Le Specs Armada Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Oversized fashion, interesting lens color, cool case
Cons: Narrow bows may squeeze, hinges wear unevenly
Manufacturer: Le Specs
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Le Specs Armada
|Price||$58.95 at Backcountry|
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|$153.00 at REI|
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|$249.99 at Amazon|
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|$152.12 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Oversized fashion, interesting lens color, cool case||Great lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good case||Great contrast, comfortable, easy style to love||Protective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activities||Bold style, great narrow fit, adjustable nose pads, good protection, sturdy build, cool case|
|Cons||Narrow bows may squeeze, hinges wear unevenly||Not polarized, may be loose on top of head||A bit small, translucent frame magnifies light, expensive||May be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleaner||Narrow fit, not great directly into sun|
|Bottom Line||A solid pair of shades with a neat take on the oversized lens fashion without being too big||Excellent quality shades that are protective and stylish, offering top-notch quality for a reasonable price||These are great quality sunglasses with excellent contrast and a superb face feel||A sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikes||A great set of aviators for smaller faces with good protection and a brazen style|
|Rating Categories||Le Specs Armada||Ray-Ban Erika||Maui Jim Honi||Smith Caper Chromapop||Costa del Mar Fernandina|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Style And Versatility (20%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Specs||Le Specs Armada||Ray-Ban Erika||Maui Jim Honi||Smith Caper...||Costa del Mar...|
|Lens Tested||Smoke Gradient||Grey Gradient||Blue HCL Bronze||Opal Mirror ChromaPop||Green Mirror 580P|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||Not specified||Not specified||12%||15%||10%|
|VLT Protection Index||Cat 3||Cat 3||Cat 3||Cat 3||Cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||None||None||"HEV reduction"||None||100% HEV blockage|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||None||None||None||None||None|
|Neutral/Contrast||Neutral||Neutral||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||Polycarbonate||Polycarbonate||SuperThin glass||Carbonic||Mineral glass|
|Protective Coatings||None||None||Anti-reflective, anti-scratch, hydroleophobic||Anti-reflective,hydroleophobic resistance, mirror coating||C-WALL (anti-scratch and hydroleophobic), mirror|
|Can take prescription lens?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Case Included||Yes; canvas bag with pocket and clam-shell top, microfiber cleaning cloth||Yes; semi-rigid snapshell case and microfiber cleaning cloth||Yes; rigid triangular collapsible case, microfiber cleaning cloth||Yes; microfiber bag||Yes; cork box, microfiber bag|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Le Specs Armada with Smoke Gradient lenses. They're a Medium fit and come with a canvas case with a clamshell squeeze top and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
The Smoke Gradient lenses we tested for the Armada are grey with a hint of blue. We appreciate this, as it stops them from having that "cloudy day" look when wearing. They're not polarized, but they perform pretty well in medium and bright light.
- Not Polarized
- 100% UV Protection
- Unspecified Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
- 0% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
- Color: Grey Gradient, Material: Polycarbonate
- Impact Resistant
These gradient lenses transition from dark on top to lighter on the bottom. For the most part, it's a fairly smooth transition, but the very bottom of the lenses is a bit too light for our liking. Though lacking any anti-reflective coating on the back, these do alright in most lighting. As they're larger lenses, we saw some reflections around the edges but it wasn't overly distracting.
The Armada are large, verging on oversized, standing on the nose rather than wrapping around the face. They touch the eyebrows just a bit in the center but don't squish them. Because they sit a little bit higher than most, they don't really touch the cheeks unless you're smiling. They weigh 26 grams putting them around the middle of the range of weights for sunglasses we tested. Their medium frames are less flexible than most, making them less accommodating to different-sized faces. Narrow bows can add to this discomfort for those who find themselves needing a little extra width from their frames. They weren't uncomfortable for most of our testers, but we'd like to see them be a little more accommodating.
Style and Versatility
The Armada have big round lenses and just a hint of cat-eye shape in the corners. They're not enormous — though on some of our smaller-headed testers, they look a bit oversized. The roundness has almost a vintage vibe to it and appeals to those of us who enjoy certain eras of throwback styling. They looked a bit out of place on some of our testers who have different personal styles that don't include period pieces — and during more active endeavors.
The polycarbonate frames of the Armada, as we mentioned before, are far less flexible than most other frames we tested. While we feel this is a detriment to their overall comfort and durability, these frames do feel quite solid and sturdy, winning them back some points in this arena. They have standard three-barrel hinges made of metal that are a touch beefier than average hinges. Over our months of testing, the two hinges on our pair loosened at different rates. Of course, this is simple to fix quickly with just a small screwdriver.
The lenses on the Armada are some of the largest we tested, providing decent coverage. However, unlike many others that have face-hugging shapes to help block out light from the sides, these are quite flat. As fairly tall lenses, they provide pretty good top and bottom coverage. Lacking any rubber padding to help hold them in place, these shades can bounce and slide on the nose under trying conditions. Otherwise, when we weren't sweaty or trying to run from place to place, the long bows help bring the balance backward, keeping them fairly stable.
The Armada come with a unique case that we really liked. It's a canvas bag with a single exterior pocket. The top is held shut by two covered strips of metal that open by squeezing the sides together. This makes it one of the easiest cases to use. Also included is a small, thin microfiber cleaning cloth.
In a sea of high-priced options, the Armada is available for a more affordable price. They're not our favorite pair for impressive eye protection or a versatile fit. However, they offer a neat aesthetic and still perform pretty well among some stiff competition. If you like the look and need just the basics in protection, these just might be the perfect pair for you.
The Le Specs Armada are a fashionable pair of shades that offer an attractive, vintage-inspired look. The gradient lenses are cool-looking and functional, if not outstanding. They're a pretty solid fit for a medium head and come with a neat case for a fairly reasonable price.
— Maggie Brandenburg