X-Tiger Polarized Review
Cons: Minor lens distortion, do not increase contrast
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Our Analysis and Test Results
It's pretty likely that you've never heard of X-Tiger sunglasses, but they make some of the least expensive sports sunglasses you can find. In addition to their low price, they have hundreds of positive consumer reviews and a style quite similar to the more expensive name-brand competition. We bought a pair of X-Tigers to test alongside the biggest names in high-performance eyewear. While we found that they can't rival the optical clarity and overall performance of our top-rated models, they aren't terribly far off despite costing just a fraction of the price. These sports sunglasses are an absolutely outrageous value.
For the price, we were somewhat impressed with the lens quality of the X-Tiger glasses. While they are far from perfect and can't match the high-quality optics of our top-rated models, we expected them to be worse. Not only are the optics decent, but they come with three lenses for varying light conditions, including one polarized lens.
Each pair of X-Tiger glasses comes with three cylindrical lenses, clear, "Revo" (a flashy reflective lens), and polarized. There isn't a lot of information available about the lenses, but they are made from a plastic resin, which they claim to be impact resistant and UV400 for 100% UV protection. The optical clarity of the lenses is relatively good, but there is a little bit of distortion noticeable towards the periphery. When you are looking straight ahead, the distortion isn't noticeable, but side glances reveal this imperfection. That said, it isn't terrible, especially when you consider the price.
The clear lens is perfectly clear and works well for use in medium to low light conditions. If you happen to be out for a ride or run after the sun has set, these lenses work great. The "Revo" lens has a bright reflective coating, ours were pink, but they come in several different colors, on top of a relatively dark grey/green tinted lens. They do not specify a VLT percentage for these lenses, but we found them to work best in bright light conditions. These lenses were relatively neutral, and they did not increase contrast like a fancy Prizm, or Chromapop lens does, and they tend to dull and mute colors opposed to enhancing them. The polarized lens has a dark grey tint, and much to our surprise, it was actually polarized. This lens helped to reduce glare, and we found that it worked best in bright light conditions.
Fit and Comfort
We found the X-Tiger to be generally quite comfortable and have a relatively wide range of fit. The TR90 frames are pliable enough to accommodate varying head widths, yet they squeeze just enough to stay in place without causing discomfort. The frame and lens also sit far enough from the face that they shouldn't conflict with most people's brows or cheeks. While they aren't adjustable, the rubber nose pads have a neutral fit that should work for most noses with grippy textured rubber that keeps the glasses securely in place.
We must admit that we were quite skeptical of these glasses. We assumed that the frames would feel cheap and that they would quickly stretch out and get loose in a short period of time. We were pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case, and these glasses fit the same after several weeks of use. We also had several people try these glasses on, and they worked well for both narrower and wider heads. Those with wider heads noted that the glasses did not squeeze too hard or cause discomfort, even after several hours. The arms of the frame are quite long, 140mm, and it should be noted that they may conflict with the retention systems on some mountain or road biking helmets.
The X-Tiger glasses have large lenses and provide lots of coverage and protection from the sun and wind. These lenses are among the biggest in the test at 140mm wide and 60mm tall. The cylindrical lens and frame contours relatively close to the face, although not quite as closely as our highest-rated competitors.
While testing the X-Tiger on mountain bike rides and trail runs, we felt that they did a good job of keeping the wind at bay. The large lenses and frames don't have the closest fit to the face, and there was a little more air circulation by the eyes that with some glasses, but it was never enough that it caused discomfort, eye irritation, or watering. This translated pretty directly to protection from the sun, and while they mostly did an excellent job of shielding from bright light, there was a bit of a gap by the cheeks that allowed for reflections and glare to pass up towards the eyes. Otherwise, we found these glasses to provide a nice large shield to block bugs and debris while moving at high rates of speed.
The overall quality of the X-Tiger frame appears to be quite good. They are made from a stress-resistant TR90 material that looks and feels almost identical to that of some of the more expensive competition. The frames are lightweight, comfortable, and they proved to be quite durable for us in our testing.
