Snap Spectacles — Fashionable tech

Social media giant Snap Inc (makers of Snapchat) is back at it again with the third iteration of its Spectacles line. The new Snap Spectacles 3 adds new hardware and fun AR features that will amuse many.

The new wearable is Snap Inc’s third, and most expensive, tech-infused sunglasses. At US$380, it’s hard to see this selling by the thousands. Despite lacklustre sales of the Spectacles 1 and 2, Snap Inc has redesigned its newest product offering with the hopes of luring tech-savvy individuals into its world of augmented reality.

The Spectacles 3 in Carbon. (Photo: Spectacles)

The new glasses look more like fashion statements than the previous models. Snap Inc has learned from the shortcomings of its prior wearables and has created something that looks and feels more like traditional sunglasses with added tech than plastic toys.

The most significant improvement to the Spectacles 3 is the addition of a second camera for depth perception. The Spectacles 3 can shoot 3D. In conjunction with the Snapchat app on your phone, the glasses can shoot videos and overlay Snapchat filters onto your environment.

The Spectacles 3 and included 3D Viewer. (Photo: Spectacles)

The effect doesn’t happen in real-time, however. After shooting a video, you open the app, import the footage from the glasses and select from a few exclusive filters and then watch your scene come to life. The resulting videos make for interesting snaps.

The Spectacles 3 can also shoot 3D images by pressing and holding one of the two buttons on the frame. You can then view them in the Snapchat app on your phone or use the included 3D Viewer (along with your smartphone) to see the results. By moving your phone, you will see the 3D effect on images. The photos sync to your phone, and you can edit s you see fit.

The cameras take 1728 by 1728 resolution photos and shoot 1216 by 1216 videos at 60 fps. As usual, there’s a spinning LED light that lets others know you’re recording. The glasses also have four microphones for video.

Other specs include Bluetooth 5.0 and 802.11 ac Wi-Fi at 2.45 or 5 GHz, 4 GB storage, and built-in GPS and GLONASS support.

Charging Case
Charging case for Snap Spectacles 3 (Photo: Spectacles)

Unfortunately, Spectacles 3 are not water-resistant.

The build is updated with a fresh mix of angular lines and circular lenses, replacing the rounded corners, plastic bodies and multiple of colours from the previous generation. The new design looks more refined than the previous versions, and the metal body adds a more premium aesthetic. The glasses are available in two colours, mineral and carbon.

Snap Spectacles 3 in Mineral colour. (Photo: Spectacles)

The Spectacles 3 are compatible with iPhone 7 and above running iOS 11 or above and some Android devices running Android 6 or above.

The retail box includes the glasses, charging case, cleaning cloth, and 3D Viewer.

Though augmented reality is getting more popular, I can’t help but feel like the Snap Spectacles 3 are a few years ahead of their time. The glasses aren’t a must-have, and even tech enthusiasts may struggle with the price tag versus what these wearables offer.

Overall, this is a step in the right direction. And if history serves as evidence, the Spectacles 4 will provide a better view of the future in AR.