10 Feb Review: Gunnar Optiks computing eyewear – Neowin
Recently a company has begun offering special glasses, or “digital performance eyewear” to aid people who sit behind a screen all day. Most have either seen these glasses advertised somewhere, or part of a typical “geek” store. While the glasses seem questionable, especially having to blindly put up at least $100, Gunnar Optiks assures you that their product works and customers won’t regret their purchase. To say the least, the results were surprising.
Shipment and Boxing:
Quickly after the Sheadog model with the amber lens from the Metallic Collection was purchased, the glasses arrived a good two to five days before they were expected to come. Opening the box, these are packaged in what is reminiscent of Apple’s packaging methods. They come in a two part white box, with a flip open top. Slipping the box out of its cover, and then opening the flip top presents the eyewear. In addition to the glasses, a microfiber carrying pouch is provided with the purchase of these glasses which can double as a cleaning rag.
Three elements become apparent once the glasses are put on. Until your eyes adjust, they do play with them for a little bit, there is a slight magnification element to the lens, and computer displays were much less intense. The third item isn’t noticeable without glasses, but these lenses work by filtering high energy light, which after placing the glasses on you realize just how offending it was to your eyes. The amber lens tiny offers slight yellowing when wearing, but Gunnar also produces a clear lens specifically for graphic designers or for people who need to see exact colors at all times yet still will function in the same way.
The eyewear is comfortable and light. Picking them up, some might think they are flimsy, due to how light they are. Turns out, they may be light but are very solid. After wearing them for a little while, the weightlessness of the glasses becomes a fantastic asset. If another pair of glasses are owned that use a common frame, comparing the Gunnar to them is like night and day. It didn’t take very long at all to adjust to wearing Gunnar’s, as they are so light they really don’t feel like you are wearing anything. Other glasses may take a few days to adjust to, but for Gunnar’s it was a matter of minutes.
Aid to Computing:
Earlier it was mentioned that these have a slight magnification to them. The on-screen text has never been more clear, even if the eyes when un-aided rank in at better than 20/20 vision. Gunnar says that the glasses create more contrast, which is completely valid. This is probably due to a combination of the magnification, but then also the light that is filtered by the lens. Clarity of the text while using these glasses almost rivals the Kindle 3, which has an amazing screen, and would be magical while using Apple’s Retina Display.
The added contrast creates an environment that is incredibly easy to read on-screen text in. Going through lines of code is also loads less stressful since suddenly everything is just that much easier to read.
In short, these glasses will be loved. Even if this is a spur-of-the-moment purchase and a little regret is felt afterwards, that feeling quickly disappears as the product is fantastic. For your money, you get an essentially weightless pair of glasses that you very quickly adjust to, increases the contrast and readability of LCD monitors, are comfortable, and perhaps even “sporty.”
Of course there does have to be a downside somewhere, going back and forth between work on my monitors and something on the desk such as a paper was semi-problematic. The amber lens tint creates an overall warmer color spectrum, while the world actually tends to be on the cooler side of colors. Objects other than the computer screen may be somewhat more difficult to read simply due to what ends up being perceived as added darkness. Once one get used to this however, it becomes almost a non-issue.
These glasses are worth the money, were a pleasent surprise, and anyone will be glad they took the plunge and purchased a pair. If you spend all day at a computer and end up with headaches, aching or bloodshot eyes, or just want to buy something nice for yourself then give Gunnar Optiks a try.