The frame is a single piece with the arms attached with reasonably stout looking hinges. The TR90 frame material feels stiff without being brittle, and it has enough give that these glasses can flex to accommodate a wide range of head sizes. While they do allow for some flex, they do not squeeze the head too tightly, just tight enough that they don't move around on your head. The material feels quite robust and durable enough to handle their fair share of accidental drops to the floor or being stuffed into a backpack.
The nose piece is attached to the main frame, and its textured rubber nose pads are fixed in position. The back half of the arms are coated with rubber to grip the sides of your head, and are removable should you choose to switch between the two included sets. Changing the earpieces on the arms is quite simple, and can be done in just seconds. The rubber on the nose pads and arms do an excellent job of keeping these glasses in place, even when the going gets rough. A small piece of the frame extends down from the brow to the nose piece, and that is where the included myopia frame can be attached for those who try to put prescription lenses in them.
Changing lenses isn't particularly difficult, but it proved to be slightly more challenging than some of the competition. It requires a little bit of force, but when you follow the steps shown on the internet, it goes relatively smoothly. That said, it is nearly impossible to change the lenses without getting fingerprints all over the lenses.
We were generally pleasantly surprised by the performance of the X-Tiger glasses out in the field. Our expectations were almost as low as their price, but they proved to be a reliable pair of glasses with a performance well above their asking price.
These glasses are relatively lightweight, and they stayed in place very well with grippy rubber nose pads and earpieces. These glasses didn't bounce or slide around, even when charging down chunky descents on a mountain bike or trail running. The large lenses and coverage did a commendable job of keeping the wind out of the eyes, and while they weren't the best, they weren't far off. The slight amount of airflow behind the lenses helped to keep them fog-free, and even on cool weather rides, we had no issues with moisture or fogging. The large lenses provide a broad and generally unobstructed view, though like most glasses with full frames, a little frame was visible around the nosepiece or when looking off the sides.
The X-Tiger sport sunglasses have a big, bold, and in your face style quite similar to the style of 100% glasses like the Speedcraft. The large frame, full coverage lenses, flashy reflective coatings-look is quite popular amongst cyclists, trail runners, and other outdoor enthusiasts. This style won't necessarily be for everyone, but it should be readily apparent, looking at the pictures whether or not you are willing or able to pull it off. One nice thing about the X-Tiger glasses is that they come with three lenses, a flashy reflective lens, clear, and a black polarized lens so that you can adapt your look to the conditions or your preferences. They also come with two sets of earpieces, one that matches the flashy lens color (in our case pink), and one plain black.
X-Tiger includes a zippered hard case with each set of classes. The case is the shape of a half-circle, and it opens wide so you can easily access all of its contents. Inside there is ample room for the glasses with the earpieces folded, and there is a foam pad with slots in it to hold the two spare lenses when not in use. The case feels durable and relatively solid; it would take some serious force to crush it. It does take up a fair amount of space, but could easily be stuffed into your luggage or a backpack if space wasn't at a premium. The case also has a clip on the outside to hook it to the outside of a backpack in a pinch. In addition to the zippered case, X-Tiger includes a soft storage bag for a lighter layer of protection on the go.
With a retail price around 1/8th of the cost of the name brand competition, the X-Tiger sunglasses are an exceptional value. The glasses look and perform much better than their low price might suggest, plus they come with features like a zippered hard case, storage bag, three lenses for different light conditions, and extra earpieces for color coordination. It's very easy to give them our Best Buy Award.
We find it hard to argue with a good deal, and with a price that is a mere fraction of what the high-end models cost, there is certainly a compelling argument in favor of the X-Tiger glasses. While they can't compete with the best in terms of their lens quality, we felt they were relatively competitive across all of our other rating metrics. While they might not have the same bling factor or precision optics as the name brand competition, we feel these are a great value option for anyone on a tight budget.
— Jeremy Benson