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IN OUR VIEW: Snapchat Spectacles version 2.0. Better than the original?

Snap Inc – the “camera company” as its CEO Evan Spiegel calls it – recently launched its updated version of its camera-enabled Spectacles. And AMEinfo got its hands on a pair for a road test.

Priced at $150, these updated Snapchat Spectacles may not look too different to the ones launched in 2016: they’re still plastic, boast a small camera in the top right lens and are charged via the glasses case. But there are some updates worthy of a mention.


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What you get

Snapchat has kept the classic look, but has introduced three new bold colours: onyx, ruby, and sapphire.

The electronics have also been made smaller, meaning the frames are smaller and lighter.

The charging case is also 20% smaller than the original.

Thanks to the glasses being water resistant, you can now use them in shallow water and in the rain (that latter not being so much of a selling point here in the Middle East).

The Specs now take photos as well as videos, with all Snaps transferrable in HD only.

Additionally, dual microphones capture clearer, higher quality sound, reduce wind noise and balance conversations.

Snapchat has also developed a Wi-Fi only import flow that eliminates the need for SD content, so all content is in HD.


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Snap happy 

Taking a picture and/or video could not be easier. The inbuilt camera allows you to capture memories in a video (30-second max) and send directly to your Android or iPhone via the Snapchat App.

The outward light indicates that you are recording, so there is little danger of recording by accident. The Specs can hold up to 150 videos or 3,000 photos, meaning you can Snap happy all day long and into the weekend.

The circular-shaped Spectacles also boast a UV protection feature – a perfect addition for outside use here in this region. Rubber nose-pads also make them incredibly comfortable to wear.

Lights, camera, action . . .

Here at AMEinfo HQ we’re not easily impressed, but were happy at the increased speed at which our photos were transferred to Snapchat; this is definitely a much faster process than we saw with the original version.

However, Snap could have done better by adding a flash to operate in low light.

And while the design has definitely improved from the original design, the design is not a hit with all, with some users left disappointed by the audio recording and lack of “face-filters”.


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What’s missing?

In today’s AR and virtual world, it is disappointing that there are not AR or dual-camera options available.

Imagine being able to superimpose elements in the real world?

And think of the opportunities this would present to brands; customers seeing pricing and brand information as they are browsing the shelves.

Snap decision 

So do we like Snapchat’s latest-gen Spectacles? They may not have won big in the style points, but they are a considerable improvement on the first version.

We found the tech easy to use and results were exactly what we’d expect from today’s video recording devices and cameras, despite the audio being unclear at times.


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Snap has been working with regional influencers and also have in-store theatre (demo units and brand ambassadors) in the Middle East to help build interest and learn more about what users are wanting from today’s camera-enabled specs.

Snapchat may well be “a camera company,” but it remains to be seen if it can be a “good camera company”.

With Version 3.0 mooted for 2019, we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled.

— With inputs from Zaira Lakhpatwala (communicate) and Alkesh Sharma (TrendsMena)