Sunday, 30 December 2012

REVIEW: www.SpeckyFourEyes.com, buying glasses online

I was kindly allowed to review www.SpeckyFourEyes.com recently, so if I may I'd like to take you through the ordering process. I have worn glasses since I was 5 and have never tried contact lenses so finding the right glasses is extremely important to me. It used to terrify me, choosing glasses, because if they were bad, I was stuck with them for two years. These days, there is much less pressure - glasses are cheaper to buy (or perhaps I'm more willing to spend money on them than my parents who would get what was available on the nhs voucher I think!) and it is common for people to have numerous pairs. This is not something I've quite got used to yet - I have two pairs of glasses and one pair of sunglasses, which I never, ever remember to wear. Now that I have another pair, I am hoping to train myself more to chop, change and accessorise!! 

My only thoughts going in to the Specky Four Eyes website for the first time was that I believed a thinner, narrower rectangle frame suits me the best.

Prescription in hand, I jumped on to the website and was pleased to find it was made up of clean tool bars, useful search menus and not over cluttered. This put me at ease and I started to have a browse. I was amazed (and slightly daunted, I must admit!) at the amount of choice available. My first search I went for my obvious requirements and reduced the options to women's frames, prescription glasses, single vision, Specky Four Eyes branded frames and I was still left with 380 choices! Incredible! This gives you a good idea of the sort of practical search options that are available though - all the basic choices you would expect are easily accessible in the main search bar.



To narrow down my options, I decided to go for some whims, and so I tried to narrow down by colour, going for green frames for a change. I got these -  they were mainly black, but I did like the detailing. However, I was confused that, as you can see from the URL, they are classified as men's frames! I guess that there are a lot of unisex frames around now, but call them that!!


I found that one issue with the search function was that as you narrow down your choices, options don't disappear even when there are no glasses of that type available - for example, it will let you select a certain price range within your current choices, even though there are no glasses of that price which meet the criteria you have already selected, which I found to be a slightly frustrating glitch.

Instead of resetting my options, I decided to narrow the green frames down further by selecting a frame shape - rectangular. However, when I did this I realised that all my previous selections had already been cleared - which explained how I had selected some male design frames before!!

Time to start again then - this time I went for women's rectangular prescription glasses, with Specky Four Eyes frames, single vision lenses, and had 260 options to choose from. I selected the option where 90 frames per page were displayed at once so that I could quickly browse, and I decided not to add any more search criteria in case it reset itself again!!

Having a quick scan of the choices gave me a number of really lovely frames to choose from:
I had a look at these, but I didn't like how thick the arms were in relation to the thickness of the frame around the lense. I like the colour though.
Next I found these 'uns. I really liked the balance of brown and green but a bit worried they're men's frames again! This male thing was making me start to doubt my taste in frames!!

Yet another set of men's frames that I quite liked, made me double check that women's frames was still ticked as an option - and it was...

These were the next pair I came across. Wow! Bright and awesome. But without trying them on first, am I so daring as to impulse buy them?

By this point I realised I was mainly looking at brown or green, or possibly purple frames. So that helped to narrow down my choices while I was browsing. I was already glad I'd spent a little bit of time over it, deciding what I liked.

I rather liked the subtle purple of these:

And while I liked the cool pattern on these, I was not sure about the partial rims: 

And then randomly I liked these in blue. So a lot to choose from! 
The range of choice is really one of the strengths of the website. I had just been looking at their 'own brand' frames, but there are lots of designer frames and well known brands to choose from as well, like Bench, Guess and Nicole Farhi. They have a great help section as well, with lots of handy guides about picking frames and checking your measurements. I found it really useful that each frame had a sizing guide with it to allow you to check the exact sizes of the frame.

One of the limitations of the website that I found was when you clicked to see a larger size picture it was actually no bigger, and there was no independent zoom function to look at certain features in detail, as I would perhaps expect on a fashion website for example.



It was at this point that I asked The Boy for support as I realised I had hit an indecisive moment in my life and needed him to help me pick from the 'short'list of about 20 gorgeous frames that I had narrowed things down to!! After much umming and ahhing we decided on these at £39.00, as they were fun, but nice enough to be smart, plus they will go with most of my wardrobe and aren't too heavy for my face. They are quite dark though, so it was a new direction for me!
The final selection!

Once your frame is selected, you get some simple options to choose an appropriate lense. These are phrased as simple questions, such as how will you use your lenses - e.g. single vision, varifocals, frame only. Then you get to pick which Specky package you want - this is essentially your lense coatings and choice of thickness.  I went for the Specky 2 package for £19 which gives standard thickness lenses (I have quite a heavy prescription, but thick lenses don't bother me), with scratch resistence and anti-reflection coating. Apparently this coating will repel water away from the lens, so they should be better in the rain - time will tell on that one! You also have the option to take the free lenses with no coatings, for an even more pocket friendly solution.

There are other fun choices available, making your glasses into prescription sunglasses, adding accessories to your order and so forth. Then you enter your prescription (easily done, it takes you through step by step and I found this to be very straightforward) and review your order.

Job done, you register and select your delivery option - essentially £3.99 standard or £9.99 special delivery. This struck me as a little high, as glasses in a case are not very heavy, but the frame prices are so cheap that this is offset somewhat. Your payment options can include debit or credit card, cheque or Paypal, so it is very flexible. The whole ordering process took me under 5 minutes once I had finally made a decision about frames!!

I got an 'order complete' message telling me that my order would be sent 'soon'. I was quite surprised there was no estimated time of delivery. Two days after I placed my order I received an email titled:


Great! I thought, I'll be receiving those soon. Upon reading the email I discovered 
"We just wanted you to know your prescription has been authorised by our optician and is being processed." Ah well, I could hang on for another couple of days.

Good job really! I had a bit of a wait left ahead of me. I had an email the next day to say 'preparation is in progress', then the next day that they were 'awaiting lenses and frames'. I'm not sure what they had prepared if that was the case! Four days later to my relief, I got an email saying my order had been shipped and so I eagerly awaited the postie for the next four days, until I got yet another email saying 'package in transit'. How there can be a four day wait between my order being shipped and the package actually being in transit confuses me. By this point we were on the 19th December, so coming up to Christmas, but still!

Whaddaya reckon?
My glasses arrived two weeks after I placed the order - a not unreasonable amount of time, but I would have preferred to get an estimated delivery when my order was accepted. I think the barrage of emails was unecessary -  I imagine they are intended to give you a good idea of the progress of your order, keep you informed, but I just found them irritating - I just wanted one email saying your glasses are winging their way to you and you'll have them tomorrow!
Now I have my glasses, I am extremely pleased with them. The Boy has been most 
complimentary about them, as well he might since he essentially picked them! The quality of the frame is excellent and the lenses are just what I ordered, as per prescription. Overall, I would happily award Specky Four Eyes 8 out of 10 Extreme Points. There are a few areas of their service which could be tightened up, but their range is phenomenal and their prices are very easy on the wallet.
Orange on the inside. For the win.
I received a complimentary pair of SFE frames with a Specky 2 package for the purposes of this review, 
but I paid the postage myself and received no other compensation. 
As ever, all opinions are my own!

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