Gunnar Glasses At PAX East: Hands-On Review

While roaming the giant lobby of PAX East we came across a stand for Gunnar Eyewear, a line of advanced glasses specifically intended for gaming. We tried on a pair ourselves and decided we'd give those unfamiliar with the glasses some of our impressions.

For those unfamiliar with Gunnar, they basically make advanced computer eyewear for those who spend extended periods of time gaming or in front of a screen. The glasses are not only meant to prevent straining damage from excessive screen time, but are also meant to improve the clarity of the image on screen.

So does it work? We only got to spend a little time with the glasses, but from what we could tell we definitely saw where Gunnar is going. Along with a variety of glasses to try on, Gunnar had a screen set up that you could take a look at while wearing them. From our test run, the visual impact of the screen felt softer and even though there wasn't a dramatic shift in clarity, the clarity of the images did definitely improve. The glasses also feature a yellow tinting, which nicely complements the soft effect.

The glasses work through what Gunnar refers to as FRACTYL lens geometry, in which the lenses are shaped to limit air currents near the eye. Gunnar also implements DIAMIX lens material to get rid of haze and distortion caused by impurities, IONIK lens tints to filter out harsh artificial light and reduce high-intensity light, as well as iFi lens coating, which his basically an anti-reflective layer for glare reduction.

So should you buy one? Gunnar has teamed up with Carl Zeiss to sell the glasses, which retail from about $80 to closer to $120. They even have prescription versions available. We spoke to gamer Steven Mailloux, who had just purchased a pair. He claimed to spend over 10 hours per day in front of a screen and said that the glasses definitely provide less strain. This was Mailloux's third pair, after giving away a second pair he had won to a fellow gaming enthusiast.

"It's perfect for gamers," Mailloux said. "Anyone who plays games a lot should have one."

Whether the glasses are worth the price is somewhat subjective. From what we can tell, it may not be worth it if you're a casual gamer who doesn't spend too much time in front of the screen. But if you're a die hard gamer, like many of the PAX East attendees, then a pair of Gunnar glasses could be just the ticket.

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