SNAP SPECTACLES $130

Video recorder sunglasses could be hit

For decades, from Kodak to Polaroid to GoPro, companies have marketed cameras by touting features such as focal length, image size and memory space. Spectacles — the debut camera from Los Angeles’ Snap Inc. — might be the first capture device ever sold with most technical specifications withheld.

Snap refuses to reveal the megapixel measurement of Spectacles’ image sensor, the exact capacities of its storage and battery, or details about other components.

In public, Spectacles users almost blend in. Even when a ring of small LED lights spins at the hinge, indicating the camera is recording, few passersby seem to bat an eye. Spectacles frames come in a low-key black, a laid-back teal and a much more in-your-face coral. They don’t look all that different from a pair of knockoff Ray-Bans.

Spectacles have made recording 10-second videos effortless. But they aren’t perfect. They make boring wide shots and blurry night recordings. They don’t take stills and don’t zoom.

Spectacles include a proprietary charging cable and a durably textured charging case, with extras for $10 and $50 respectively on Amazon.com.

Some details have emerged about the technology in the sunglasses from people who have torn their shades apart, including that the battery is about 5 percent of what’s packed in a smartphone. Snap has said that Spectacles hold about 100 videos, suggesting at least 2 gigabytes of onboard memory. A microphone is bundled somewhere.

In between the recording and the viewing, Snap still has work to do. Downloading videos to the Snapchat app on a smartphone is slow and buggy. Videos show up in high-definition on the owner’s phone, but they can’t be shared with others in HD. Snap organizes Spectacles videos into batches based on the day that they were shot and uses an undisclosed algorithm to automatically point users to the best among them.

In the editing process, users can doodle on the 10-second videos just as they would a normal Snapchat video.

Snap is only selling Spectacles through a limited-hours store in New York City and vending machines roving around the U.S. a day at time. The unusual sales strategy prompted big lines when Spectacles went on sale in early November. But the frenzy has subsided.

LOS ANGELES TIMES