Vuarnet District Medium Round Review
Cons: Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive
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Vuarnet District Medium Round
|Price||$265 List||$209.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection||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||Good contrast, superb clarity, excellent protective coatings, stay in place, lightweight, all-day comfort|
|Cons||Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive||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 very stylish, lighter tint suffers in bright light, copper lens distorts colors, too small, expensive|
|Bottom Line||Not only do these sunglasses provide good eye protection, they also have swagger||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||For any activity on the water, you’ll be happy to have the top-notch quality and performance of these glasses|
|Rating Categories||Vuarnet District Medium Round||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Costa Del Mar Hinano|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Frame Quality (20%)|
|Style And Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Vuarnet District...||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Costa Del Mar Hinano|
|Lens Tested||Brown Lynx||Grey 12 Pacific Blue Mirror||Blue Mirror||HCL Bronze||Copper 580P|
|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||Low to bright light|
|Polarized||No, but it is available||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||9%||12%||10%||15%||12%|
|VLT Protection Index||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||97%||not specified||100%||95%||100%|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||93%||0%||0%||"infrared effective"||0%|
|Neutral/Contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||glass - mineral glass||plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate||glass - 580 Polarized (polycarbonate available)||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||glass - 580 Polarized|
|Protective Coatings||Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror||Anti-reflective back, hydro-oleophobic, mirror||Anti-scratch, hydro-oleaophobic, mirror||Anti-reflective on front and back||Anti-scratch, oil repellent, water repellent, naturally scratch resistant|
|Can take prescription lens?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Case Included||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and cleaning cloth|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Vuarnet Districts with Brown Lynx lenses, best for everyday, casual wear. They're a size medium-large and come with a semi-rigid flexible case and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
The Brown Lynx lenses of the Vuarnet District Rounds we tested are made of mineral glass, providing natural scratch resistance, shock resistance, and clear images. They're also very protective of your eyes, blocking out 97% of HEV or blue light, 93% of infrared light, and 91% of visible light in general. These are some of the darkest glasses we tested and are an excellent choice in bright light.
- Not polarized
- 100% UV protection
- 9% Visible Light Transmission (category 3)
- 97% HEV/Blue light blockage, 93% Infrared Blockage
- Color: Amber/Brown, Material: Mineral Glass
- Impact-resistant with silver bi-shade mirror coating and anti-reflective back
However, these lenses aren't polarized — one of the only sunglasses in our review that aren't. The dark tint, anti-reflective back, and bi-shade mirror coating help block out excessive glare, but also keep a lot of light from entering the lenses. This is a plus on a clear summer day at 2 pm. But when the sun starts to set or an afternoon shower rolls through, these lenses are a bit too dark for us.
We also found that their mirror coating picks up smudges and grease fairly easily. They're easier to clean with a microfiber cloth than a few of the others though, which sometimes seem to pick up dirt and filth from mysterious places. Overall, we think the quality of the Brown Lynx Vuarnet lenses are good, but their inability to handle variable lighting and lack of polarization is less impressive than the competition.
The District Medium Rounds are a surprisingly comfortable pair of sunglasses for having no soft pads anywhere on the frame. The large lenses touched some of our testers' cheeks, but it was rare. Mostly they rested comfortably across the bridge of our noses. These specs have standard barrel hinges, which don't flex to accommodate a face wider than the frames. Since the Rounds are a large pair of glasses in general, we didn't find that to be an issue with their comfort.
At 37 grams, these glasses are fairly heavy. They are also imbalanced. The weight of these shades is all in the front of the glasses, which lets them easily slide down your nose on a hot, sweaty day or when you look down. It also prevents them from being very secure when pushed on top of your head. All in all, the Vuarnets are pretty comfortable, but they have a few faults that we don't love.
Most of our testers are surprised by how much they liked the style of these hip, flattering shades. Their rounder lens shape is both flattering and timeless and the bi-gradient mirrored finish adds a splash of cool. Though we saw pictures of them online before getting ours, we still didn't think that we would so universally love the look of these stylish specs.
Though they may not be the ideal pair for active endeavors, as they tend to slide down a sweaty nose, we couldn't find a single casual encounter that we felt wasn't enhanced by these amazing glasses. Even testers who were dubious of their look liked them once they had them on their faces. They seem to be a hit across all face sizes and shapes on both men and women. One tester proudly declared, "I look fantastic in these!" Yes, we love the look of these stylish specs from Vuarnet, and we're giving them an award about it.
The District's frames are different than any of the other everyday glasses we tested. Rather than being flexible with springy hinges, these glasses are quite rigid. They're made of acetate, and you can see a metal rod stiffening the arms of the Black frames we tested.
Despite having thin arms and a rigid frame with fixed hinges, the Vuarnets are solidly built. They easily withstood being tossed in a car, crammed in a suitcase, and grabbed with a handful of keys. Vuarnet also offers a 24-month warranty against manufacturer's defects and has a repair program you can pay for if you do manage to bust your pair.
With relatively large lenses, the District Rounds provide good coverage from front-entering light. However, they're also much straighter across, without the face-hugging curves of many of the other pairs we tested. This straight frame leaves large gaps on the sides for sneaky light, reflections, or even straight-up debris to get in your eyes.
By wearing the Vuarnets close to your face, you can add a bit of coverage due to their overall size and width. Still, they're just not as protective as any of the pairs with a base curve of 8 or even 6.
The Vuarnets come with a single-snap case that's semi-rigid at best. It will help protect your shades from obvious scratches but is unlikely to make much of a difference if you sit on your sunglasses. It also comes with a thin, medium-sized cleaning cloth
It's slightly more rigid than some other cases we tested but is nothing compared to the monstrously protective rigid clamshell that accompanies some other models in this review. Yet, this case offers enough protection to toss it in a beach bag or backpack side pocket, and we appreciate the included cleaning cloth. It also weighs just 54 grams.
The Vuarnets are among the most expensive sunglasses in this review. For sheer performance across a wide range of activities, we think you'll get more for your money with some of the options that stay in place better while you sweat. But for quality lenses and sunglasses that don't compromise on style, the District Rounds are those shades.
Though they are a fairly high-performing pair of shades, the Vuarnet District Medium Rounds couldn't quite lock down an award this time around. Their crisp, contrasting Brown Lynx lenses offer excellent protection, but aren't polarized and are too dark for lower light conditions. Their large, durable frames provide reasonable coverage but their lack of curvature, heft, and front-loaded imbalance prevents them from being a truly versatile pair of glasses.
And yet, these shades made our testers feel stylish, cool, and chic, no matter what size or shape their faces were. If you're unwilling to give up performance for style, the Vuarnets might be the perfect blend for you.
— Maggie Brandenburg