Snapchat launches its new and improved $150 Spectacles
Will it be more popular than the original?By Rob Thubron
There was a lot of demand for Snap's Spectacles when they first launched in 2016 and were only available from pop-up vending machines, but interest eventually cooled when they appeared online, leaving the firm with an excess of stock. But that hasn't stopped Snap from releasing a new version of the wearable, which comes with some notable upgrades over its predecessor.
Unlike the original model, Spectacles V2 is only available from Snap's app and website. It costs $150---$20 more than the first design---and is now on sale in the US, Canada, UK, and France, with 13 more European countries being added to the list on May 3.
One of the biggest changes is that the V2 can take photos and video, whereas the previous version could only record video. However, V1 owners won't have to be jealous for long: a firmware update is on its way that will let them take photographs, too.
The V2 Spectacles record in 1216 x 1216 pixels, while photos are 1642 x 1642. And the field of view is reduced from 115 to 105 degrees to address some of the V1's fish-eye warping, according to TechCrunch.
The device even works underwater, up to 1 meter deep and for around 30 minutes at a time, making it ideal for the beach and pool. There's a second speaker for improved audio capture, and it can transfer high-definition photos and video to a phone four times faster than the V1, thanks to the upgraded Wi-Fi chip. Battery life is said to be around the same as the first version---able to capture up to 70 videos on a single charge, and it can recharge up to 4 times in the included charging case.
The Spectacles' design is also getting a revamp, with an improved build quality, repositioned charging port, and no more permanent yellow ring, though a white circle is still present when recording. There are also three new colors: onyx (black), ruby (red), and sapphire (blue).
Snap sold 220,000 pairs of the originals, forcing it to add a one-time, $40 million expense to its balance sheet because of "excess inventory and purchase commitment cancellations." The company will no doubt hope the successor fares a lot better.