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Wowsun Polarized Gradient Review

A budget-friendly version of a cool retro style that unfortunately doesn't follow through in performance
Wowsun Polarized Gradient
Photo: WOWSUN
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Price:  $14 List | $11.89 at Amazon
Pros:  Polarized, good contrast, lightweight, easy to wear, solid case, numerous accessories
Cons:  Distracting back-reflection, very long bows, lenses are loose
Manufacturer:   WOWSUN
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 9, 2021
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40
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Lens Quality - 30% 2
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Style and Versatility - 20% 6
  • Frame Quality - 15% 3
  • Coverage - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Wowsun Polarized Gradient sunglasses are indeed polarized, but they have no gradient. However, the brown lenses provide quality contrast in easy-to-wear frames. They come with a myriad of accessories and a decent and convenient zippered case we appreciate. Unfortunately, they also are far from our favorite lenses. With pretty intense reflections staring back at us, unnecessarily long bows, and lenses that wobble within the frames, we're less than excited about the performance of these shades. Still, they're not completely without merit for those of us on a budget who need just the basics in protection and performance.

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Pros Polarized, good contrast, lightweight, easy to wear, solid case, numerous accessoriesGreat lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good caseGreat contrast, comfortable, easy style to loveProtective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activitiesBold style, great narrow fit, adjustable nose pads, good protection, sturdy build, cool case
Cons Distracting back-reflection, very long bows, lenses are looseNot polarized, may be loose on top of headA bit small, translucent frame magnifies light, expensiveMay be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleanerNarrow fit, not great directly into sun
Bottom Line A budget-friendly version of a cool retro style that unfortunately doesn't follow through in performanceExcellent quality shades that are protective and stylish, offering top-notch quality for a reasonable priceThese are great quality sunglasses with excellent contrast and a superb face feelA sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikesA great set of aviators for smaller faces with good protection and a brazen style
Rating Categories Wowsun Polarized Gradient Ray-Ban Erika Maui Jim Honi Smith Caper Chromapop Costa del Mar Fernandina
Lens Quality (30%)
2
8
9
8
7
Comfort (25%)
5
9
8
8
7
Style And Versatility (20%)
6
8
8
8
9
Frame Quality (15%)
3
9
7
8
8
Coverage (10%)
5
8
8
7
4
Specs Wowsun Polarized... Ray-Ban Erika Maui Jim Honi Smith Caper... Costa del Mar...
Lens Tested Brown Grey Gradient Blue HCL Bronze Opal Mirror ChromaPop Green Mirror 580P
Polarized Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Fit Medium
(tested 55mm width)
Standard Narrow Medium Narrow/Small
Weight (grams) 21g 22g 35g 27g 32g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) Not specified Not specified 12% 15% 10%
VLT Protection Index Not specified 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 Increased contrast Neutral Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast
Lens Material Plastic (composite) Polycarbonate SuperThin glass Carbonic Mineral glass
Impact Resistance Yes Yes No Yes No
Protective Coatings Anti-scratch 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
Hinge type Standard Standard Flex Standard Standard
Case Included Yes; semi-rigid zippered shell, microfiber bag, microfiber cleaning cloth, double-sided screwdriver 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 Wowsun Polarized Gradient with Brown lenses — that have no gradient. They come with a semi-rigid zippered case, a microfiber drawstring bag, a microfiber cleaning cloth, and a double-sided keychain screwdriver.

Performance Comparison


We're underwhelmed by the fit, feel, and performance of the Wowsun.
We're underwhelmed by the fit, feel, and performance of the Wowsun.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Lens Quality


Despite having the word "gradient" right in the name, not all of the lenses from Wowsun actually have gradients. The Brown lenses we tried do not. They are polarized, but not uniformly so, with less polarized regions on the left sides of both lenses. They're okay in medium light and a little brighter but are light enough that our eyes get tired from wearing them all day in the bright sun. The specific shade of brown is quite red and significantly alters color perceptions.

Brown Lenses
  • Polarized
  • 100% UV Protection
  • Unspecified Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
  • 0% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
  • Color: Brown, Material: Plastic (Composite)
  • Impact Resistant, Anti-Scratch

We strongly dislike the amount of reflection we got from the insides of the Wowsun lenses. They are obvious, glaring, distracting, and were frequently directly in our field of vision, making them very challenging to actually wear in the sun. Additionally, our lenses had numerous significant distortions right in the middle of the field of vision, causing us to feel unsteady and woozy when moving our heads quickly. All in all, not great lenses.

The lenses are very reflective and have several warped areas.
The lenses are very reflective and have several warped areas.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


Weighing 21 grams, these glasses are pretty lightweight among the models we tested. Their matte finish is smooth with just a hint of friction to help keep them in place. However, they have exceptionally long bows, which are a bit much for us. They're a bit narrower than some similar-looking models, as well as slightly less flexible, resulting in just an "okay" wearing experience.

The color of these shades is interesting but not everyone's favorite.
The color of these shades is interesting but not everyone's favorite.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Style and Versatility


Another pair of copycat shades, mimicking a style we love for a price far lower than the originals they're modeled after. They're not bad, though a little smaller than we want this style to be, which also makes them slightly less versatile on the full range of human head sizes. The metal bows look pretty neat, we think, though the specific shade of Beige we tested is more of a light peach color that we don't like as much as we thought we would.

The Wowsun aren't a terrible look and have some fans among our...
The Wowsun aren't a terrible look and have some fans among our testers.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Frame Quality


The Wowsun frames are a composite pair, made of plastic fronts and bow caps, and metal bow arms. The plastic portions are reasonably flexible, but not remarkably so. Standard three-barrel metal hinges on each side are narrow but fine, though ours seemed to wear in uneven patterns, with one loosening while the other stays the same. However, the lenses in our pair were barely held in place and actually rattled when we shookthe sunglasses. Not exactly a ringing seal of endorsement to their ability to withstand regular use.

The lenses rattle around in these frames.
The lenses rattle around in these frames.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Coverage


These medium-sized lenses in a medium-sized frame offer a reasonable level of coverage. They're taller than some others, helping to close the bottom gap against the cheeks, but still leave plenty of room on the sides for sunlight to sneak in. The matte finishing and tighter fit helps to keep them in place pretty well, though we're not sure it's worth the cost in comfort for that extra level of tightness.

With flat fronts, the sides are fairly open.
With flat fronts, the sides are fairly open.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Case Quality


These sunglasses come with an array of accessories as if to make up for the lackluster performance of the glasses themselves. We like their semi-rigid zippered clamshell case, with a handy loop on one end to clip onto or just inside our bags. They also come with a medium-thickness microfiber double-drawstring bag and a matching, medium-sized microfiber cloth. If that's not enough, this pair of sunnies also comes with a small double-sided screwdriver on a keychain.

These come with a lot of accessories.
These come with a lot of accessories.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


Despite coming with a slew of accessories and at one of the cheapest prices of any model we tested, the lenses themselves and the security within their tight-fitting frames leave us unconvinced they're worth even this low cost. Perhaps if you're dead set on the look and don't mind the distracting lens glare and subpar construction, but we're not impressed.

Conclusion


The Wowsun are an underperforming, underwhelming pair of sunglasses that just can't quite measure up. Though we like their style and price, the actual experience we had while wearing them — with their intense glare, lenses threatening to fall out at every turn, and a too-tight fit — just don't convince us they're worth even a low investment.

Hanging out in the Wowsun, but we're not wowed.
Hanging out in the Wowsun, but we're not wowed.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg