As long time fans of Gunnar products, we were happy to see them release the Lightning Bolt 360, a modular pair of glasses. Did Gunnar hit this one out of the park? Let’s take a look as we dive into the good, the bad, and the questionable.
Packaging for the Lightning Bolt 360 was truly the most impressive. We’ve been around from the days of the original plastic pencil cases to the upgraded hard-cases. Although this hard case isn’t necessarily for travel, at least it comes with the traditional pouch most Gunnar glasses come with nowadays. Everything is held in its place within the padding inside and it just feels and looks like a high-quality product.
Everything is properly labeled within the packaging too, each of the nose bridges had the size labeled on it, each of the temples had their size on it, making it easy to know exactly which one to place when needed.
Honestly, the best part of this is the option of changing them to whatever packs are released. Don’t like the Gunnar red? Then get yourself the grey Rainbow Six Siege style, not a fan of grey, want some neon-green in your life? Get the ESL variant instead. Making them easily interchangeable gives you options, especially when different styles are released in the future. The clips to change the temple portion has to be our most favorite feature. Each temple option just makes sense and its something that constantly will be changed or replaced.
Speaking of temples, finally! a STRAP! For ages we’ve been wondering why Gunnar hasn’t released a strap, the product was marketed towards gamers who are likely wearing a headset, having anything near/around the ears could get annoying and a strap solves that problem. It is the most comfortable option out of all of the temple options provided. The slim/light temple goes great with the outdoor lens, as it makes for a very light pair of sunglasses. But while gaming, nothing compares to the strap, however, that’s also where we find some flaws.
Curvature. For those of you who wear glasses, we can relate to this problem. Getting adjusted to a new pair of glasses, where it feels like the world is just a bit squeezed together like you’re just about to go cross-eyed. That’s what happens when getting adjusted to the Lightning Bolt 360. As long as you’re focused on one monitor, or one game, you get adjusted to it, however, if you try to move, or if you look at something else, you’ll feel a very strong magnification applied to the amber lens. This is odd, considering we’ve used Gunnar products in the past and all of them didn’t give us this feeling at all. The PPK model has this curve also, and even those didn’t have such a strong change in magnification, it’s odd. We asked a colleagues both who have used Gunnars, and who have not, and we got the same response, there is definitely something slightly different about this pair. I’m sure with time, anyone would get adjusted to them, but we each have our favorite pair, and as much as we wanted these to be it, we can’t put them even remotely close to any of the other pairs we’ve used in the past.
Design. The strap’s design has a major flaw within the rubber housing of the actual strap itself. This is unfortunate considering this was the major reason for wanting to use these glasses. However, within just demoing the product to a colleague, the strap came undone and started de-threading itself. Just showing off how easily the temples could be swapped, it came undone and now, useless as they can no longer stay on your head.
The following two are just concerns of ours which we feel could bring bigger issues for anyone who gets these. As long as you’re careful, this shouldn’t be a problem but in a way, it also defeats the purpose of the entire modular design. Changing the lens from amber (indoor) to sun (outdoor), you need to remove the nose bridge. Therein lies the problem, as the nose bridge is clipped on and held in place by a small handle-bar-style piece of plastic which can easily break if you keep on switching them. Although you probably won’t switch them after you find which one fits you comfortably, you will have to remove them when changing the lens. From here you’ll find the other problem, changing the lens. As with normal glasses, they just pop out with a little pressure, but putting in the new lens is a problem. After fiddling with them for a while, following the instructions exactly, it still feels like you’re going to either break the frame or the lens itself which is unlikely but it sure felt that way with the amount of pressure that was needed to have them settled in.
With changing and fiddling with the lens so much, you’re going to want to invest in a spray or have wipes readily available because they will get smudged in placing them, no matter how hard you try not to, it’s inevitable. This explains why it comes with two wipes!
The bottom line is that although we do get a modular experience from these glasses, once you find the fit/style you like, you’ll likely just stick with that and never change it again. This is why the questionable issues noted above shouldn’t be part of your deciding factor in getting the glasses. As long as you’re careful with them, there shouldn’t be any problems. The strong magnification and the poor design of the strap is a major letdown for us as the glasses are extremely comfortable, but won’t replace our current pair.
Therefore if you plan on getting these, proceed with caution! Honestly, we wish they would have expanded on the Work-Play line of glasses as the transitional lens was amazing, but the styles they opted to put those on weren’t the best. Upon looking them up, it seems like Gunnar has even killed off that “Work-Play” tag line and opted to go with Amber-React or Clear-Transitions instead, but still only available with prescription glasses which almost double the price of the glasses.