Suncloud Rambler Review
Cons: Poor case, hinges loosen, small flaws in polarizing layer, no Rx available
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|Price||$27.13 at Amazon||$209.00 at Backcountry||$141.71 at Backcountry|
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|$249.00 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Lightweight, comfortable, secure, good balance, versatile, inexpensive||Great clarity, excellent contrast with little color distortion, flexing frames, works for most faces||Excellent protection, great clarity, extremely comfortable, good for active endeavors, good for many faces||Excellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb case||Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection|
|Cons||Poor case, hinges loosen, small flaws in polarizing layer, no Rx available||Peripheral coverage not ideal, cleaner bag a little stiff, may be sporty-looking||Developed a slight lens defect, fit is less secure, coverage could be better||Heavy, large overall size and fit, expensive||Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive|
|Bottom Line||A versatile pair of well-performing, comfortable shades that are easy to like and fairly inexpensive||A top-notch combo of versatility, functionality, and style||Excellent protection and great comfort, though not totally perfect||A great pair with excellent coverage and top-notch lens quality, but a bit heavy||Not only do these sunglasses provide good eye protection, they also have swagger|
|Rating Categories||Suncloud Rambler||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District Medium Round|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Frame Quality (20%)|
|Style And Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Suncloud Rambler||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District...|
|Lens Tested||Brown||Grey 12 Pacific Blue Mirror||Blue Mirror||HCL Bronze||Brown Lynx|
|Ideal Activity||everyday||water sports||water sports||everyday||everyday|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Medium to bright light||Bright light||Bright light||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light|
|Polarized||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No, but it is available|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||15%||12%||10%||15%||9%|
|VLT Protection Index||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||not specified||not specified||100%||95%||97%|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||0%||0%||0%||"infrared effective"||93%|
|Neutral/Contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||plastic polycarbonate||plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate||glass - 580 Polarized (polycarbonate available)||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||glass - mineral glass|
|Protective Coatings||Anti-reflective||Anti-reflective back, hydro-oleophobic, mirror||Anti-scratch, hydro-oleaophobic, mirror||Anti-reflective on front and back||Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror|
|Can take prescription lens?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Case Included||Soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Suncloud Ramblers with Polarized Brown lenses designed for easy everyday use. They're a medium fit and come with a microfiber storage bag/cleaning cloth.
The Suncloud lenses are made of polycarbonate, a type of durable plastic, and work quite well. We tested them in Polarized Brown and they are rated 100% UVA/UVB blocking with 15% visible light transmission - about average among similar glasses.
- 100% UV Protection
- 15% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
- 0% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
- Color: Brown, Material: Polycarbonate
- Impact Resistant, Anti-reflective
Polycarbonate lenses often don't offer as much clarity as glass lenses, but instead are impact resistant and lighter weight. Comparing these lenses to glass versions of other models we tested, we couldn't tell a difference in clarity and noticed no imperfections in the lenses that cause waves or any other visual distortions.
Upon closer inspection, the polarized layer of these lenses isn't perfectly applied and some distortion can be seen around the edges of the lenses - but only when viewed through another pair of polarized lenses, not while we're wearing these sunglasses. They have anti-reflective coatings that help cut down visual distortion caused by reflections of objects around you onto the lenses. The Ramblers don't say anywhere that they have any anti-scratch coating but during our several months of testing, despite not always treating them very well, we didn't pick up any scratches.
Brown lenses are frequently recommended for high contrast vision, but not all brown lenses are the same. The Ramblers are a medium shade of brown that increases the vibrancy and contrast of the world around you without casting too strong of shadows that interfere with your vision in lower light situations. They don't offer any blue light blockage or infrared blockage but do a solid job with the visible light spectrum. They're about in the middle of the pack when it comes to how much light they let in, meaning they might feel slightly too light on ultra-sunny days on the water or slightly too dark as the sun sets during your westward drive. Overall, they're a very pleasant shade, color, and darkness to wear in most conditions.
