Fancy taking a picture of exactly what you see without having to pick up a camera? Well Snapchat has launched a pair of sunglasses that will do just that
Fitted with tiny cameras which users can activate by tapping a button on the specs the eyewear - which are branded Spectacles - can record 10 seconds of video at a time.
This video is then automatically uploaded to the popular app’s “Memories” section via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The Spectacles are the fist hardware launched by the Los-Angeles-based business - which has changed its name from Snapchat Inc to simply Snap Inc to coincide with the launch.
The glasses simply carry a camera but no display, so they get around needing some complex technology to reveal what’s just been filmed.
After the Spectacles have been synced with your phone’s Snapchat app you just put them on activate, use the switch on the frames and snap away.
Snapchat Spectacles, which are available in black, teal or coral, can be bought online via the website www.spectacles.com.
But, to give them the exclusivity factor when they launched towards the end of last year, early adopters could only get them at special vending machines, called Snapbots, dotted around locations in the US. However these Snapbots didn’t sit still and didn’t stay put for more than a day.
###How To Get started With Your Own Pair Of Spectacles
To use a pair you need an iPhone5 running iOS8 or newer or an Android phone running at least 4.3 Jelly Bean with Wi-Fi Direct or Bluetooth Low Energy. You will also need the Snapchat app.
Spectacles don’t fit everyone and there is no way of trying them before you buy. However, Snap Inc claims the glasses can be adjusted by an optician, but it is not a good idea to apply heat or water near the electronics.
For those people who wear prescription glasses, the Snapchat Spectacles lenses can be swapped by an optician with ones that match your prescription.
Spectacles come in a pretty hefty wedge shaped, magnetically-sealed, spectacles case colored with Snap’s trademark yellow. Inside, you will find the USB charging cord, which can be used with the case which doubles as a charging cradle. Don’t lose this as the cable costs $10 to replace!
With the Spectacles placed inside the case, there are contact points at the joint of the Snapchat Spectacles’ left arm which, when folded, connect magnetically.
Once the Spectacles are in place connect one end of the USB cord to the case and the other end to a computer, wall charger or portable battery. Snap actually recommends a USB wall charger, but hasn’t bothered to supply one themselves. But they have included a battery built into the case for stand-alone recharging on the go. This can be used up to four times.
To cut to the chase you may decide it’s easier to connect the cord directly to the Spectacles. Whatever, once charging is underway, LEDs light up and, Snap says, it takes about 90 minutes to charge a pair of Spectacles fully using a wall outlet.
If you double tap on the left arm’s side, where the shutter button is, a number of the LEDs will light up so you can see how much charge the Spectacles are holding. Battery information is also accessible in the Spectacles menu of the phone’s Snapchat app.
Snap promises that Spectacles’ battery should hold a single charge for 100 snaps, which is roughly equivalent to a day’s worth in time, but some users are reported to be finding that their battery’s life is considerably shorter, so if you foresee taking a lot of videos it would be a good idea to carry the case - however bulky you find it.
###Pair and share
There’s no point to be simply taking videos that you can’t see with the Spectacles. You need to pair the sunglasses with your phone. To do this:
Open your Snapchat ap, and in the top left hand corner tap the ghost icon.
Go to the Settings screen. This can be accessed with the top right hand corner’s gear icon.
Tap your Spectacles, and select Pair Spectacles under Pair New Device.
Put the Spectacles on and look at the Snapcode on your screen.
When you press the shutter button, the pairing process begins.
If everything goes well, your phone will recognize your Spectacles and you will be asked to give your Spectacles a name.
If you choose to share your Spectacles with other members of your household or friends, ensure you transfer any snaps to your phone, and unpair the Spectacles.
If you forget to transfer your clips Spectacles may delete old snaps if and when it runs out of space room. A pair of Spectacles can store as many 200 10-second snaps. When it reaches capacity a red light starts to blink in warning.
To take a snap is easy. You just press the shutter button. If you touch it once it records for 10 seconds and you’ll see a spinning ring of LEDs. You will be prompted that recording has started by a small light on the inside of the Spectacles. You are warned when there are just two seconds of recording left by quick flashes of this light.
The only way to shorten the length of a Snap is to stop the recording by pressing and holding for two seconds. However, you can lengthen a recording by a further 10 seconds just by touching the shutter button one or two times after it starts recording. You can do this up to three times, but in the Snapchat Memories screen the videos will play back in 10-second segments.
###Transferring snaps to your phone
Transferring or importing your Snaps to your phone is as easy as taking a Snap. With the Spectacles paired, Snaps are transferred automatically via Bluetooth each time you start the app. This takes around 10 seconds.
Spectacles record Snaps in high definition, but ones automatically transferred are in the lower resolution standard definition, or SD. To import HD versions, you need to tap Get HD at the top. This takes you to another page where the higher quality Snaps can be selected . Wi-Fi is necessary for HD imports.
###Edit your Snaps
When Snaps have been imported, they can be treated like any other Snap you have posted on Snapchat.
One thing that is definitely worth knowing if you intend to export Snaps that have been shot with your Spectacles to Facebook or your camera roll is that what you get is a video in a circle, because this is actually what the Spectacles see, as opposed to a video that has been recorded with your phone’s camera.
So, are you a tech nut, do you get every new piece of cool looking gadget that is new on the market? Or are you just happy with seeing it online?