Gunnar’s Lightning Bolt 360 Gaming Glasses Are Great, But Not Very Affordable

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gunnar lightning bolt 360 review
Image: Kotaku Australia

It’s easy to shoot down the idea of ‘gaming glasses’ particularly when they’re called ‘Lightning Bolt 360s’. But Gunnar’s latest funky coloured lenses and cheesy lightning bolt arms are more than a gimmick: They’re perfect for everyday computing use, whether you’re gaming or not.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to reshape our lives, more of our daily tasks are moving online. More hours behind the computer screen means more pressure on our eyes to keep up, as well as greater intrusion from PC-based blue light. This light interrupts natural sleep cycles and can cause issues with mood and wellbeing.

Here’s where the Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360 lenses come in.

What do Gunnar lenses do?

Gunnar is a glasses company specialising in treating digital eye strain. When you’re using a PC (whether you’re concentrating on work tasks or gaming), your eyes require an intense focus which can cause headaches and strain in the longterm. It also means you’re constantly exposed to blue light, which messes with your bodily rhythms.

By using tinted glasses like Gunnar’s, you can reduce exposure to blue light and reduce the possibility of head aches and strain caused by overexposure to digital screens. The yellow lenses counteract this harmful exposure.

Design

gunnar lightning bolt 360 review
Image: Kotaku Australia

The Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360s are shaped like classic 90s wraparound sunglasses. They have a curved front designed to better protect your eyes and lightning bolt-shaped sides for comfort and added ‘cool’.

The frames are plasticky and don’t feel very strong (they flex easily) but this makes the glasses very lightweight and comfortable to wear. Despite the thickness of the front part of the frame, they don’t feel heavy. There’s a variety of interchangeable accessories included with the glasses if your build doesn’t quite fit for your face, but the review unit sent to Kotaku Australia fit perfectly without adjustment.

The Lightning Bolt 360s are very comfortable to wear around, but it’s important to note the curvature of the lenses creates a magnified fish-eye look you might find distracting. Objects in your immediate view will appear closer and clearer, but objects on either side will have a slightly curved bend. The lenses themselves are quite large and provide ample viewing space uninterrupted by the frame. They only come in one style, so you should consider what type of frames suit your face.

While the design is fairly gimmicky it’s also very fun, comfortable and stylish (if you wear them right).

Are the Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360s fashionable?

gunner lightning bolt 360 review
Image: Kotaku Australia

It’s all about how you wear them.

The Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360s are designed like 90s throwbacks. Wraparounds haven’t been cool in two decades, the frames are fairly chunky and the yellow lenses are a very niche look — but the good news is fashion is subjective and notalgia is in.

There’s also several style icons who’ve adopted tinted lenses into their fashion repertoire. Robert Downey Jr. loves a good set of tinted lenses. So does Brad Pitt — and Chris Evans. If they wear them, you can’t go wrong.

Final verdict? The Gunner Lightning Bolt 360 glasses are fashionable. You just have to be bold enough to wear them outside.

Everyday use

The Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360 glasses are designed for use with everyday computing tasks as well as gaming. They block out all blue light and focus your attention, making daily tasks easier to plow through.

Personally, I work an eight hour day and the bulk of time is spent behind a screen. When I’m reviewing a game or just chilling out, my screen hours extend long into the night. Having a set of blue light-blocking glasses is essential for these tasks (my personal glasses also contain this filter).

The important thing to note about blue light-blocking lenses is you won’t overtly notice their impact, so it’s hard to quantify the value of the glasses. Using them was very comfortable. I never found myself squinting or frowning at my computer and any screen-related headaches were completely gone. That meant I could spend hours at a time using a laptop without needing to take a break or grab some water (although these are both things you should definitely still do).

The review unit sent over was a prescription set so I was using the Lightning Bolt 360s for most of my daily tasks. While they were bulkier than my regular glasses, they were easy to get used to and actually made reading fine text easier because they have stronger magnification and a curve-induced focus on the middle ground.

While the yellow lenses themselves are slightly offputting at first, you adjust to the difference pretty quickly. Colours balance out after a few minutes of using the glasses and you won’t really notice the filter beyond your first few minutes with the glasses.

The Lightning Bolt 360s are great for long-term, everyday use but you’ll need to consider your own eyesight needs and budget before heading out to purchase a pair.

Should you buy them?

gunnar lightning bolt 360 review
Image: Kotaku Australia

The Gunnar Lighting Bolt 360 gaming glasses start at $US129.99 ($175) without a prescription. If you need them customised with a prescription, they start from $US350 ($472). Exact Australian pricing is currently unconfirmed, but you can order directly from the Gunnar website with free global shipping.

To contextualise this price, the average glasses-wearer will pay around $150 to $250 for a pair of everyday glasses depending on the specialist lenses and frames needed. The lenses on the Lightning Bolt 360 are specialised, but the frame and build quality aren’t extraordinary. While they’re great for everyday use and really do help reduce overall headaches and overexposure to computer screens, they sit at the far end of affordability.

It’s likely you won’t use these glasses in your everyday life. They’re a bit too funky for going grocery shopping or talking a walk (unless you’re really fashion forward — or Tony Stark). It means the Lightning Bolt 360s are more likely to be a secondary pair of glasses. $470 is a lot to pay for something ‘extra’.

Even without a prescription, the Lightning Bolt 360s are fairly expensive for a piece of tech that’s simply ‘nice to have.’ While they do have a clear long-term benefit and will aid your PC gaming experience there are other, more affordable options — like taking a break from your computer and going for a quick walk. There’s also cheaper blue light-blocking glasses on the market, although you’ll need to head to your local optometrist for reccomendations.

If price is no issue or you’re set on getting the best gaming glasses on the market, the Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360s should be on your list. For everyone else, there’s far more affordable alternatives.

Comments

  • They basically do exactly what my normal glasses do, but with a worse frame and for double the price.

    One day “gamer” branded stuff will stop being half the quality, double the price and triple the Attitude. Today is not that day.

  • “While they do have a clear long-term benefit”

    Do they? Peer review studies on the matter are a bit lacking.

    If you have chronic eye strain go see a doctor. Don’t spend money on something that ‘might’ work.

  • Wife went to to a sleep clinic. Both doctors said blue light theory is horseshit. After all my doesn’t the tv have the same effect? Stimulation and engagement is the problem. You’re not just watching. You’re clicking, scrolling etc.

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