The goggles, they do something!
You’ve probably seen Gunnar glasses in shops and scoffed, like I had many times. They’re essentially slightly yellow tinted glasses that make claims of being able to reduce eyestrain and allow you to focus on games better. At £65 or so they’re pretty expensive so I’d never really given them a second thought. Helpfully Gunnar sent us over a pair of SteelSeries Scopes to review so I could see what the fuss was about without investing my own money into it. So do they work?
This isn’t going to be a satisfying answer, but kind of. I work full time and tend to play games in the evening, with the occasional extended session at the weekend. At work I do occasionally use computers, but there’s no way I’m getting out a pair of gaming glasses while I’m there (they do offer much more professional looking models for people who want to wear them at work). So my testing of this pair has been over a month of fairly light use at home, with one or two extended session of Call of Duty and Starcraft 2.
One thing that is clear from my time with them is that they definitely help to reduce eye strain, particularly at night if you have an artificial light on or are just relying on the light from the screen. My eyes felt less sore and while that could partly be down to placebo, once I got settled in I felt much more comfortable paying attention to the screen for extended periods of time. This surprised me somewhat but after seeing similar reports from others who have used the glasses, I’m inclined to believe there is definitely something to the science. Less eye strain means more focus for gaming and work, which can only be a good thing. Other than the fact that eye strain tends to be my sign to give up and go to bed, these things will only encourage me to play longer.
In regards to the company’s other claim about being able to see with higher contrast, I’m still not convinced. The yellow glass unsurprisingly gives a slight yellow tint to everything, and while you can ignore that after a while, I’m not sure that it helps you see anything in more detail, other than allowing you to focus more as mentioned previously. They do seem to have a slightly odd effect on some images, such as on our HDTV while typing this post, it seems as though I can almost see the pixels on the 1080p display, as if there’s a very fine mesh over the screen. Possibly this is a sign that I can see a sharper image if I’m picking up things like that, but it’s more slightly offputting than it is a huge benefit.
The glasses themselves are very well built, as you’d expect for the money, and the SteelSeries Scopes have a wonderfully premium finish to the metal frames. While they might look a bit silly on me (me being boring and tending to go for more professional looking attire when I can help it) you’re likely to be wearing these in your own home or at gaming events where I’m sure they won’t look out of place. There’s a wide variety of styles to pick from (each with a different price tag) so ordering direct from their website (http://www.gunnars.com/) might be the way to go.
Overall I’m pleasantly surprised by the glasses. They definitely do something to make staring at a screen easier, and that’s more than I expected. I’m not sure that every single claim made by the designers it true but if you’re prone to any kind of eye trouble or discomfort while playing for long periods, particularly if you don’t have a good lighting set up in your gaming area, then I can easily recommend these. If your eyes are fine and you’re on a strict budget, these aren’t going to revolutionise the way you play.