View Full Version : [Product] - Gunnar Optiks Review

04-22-2010, 07:39 AM
Title: Marley - Gunnar Optiks Glasses
Developer: Gunnar Optiks (http://www.gunnaroptiks.com)
MSRP: $79.99
Writer: Ben 'Kragg' Daniels

Gunnar Optiks Review

Marley and Me

While the name "Gunnar" might evoke visions of long haired ballad rockers or giant Swedes hurling tires to win strong man competitions, Gunnar Optiks (spelled with a K to be more "extreme"?) forte is creating high-performance technical eye wear. They have recently partnered with Tritton, makers of high end headsets for gaming audio, to bring "gaming glasses" to the masses. After our sit down interview with them at PAX East, still slightly skeptical, I was given a pair of their glasses to review and "experience for myself". How do they stack up? Read on to find out.


When I first heard about the product I was under the impression that it was a gimmick. I believe anyone would be skeptical that a pair of $140 glasses could improve their gaming, and vision performance in general over time. I was given a pair of the "Marley" model from the "indoor" line. The Marleys sport the thinnest lenses and lightest, low profile frames of any of the Gunnar products. They retail for about $79.99 and you can purchase them via online retailers such as Amazon and Newegg. "Shop smart, shop S-Mart. Ya got that?!"

My first impression when wearing the glasses was that they were light and quite comfortable. Compared to the slightly heavier framed models we had demoed on the PAX show floor, these felt like I was barely wearing anything at all. The nose grips and frame arms were both well padded and felt quite good. Unfortunately, the right lens on this pair had a minor scratch in the center of the right lens. While not a game breaker, it did get slightly annoying. I found it ironic that only minutes before I was reading about their "advanced lens hard coating process" to help prevent scratches. Gunnar is definitely trying to appeal to a certain audience with their "edgy" styling. They have a look that seems to say "I am cooler than you because I have expensive glasses that Mountain Dew will bead off of."

I wanted to test the glasses in a less-than-ideal setting, as the showroom floor could have been misleading with it's bright fluorescent lighting and ultra-high definition test screens. My living room provided a much more natural environment, with my shades drawn to reduce ambient light, and the shame of my neighbors seeing me wearing a large headset and yellow glasses to play video games. Since I am sadly on a computer for over ten hours a day, I had high hopes that I would reap the benefits of "reduced eye strain" and "improved performance." So like any good Xbox player, I began my testing with a rigorous two hour session of Halo 3 multi-player. I immediately noticed a mild difference in vision clarity after putting the glasses on. They provide a mild magnification and reduction in glare, like most glasses. Gunnar states they can also be fitted with prescription lenses at an added cost. This magnification seemed to be most dominant in the mid-range field of vision. I was sitting about six feet from my TV, and while that was sharper, objects beyond that were more blurry. After switching over to my PC to play some Dawn of War, I noticed that things very close to me were slightly blurry, but my monitor was crisp. 3-6 feet seems to be the sweet spot for the magnification in the non-prescription lenses. The glare reduction was adequate, and mild yellow lens tint wasn't distracting. I got used to it after a few minutes, and the lenses are offered in multiple colors for people who don't care for the yellow tint. After multiple play sessions with the Marleys, I can also say there is definitely an "odd" feeling after using them. During our interview Gunnar claimed that they made your eyesight better by keeping your eyes relaxed. I almost felt like my eyes were a bit over sensitive after using them. To be fair, it was stated that there is an "adjustment period" your eyes go through, as with any glasses, due to the curvature and magnification of the lenses. I definitely noticed a difference in being able to pick out smaller objects on my TV and monitor while using them. Sadly, they did not spare me from the maddening gibberish banter of pre-teens on Xbox Live.

So after some time with the glasses, I can honestly say they actually do function as advertised in some facet. Now, on to what they DON'T do. If I have one issue with Gunnar as a company, it is their marketing dept. They are on "ten" all the time, and they need to dial it down to about a "six" on the reality-o-meter. I know that they are really shooting to capture the "extreme" demographic of 16-35 year old males who play FPS's, the "pro" gamer market, and DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill, but that is no excuse for the insane amount of outlandish claims on their site. First of all, they state "The highly wrapped configuration creates an ocular microclimate trapping in humidity and blocking out evaporative air currents." Really? REALLY? This is marketing speak for "they keep your eyes from drying out," and I noticed no difference in the dryness of my eyes during use. Glasses are not goggles, they do not create a seal around your eyes that traps in moisture. Can anyone who scuba dives or is currently taking high school chemistry back me up on this? Another is "precisely tuned to specific distances for reduced visual stress" with "neoscopic tuning for near viewing". Again, marketing speak for "are you far-sighted?" I must have gotten a pair tuned for "mid-range optical system performance enhancement." See? I can make up stuff too. Furthermore, it's said that the lenses are "optically pure for the truest image". I looked up the terms "optical purity" and "optically pure" and they are both used in organic chemistry that refer to a certain level of enantiomers in amino acids. Yeah, so I'm guessing what Gunnar is trying to say is "these lenses are REALLY clear. Like, transparent even." The bold statements on their site actually served to turn me off to the product a bit and renewed my skepticism about them justifying their price through hype.

