32 Degrees North Sunglasses Review: The future for readers is almost clear

32 Degrees North Sunglasses Review: The future for readers is almost clear

Simon Cohen wearing Deep Optics 32°N sunglasses.

32 degrees north sunglasses

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“The 32°N sunglasses give us an exciting glimpse into our electronic future.”


  • Intuitive operation

  • Easy app-based calibration

  • Comfortable and stylish

  • The reader function works


  • beloved

  • Smaller field of view than normal readers

  • Not as clear as standard optics

Some so-called smart sunglasses come equipped with cameras. Some come with small speakers and a microphone so you can listen to music and take calls. Some give you a giant virtual movie screen. And you know what? I’m not interested. As a Gen

The technical term is presbyopia — the loss of clear, near vision — and it’s a huge pain in the ass. So when I found the website for 32°N sunglasses, I knew I had to try them.

Designed by Israeli company Deep Optics, the 32°N is a set of sunglasses that can transform into bifocals with reader power (up to 2.5x) with just the swipe of your finger. This makes them, the company says, the first readable sunglasses.

But being first doesn’t come cheap. These sunglasses cost $849. For this amount of money, you can buy three pairs of

With some change remaining.

However, if 32 Degrees North delivers on its promise, I bet a lot of people like me will open their wallets to buy it.

After three weeks of waiting for some sun this winter, I finally got my chance to test it out.

32°N Sunglasses: Design

Deep sunglasses 32 degrees north.
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

What is the most popular and enduring sunglass design? Answers may vary, but if you say…

You’re probably right. So it’s no coincidence that 32 degrees north latitude resembles the shadows that will forever be associated with Tom Cruise’s star shift Dangerous work.

They’re not identical for obvious reasons, but from a distance, they give off a similar feel. Like the original Wayfarers, you can order the 32°N in multiple colors like black, caramel, or tortoise back, or if you want to be transparent about your tech-enhanced vision, you can opt for a clear frame that reveals inside wires, battery, and touch sensors.

The tips and lens frames are slightly thicker than those on standard sunglasses, but the biggest obvious difference is the polarized lenses themselves: they are completely flat.

Deep Optics 32°N sunglasses, top view.
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

They’re flat for a reason. The liquid crystal matrix that gives lenses their adaptability must be flat so that they can create the correct bending of light when zoom mode is on. I don’t think this is an inherent requirement in the technology, but for this first release, that’s what we have.

Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact that the flatness of the lenses makes 32°N look like negative polarized 3D glasses. This flatness can also create unwanted reflections from behind you while you’re wearing it.

The only other small indicators that 32 Degrees North are anything but regular sunglasses are the small LEDs (four on the outside of the right end and two on the inside) and the magnetic charging connector located on the underside of the right end.

Deep Optics 32°N sunglasses with case, two charging cables and cleaning cloth.
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

Oh, and one small but important tip: keep those peepers out of the water. from which type. Deep Optics is very clear about this – the 32°N does not have an IPX rating for water protection. Even when cleaning lenses, the company encourages you to use only the included cleaning cloth.

The 32°N comes with its own hard carrying case, two USB-A magnetic charging cables, a cleaning cloth, and a quick start guide.

32°N Sunglasses: Setup and Calibration

The 32°N uses Bluetooth to communicate with an app on your phone, but that’s only for calibration or making changes to your settings. By the day, you probably won’t need your phone at all to buy glasses.

Calibration within the companion 32°N app (iOS/Android) is pretty straightforward, but it helps to know a little about how the zoom system works.

Most of us look through a slightly different area of ​​our glasses depending on whether we’re looking down at our phone or slightly up when using a laptop. The calibration process determines exactly where to focus your gaze for each activity, so you can create different profiles. If you mount your phone on a dashboard clip while driving, it may need a different profile than when you’re scrolling your social feeds.

Once calibration is complete (it takes about 2 minutes), you can choose how much magnification you want (from 0 to 2.5x), which can be changed using the app without recalibrating.

32°N sunglasses: quality and comfort

Simon Cohen wearing Deep Optics 32°N sunglasses.
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

Despite its hefty price tag, 32 Degrees North does – dare I say it – look a bit cheap. The black plastic of my review unit started showing small scratches right away. The ends do not fold flat, making them fit awkwardly either inside the case or when trying to hang them from your collar. And if you look closely, you can see the outlines of each lens’s electrical contact points on the top and inner edges – they’re not hidden within the already fairly thick frames.

