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Snapchat, the popular social media app that allows users to share photos or short videos, or “snaps,” has taken the world by storm since its launch in 2012. Now, the company has done it again with the release of Snapchat Spectacles — stylish sunglasses that can record short video clips.
To begin recording, the user taps a button on the left-hand corner of the sunglasses. This activates both the camera and the prominent circle of LED lights on its frame to alert the people being videotaped. While the camera only records in 10-second increments, it can be activated multiple times to create up to 30-second long videos at a time.
The recording can be instantly downloaded to an Android or iPhone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and shared with friends and family through the Snapchat app. If a user does not have access to a phone, the footage remains stored in the sunglasses. Since the camera’s 115-degree wide angle captures the videos in a circle, it can be viewed either in landscape or portrait mode. Snapchat app users can even have some fun by continuously spinning around their phone to change the orientation in real-time.
To recharge the camera’s battery, the user simply places the Spectacles back into the bright yellow sunglass case that comes with the purchase. What’s great is that the portable case can store enough power to charge the sunglasses up to four times, before the case itself needs recharging.
Available in black, teal, and coral, the Snapchat Spectacles, which were released on November 10, are priced at $130 USD. While not cheap, they are a bargain when compared to Google Glasses, which cost $1,500 USD. But before you rush out to get yourself a pair, be warned that they are a little hard to find. For the past few weeks, the Snapchat Spectacles could only be bought from temporary Minion-like vending machines that emerged in select American cities with limited stock.
On November 21, the company established its first semi-permanent storefront in New York City. While it will be open and restocked until New Year’s Eve, the glasses have to be purchased from the sole kiosk placed at the back of the otherwise empty store. Hence, those wishing to obtain a pair or two (the maximum allowed) have to be prepared for a long wait. Judging from the over 500 people that were patiently lined outside the store long before it opened, Snapchat Spectacles fans do not appear to mind! Whether the frenzy lasts once the sunglasses become more widely available remains to be seen, but they will probably rank high on Christmas wish lists this year.