The bottom line when it comes to this product is that while they do in fact help reduce eye strain and mildly enhance your vision while gaming, I don't feel that the average sticker price of $70-140 is justified. I am not sure they really provide anymore benefit than the $10 non-prescription reading glasses you can pick up at CVS or Walgreens, although they are definitely more stylish. The person I would recommend Gunnars to would be someone who has decent vision already, and stares at various screens all day long. Whether it's a monitor at work, or long gaming sessions, the glasses do have a distinct effect on lowering the strain on your eyes and sharpening images. It's just that all the other "technology" and features they tout seem to border between nebulous and ludicrous, so for the price I would definitely categorize these as a "luxury purchase."

Score: 3 out of 5

04-22-2010, 08:03 AM
I think a review of this nature should include a mandatory picture of the putz wearing them. ;)

04-22-2010, 08:30 AM
Pro-tip; go to an optician if you have problems focusing your vision. Move where your computer/console is if you experience excessive glare, or look at sorting the lighting situation out in the environment you game in. If you are getting eye strain, take a freaking break for once, don't throw some glasses on. And if it's consistently happening, again, try an optician or a doctor.

Such a bad, bad product.

04-22-2010, 08:42 AM
I demand you compare them side by side with the competition (http://www.blublocker.com/prodinfo.asp?number=2735K).


Operation Enduring Freedom, the high-performance BluBlocker™ American Eagle is a super light and durable option for the most demanding of situations.

Whether hiking through rough terrain, playing nine holes, or navigating the freeways, the American Eagle is a reliable, affordable pair of sunglasses that helps block harmful ultraviolet waves and provides high resolution, crisp, clear vision.

Ventilation ducts at the top of the frame are great for good air circulation—ideal for keeping your lenses fog free, and the soft cushion nose pad is integrated into the frame for optimal comfort.

Rarely has such a functional, high performance pair of sunglasses been available at such a reasonable price.

An unreal value at only $19.95. Comes complete with carrying case.

-edit- Since he is reviewing the light cheap ones I changed the link to the lighter cheap BBs.

04-22-2010, 09:20 AM
Pro-tip; go to an optician if you have problems focusing your vision. Move where your computer/console is if you experience excessive glare, or look at sorting the lighting situation out in the environment you game in. If you are getting eye strain, take a freaking break for once, don't throw some glasses on. And if it's consistently happening, again, try an optician or a doctor.

Such a bad, bad product.

Funny to note Gaz. I was actually going to state in my review "I highly suggest seeing your optician if you need Rx lenses and would never recommend getting prescription lenses through a standard retailer."

However, I then found the below info on the Gunnar website buried 4 links deep, so I felt they had covered themselves to the point where I dropped that from my review. I still completely agree with you though. Those messages about taking 15 minute breaks that have been around since the days of NES manuals? Not such bad advice. :)

"GUNNAR Optiks Digital Eyewear is an excellent "out-of-the-box" solution for people with 20/20 vision or vision corrected 20/20 (i.e. contact lenses or with lasik eye-surgery).

If you have prescription needs you can use our GUNNAR RX Program below:

After you buy your GUNNAR frames you have several options:

1. Visit your nearest authorized GUNNAR Rx provider
Find the location nearest you by visiting our retail locator at www.gunnars.com/retail.

2. Visit your personal eye care provider
If your doctor is not an authorized GUNNAR Rx provider, please have them contact us
for more information on how to place your prescription order at (858) 769-2542

3. Contact GUNNAR
If you are not having any luck or still have questions then please email us at:

Charges for prescription services will depend on each individual doctor and on
the exact prescription. Some costs may be reimbursable by VSP and other insurance providers.

Not all GUNNAR Frames are Rx Compatible"

04-22-2010, 12:17 PM
Yet another helpful review...saw these and was curious. Thanks Kragg.

04-22-2010, 12:20 PM
Yet another helpful review...saw these and was curious. Thanks mo

Thanks kragg more than me, he's the one who spent time looking SUPER COOL in his loft.

:cool: <- Kragg

04-22-2010, 12:22 PM
Thanks kragg more than me, he's the one who spent time looking SUPER COOL in his loft.

:cool: <- Kragg

Yeah i just caught that. Confused the heck out of me. SSSOOOORRRYYY KRAGG. Keep up the great reviews whoever is doing it!

04-22-2010, 12:49 PM
Great review! I really like the look of the shades, but there's no way I'm paying $70-$140 for a pair of glorified shooters glasses (http://www.safetyglassesusa.com/raradpa3lesh.html). But if I happened to see them on Woot for, say, $25 shipped, I could probably convince myself to pull the trigger (no pun intended; well okay--maybe a slight one :p ).

04-22-2010, 05:56 PM
Is it game related? hmm...

04-22-2010, 05:57 PM
I mean, the product and review.

04-23-2010, 12:00 PM
I had considered getting a prescription pair of these recently, ended up passing and getting some from CostCo (who actually has REALLY good vision labs I hear.) Thanks for the review!