The Ramblers are lightweight, well-balanced, and pretty comfortable to wear. Tipping the scales at just 25 grams, they're some of the lightest sunglasses we tested. They're a versatile medium fit with small non-slip Megol nose pads. The bows are thin and flexible, easily accommodating the majority of face shapes, from narrow to wide. They also provide a small level of security, slightly gripping the sides of your head without being so tight they create uncomfortable aches after wearing them all day.
Their balance point is just behind the hinges, helping them to sit comfortably on your face without feeling like they're pulling on your ears or sliding down your nose. Several testers reported they touch eyebrows and cheeks if pushed all the way up, but that they're more comfortable to wear just slightly farther down, where they don't touch the rest of your face (besides your nose and behind your ears, of course). We're pleasantly surprised by how many different sizes and shapes of faces are able to wear these shades comfortably all day.
Our Ramblers came in the color "Blackened Tortoise", made of TR-90 Grilamid, a type of injection-molded nylon. The bows are impressively flexible while the main body of the frame is much less so. Suncloud also backs these glasses with a lifetime manufacturer's warranty - though that doesn't include any scratches or breakage you may inflict, just errors in their materials or workmanship. They're not the sturdiest frames we tested, but they're not terrible. However, we have some concerns.
The Megol nose pads in the pair we tested aren't quite as well-placed as we'd like to see, and make us a bit worried they might come out over years of use and abuse. We're also not impressed by the hinges, which are just standard, barrel hinges, and not spring or flex hinges. Since the bows are flexible, we don't hold the lack of flex hinges against these glasses, but we're still not wowed by their performance.
During the several months of testing, the hinges worked themselves loose - and unevenly so. Just by regular use and normal folding and unfolding, the hinges needed tightening. And in fact, we read numerous reports online of other users encountering the same issue with their Ramblers. Perhaps this is more of a nuisance than an actual issue, but it could easily lead to a lost screw and certainly makes us lose some faith in the integrity of these frames.
Style and Versatility
Just about every person who put these glasses on was at least "okay" with wearing them. The majority of our testing crew actually like how these glasses look and would wear them as everyday casual shades. They seem to work just as well on narrow or wide faces and angular or round faces, which is a pretty solid achievement for a pair of sunglasses.
They are a bit on the sportier side of "everyday casual", and we think look just as at home driving a car as a boat and as good lounging on a beach as fishing from a kayak. They may not be the glasses you'd wear to a red carpet event but they offer a pretty wide appeal for most everyday uses.
The Ramblers offer pretty solid coverage for a pair of non-technical sunnies. Their base curve of 6 is a fairly typical shape that very slightly curves around your face, offering more protection than a flat pair without being as stifling as a full wraparound set. The Rambler's rounded rectangular lenses measure 57mm wide and 45mm high, which is a medium-large lens. The bows don't add a ton of coverage but also don't block your peripheral vision.
We had several testers put these sunglasses on and shake their heads vigorously to see if they could dislodge them. They stay on fairly well! They may not be an optimal pair to wear on a run or a super bumpy mountain bike ride, but they're not bad. The Ramblers sit close enough to your face to offer decent protection from the sun and even moderate protection from dirt without making you feel like you're wearing goggles.
Though we don't score this metric, it's always good to know what comes with your sunglasses before you get them. In the Ramblers' case, we're not impressed. They come with just a simple storage bag/cleaner bag, and that's it. Even worse, we aren't impressed with the bag's ability to clean the lenses. It mostly just shifted grease around the glasses, and we almost always had to grab a different cloth to actually get the lenses clean. And if you want a hard case, you'll have to buy that separately.
The Suncloud Ramblers are one of the least expensive sunglasses we reviewed, but are far from our least favorite option. Even among competitors costing up to 6 times as much, these shades are still pretty solid. They may not be the best sunglasses money can buy, but they're good enough for most everyday use - and cost a heck of a lot less.
The Ramblers are a fairly comfortable, decently performing pair of sunglasses. They're lightweight and easy to wear while managing to look good on an astonishing variety of facial shapes and sizes. Though they're not the most amazing pair we tested, they're a solid choice for everyday glasses and are much cheaper than most the competition. In fact, we'd happily pay more for these glasses, making them a great value buy and our Best Buy for a Tight Budget Award winners.
— Maggie Brandenburg