n an effort to boost declining ratings for their social media platform, Snapchat announced the release of its original Spectacles in September 2016. The first version of the Spectacles were sunglasses with an embedded camera that allowed you to record 10-second video clips hands-free. The hype was high for these glasses and everyone was excited to grab a pair. Unfortunately, it took five months for Snapchat to get these into the hands of consumers. And, once people bought the Spectacles, Snapchat’s ratings didn’t boom as expected.
Why? Well, only 0.08 percent of users bought the camera sunglasses and once they did, less than half of the people who bought them used them for longer than a month! A major reason people didn’t like Spectacles was the physical appearance – with the vibrant colors and chunky look. They were not the most appealing glasses for the price. But there were also technical nuisances that contributed to their poor market performance.
After that setback, Snapchat released a new and improved version of the sunglasses in early 2018, Spectacles 2.0. The company took note of what was turning off their consumers and made many improvements to make the sunglasses easier to use with a more appealing look.
The original Snapchat Spectacles appearance could have been much better, especially for the price. A whopping $130 got you sunglasses with unattractive colors – bright coral, teal, and black – along with a heavy structure. They looked cheap, to say the least.
Now, Spectacles 2.0 cost $20 more so you are literally paying the same price as designer glasses but you can expect a complete upgrade from the original. The frame is lighter as it contains less plastic and definitely looks more chic. Spectacles 2.0 are also available in colors that are catered to a more modern audience with ruby red and sapphire blue being the options, along with classic onyx black.
A great addition Snapchat incorporated into their new sunglasses was the use of prescription and polarized lenses. The company partnered with a third party so consumers could add these options when ordering.
Aside from the actual sunglasses, the case they come in is much smaller which makes it convenient to travel with. With Spectacles 2.0, the case is 33 percent smaller than the original version. Although it might not necessarily fit in all pockets, it slides into a purse or backpack without taking up too much space.
Beyond their updated appearance, Snapchat had a lot to improve with the way Spectacles 2.0 work. Many users of the first version remarked about how tedious it was to simply export and import videos from their sunglasses to their phones.
As with their predecessor, the only way videos can get exported from Spectacles is through the Snapchat app itself. This is an inconvenience. But, the company has made it much simpler and up to four times quicker to export the videos connecting with only wifi (and now photos, which wasn’t an option with the first-generation) as the sunglasses instantly pair with your phone. Users won’t need to pair their sunglasses with Bluetooth or a QR code to export content like they did with the original.
With the original Spectacles, users had the option to shoot in either standard mode or high-definition. This time, that’s not the case. Spectacles 2.0 always shoot in high-definition, whether taking 10-second video clips or still photos. Snapchat made this improvement due to the fact that many people exported videos in standard mode with the first-generation Spectacles. Of course, they had the option to manually convert the content to high-definition, but that took too much time. The quality was sub-par which would have been a turn-off for potential consumers. Now, all content is produced in high-definition and the pixel density is 25 percent better.
Along with that, the Spectacle 2.0 allows you to share videos in either circular format or in a square widescreen format. With the first generation, videos were only in circular format which was a nuisance for consumers who wanted to share their content anywhere other than Snapchat.
Apart from the visual content, Spectacles 2.0 now have the ability to go underwater. It’s not encouraged to go deep with them, but it’s completely safe if you want to get some water surface footage. You won’t need to worry about any damage.
Among the numerous upgrades, Spectacles now have dual microphones for enhanced sound recording. This reduces to amount of noise from movement or wind.
Similar to the Spectacles 1.0, the second generation case charges the sunglasses once you place them inside the case. It can do this up to four times on a single charge of the sunglasses case.
The battery life of the new sunglasses is relatively the same as the first generation glasses. You’ll be able to record 70 video snaps per usage or more snaps if you are taking photos. Depending on how many videos you take, the Spectacles’ battery can last about an hour minimum.
Invasion of Privacy?
Spectacles have garnered a lot of negative attention since they allow video footage and photos of any person without their consent. Snapchat has been one of the few social media that has been unproblematic in regards to sharing the content or information from their users without their consent.
The original Spectacles had a yellow ring on each side that illuminated when the glasses were recording. While it was meant to show whether or not the user was taking footage, it actually made people uncomfortable. On the updated Spectacles, Snapchat replaced the yellow ring with white motion lighting which is a bit more discreet when footage is being taken. This, of course, makes the user seem less creepy and the people around them a bit more comfortable since the lighting is not as intense.
How Do They Compare?
|Spectacles 1.0||Spectacles 2.0|
|Only photos||Can take both video and photos|
|Export videos through Snapchat Memories through Bluetooth and Wifi||Export videos and photos through Snapchat Memories only with Wifi|
|Bulky and heavy frame with bright colors, teal, coral, and black||Traditional frame with a ‘mature’ selection of colors – onyx black, ruby red, sapphire blue|
|Has a bright yellow ring when recording which can make the public uncomfortable||Doesn’t have yellow ring when recording but has a white ring, which is a bit more discrete|
|Not water resistant||Water resistant|
|Have to convert content to HD manually after exporting||Pixel density is 25 percent better and better resolution when exporting|
Snapchat has expressed that their platform is dying since other social media have copied a lot of what used to make the platform unique. When it comes to video sharing as a social media platform, that ship has sailed for Snapchat since other companies are now using the same technology. So, reinventing and improving an item that can possibly save the platform makes sense.
That said, Snapchat itself is preventing these glasses from booming. For an avid user of the app, Spectacles might be something worth investing in. But if you’re not using Snapchat, you might not even know about the glasses. If the company thinks of a way to bypass the app and export recorded media on the glasses directly to phones, these spectacles can potentially be a hit.