Well, well, well, look who’s back. After a multi-year hiatus, Snapchat Spectacles are making a comeback. Snapchat’s foray into wearable technology had the internet going wild for a few months in 2016.
They were cool, they were fun, they were a status symbol. Sure, users had to travel to a mysterious Snapbot vending machine, wait in line to shell out $130, but the glasses were all the rage. Of course, a lot of users wore them twice before flipping them on eBay for three times the price a few weeks later. Still, for a few glorious weeks, the world viewed the world through Snapchat-tinted glasses.
While the rest of the world gave up on Spectacles—to the point where Snapchat was reportedly sitting on “hundreds of thousands” of unsold pairs—Snapchat did not. The company rolled out the Spectacles 2 a few years later. Now, a few more years have passed and the third chapter in the Spectacles saga has arrived in the form of Spectacles 3.
Spectacles, but ‘Fashion-forward’
The first Spectacles had a “kiddie” vibe to them. Spectacles were an accessory that looked right at home on a 10-year-old. With Spectacles 3, however, Snap is banking on capturing the wallets of the more “fashion-forward” crowd.
Spectacles the Third look sleek and come in two ultra-modern varieties dubbed Carbon (the black version) or Mineral (the bronze version). The cameras are still conspicuous and overall the glasses still look like a piece of garish wearable technology—just less so than previous models.
Aside from aesthetics, the Spectacles still operate in the same way as previous models with a few notable differences. The inclusion of a second camera allows the Spectacles to capture depth and three dimensions where previous models did not. Meanwhile, version three also includes a 3D viewer that can be attached to the glasses for a more immersive experience.
Snap opted not to improve battery life this time around. The company claims that the glasses can capture 70 videos and over 200 pictures on a single charge. With 4GB of storage, Spectacles 3 can hold up to 100 videos and over 1,000 photos. Like older models, users charge the glasses with the case (that is then charged with a USB-C).
One of the biggest drawbacks to regular Spectacle use is that the glasses do not automatically transfer data to your Snapchat account. Instead, users have to wait until they connect to WiFi to transfer and post pictures and videos. This is a hurdle that Snapchat hasn’t figured out before and continues to ignore with Spectacles 3.
Is Snap Rebounding?
Given the history behind Spectacles, it’s tough to fathom why Snapchat continues to pour so much effort and money into the project. It’s even tougher to understand why its newest smart glasses will sell for $380, a significant markup from the Spectacle 2’s $150 price tag.
To Snap’s credit, the company is adept at throwing wacky ideas out there to expand the limits of social media beyond desktops and mobile screens. Sometimes those gimmicky rollouts work. Earlier this year, the company added 13 million daily users after launching the Gender-Swap Filter and experienced a bump in ad revenue as a result. It was a much-needed lifeline for a company that has stagnated and slumped after its initial domination.
Spectacles 3 launch in November.