OKAY SUNGLASSES WITH A DECENT INTEGRATED CAMERA
I hit eBay with a budget of 20 dollars and the hope that I would be able to find a decent pair of “spyglasses”. Basically all I was looking for was a half-decent pair of sunglasses with a camera built in capable of shooting at least 720p video at 30fps. They needed to be discrete and also needed to act as legitimate sunglasses to shield my eyes from the sun while driving. I found a pair just above my budget for $21.15 and after submitting a best offer I was able to talk the seller down to $20.
First impressions during the unboxing exceeded my expectations. The glasses shipped in a plastic parcel with no protection, I ripped open the plastic bag to find a box with a picture of the glasses and “Excelvan” labeled on the side. Opening the box I realized that there was no need for any sort of padding material. The glasses were held within a very sturdy carrying case and the integrity of the product box itself was sturdy enough to keep everything safe throughout shipping. Combing through the package I pulled out a USB to micro USB cable for charging and data transfer along with the user manual and the carrying case. The glasses and cleaning cloth were stored inside the black case.
The overall quality of the glasses exceeded my expectations but I would still consider them a tad bit flimsy and light. I highly suggest storing them in the carrying case, the quality of which is excellent, when they are in transit or not in use. There is not much to say about the other included accessories. The cleaning cloth does a good job at removing fingerprints from the lenses and I did not have any issues charging the glasses or transferring data using the USB cable.
The user manual was actually pretty helpful when I was trying to find basic operation instructions. To get started you need to charge the device with the included cable using any 5V USB source (laptop / desktop USB ports, USB charging hub, battery bank, ect…). A solid blue indication light (pictured below) means that the device has finished charging. At this point you can insert your microSD card, up to 32GB in size (click here to check out the one I am using). Apparently the glasses have 4GB of built in flash memory but unfortunately I was unable to test this. Be careful, once you insert your microSD card you will have to go through a lot of trouble to get it back. I was not able to remove my SiliconPower card in order to see if there really was 4GB of built in memory.
Believe it or not, I found taking videos and pictures using these glasses to be incredibly simple. In order to take video, first you need to turn the glasses on by holding the toggle button (the only button on the glasses) down for two seconds. Once the indication light turns solid blue hold the button down again for two seconds, the light should now be consistently blinking which means you are recording video. To stop recording hold the button down for two seconds, the indicator should turn solid blue meaning the glasses are back in standby mode. Taking pictures is a similar story, turn the glasses on and once they are in standby mode quickly hit the toggle button once. The indication light should blink once, a picture has been taken. Don’t worry about turning the glasses off, they will auto-poweroff after ten seconds of inactivity.
The glasses really do take 720p video at 30fps as advertised. The image quality is what I would consider to be very good for such a small camera. Fine details such as text on roadsigns and trait’s of people’s faces were easy to distinguish. Colors come out just a bit washed out, greens come out a bit lighter and depending on the lighting conditions once in a blue moon there is a light orange tint across the entire picture. The frame rate holds constant at 30FPS and even though they were on my face which was constantly moving the footage did not come out as jerky as I expected. The field of view was okay, it was a little narrow for my preference. Battery life was great, it is advertised to last for one hour but I managed to squeeze just shy of an hour and a half out of it. Video quality suffered in low light conditions, lack of light introduced a significant amount of noise and large horizontal lines into the footage. Don’t worry, poor low light performance is expected from such a small sensor. Audio quality is mediocre, you can make out words and sounds but there is a significant amount of hiss / noise in the background.
Video is definitely where these glasses shine. On top of video they are also capable of taking 1280 x 720 JPEGs. Individual image quality leaves a lot to be desired. Images come out soft and it is really hard to hold the glasses steady long enough for them to snap a decent photo.
As far as comfort goes, after wearing the glasses for an hour I concluded that they were no less comfortable than the sunglasses that I usually wear. I have to say though, the lenses filter out light a little odd. LCDs look really weird while looking through the glasses. I am not sure what exactly these are rated to filter out so I would not suggest staring directly into the sun while wearing them. Also I noticed that these do create a larger blind spot than what I am used to, it’s not really a big deal but I did have to turn my head further in order to see the car next to me while driving.
I read that people were having trouble retrieving their video and picture files off the glasses, honestly I cannot see why. All I had to do was plug the glasses into a USB port on my desktop and click and drag the files I wanted from the glasses to my system’s hard drive. I used these glasses with Windows (7) and Linux (Xubuntu 14.04), the process was super simple with both OS’s. DO NOT try to play your files directly off the glasses. The USB interface maxes out at 2.5MB/s which is inadequate for HD video playback. Transfer the files over to your computer’s hard drive first in order to play the HD video back smoothly.
-Good video quality
-Easy to use
-Excellent battery life
-Filters out some sunlight
-On the flimsy side
-MicroSD card eater
-Audio quality and individual image quality could be better
-User manual does not say if video / picture settings can be tweaked
So far I am satisfied with these glasses and I can’t wait to start capturing some great “Garage sale finds” footage with them. I highly recommend watching my video review below! Additionally you can also get unedited sample footage here.