When people think of Gunnar Optiks they undoubtedly picture their distinctive yellow (amber) lens. The unusually colored lens was designed to better block blue light and potentially offer various benefits. Initially this was viewed as a gaming accessory, though long term the market has expanded to literally anyone who uses a screen for a sizable period of time. As the market changed, as did their offerings. Not they come in wide array of options, be it Clear 35, Amber 65, sunglasses, transitions, and more. With Clear 35 offering some protection without standing out, are they worth your time or is Amber more than just flare?
Editor’s Note: While our pair of Clear 35 uses same frame as our pairs of Amber 65 and Amber Max 98, this review is largely different to reflect the changes in formatting since they were published. In addition to that, this review features examples from all three lens that are not present in older reviews. For this reason we strongly suggest reading this review along with any lens you may be interested in.
GUNNAR Vertex (Clear 35) Review Overview
Before talking about the glasses themselves, I want to cover the prescription aspect since it won’t apply to everyone. Before I was able to get any of these glasses I had to submit a current prescription. It was nice to see them verify it was current since the last time I bought glasses they didn’t even verify I had a prescription. They also requested I download a mobile app to measure my head/pupil distance. It took about 20 seconds, gave them the numbers, and they did the rest.
Since my last eye exam my prescription changed, so I can’t compare these glasses to another pair I obtained elsewhere. However, I can say with absolute certainty they’re a lot clearer than my old pair. For this reason I would personally trust them to make lens with the right prescription.
Gunnar keeps things simple by including rather basic packaging. This includes a cardboard mailer with some branding, along with a basic white box showing their logo and a sticker with personal information.
Simple yet Effective
Inside is a case, pouch, cleaning cloth, and the actual glasses. The case offers a divisive experience. While I like how it feels, plus they came with the stamped version that feels slightly higher quality, the square shape makes it awkward to use in a wide variety of situations. They won’t fit in my car, nor a number of bags designed to hold a more traditional case.
These cases are also slightly larger than they need to be. To prevent your glasses from bouncing around you need to use the included pouch. It’s a tedious extra step, though how annoying this is will vary. If nothing else, it can be solved by purchasing another case or simply repurposing an old one.
As for the pouch and cleaning cloth, they’re nothing notable. Both have Gunnar branding, they work well for lens cleaning, and helpful to prevent damage on the go. That being said, special edition glasses feature accessories inspired by the IP and tend to be a bit more interesting than base models.
For the most part these frames are made of plastic. Despite that, they hold up fairly well. While I only had this specific pair for a couple weeks, I wore Amber 65 every day until I received Clear 35.
During this time I noticed no damage to any of these frames, nor were there any notable concerns. The lone exception is cleaning can be somewhat rough. These glasses will flex and the lens might make some sounds during the process. This is to be excepted since the lens is merely popped into place. Still, this was concern I had and I was happy to see it has yet to pose a problem.
Lens aside, Vertex features a relatively understated design. Outside of a small Gunnar logo on each side in silver, three silver dots to the left/right, and three grey dots on the right side the frame is completely black.
It’s admittedly a glossy black, but they’re simply not going to stand out next to traditional glasses. If that is a downside, Gunnar makes other options that stand out a bit more. Even if you don’t want to go full Loki, their Vertex model comes in a translucent grey, bold Moss color, or eye catching white/red for their collaboration with St. Jude. I personally prefer the understated color, though it’s nice other options exist for most frames.
While comfort will vary from person to person, I can say I haven’t experienced any discomfort wearing these glasses. This includes the aforementioned pairs as well. At most there is a small breaking in period that can either be dealt with, or corrected by visiting a place like Lenscrafters. At most this will last a day or two before everything settles.
Let me start by saying this review is simply based off my personal experiences with Clear 35, Amber 65, Amber Max 98, and a pair of Blokz I obtained years before.
The supposed benefits of blue light blocking glasses include reduced digital eye strain, and better sleep-wake cycle. These root issues can also cause additional problems, such as headaches.
While I strongly believe these helped with my frequent headaches, I saw no additional benefits with any of the Gunnar lens. Even after wearing Amber 65 for months and going down to Clear 35, my sleep-wake cycle didn’t feel any different. At most there was a marginal change that wouldn’t be perceptible without detailed logs.
Despite being called Clear 35, they’re not quite clear. They have a slight amber tint that slightly changes how you perceive the world.
Normal vs Gunnar Vertex (Clear 35)
It’s not as pronounced as Amber 65, though you’d be surprised how quickly you can adjust to it, or immediately noticeable like Amber Max 98.
Gunnar Vertex (Clear 35) vs Gunnar Vertex (Amber 65)
In fact, the difference is so minor I doubt someone would be able to tell by simply looking them. The same is true for usage as well.
Gunnar Vertex (Clear 35) vs Gunnar Vertex (Amber Max 98)
Even if I know the screen is a slightly different color it looks natural enough.
Gunnar Vertex (Clear 35) vs Zenni Blokz
If color accuracy is important, this can be a dealbreaker. My older pair of Blokz don’t seem to have the slight tint, so that might be a better direction if that is a worthwhile trade off.
One of the biggest issues I had with Amber Max 98 is how pronounced screen reflections were. Not only does it make seeing your eyes rather difficult, anyone watching can get a decent idea of what you’re doing. For many this is not a big deal, especially if you’re a small square in an online meeting. However, the fact Amber 65 didn’t suffer from this was a distinct benefit.
Much to my surprise, Clear 35 has the same reflection issue found on Amber Max 98. It was so noticeable I immediately grabbed my pair of Amber 65 and took new images to see if something changed between reviews. Unfortunately, this did not result in a different outcome. For whatever reason Amber 65 and Zenni‘s Blokz handle reflections a lot better than Clear 35 and Amber Max 98.
GUNNAR Vertex (Clear 35) Review Verdict
Even if I noticed little to no difference with these glasses, I still think there is a benefit to them. Helping with my headaches, either through the advertised blue light blocking or placebo is worth the cost of entry. This applies more to non-perscription, as Gunnar offers cheaper options in a wide variety of exciting frames. Prescription will cost a bit extra, though for the right design I could see it being worth the cost of entry. For these reasons I think they’re worth giving a try if you go with an open mind.
Editor’s Note: Gunnar Vertex (Clear 35), (Amber 65), and (Amber Max 98) were provided to us for review purposes.