If you’ve found this Thinoptics review, you’re probably one of the thirty million Americans that use reading glasses. I’ll bet that a scenario like this likely unfolds often in your life – you reach for your smartphone, a book, a menu or a magazine, realize that you need your glasses to read and then remember that you don’t have glasses with you.
Serial inventor Teddy Shalon was on a bike ride with a friend who was in his fifties. The pair were stopped when his friend received a text that he couldn’t read. Since he didn’t bring his reading glasses on the bike ride, he had to get Teddy to read the message for him.
Have you ever had to get someone to read something for you because you forgot your glasses or they were too far away?
Teddy spent the rest of the bike ride figuring out a way to keep something that you never have with you (your reading glasses) with something that you always have with you (your smartphone). Thinoptics’ cell phone glasses company was born.
With that initial idea, he approached a friend that he had met playing ice hockey against to found a company with him. The two co-founded Thinoptics to solve the problem in 2010.
Two years and over two hundred prototypes later, they finally had Thinoptics ready for market.
Teddy had spent most of his career inventing medical devices, holding twenty-five separate patents. You can see the medical influences throughout the Thinoptic product line, from the materials of each component to the perfectly minimalist design of these unbreakable reading glasses.
In the end, they had invented stick-anywhere, carry everywhere reading glasses that are always with you.
According to the company, thirty million Americans buy fifty million readers every year, owning six to eight pairs that they scatter all over their homes, offices and vehicles.
Thinoptics aims to be your favourite reading glasses, simply because they’re the ones that you will always have with you.
Foldable Reading Glasses
Without a doubt, the most radical feature of these reading glasses to go is the lack of arms. Not having arms means that the frames can be very thin and very light. In fact, Thinoptics are lighter than a nickel and thinner than two credit cards. They are quite simply the thinnest frames that we have ever seen.
Using what the company refers to as Flex-Grip technology (which is just a fancy name for a titanium alloy bridge that flexes) that is made from Nitonol (also known as Nickel Titanium), a metal that is ten times more flexible than spring steel, they guarantee that it will fit on anyone’s nose. They have added independent suspension nosepads for added comfort. Most people report a very comfortable fit–even people with a skinny nose!
Portable Reading Glasses Case
Portability for the folding reading glasses was a must. In order to make them as portable and convenient as possible, Teddy felt that having them attached to your phonecase would ensure that you took them wherever you went, since most people always have a phone with them.
The cell phone glasses concept was accomplished by engineering a tiny case that can be attached to your existing cell phone case using 3M double sided sticky tape (included). The glasses quickly pop in and out of the case and, because of how thin the glasses are, do not take up too much room in your purse or pocket or feel to bulky when you’re holding your phone.
If you don’t like fastening your case using sticky tape, Thinoptics also has built cases for iPhones and Samsung smartphones that come with an integrated glasses holder.
If having glasses attached to your smartphone just isn’t your thing, they have also built a keychain that holds the glasses, which is also really handy.
A lot of users report having multiple sets of the cheater glasses and sticking one to their phone, one to their iPad, one to their laptop and one anywhere else that they made to read small print.
The case is built with polycarbonate using injection molding. This is the same shatterproof material that safety glasses, military goggles and CD cases are made with. It’s shatterproof, so if it does crack, you won’t have a mess of sharp plastic to clean up. Technically, according to the company, this material can stop a bullet but we recommend that you don’t test this theory.
Where People are Using the Glasses
You can attach the sticky tape to any non-porous flat surface – metal, plastic, etc. Because it’s 3M tape, it’s easy to pry off the tape and rub off any glue residue. You can then reapply them somewhere else with double-sided tape.
Lots of customers are buying the cell phone glasses and keeping them each place they regularily read:
- Attached to your smartphone
- Attached to your keychains
- In your gym bag (ever struggle with a locker combination at the gym?)
- On your computer monitor / laptop
- In your golf bag (for your scorecard)
- On your bedside table
Aesthetics – How do they look?
ThinOptics look pretty good for what they are. Remember that these are inexpensive reading glasses. You’re not going to wear them to your next black tie event (although you may use them to read the menu there!).
That said, some users report that they look great and they feel comfortable wearing them for a long time. Other people don’t like the way that they look and only sneak them out when no one is looking. We think that they’re somewhere in between.
Currently, they come in six colors. So you can pick one in your favorite color. You can pick from Jet Black, Crystal Clear, Azure Blue, Ruby Red, Amethyst Purple or Espresso Brown.
Here’s a video of Michael Garfield, the High-Tech Texan rave about ThinOptics:
Because of the medical quality componentry and near religious commitment to the perfect design, the company can offer a lifetime guarantee. That basically means free replacement glasses forever. Of course, if you run them through the lawn mower and they don’t survive, they won’t replace them but you can get a new set if they are defective or fail under normal use.
Because they’re injected molded optical grade polycarbonate (the same material used in prescription eyewear), you can be assured that even though these are less expensive then your regular portable reading glasses, they’re not cheaply constructed.
They keep the price low because they make them at volume, injection molding the left and right lenses at the same time using optical grade materials.
Getting the Right Strength
Thinoptics comes in four strengths:
- +0.75 to +1.25 – Low Range (+1.00)
- +1.25 to +1.75 – Low-Mid Range (+1.50)
- +1.75 to +2.25 – Mid Range (+2.00)
- +2.25 to +2.75 – High Range (+2.50)
Thinoptics uses the line that they took two years and over two hundred prototypes to get to their current design. A lot of their research went into finding a bridge that would fit all noses (thick, thin, flat, steep, etc.). Virtually no one complains that the fit is uncomfortable.
Nitinol super elastic alloy, the material used in the bridge, is the most flexible metal in the world. In addition, the nose pads are each controlled by independent suspension to conform to every angle available on a nose. Finally, they have a “sure grip” nose pad surface so that the glasses don’t fall forward or slide off, even when your nose is damp from perspiration or covered in makeup.
There aren’t many products that we look at that are as popular, or as useful for as many people as Thinoptics. We generally only write about crowdfunded products, but the ThinOptics are so good, we decided to write about them anyway.
What they did is basic product development from a business school text book. They found a frustration that many people have (30 million Americans) and they spent as much time as they could fixing the issue. These things really are a better mousetrap.
Before Thinoptics, your reading glasses were hard to find and easy to sit on. Now, they’re just a click away hiding away on your cell phone case, in your purse or on your keychain.
It’s been very successful. Consider these facts:
- more than half of ThinOptics users report user them more than their regular reading glasses during the day
- those same people tell five friends or more a month about their folding reading glasses
- lots of users buy several pairs a year so that they can have a pair every place that they read
In the product development world, there is no greater endorsement than word-of-mouth.
If you’re always looking for your reading glasses, or struggling to read Google Maps on the side of the road, give the ThinOptics a shot. They have a lot of very satisfied customers and we’d be willing to bet that you’ll be the next.