Switch Vision’s unique Magnetic Interchange Lens System™ certainly caught our eye the first time we saw them. As their rep was demonstrating how effortless it was to swap lenses, it became apparent that not only do they understand the importance of having multiple lenses available for varying conditions, but they’ve addressed the issue of how relatively difficult it can be sometimes to switch between different lenses.
Strategically placed magnets in each frame and lens are all that hold them in place. Despite their tiny size, the magnets are very high strength, ensuring that the lenses don’t come out during normal as well as excessively rough activities, yet they pop out with a bit of intentional force. Each polycarbonate lens has front and rear scratch-resistance hard coatings, and an anti-reflective coating on the back that’s also scratch resistant. Polarizing film is included in many lenses, as is a reflective front treatment. All lenses have the exclusive TriGuard™ coating as well, which beads water and makes cleaning fingerprints and smudges quick work with the included microfiber cloth pouch.
As I was due for an eye exam, it seemed like the perfect time to try out all this vision technology with my prescription. I chose the Bespoke, which offers classic styling suitable for casual outdoor activities, plus a certain amount of “geek fashion” with the clear lenses. After submitting my prescription, their lab was kind enough to contact me to double check some of the details, and then my glasses arrived a short time later. My new frames are shiny black (olive and tortoise were the other options), with dark lenses sporting a highly mirrored surface. While not as sporty as a pair of wraparound shades, the ability to switch to my clear lenses when I step inside the office more than makes up for that.
After about a month, I have probably demonstrated the lens swap hundreds of times, always to a positive response. Not having to carry around a second pair of glasses has been appreciated. Although I’m not too vain, the compliments I got were certainly appreciated too. They definitely look good with either lens. Despite the fact that the lens isn’t completely captive in the frame like other glasses, I didn’t notice any air getting through while traveling at bicycle or motorcycle speeds. And they’re light enough that they didn’t become bothersome during a 600 mile road trip. My only minor complaint would be that I prefer a slightly thinner frame, but that may not be possible when accommodating the magnets.
Mrs. Outsider was given the task of reviewing the Switch Lycan, which has a wraparound shape and wide temples. They offer much more than average protection from both sun and wind, while still being stylish. She chose the Lagoon, which is a deep green and black combination, but a variety of colors such as tortoise, olive, plus some matte blue or black grey finishes are available too. Included with the frames were non-mirrored polarized grey lenses, and rose amber lenses for lower light conditions, as well as the hard case, lens pod, and microfiber pouch for storage and cleaning.
Here’s what she had to say about them: The Lycan’s coverage is both good and bad. Around the lake, or on windy days, I like the fact that they protect my eyes well. But for driving or bike riding, they cut into my peripheral vision to the point that I would reach for a different pair. When there is a bit of a breeze, they are comfortable, but in still air, I felt like they could use some sort of venting. For being so large, they are actually pretty light, and the rubber nose piece kept them from slipping. I don’t fish, but I like the polarized lenses for reducing glare. We were recently up at Sundance, and being able to see the fish in their little lake was a nice surprise. Without polarized lenses, I wouldn’t have seen them at all. In the morning and towards the late afternoon, the rose amber lenses did a great job without being too dark. The magnets make changing lenses so easy, I wish someone had thought this up years ago. And after comparing the Lycan to some less expensive sunglasses, I was able to see what a big difference in lens quality they offer. Everything is much more clear, and I’ll never go back to so-called “fashion” sunglasses that don’t do their job!
We’d both like to thank Switch for the opportunity to put their products to the test. Their innovative magnetic system really makes swapping lenses trouble-free too. They have a huge frame selection, and when you consider that each one comes with two sets of lenses, that’s almost like two pairs for the price of one, but you can carry the lens pod instead of a bulky case. See if they have frames to suit you at switchvision.com.
– Brian & Mrs. Outsider