Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: XX2i Sunglasses

Rocking my new XX2i sunglasses
Webb: The people at XX2i Optics sent us their France1 Dual Pro Sunglass Kit. Some of you may be thinking, "hmmm XX2i, that sounds familiar." Well, if you are member of USAT, then you probably received a number of offers when you signed up or renewed your membership. The kit was provided to us free; however, our review will be candid and, we hope, helpful.

The kit includes two pairs of sunglasses, 3 sets of interchangeable lenses,  3 small micro-fibre bags to store the lenses, two micro-fibre bags to store the individual pairs of sunglasses whilst on the move and a beefy case to hold them all. The sunglasses come in two colors: black (with laser black lenses) and demi-tortoise (with laser brown lenses). The interchangeable lenses come in transparent, yellow and "orange." (I wouldn't call it orange, but more on that below.)

Elle: So we've been wearing the new XX2i Sunglasses during training sessions (running and biking). I'm really liking them. They're lightweight and look good (if I do say so myself). My favorite thing is how nicely they fit over my bike helmet straps - something I've had problems with while wearing other sunglasses. But only for Cervélo (road bike), not on the Trek Speed Concept (tri bike), since my aero position can make it harder to see, due to the thicker frames. And since there are two frames, one black and one brown, you have color options, which is nice. It's great to have the set that Webb and I can share, although he's partial to the brown ones. Since I got these, I haven't been wearing either my Oakley's or my Rudy Project sunglasses. But I like having options, and it's always good to have back-up sunglasses.

Webb: You might want to know where I am coming from, because quite frankly, the things that are important to me may be very different than your wants and concerns. With that in mind I have categorized my review, in order of importance:

1. Protection. This comes in two flavors: UV and physical protection (e.g., bugs, debris). I'll skip over the UV protection because I do not know if these block none, some or all UV rays (A, B & C). As for physical protection, they seem to be fine. Will they stop a bullet? Don't know. Will they stop a rock fired from the back tire of passing car? Also don't know. There was nothing about the lenses that made me believe they would not provide adequate protection from flying debris.

2a. FitHey, if it doesn't fit well, you are not going to wear them, right?
I have an oddly shaped head. Thankfully it is not immediately noticeable to people. When I wear a pair of sunglasses for more than 2 or 3 hours during exercise, pain develops in the boney regions in front of and above the ears. I have purchased several sunglasses over the years looking for a pair that won't give me a headache.

Glasses & Case
I wore both the black and brown frames (which are identical) over a variety of occasions: cycling (training), commuting by bike, running, walking around and even a sporting event as observer (i.e., Red Sox game). Both pairs were comfortable at all times. I did not have my usual problems around the ears. They are light, don't seem to trap heat around the eyes and stay put on the nose. I was very happy with the fit, whether for 30 minutes or 4 hours.

(Elle: I have a normally shaped head and have no problems with the fit.)

2b. Functionality. For what purpose am I buying the sunglasses? Do I want or need multi-purpose lenses or interchangeable lenses?

My go-to sunglasses are a pair of Specialized somethings or others. (I'm terrible about remembering the names of some products.) I love the lenses because they adapt to many light conditions. One lens to rule them all sorta thing. I'm not crazy about their style (see category #3 below); more importantly, they are among the culprits that induce the pain. For these reasons, I am open to sunglasses that do have interchangeable lens.

I tried all of the lenses except the transparent lens. All of them had very good clarity. At no point on any ride or run did I feel like I had to squint or remove the glasses to see better. I can't say they are excellent because one day I hopped in the car to drive somewhere and put on my Maui Jim sunglasses. I could definitely tell the difference between the two. I don't count this as a negative though. First, my Maui Jim's cost more than this combo pack. Second, I don't want to see if they could withstand the ballistics of a flying pebble.

The default lenses for both the demi-tortoise (laser brown) and the black (laser black) were good. I don't like dark sunglasses. I want to be able to see. Both of these hit the sweet spot of cutting light and glare without making me feel like I was trapped in a box. I put the orange (more like rose-colored) lenses in the demi-tortoise and really liked those. They are a little brighter and don't cause eye fatigue. I have not taken them out since.

One hazy/foggy night I went out for a run around 10:30PM. I took the opportunity to test out the yellow lenses. I popped them into the black pair. Ok, let's be honest: I did not pop them in. It is a little trickier than that. The lenses are easy to swap in and out once you get over the fear you are not going to break them. The lenses were fantastic. They really brought out the light in the city. This is why I have not tried the transparent lenses. Between the orange/rose and the yellow, I'm not sure I need the laser brown, laser black or transparent lenses. Those two meet all of my needs.

3. Style. As much I as I would like this to be higher on the list, I have reconciled with my DNA. Unlike Elle, I look good in only 2 or 3 styles. If you add in my priority (i.e., protection), that limits me further. There aren't a lot of hip safety glasses out there. So far, I am pretty happy with these. They seem to look good whether I'm running around in shorts and a t-shirt or in my 9 to 5 costume. Although I don't think anyone is whispering "oh man, I gotta get a pair of those"; likewise, I don't think anyone is giggling behind my back.

1 comment:

  1. first off at this price I would have not purchased these glasses. With that said I think they are great, very comfortable and easy to use. I also think that the extra and spare lenses can be expensive too, In some cases costing more than another pair of sunglasses. I was a little disappointed with the lenses that came with the kit I was hoping for the yellow lenses for to test with archery and shooting. the lenses were not labeled so I did not know which ones came with the kit or the extra pair in the box. after I started using them they are great and still trying different things with them. have to say that im pleasantly surprised with these sunglasses