POC DO Half Blade Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Good coverage, lens suitable for a wide range of light conditions
Cons: Expensive for one lens, weird case
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Our Analysis and Test Results
POC has been making quality eyewear for several years and has been steadily growing its product offerings and market share. The POC Do Half Blade is one such model which, according to POC, is designed specifically for road cycling.
We tested them during all manner of active pursuits, including trail running, road biking, and mountain biking over the course of several months in conditions ranging from late summer heat too early winter cold. They are a bit pricey, the most expensive model in our test, but we found them to offer excellent eye protection, good optical clarity, and a comfortable fit.
The Do Half Blade comes with a quality spherical polycarbonate lens by Zeiss optics. Zeiss is an industry leader in lenses, and it shows in the impressive clarity and distortion-free optics of the Brown/Electic Mirror lens we tested. With a 21.7% VLT, testers found this lens to be highly versatile. It's good for a large range of light conditions and even handles sudden changes from light to dark better than expected. The lens has a light reflective coating and, despite regular wear and tear on many mountain bike rides, and in transport, they look good as new with no scratches or scuffs.
The polycarbonate lens is impact resistant and protects from 100% of harmful UV rays. We found the optical clarity of the POC's lens quite good, but testers felt it was outperformed by the lenses of the Smith Attack Max and the Oakley Flight Jacket.
Both the Smith and the Oakley lenses do a better job of enhancing contrast thanks to their Prizm and Chromapop technologies. Testers felt the Do Half Blade's lens was of similar quality to its POC counterpart, the Aspire, as well as the 100% Speedcraft and better than that of the Julbo Aero.
Fit and Comfort
The Do Half Blade is undoubtedly a comfortable pair of sunglasses. There isn't anything especially noteworthy about them, you just put them on, and they seem to fade into the background. At only 30g they are very lightweight, a couple of grams lighter than most of the other performance models, but 6g heavier than the Julbo Aero.
POC has incorporated hydrophilic rubber inserts into the ends of the arms and on the adjustable nose pad. These hold the glasses in place very well, even when wet with sweat. The nose pad is hydrophilic rubber. Inside the wings is a thin metal strip that you can bend side to side and fore and aft to personalize the fit for your nose shape.
The Do Half Blade has a very pronounced curved wrap-around style, and they fit quite close to the face. The lens or the frame may make contact with some people's faces, on the brow or the cheeks. Our primary tester didn't have any issues, but he could feel his eyebrow hair make contact with the frame almost all of the time.
This wrap-around style and the large coverage of the lens does provide excellent protection from the wind, which enhances the wearer's comfort while moving at high speeds. Overall, testers found them to offer a similar level of comfort to that of the Oakley Flight Jacket, though they couldn't quite match the Smith Wildcat or the Julbo Aero, which have more refined fits.
The Do Half Blade provides a high degree of eye protection. They have a wrap-around style that fits quite close to the face and protects the eyes well from flying debris and wind. We measured the lens at 135mm wide and 50mm tall, which is smaller than some of the competition but still provides more than enough coverage for most applications.
That coverage combined with the wrap-around style covers the eyes impressively well and doesn't allow light to shine in from the top or the sides. Like most modern lenses, the polycarbonate spherical Zeiss lenses provide 100% protection from harmful forms of UV light. They are also impact resistant.
When compared to other glasses in this review, the Do Half Blade is about middle of the pack in terms of coverage and eye protection. They are just a hair smaller than the Oakley Flight Jacket or the Smith Attack Max with roughly the same wrap-around curvature. The massive lens of the 100% Glendale dwarfs them all, with the most coverage in the entire fleet. In contrast, the Julbo Aero has the least coverage and lens design that promotes airflow and provides the least protection from the wind.
The frame of the Do Half Blade appears to be of good quality with a half-frame design and wrap-around style. The injected Grilamid plastic frame wraps around the spherical lens from one side to the other across the top, while the lower half of the lens is frameless. The nose piece is attached to the main portion of the frame with a small bridge, and the adjustable hydrophilic rubber nose pad is affixed to the plastic nosepiece with a small screw.
The folding arms are attached to the outermost edges of the frame with simple hinges. The arms are widest where they meet the frame and taper towards their ends. The arms are also flared by the temples, so there is more room for air to circulate or to accommodate a helmet strap. The arms have small strips of hydrophilic rubber at their ends, which help hold them in place even when they are wet.
