I bought some Snaptacles.

At least that's what I think they should have been called, but what do I know. Well, I do know that I want a face camera. I had the opportunity to try out Google Glass when it was launched. Wasn't an explorer, but a co-worker bought a pair and let me try them for a while. Feels like that's what I'm doing with these, just at a tenth of the price and a tenth of the functionality.

Essentially, they're a camera for Snapchat, whose parent company, Snap, claims is "a camera company." I've been on there since, well, a long time. I stopped using it at first when no one I knew was on the platform. Picked it back up when some family members urged me to add them (thanks cuz peeps). Despite what people hear in the media, and purported user backlash (not from me) due to interface changes, Snapchat is a good platform overall. If you've heard of Instagram, it's very much like that, only more private, and only view-able on a phone. The difference is subtle, but Snap's CEO, Evan Spiegel, articulates its appeal to me well:

“I think that’s why traditional social media feels threatened. Because fundamentally people realize that competing with their friends for ‘Likes’ and attention is kind of unpleasant and really not that great.”

Here's an extended quote from that interview:

Spectacles are an interesting take on the camera, and a way to create on the platform. The images and videos are circular, in a sort of fish eye lens style. When viewed in the app, the display stays "level" as you rotate the screen, which allows for seeing the full image...just not all at once. Clever.

A tool
A selfie snap using spectacles

My wife says they aren't a flattering look. They've enabled some nice captures that would have been very awkward with a phone. Snaps can be exported in original, circular form (above), square, or "widescreen" (which is actually 4:3, a.k.a CRT tube format). Works for still images and video. The photos are a bit blown out, but the videos are pretty solid, if a bit muted.

It's now been two months since the purchase. I don't use them as much as I did at first, but I look for good opportunities all the time. I can already see the progression they need to take (VR180) and some minor upgrades needed (resolution, time limits, photo processing, button press and exporting options).

I've started a playlist on YouTube for videos I've taken with these. Done some editing with GoPro's Slice app for iOS to make them 16:9 and stitch together. See below:

What do you think? Are face cameras freaky or too gimmicky? I say, bring them on more!