Snapchat Spectacles 3: More Than Twice the Price, for What?

Spectacles 3
(Image credit: Snapchat)

Third time's the charm, or at least that's what Snapchat hopes.

Yes, Spectacles, Snapchat's wearable glasses with cameras built into them are back, and wow they're expensive. This new pair is available for pre-order now and costs $380, more than twice the $150 that Spectacles 2 sold for. 

And why does Snapchat think this price will be a good fit? Well, for starters, they do look cooler than either of their predecessors (which isn't hard to do). 

Spectacles 3 Design

According to Vogue, which got the exclusive first hands-on with the specs, they're made of a "lightweight stainless steel" material. This is a giant leap forward from the translucent plastic of previous editions, plus they've got a mix of sharp 90-degree edges and curves that make them look like a statement, rather than an embarrassment. 

Spectacles 3 will be sold in two colorways: rose gold Mineral and black Carbon. Snapchat's also promoting two new designs for its waterproof Spectacles 2: a blockier Nico and an oversized Veronica. The Spectacles 3 also come with a full-grain leather charging case.

Spectacles 3 Dual Cameras: Now with 3D Video

Thanks to a second HD camera, the Spectacles 3 offer a new feature: 3D video. Built to work with Snapchat's 3D effects, Spectacles 3's dual cameras provide a depth of field, meant for use with Snapchat's AR features, which have long been the missing element in Spectacles. In a tweet promoting Spectacles 3, we see AR elements, such as flying birds and hearts, moving around the subjects of the video.

Battery Life and Storage

In terms of battery life, The Verge reports that you’ll be able to capture 70 videos and more than 200 photos on a charge. You recharge the glasses by storing them in the included charging case, and a full charge will take 75 minutes. You recharge the case with a USB-cable.

There's 4GB of storage on board, which can hold up to 100 videos or 1,200 photos.

(Image credit: Snapchat)

What's missing (and what needs to be fixed)

There is one thing the Spectacles 3 is missing: water resistance. While Spectacles 2 could survive a splash or two, and were marketed for summertime fun, this new model has no IPX rating and looks a bit more fragile.

If you don't remember Spectacles 2, my review praised Snapchat for adding water resistance, improving video quality and improving upload time. Hopefully, this new pair will fix that model's problems, including an egregiously complicated posting process.

Catering to a more affluent crowd

Snapchat's apparently trying to recreate the scarcity that pushed Gen. 1 Spectacles to be a hot item. The company states in its press release that it will be doing a "more limited production run," that is "only a fraction of the total Specs 1 we announced had sold as of last April."

By moving to a higher end market, Snapchat only needs a fraction of its 203 million daily users to step up to make this a sell-out product. But there's no guarantee shoppers will bite. If they don't, the company may have to write off millions of dollars (again) on unsold pairs.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.