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Smith Caper Chromapop Review

A sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikes
Smith Caper Chromapop
Photo: Smith
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $179 List | $139.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Protective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activities
Cons:  May be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleaner
Manufacturer:   Smith
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 9, 2021
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 15
  • Lens Quality - 30% 8
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Style and Versatility - 20% 8
  • Frame Quality - 15% 8
  • Coverage - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Smith Caper are a secure pair of sunglasses that are well-equipped to handle life on the go as easily as going with your favorite outfit. If you're looking for the shades you can wear on vacation in Italy or for a run through the neighborhood, these are an excellent choice. The ChromaPop lenses are protective and offer great colors and contrast. They offer a secure fit with fully rubber nose pads to keep them in place no matter the weather. Though they're a tad tight, we still find them comfortable to wear all day, though their case could be better.

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Smith Caper Chromapop
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $139.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Protective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activitiesGreat lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good caseSecure fit, great lenses, padded frame, excellent coverageSolid protection, look good on most faces, comfortable, well-priced, great warranty/exchange policyVery lightweight, great contrast, good in low light, flexible frame, neat style
Cons May be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleanerNot polarized, may be loose on top of headMay be tight, style doesn't work for everyoneNot a bold style, unimpressive case, minor longevity issuesNarrow frame, small lenses, not great in bright light
Bottom Line A sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikesExcellent quality shades that are protective and stylish, offering top-notch quality for a reasonable priceA blend of sporty and stylish, these secure fit shades offer great protection and great valueGood quality, inexpensive shades with a classic style that works well for just about everyoneNarrow fit shades that offer good contrast and funky style in a flexible, less expensive frame
Rating Categories Smith Caper Chromapop Ray-Ban Erika Native Eyewear Acadia Shady Rays Classic... Sunski Dipsea
Lens Quality (30%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
Style And Versatility (20%)
8.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
7.0
Frame Quality (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Coverage (10%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Smith Caper Chromapop Ray-Ban Erika Native Eyewear Acadia Shady Rays Classic... Sunski Dipsea
Lens Tested Opal Mirror ChromaPop Grey Gradient Brown Grey Brown
Polarized No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fit Medium Standard Medium Medium Small-Medium
Weight (grams) 27g 22g 27g 27g 19g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) 15% Not specified 13% Not specified 15%
VLT Protection Index Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3 Not specified Cat 3
HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim) None None 94% HEV blockage None None
Infrared Protection (claim) None None "up to 4X more than regular polarized lenses" None None
Neutral/Contrast Increased contrast Neutral Increased contrast Neutral Increased contrast
Lens Material Carbonic Polycarbonate Crystal carbonate Plastic Triacetate cellulose
Impact Resistance Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Protective Coatings Anti-reflective,hydroleophobic resistance, mirror coating None None None None
Can take prescription lens? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Hinge type Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Case Included Yes; microfiber bag Yes; semi-rigid snapshell case and microfiber cleaning cloth Yes; semi-rigid zippered shell, microfiber bag Yes; microfiber bag Yes; microfiber bag

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the Smith Caper with Opal Mirror ChromaPop lenses. They're a Medium fit and can take some prescription lenses. They come with a microfiber drawstring bag.

Performance Comparison


We love the versatile look and wear of these sunnies.
We love the versatile look and wear of these sunnies.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Lens Quality


The Caper can be purchased in a wide range of possible colors and lens combinations. The Opal Mirror ChromaPop lenses we tested are different than other brown ChromaPop lenses we've tested from Smith. They keep colors much more true to life, rather than highlighting lighter shades of green as near-neon. They're amber enough to add a touch of contrast to your view without really skewing your perceptions of reality.

Opal Mirror ChromaPop Lenses
  • Polarized
  • 100% UV Protection
  • 15% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
  • 0% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
  • Color: Amber, Material: Carbonite
  • Impact Resistant, Anti-Reflective, Hydroleophobic, Mirror Coating

The lenses on the Caper offer great clarity. Their combination of slightly higher Visible Light Transmission (15%) and mirrored coating make them enjoyable to wear in both bright and lower light situations. The mirroring also blocks a lot, though we noticed they're still see-through from the outside in certain lights. Still, we feel that we can easily obscure our eyes behind these lenses.


With an anti-reflective coating, these lenses reflect very little of your own face back into your eyes. Even with the overall flat shape, we hardly noticed any reflection from the backs of the lenses, which makes them far above average in this area. Their hydroleophobic coating is meant to repel water and oil, though the mirroring on the outside makes any smudges immediately apparent. The Caper tend to collect dust fairly quickly as well, made all the more obvious by that mirror coating. And while they're reasonably straightforward to wipe clean with a standard microfiber eyewear cloth, the microfiber case they come with feels almost sticky on the lenses and does not do a great job clearing them of gunk.

