Smith Lowdown 2 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Good lenses, secure frames, pretty universally stylish
Cons: Colors are distorted, can see through mirror coating
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Smith Lowdown 2
|Price||$169.00 at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$209.00 at Amazon||$178.93 at Amazon||$78.95 at Backcountry|
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|$54.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Good lenses, secure frames, pretty universally stylish||Great clarity, excellent contrast, minimal color distortion, very comfortable, look good on pretty much everyone||Great color retention, superb coverage, quality construction, fits many face sizes, great case and cleaning cloth||Lightweight, comfortable, stable, good on many faces, nice case||Lightweight, comfortable, secure, good balance, versatile, look good|
|Cons||Colors are distorted, can see through mirror coating||Peripheral coverage not ideal, can still bounce a little||Heavy, large lens "look", weird inside reflective patch||Not overly stylish, run small, temple grips could be cleaner cut||Hinges loosen, brown lenses are yellowy|
|Bottom Line||A pretty good pair of shades with super-enhanced colors that look good on most faces||Exceptional lenses in impressively comfortable frames that manage to be extremely functional while still looking casual||Top-notch coverage and superb color retention make these large-fit shades well-equipped to protect your eyes from water-reflected light||These sunnies are light and comfortable for your face and eyes and a bit easier on your wallet||A solidly versatile pair of comfortable shades that are easy to wear and a great price|
|Rating Categories||Smith Lowdown 2||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Rincon||Native Eyewear Wells||Suncloud Rambler|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Frame Quality (20%)|
|Style And Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Smith Lowdown 2||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Rincon||Native Eyewear Wells||Suncloud Rambler|
|Lens Tested||ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror||Ultra Brown 12||Grey 580P||Crystal Grey||Brown|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Bright Light||Bright light||Bright Light||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||14-15%||12%||12%||12%||15%|
|VLT Protection Index||Cat 3||Cat 3||Cat 3||Cat 3||Cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||None||None||100% HEV blockage||90%||None|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||None||None||None||40%||None|
|Neutral/Contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Neutral||Neutral||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||ChromaPop polarized polycarbonate||Plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate||Polycarbonate||Plastic polycarbonate||Plastic polycarbonate|
|Protective Coatings||Anti-reflective, hydroleophobic, mirror||Anti-reflective back, hydroleophobic, anti-scratch||C-WALL (anti-scratch, hydroleophobic)||Anti-scratch, hydroleophobic||Anti-reflective|
|Can take prescription lens?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Hinge type||AutoLock barrel hinge||Standard/barrel||Spring||Standard/barrel||Standard/barrel|
|Case Included||Microfiber bag||Semi-rigid zippered case, microfiber bag||Semi-rigid zippered case, microfiber bag, microfiber cleaning cloth||Semi-rigid zippered case, microfiber bag||Microfiber bag|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Smith Lowdown 2 with ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror lenses. They're Medium/Average fit sunglasses that can be fitted with prescription lenses.
The Lowdown 2 can be purchased with a wide array of lens colors, coatings, and features. We went all out on possible features, testing Smith's ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror lens. Overall, they're pretty excellent. They offer increased contrast and excellent clarity with very little reflection on the backs of the lenses. Though their Visible Light Transmission is slightly higher than many other brown lenses we tested, the mirror coating keeps them comfortable even in very bright conditions.
- 100% UV Protection
- 14-15% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
- "Some" HEV/Blue Light Blockage, "Some" Infrared Blockage
- Color: Brown, Material: Polycarbonate
- Impact Resistant, Anti-Reflective, Hydroleophobic, Mirror
Two minor details stand out about the lenses. First, the ChromaPop technology strategically blocking certain wavelengths does add contrast, but gives many colors an almost neon hue. This is particularly evident in greens, making certain trees really pop from the landscape. Secondly, we typically expect mirror coatings to block everyone else's view of your eyes through the lenses, but these don't quite do it. Still, all in all, they're very good lenses that we really like.
The Lowdown 2 weighs 28 grams, putting them around average among sports sunglasses we tested. They're well-balanced and feel very pleasant on the face. Certain testers reported them touching eyebrows a little bit and brushing cheeks slightly, but they were never described as uncomfortable. The Matte Tortoise frames we tested are one of our favorite textures. They're just matte enough to increase friction and gripping power slightly, while still smooth enough to slide on easily and not raise off the nose when smiling or laughing. Autolocking hinges make them easier to put on and take off with one hand.
The frame is made of Evolve, a bio-based material that looks and feels like lightweight plastic — in a good way. It has just the right amount of flex without being alarmingly bendy. Megol sections form the main structure of the nose pads, but the bows are free from rubber-like materials. The hinges are integrated into the shape of the Evolve material, spanning the full width of the temple arm. They auto-lock open and closed with just the right feel of force, and they're easily adjustable on the bottom.
Style and Versatility
In our opinion, the Lowdown 2 are like a slightly sportier wayfarer style. Most of our testers really like how they look — men, women, wide heads, narrow faces, and a myriad of personal styles. The mirror lenses we tested make them look a tad more sporty than non-mirror lenses. And here again, we wish you couldn't see through the mirror coating. But in general, they're easy to like.
With a base curve of just 4, the Lowdown 2 are fairly flat across the face. Naturally, that leaves plenty of room around the sides for sunlight to get in. They have excellent top coverage though, and the thickness of the frame helps a bit here too. The lenses are fairly tall, providing decent bottom coverage, though the size of this gap greatly depends on your specific face shape. Their matte coating helps them to stay in place, though they can be a touch bouncy when you've just started a run and your face is totally dry.
These shades come with just a simple bag. It works well for cleaning the lenses but offers very limited protection for what can be a fairly costly pair of sunglasses.
With all the bells and whistles we got in our Lowdown 2 lens tech, these aren't the cheapest pair of shades around. They do offer some excellent HD performance and look like a sporty wayfarer, so the price may be worth it to you.
The Smith Lowdown 2 are a high-scoring, high-performing pair of shades. We tested them with the ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror lenses and they live up to their name, really making greens and bright colors pop from the rest of the world. They're comfortable and versatile and a pair we love to wear, time and time again.
— Maggie Brandenburg