It's incredibly helpful to have sunglasses specifically designed for an activity. The problem is keeping up with all the different pairs of glasses and the cost. That's a problem that Switch is here to solve. Switch Vision offers the world's first magnetically interchangeable lenses. In this review we'll see if Switch was able to execute this idea in such a way to make lens swapping a good experience.
Switch was kind enough to send me three different style frames for this review along with several different types of specialty lenses. This first style of frame is full rim and known as Lynx. The second style is referred to as rimless and is named H Wall Wrap. This frame is named after a black diamond ski run in Tahoe known for it's difficult visibility. Lastly, Switch sent me their first frame designed specifically for women. This very stylish frame is known as Arya. The Arya frame offers maximum coverage with its oversized lenses and they look great. The frames I received were slightly bent causing them not to sit correctly on your face. Switch immediately replaced them with no questions ask with another pair of frames bent in the exact same manner. They replaced this pair as well and made sure this time that the glasses were inspected before leaving the facility. This third pair, while not perfect, was certainly the straightest of the bunch. Another issue that the bent frames brought to light is that these frames don't have adjustable nose pads. Being able to adjust the nose pads could compensate for issues like this. If adjustable nose pads are a must for you, then look elsewhere. Otherwise, Switch currently has 21 different types of frames in many different styles and colors and should be able to accommodate almost any taste.
The real reason you buy these glasses though is the lens technology. Each lens features a pair of small but powerful magnets. The frames have a corresponding magnet that aggressively grabs the lens and holds it in place. I've dropped these glasses a couple of times and then lenses didn't pop out. However, on the Arya frames they did pop out all three times that they've been dropped. It's also nice that the magnets are all out of sight when fully assembled. On the H Wall Wrap frames the magnets are both in the corner since these frames are rimless. But even though you're only holding the lens from one corner it's still a really strong fit. One thing I did notice about these frames is the lens doesn't always jump in place like on the Lynx frames. It may require a little extra effort to get it lined up, but it's very minimal. While I think the Lynx glasses look the best, these frames were my favorite to wear because of how light weight they are. They have cutouts on the top, by the temples, and even on the nosepads. When wearing these during any outdoor activity the extra airflow is great.
Now for the demonstration you've all been waiting for. This shows just how strong these little magnets are. Also, this is the demo that all your friends will want to see or do themselves once you explain how the glasses work.
While every frame comes with the low light rose amber lenses, the other types of specialty lenses available will depend on which frames you choose. For Lynx I received golf and tennis, and ski (which I'll use for shooting). The H Wall Wrap came with low light rose amber, golf and tennis, ski, and trail. The Arya currently only come with the low light rose amber. I should also mention that all the frames can be fitted with custom prescription lenses as well which is very helpful if you constantly switch between your prescription lenses and sunglasses.
When I first heard of Switch my first reaction was, "how in the world are they going to make keeping extra lenses in your pocket a good experience?" However, with these lens pods they've really nailed it. The outside is a hard plastic material that Switch says you can put in your back pocket and even sit on. However, if you step on it they will break as I found out. But should that happen to you Switch will replace it at no cost. On the inside there's a soft silicon insert that goes between the lenses that keeps them from scratching one another. There's magnets that hold the lenses in place as well as holding the pods closed. It really is a brilliant design.
Here's the Switch Lens System in action. Arriving at the trail I've used the regular sunglass lenses while driving. To switch to the trail lenses I'll remove them both from the pod and place them aside. Now I've got a safe place to store my regular lenses. After that I snap in the trail lenses and use the included cleaning cloth to remove any finger prints. The whole process takes under a minute.
The trail lenses allow lots of light through while blocking 100% of UV rays and increasing the contrast of your environment. You quickly get used to the improved colors and I always found myself disappointed at how things looked after removing them. In addition to blocking harmful radiation they also make it easier to be alert for hazards on the trail. These were definitely my favorite lenses.
The regular lenses are great at the pool and the polarized filter helps remove glare and reflection from the water. This is a must for fishing or other water sports.
The low light rose amber lenses are great for driving. They are high contrast lenses that block a good amount of light without being overly dark. This means that you can wear them on cloudy days or late in the evening.
The golf and tennis lenses have a slight green tint to them to make it easier to locate the ball against a green background. Like all the other lenses, the extra contrast is really nice and you quickly miss it when you take the glasses off. As I said earlier, the H Wall Wrap frames were the most comfortable while playing tennis because of the light weight design and extra air flow. Both frames stayed on really well throughout the entire time on the court.
The ski lenses are what I used for shooting lenses, and I'm not the only one. Switch lenses were rated the number one shooting glasses by a popular outdoor enthusiast magazine. These lenses allow the most light through while still providing 100% UV protection and giving you high contrast to better see your target.
If you're someone that enjoys the benefits of specialty lenses then head over to switchvision.com and give them a try. Being able to have one frame that you love and swap the lenses on effortlessly is really nice. The magnetic lenses and lens pods were executed perfectly and are a joy to use. And once you get used to always having high contrast lenses tailored for your activity you'll wonder how you ever went without them. If you have any questions that I didn't cover please feel free to leave those in the comments and I'll get back to you.