The hydrophilic rubber nose pad is adjustable and can be bent to shape to accommodate varying nose sizes and shapes. Inside the rubber nose pad is a thin strip of metal. Changing its shape is as simple as bending the wings in or out with your fingers.
The shape of the frame, specifically the length of the arms and the way they are positioned lower on the lens, is designed specifically to work with POC bike helmets. We just happened to have a POC Tectal helmet on hand while testing. We found them to work well, while other model's arms made contact with that helmet by the temples.
The frame's design seems quite thoughtful, and of good quality, it doesn't feel quite as robust as the frames on the Oakley Flight Jacket or the 100% Speedcraft. It does feel more durable than the super-light frame of the Julbo Aero, plus it has a more adjustable nose pad. The frame design is quite different from that of the Smith Attack Max which is virtually frameless and optimized for quick lens changes.
The DO Half Blade performed as expected in the field. For a model specifically designed for road cycling, we found them quite versatile. We used them mountain biking, trail running in addition to their touted purpose and found they stood up to the test. The hydrophilic rubber pads and adjustable nose piece do a good job of keeping them in place on your face when you start to sweat or when the going gets rough on a mountain bike.
The lens' close fit to brow and cheeks can cause some issues with sweat getting on the inside of the lens from contact with the face, but we didn't have any problems with fogging. Typically, close-fitting models can have issues with airflow that lead to the lens fogging at low speeds or in humid conditions, but the air vents between the top of the frame and the lens avoided that issue.
The Do Half Blade has a distinctive look with a big spherical lens, half-frame design, and rounded edges. It's definitely sporty, but the Thaum Red frame and Brown/Electric Mirror lens we tested give these glasses a less flashy appearance than the other performance sunglass models we tested. There are other brighter in your face frame and lens combinations available, but our test model was the most subtle in our test selection.
Despite the more understated styling and colors of the Do Half Blade, they are still most at home on a bike with a helmet on your head. Of course, you can wear these glasses anywhere and anytime you want. They just have a more cycling appropriate look to them.
POC is known for making unique products that often have interesting futuristic designs. This contemporary design aesthetic has permeated all of their products and has infiltrated their packaging, and even the case of the Do Half Blade. When you open the box that the glasses come in, you may be surprised to find an oblong hard plastic case that is half white and half clear.
The case comes apart in two halves and separates in the middle by simply pulling them apart. The opaque half of the case is lined with soft, open-cell foam and holds the glasses securely when not in use. In addition to this case, a microfiber storage and cleaning bag is also provided.
While this case is undoubtedly eye-catching and somewhat cool looking, it's less practical than the zippered hard cases that come with competitors like the Oakley Flight Jacket, 100% Speedcraft, or the Smith Attack Max.
For basic storage purposes at home or in your car, it works just fine, but due to the ease of separating the two halves of the case, it isn't ideal for stashing them in your pack, luggage, or gear bag. If this case were to be bumped around, it seems like it could shatter or come apart, leaving your glasses susceptible to damage. Our testers prefer the security and convenience of the zippered cases, especially for glasses that come with two lenses, like the Attack Max or the Speedcraft.
The Do Half Blade is the most expensive performance model in this review. While we do think they have excellent optics, good eye protection, and provide a high degree of comfort, it is hard to call them a great value.
This becomes even more evident when compared to a model like the Smith Attack Max which has similar performance but comes with two quality lenses and a zippered hard case, plus you have enough money left over to buy yourself a post-ride six pack. If you seek a better value, then we'd suggest checking out the 100% Speedcraft, which boasts even more coverage and comes with two lenses for varying light conditions and a quality hard case, and are offered for approximately 25% less.
The Do Half Blade is a great pair of performance sunglasses, but they were outperformed in this test. They are lightweight and comfortable with good optics and eye protection. They are also the most expensive performance model in this review. While we would be happy to wear these glasses for just about any athletic pursuit, we'd be hard-pressed to recommend them before other higher-performing models that cost less.
Other Versions and Accessories
POC makes a modest range of sunglasses for both casual and performance uses. In addition to the Do Half Blade model we tested, they make a Do Blade which has a very similar look but has a full-frame around the lens. Both models are available in the standard lens we tested or with POC's Clarity lenses.
The Do Half Blade comes in six different frame color options including the Thaum Red we tested and they range in price from $230-$280 depending on the color and corresponding lens.Replacement lenses are available, and there are four options, Clear, Black, Light Blue/Electric Mirror, and Green/Green Mirror that range in price from $50-$70. There are six different replacement Clarity lenses available which range in price from $60-$70.
— Jeremy Benson