The Desmo glasses are a pair of lightweight, rimless frames that minimise eye strain through some clever lenses and a simple yet effective design. Whether they’re worth the US$99 RRP is debatable though – it all depends on how square-eyed and vision-conscious you are.
SteelSeries’ latest eyewear instalment comes in a longer line of gaming glasses backed by a company called Gunnar Optiks which creates tinted lenses that combat eye fatigue. The partnership is basically a marketing ploy for the Gunnar eyewear, aiming it specifically at gamers – but that’s not to say that’s a bad thing. The partnership gives gamers the best solution to long gaming session eye fatigue second to getting a life. All jokes aside, the glasses do their job pretty well.
The ‘i-AMP’ lens technology used on the glasses provides clear lenses coated in an anti-reflective coating with a specially formulated yellow tint that shifts the colour spectrum down a notch and makes light a lot easier on the eyes. These wide, rimless lenses wrap around the eyes to cover the whole field of view, so you’re never cutting off edges of your TV or being disrupted with peripheral distractions. There’s also a slight magnification to the glasses which makes everything in front of you slightly easier to see without having to ever sit too close to the screen.
The thin, lightweight build is minimalist in materials but a little eccentric in colour and design, with our tested model coming in a bright orange that matched the lens tint. They’re stylish as a gaming peripheral, but I wouldn’t recommend them for wearing out in public outside of a LAN party, unless you’re a golfer. It fits snugly, and can still feel somewhat noticeable to those who don’t ordinarily wear glasses. But otherwise, the light frames make them very comfortable for glasses. The flat sides are designed to suit users doubling up on over-ear headphones and the glasses. It works, but you’ll still want to be using loose-fitting headphones to avoid discomfort in the long run.
SteelSeries spruiks the improved contrast the glasses lend to the picture, but this is not quite the case. The ‘AMBeR’ tint casts a yellow filter over everything you see, dampening colours and actually diminishing the greater contrast between them. It makes the image gentler on the eyes by softening the harsher light, and the soothing results are very noticeable in long run.
The potential for these glasses extend beyond gaming though. They’re best for typing out Word documents late at night for long hours – the slight magnification will keep you from sitting too close to the screen and the tint downplays the harshness of a bright monitor (and especially a predominantly white word processor). It’s the equivalent of swapping out a sharp, white fluorescent light for a warmer incandescent bulb. If you’re the type to be up late working or work in an office in front of a computer all day, these glasses will pay themselves off pretty quickly.
If you already wear corrective vision glasses but still want to use theses glasses without awkwardly doubling up, you can have a pair of these glasses made out in your prescription. Buying the Desmo from the SteelSeries web store could make the process a little tricky here in Australia. The lenses are developed by Gunnar Rx which runs prescription lenses through Carl Zeiss Vision. You’ll have to head to an optometrist who partners with the company, but a quick search of their website pulls up around 40 optometrists around Sydney alone.
The Desmo is good for long term online gaming where you might sit in front of a TV or monitor for hours on end, but I wouldn’t recommend it for one-off gaming stints of watching movies because of the colour distortion you get. Games and movies were designed by their creators with certain picture in mind, and the glasses throw a monkey wrench into that. But if you’re an online gamer who isn’t afraid of losing some of the lustre of the same Call of Duty map they’ve played a few hundred times over already, or just a keen typist who sits too close to their screen, these glasses are for you.