Anytime we get a chance to try out some new glasses from Gunnar Optiks, I'm both excited but unsure what to expect. Sometimes we get a pair that is just perfect and does wonders for my eyesight as I'm working, sometimes we get a pair that has great intentions but don't work out as well. This month we got two different pairs to try out as the Axial and the Valve lines join the roster.
Starting off with the Axial that you see above, this is a thicker black rim than we usually see from Gunnar, with a denser plastic mold that is designed to take more of an impact in case they are thrown about or dropped. The temples are tipless and have a much more rounded shape to the ends, while the hinges are of a thicker metal work. And while we're talking about rounded out shapes, the lenses and rims are given a better circular pattern than some of its predecessors to appear like a standard pair of glasses.
The Axial comes with i-AMP lens technology that softens the light coming from monitors and smartphones while adding a brightness to the room around you. In essence, you're dulling one bright source of light and highlighting everything else so there is a relaxing balance that won't strain your eyes. While this pair works really well, the frame itself felt a bit constricting. They'd work better for people with smaller heads, or to be blunter, kids and teenagers. Sitting on my average adult head, the frames are a bit snug. But when I gave them to a kid, they worked out perfectly for them. There would make a smart option for your children at home if they spend a lot of time in front of games or computers.
The second pair to come our way was the Valve. This particular pair has a gray tone to the color that feels lighter than the previous pair. The frames wrap around and have more of a contour to the head as they sit more on the side of the skull than on the ears. But not so tight as to cause discomfort or pain. The eyes have more of a rectangular shape to them, and like the last pair, come with no nose pieces as they simply slide onto the face and rest.
The lenses on this pair have the same i-AMP tech going into your viewing, but because of the shape of the lens itself, you're getting a wider view. These glasses feel more like workman's glasses or something I might use when working in a mechanics shop. Not that they were intended for it, but the design very much fits a modern goggles look to them and has a more professional appearance. This pair was more comfortable than the Axial, and strangely enough, worked better when I decided to take them outside and walk around with them. This is more of an adult pair that works well with multiple situations, especially with dealing with long gaming sessions.
Overall, both of these Gunnar Optiks glasses are good, but clearly, the Valve stands above the Axial for functionality and purpose. That being said, the Axial may be a good pair to get children who are playing games and using phones on a frequent basis at home.