Snapchat Spectacles Review – Difficult, Exciting, Frustrating, and Totally Worth It

Two weeks ago, we got our hands on a pair of “Snap Inc.’s” Spectacles. With some trial and exploration, here is our guide to this mysterious new product.

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Jumpwire Media CEO Gavin Mcgarry, snagging his pair of the specs at CES in Las Vegas last week.

Acquisition

Acquiring the product is a bit unorthodox. There are only three ways to get them: breaking the bank for a pair from eBay, waiting at the storefront in New York City, or finding a Bot drop: a vending machine with a very limited quantity of Specs that appears in random locations at random times, heralded only by a countdown on Snap’s website.

I got tired of waiting and went with the first option. I was lucky enough to get an authentic product, as eBay scammers are all too common, but I feel like I missed out on the excitement of snagging a pair from a Bot drop.

Set Up

Once out of the box, setting up the Specs and pairing them to your phone is so easy even my mom could do it (sorry, Mom). The Spectacles feel sturdy and weigh no more than a pair of Ray-Bans, despite being filled with electronics. They come with a simple durable case, a charging cord, and a lens cleaning cloth.

Like most first generation tech, the Specs can’t handle high temperatures or water, so no fire rescues or sweet POV diving shots anytime soon. The camera is simple to use: push the button on the Specs to begin recording. A small ring of light will appear on the outside of the lens, so people will know you’re recording. Snap responsibly, folks. There’s also a white light inside the frames that will blink when you begin recording, and then once more when you have two seconds left. Fun fact: That same little light will blink red when your battery is low.

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There is one button on both the Specs and the case. The button on the case shows you the level of charge remaining for the case; the button on the Specs begins recording.

Speaking of battery, here are some fun facts:

Battery Facts

  • You can charge your Specs inside the case
  • You can also change your Specs directly with the USB cord
  • The charge will last for about 100 Snaps (that’s like 99 videos of your dog and one sunset!)
  • The case will fully charge the Spectacles four times before it needs to be recharged itself
  • The Spectacles take about 90 minutes to fully charge
  • Check out the Spectacles Support page for detailed instructions about charging your Spectacles

Operation

So far, it seems the software has been the biggest issue with the Spectacles. Most notably, keeping the Specs connected to your device and uploading the Snaps is slow and buggy. With any new product, this is to be expected. Play around with them.

What I Noticed About Software:

  • The more videos you take, the longer it takes to upload
  • Snapchat’s famous AR facial filters are currently not available on Specs (fingers crossed they’re coming soon!)
  • Even pro Snappers will experience a learning curve with the new features, so take the time to get to know your new favorite toy
  • SD is the standard recording setting – you can change the default to HD on Android, but you will have to download them into HD for iOS (HD download is, however, one of the biggest downfalls I have experienced – the extra steps to downloading HD are time consuming and there is a frame rate drop when HD snaps are sent)
  • There are multiple hidden features and some not-so-obvious features you’ll have to dig around for
  • Spectacles shoot in 60 frames a second
  • There is a frame rate drop when you share videos (another downfall)

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    Yes, in not so shocking news, the frames are kind of odd looking. Now that I said it, you don’t have to tell me.

Tips and Tricks:  

I was going to go really deep into tips and tricks, but I’m going to resist and leave you with only a few. Who knows, maybe I might give you some more tips down the road?

  • Double tap the side of the glasses to see the battery level
  • You can check the battery in the Snapchat app under Spectacles settings
  • The edit features are amazing – explore them!
  • Once the 2-second warning light flashes inside the frames, you can push the button on the Specs again for ten more seconds of record time, and once more for a total of 30 seconds of recorded video
  • Once you upload the videos, they are grouped by day and you can view them all by clicking the day
  • You can upload a whole day’s worth of snaps to you story all at once, whenever you want, instead of having to send each time you snap

Snap Inc. has a few key how-to’s inside the Snapchat app or you can find them below.

What Snap Inc. Shares About Software

yoda

Spectacles Master!

Alright Snappers, time to end with a quick few words about my opinions. Because the Spectacles are hands-free, they have an immersive nature different from any other platform. They offer a different perspective because of the way the viewer can interact with their surroundings while recording. The Specs might make you want to tear your hair out, but that’s the fun of the learning curve. Who knows what the masses will think, but for now we’re having fun navigating this new oddly frustrating piece of tech. I, and everyone else at Jumpwire Media, will be working hard to get more information, tips, and tricks for the Snapchat Spectacles out to you all. In the meantime, join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter about the Spectacles, tell us what you like about them, and what features you’re most looking forward to. Check out our podcast where we talk about them at Soundcloud or iTunes.  Overall, the Specs are meant to be fun and require lots of hands-on time to get to know all the “Spec”tacular features.

 

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