‘Advanced Gaming Eyewear’. What is it, what does it do and most importantly, should you buy it? Eye strain is something we’ve all probably come across at some point when using a computer, and with super high resolution screens being the norm these days, it’s more of a problem than it used to be. GUNNAR have set out to solve this problem with eyewear that “Protects Your Eyes”, “Improves the Visual Environment”, “Improves Detail and Focus” and “Reduces Eye Fatigue” and presumably makes you a better gamer as a result of these.
The pair I was tasked with reviewing were the ‘Gunnar – Intercept’ and these are the cheapest pair of gaming glasses Gunnar make, but are still pretty expensive at €67.50. The styling is described as ‘Retro’ and they consist of a fairly thick black plastic frame only decorated with subtle metal inserts on the side. If you’ve ever seen the IT crowd (TV Show) then they look almost exactly like the glasses Moss wears! Admittedly, they don’t look anywhere near as sophisticated as some of the metal framed glasses GUNNAR make, but they don’t feel cheap at all. The plastic frame houses GUNNAR’s special lenses and they tend to be the first thing you notice. The lenses have an odd lemon yellow tint to them, so if you choose to wear them around the office or in public, people are more than likely to ask why you look like someone from the front of a Tom Clancy game. Thankfully the Intercepts are quite comfortable to wear for long periods, and you’ll have no problem getting through a whole day (or LAN party) while wearing them.
GUNNAR has made an effort to put the glasses in fancy packaging. The box showcases what you’re potentially going to buy so you can see if the style is something you’re happy with. The actual box comes coved in blister pack which you’ll have to fight with scissors to get open (ARRGH I HATE THE STUFF). Once you’ve got it off, the black cardboard box is revealed. The back of it has a flap which is secured down with Velcro pads. Behind it are a few translations of info that is on the back and more pictures. I’m pretty sure GUNNAR could have crammed a bit more useful information in there. It also seems like GUNNAR use the same box for every pair of their glasses, as there’s not a single picture of the ones I got on the box, and the model name is only shown by a small sticker on the top of the box. Inside, there isn’t a massive amount. You get a rather large fold out book, a carry bag and a decent microfiber cleaning cloth.
You may be thinking to yourself now: what purpose do these ‘Gaming Glasses’ actually serve? – Which is exactly what I thought before getting them. GUNNAR seem to market their range of glasses mainly as a preventative measure to stop your eyes getting fatigued or even your vision getting damaged, but they do far more besides. My experiences with the glasses have been very good, and I’ve managed to test them in a multitude of different environments – all with the same result. They simply make it easier to look at computer screens.
I mainly spend my working days looking at a screen in an office environment either playing games or writing code and I usually feel my eyes getting tired towards the end of the day. After using the GUNNARs for a day, I was pretty impressed that my eyes didn’t feel tired or sore like they usually do. They really excel in darker environments, where looking at a screen for any length of time would give me a pretty bad headache which thankfully didn’t happen at all with the GUNNARs! It’s not exactly clear why the lenses are yellow, but I think that’s the main way the glasses work their magic. When you look through the lenses, everything does take on a yellow tint – similar to what happens if you set your monitor to ‘Warm’ colour settings. White backgrounds especially look less blue than they would normally. It takes some time to get used to the warm colours, but you won’t notice it after a while. This does mean that anyone who is doing any colour-critical work won’t be able to use the glasses as they distort the colours. This subtle colour difference seems to do a good job of increasing contrast on the screen and makes text considerably easier to read, especially if it’s in a small font. GUNNARs also do a very good job of reducing glare from the monitor. The glasses “Filter out the harsh, high energy part of the spectrum” and seem to reduce the halo effect that you usually get around the edge of monitors.
Using these glasses for gaming is generally a good experience. The fatigue reducing effects really come into their own here, as looking at fast moving objects and focusing hard is easier that it would be without them and might give you that edge over other players who have tired eyes. I don’t usually wear glasses though, and the glasses-wearing folk among you will know of all of the associated problems that come with them (steaming up, cleaning the lenses etc.) which haven’t magically disappeared. You may also be thinking “Do I actually have to wear these over my normal glasses?” GUNNAR have thought of that of course, and offer them all with prescription lenses too – at a pretty hefty price though, so putting them over the top of your normal glasses might not be such a bad idea. Also, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to use them just for gaming, as they work very well for looking at web pages, documents and code with a lot of white in.
So the big question – Should you buy GUNNAR glasses? I was initially sceptical about them, thinking they were just another expensive gaming accessory. But after using them for a couple of weeks I can really see not only how they improve your viewing experiences, but how important they are for looking after your eyesight. I’ve noticed significantly less headaches from looking at a screen all day, which can’t be a bad thing. The downsides are that it’s another thing to carry around/remember and the Intercept model I got could do with some nose supports and I wasn’t all that keen on the styling. So next time you feel like splashing out on your PC, forget that expensive glowing mouse pad. Get a pair of these instead – you won’t regret it.
You can purchase the set here: http://shop.gunnars.com/intercept-/d/1027
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.