The Opal Mirror ChromaPop lenses offer increased contrast without...
The Opal Mirror ChromaPop lenses offer increased contrast without going overboard.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


The Caper are a snug Medium fit, but not in a bad way. If you identify as someone with a particularly wide head, they might be a bit tight for you. On the other hand, some of our testers who think of themselves as large-headed individuals still found these pretty darn comfortable due largely to the fairly wide, smooth bows and a small amount of frame flex. The bows stay securely in the unfolded position, making them easy to put on and take off with one hand while driving.


Though their 27-gram weight is about the average among women's sunglasses we tested, these feel very solidly balanced and not heavy on the face. Fully rubber nose pads are smooth and not at all sticky when dry. When we sweated in these shades, those rubber sections added extra staying power to the close-fitting frame, keeping them firmly in place even on a long midday run. The lenses aren't too tall and the fit keeps these sunglasses high enough that there's no cheek touching while wearing. Nor do they raise off the nose when laughing or smiling.

From hiking trails to wandering through town, the Caper offers a...
From hiking trails to wandering through town, the Caper offers a comfortable fit.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Style and Versatility


The Caper offer another, different twist on the well-loved wayfarer style. With slightly smaller lenses that are a touch rounder and encased in a thicker, bolder frame with just a slight tilt and hint of cat-eye, they're unlike any other pair we tested. Overall, they're a more androgynous-looking pair of sunglasses, with just a hint of femininity that our team of female testers — and more than a few men — were big fans of.


We tested a tortoise frame with hints of violet that was appealing across genders. The mirror coating on our pair added a splash of sportiness without taking away all the style. These are bold without feeling like something that will go out of fashion in a year or two. We felt equally at home wearing them for a hiking trip as we did rocking them for a springtime brunch with mimosas outside.

Ready for whatever the lake throws our way.
Ready for whatever the lake throws our way.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Frame Quality


The Caper frames are made of Evolve, a bio-based, plastic-like material with a moderate amount of flex. They're thick and wide, helping them to feel both sturdy and trustworthy. The rubber nose pads are a full chunk of the frame, rather than small embedded discs like many others. Though we're not totally in love with the way these pads are attached to the rest of the frame, it's more because we think it looks a little unrefined, not because it seems like something that's going to break easily.


The hinges of the Caper are made as integrated shapes to the overall frame and connect with an easily tightened screw. Though they're not flex hinges (that are made to overextend), they are autolocking, helping them to stay open when you want them open and closed when you want them closed. Our several months of testing revealed no secret flaws that we could find. They look, act, and feel like a very solid, reliable pair of sunglasses.

Fully rubber nose pads help add security to their snug fit.
Fully rubber nose pads help add security to their snug fit.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Coverage


They do fall a little behind when it comes to coverage. They're still well ahead of most of the pack, offering above-average coverage, but they're not the best. With just medium-sized lenses, the Caper can't offer quite the same spread as some of the large and oversized models we tested. They also have a base curve of just 4, which is nearly (but not completely) flat.


That being said, they don't have bad coverage. The Caper is designed to fit very closely to the face, helping to maximize coverage. They're quite protective on the top, with wide frames that connect with the eyebrows to block incoming sunlight from overhead. The smaller lenses leave gaps along the bottom though, and the low base curve allows side light to get in as well. Still, the close fit makes a world of difference, upgrading this size/shape of these shades from just okay coverage to decent coverage.

Cool and covered with the Capers.
Cool and covered with the Capers.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Case Quality


The Caper comes with just a simple microfiber cloth bag with a two-sided drawstring on top. It offers some scratch protection, but unfortunately doesn't make a very good cleaner cloth, as the exterior is covered in tiny patches of shiny weave that stick to the lenses rather than glide over them for a successful cleaning experience.

Perhaps their only letdown is the simple microfiber bag they come...
Perhaps their only letdown is the simple microfiber bag they come with.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


Depending on the specific lenses you choose to put into the Caper frames, they range from reasonably affordable to fairly pricey. We tested some of the most expensive lenses and though they're on the higher end of the price range we tested for women's sunglasses, they perform admirably. We think their versatility across activities and styles helps add to their value, making them a great choice if you only want to own a single pair of sunglasses for everything from day hiking to vacationing.

Conclusion


The Smith Caper are a versatile pair of high-performing women's sunglasses. The Opal Mirror ChromaPop lenses we tested are a joy to look through, while the glasses themselves offer a secure, comfortable fit. We think these make an excellent set of crossover shades to take you around town, up the mountain, and everywhere in between.

Exploring our local parks in the Smith Caper.
Exploring our local parks in the Smith Caper.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg