Gear of the Show 2015: Uvex Variotronic S Sunglasses

LCD lenses make multi-lens glasses obsolete

The Variotronic S uses a light sensor that toggles between two tints automatically, unless you want to control it manually. (Jakob Schiller)
Photo: Jakob Schiller

We've long been fans of Uvex's light-sensitive Vario lenses, which get lighter or darker depending on the conditions. The only drawback to the photochromic technology: a slow transition from dark to light, which can make high-contrast riding difficult.

Uvex has cracked that problem with a new LCD lens that toggles instantaneously between dark and light. Powered by a USB-rechargeable battery, which is inconspicuously hidden in the frames and is said to last up to 50 hours on a single charge, the Variotronic S shifts from 64 percent light transmission in its brightest state to 16 percent light transmission in its dark mode—and the change happens in one-tenth of a second. The auto setting uses a light sensor to toggle between the two tints, though there's also a small button on the underside of the left temple that allows you to make the switch manually.

Best of all, the Variotronic S glasses look and feel like any other riding shades. The lenses will initially come in just two models, a full-frame version and sport shield, both of which have excellent coverage, fully adjustable nose pads, and non-slip rubberized temples.


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