Snapchat Spectacles: a win for the regulars
By Jacqueline Buckland30th June 2017
This summer, Snap Inc launched its eagerly anticipated Spectacles, a fashionable and functional pair of sunglasses that film short bursts of video at your leisure.
On looks alone, I have to say that Snap Inc has done a good job on the design – they are light, pretty trendy and do a good job at blending the camera into the frame. They come in a speckled yellow case which doubles up as a charging unit and have a multi-coloured USB to power the case. So, full marks on looks.
Function wise, the Spectacles only record video – no photography. Users press a button on the left arm of the frames to begin recording and can shoot 10 seconds of footage each time. For me, this seems quite limiting as I’d prefer to shoot for longer and then edit down to what I wanted to share. Though on the flipside, avid Snapchat users are probably quite used to short snippets of video pumped out quickly before moving on to the next.
The footage itself is pretty good – it’s HD (1088 pixels wide), has a really wide-angled field of view (115 degrees) and the stabilisation is fantastic considering the amount of motion you can rack up from walking/running/jumping. For the price point (£129.99) I’d say the tech is matched to the cost but becomes a barrier to many social users as the frames only work with the Snapchat app. This is both genius as it rewards regular users and gives others a reason to sign up to Snapchat but also a curse as it means people who are not using the app have no reason to purchase the frames and thus, Snap chat misses out on extra sales.
Looking at other platform integration, it is possible to save clips to the camera roll and upload to other channels like Instagram and Facebook but again, Snapchat has been clever/stupid in making the video circular for export. So, on Snapchat, the videos take full screen but when saved down, they add a square white boarder to a circular video clip – much less appealing.
Battery wise, the Spectacles will last for around 100 clips and you can get four charges from the case each time which gives you approximately an hour with the glasses before you need to charge the case again. Seems pretty fair.
In all, I’d say Snapchat Spectacles are an absolute win for regular users and a very clever move from Snap Inc to grow its product offering but also position itself as a closed off entity (much like Apple) to encourage users to buy into a single company integration. But, they are not going to be winner for heavy social users outside of the app who like to post more polished image and video-based content.