Everysight Raptor review
Live ride data in your line of vision
Whether training or just riding for pleasure, cycling metrics abound these days. Time, heart rate, power, distance and speed are just a few data points riders look at during a ride. But is a computer on your handlebars the best place for all this data? Technology company Everysight would argue putting this data inside your sunglasses is a safer and more effective way to go.
The Everysight Raptor packs a fair amount of technology into the heads up display (HUD) sunglasses themselves, measuring and projecting multiple fields of data into a rider’s line of vision. The Raptor does what most good cycling GPS computers do, measuring the basics like speed, elevation, distance and so forth, plus guiding workouts and offering navigation. And, like a Garmin, you can easily pair your sensors like a heart-rate strap or a power meter to see that data.
Notably, the Raptor also adds a hi-res camera that shoots surprisingly crisp stills and video.
The five-field display is crisp and easy to read. Using the companion app, you can set the position of display inside the sunglasses. With the data right in your line of sight, you just refocus your eyes to see the numbers. If that doesn’t make sense, try this: hold your index finger six inches from your face, then without moving your head or eyes, shift your focus between something in the distance and your finger. It’s the same with the display.
Initial setup, updates and downloads of rides, photos and videos are handled through the app, which has helpful tutorials.
On the bike, the Raptor is controlled with a touchscreen on the right arm. Swiping, tapping and double tapping toggles through various functions and engages them. Starting, pausing and finishes rides, sure, but also taking photos and videos, swiping through the data screens and bringing up and dismissing the map.
If you so choose, you can get see alerts inside the Raptor like you see on your phone screen: incoming texts and calls, plus app notifications. You can also play music from your phone on the little speakers, allowing you to take in the tunes without blocking out ambient sound.
Comparisons to other products
Garmin has a similar product in the Varia Vision, which attaches with gummy bands to any pair of sunglasses and pairs with a Garmin Edge computer for the data. The Varia Vision is basically a remote monitor for the Edge computer. It is therefore lighter at 29g, but also much less stable and prone to bouncing in a rider’s vision while riding.
A more direct comparison is the $499 Solos Smart Glasses, which are an all-in-one unit with display, speakers, buttons and charge port built in. Those weigh 64g and feature an adjustable arm in front of the right lens. When adjusted, they are easy enough to see, but bumps in the road can cause the data to disappear. Battery time for the Solos is five hours.
The $649 Raptor is the most expensive and heaviest of the three at 98g, but also the most robust in terms of visual clarity and stability, plus 8-hour battery life. Plus, the Raptor also includes a built in camera that takes hi-res photos and video.
Pros, cons and the bottom line
Beyond the gee-whiz factor, there are two main selling points to HUD glasses, regardless of brand. How much either of these matter to you determines whether or not the product is a good fit.
First of all, there is the safety argument, that looking keeping your eyes on the road is better than glancing down at your handlebars. (This puts aside where attention is placed; think texting and driving, even if the phone is held up near the line of vision with the road.)
The second point is how much you need or want to look at data while riding. Doing short and intense power intervals as part of a detailed training program? Great; these could be valuable. Just riding along with your friends? Hmm, not so much.
For the Raptor glasses in particular, the tech is top notch. Wireless compatibility includes Bluetooth and ANT+, GPS and WiFi. It works with .TCX, .GPX and .FIT files for navigation and training, and Apple iOS 10 and Android 4.4 operating systems and up for phone app integration.
The 13.2MP camera offers 75-degree field of vision and surprisingly crisp photos. You can’t see exactly how the photo will be framed, but it’s basically what you are looking at. The same thing goes for the three movie modes, including the lower-res social mode that automatically embeds ride data into the footage. While not as good as shooting with a DSLR or a GoPro where you have a viewfinder and better stabilization, the convenience is super high — just double tap the sensor to engage and slide your finger to shoot. This is much faster and safer way to shoot than digging through your jersey pocket for your phone and trying to turn on the camera, especially on fast and winding descents.
The three primary downsides are price, the bulk above the lens that can interfere with vision when in the drops and the overall look of the things.
But the bottom line is this: If you like the concept of a HUD sunglass for training, the Everysight Raptor is the best option out there.