your face and offer video at the tap of a button. At $130, it’s a steep price for social media convenience. But, if you are looking for a less intrusive way to catalog your life, Spectacles by Snap are a great investment.

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