This is not a criticism of their construction, the glasses feel solid and the hinges are sturdy. In my time with them, they haven’t come loose (although the hinges rely on metal pins, not screws, so there’s no way to manually tighten them if they come loose).

The lenses are polarized, which is often a premium upgrade from brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley. I found them very comfortable to wear. But they don’t look or feel like high-end sunglasses.

Sunglasses at 32°N: Using reading mode

Deep Optics 32°N sunglasses without magnification.
32°N normal. Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

Using the 32°N reading mode is very simple. A quick swipe of your finger from front to back on the right end switches the lens from normal mode to reading mode. Perform the pull again, and they will return to normal. Reverse the scrolling motion and you can change from one profile to another.

There’s also a glance mode: place three fingers on the right end and reading mode will remain active until you remove your hand. These gestures work with gloves too, as long as they’re touchscreen compatible.

Deep Optics 32°N sunglasses with magnification.
32°N in reading mode. Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

It takes about two seconds for the lens to fully transition from zero to 2.5x magnification or vice versa, which doesn’t seem long at all. When in reader mode, the small LED inside the right end lights up green. I’m not really sure why it was there – I couldn’t see it at all while wearing it.

When in normal mode, the lenses provide clear vision, with just the right amount of gray-green tint for a variety of activities on days with full sun or even bright but overcast days. And there’s no indication that you’re looking through the LCD matrix, it’s completely invisible when it’s turned off.

If you review the zoom simulation examples on the 32 Degrees North website, you might be tempted to think that the entire LCD area has been switched to your preferred zoom – just like a standard pair of reader sunglasses.

If so, that would be great and I’ll probably end the review here with an unqualified recommendation. Unfortunately – and perhaps because this is a first-generation product – the reality is less dramatic.

Deep Optics 32°N sunglasses with LED indicator.
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

When in reading mode, the LCD area only achieves full clarity and magnification in a small rectangular area. It is equivalent to an area of ​​4″ x 4″ when viewed from a distance of 20″.

In other words, unlike regular readers, which allow you to shift your gaze along the bottom third of the lenses, 32°N forces you to move your head if you want to keep things clear.

It’s less of an issue when looking at your watch, and more of an issue when looking at your phone. Reading a book proved uncomfortable because parts of the text would drift in and out of focus as I moved down the page.

I’m also not entirely convinced that the lenses were giving me the 2.5x magnification I specified in the app. Compared to a normal group of 2.5 readers, 32 degrees north was not as pronounced.

Now for some caveats. I’ve had enough sessions with an eye doctor to know that vision is not 100% objective. You can make all the measurements you want and some people will simply see differently from each other even when all the numbers say they should be the same.

It’s entirely possible that your experience with these glasses will be different from mine.

32°N Sunglasses: Battery Life

Deep Optics 32°N Sunglasses – Shipping Contacts.
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

When I go on vacation, nothing makes me happier than sitting by the pool and reading novels (preferably science fiction) for hours on end. With a limited battery life of five hours for reading mode, that might be enough to keep me happy (sadly, with no vacation on the horizon, I can only dream of that scenario).

But the key here is that very few people would need to keep the 32°N line running for a full five hours. As long as you use the zoom “normally” (presumably checking your phone occasionally, looking at the time, and looking at the odd menu), Deep Optics says a single charge will last for 48 hours. If you never use reading mode, you’ll get seven days of standby time.

Plus, charging doesn’t take long at all. I was able to go from dead to full in about 30 minutes. Would longer battery life be better? Sure, but I think that’s enough for most people, after all, you won’t be using them once the sun goes down.

I’m thrilled that there’s 32 degrees north. The idea of ​​having sunglasses that can magically turn into on-demand readers sounds like the idea of ​​the future. For a quick glance on your watch or phone, it works well. But at their first look, I’m not sure I can encourage you to rush out to the website and drop $849 on these colors. They work, there’s no doubt about that, but for me, they don’t work well enough.

For now, I’ll stick with my cheap 2.5x reader sunglasses from Amazon while I wait in great anticipation for version 2.0.


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