Apart from their important medical function, glasses, especially sunglasses, are one thing above all these days: a fashion accessory. The fact that their glasses keep dangerous UV radiation away from their eyes often only plays a subordinate role. Frame shape and material, the color of the lenses and ultimately the brand – these are the decisive parameters. And so manufacturers around the world have been working on the design of frames and lenses for years. But also technically a lot has happened lately. Especially when it comes to self-tinting sunglasses. While years ago it sometimes took minutes for glasses to lighten or darken by themselves in changing light conditions, today this happens in fractions of a second.

In a barely perceptible tenth of a second, the lenses of the E-Lens Evo from the French bike and triathlon outfitter Ekoï should be able to switch back and forth between filter classes 2 and 3. We wanted to know exactly whether it actually works, what technology is behind it, for whom the stylish nose bike with lenses developed in Switzerland brings advantages and what the stylish fun costs. The Ekoï E-Lens Evo in the star check.

Two are better than one, that’s what you probably thought when designing the packaging. Because the E-Lens Evo, which is wrapped in thin plastic film, comes in a generous tie-up pouch that is also intended to be used as a cleaning cloth for the glasses. In addition, the wearable was embedded in a sophisticated pseudo-carbon case. Scratches during transport are therefore almost impossible. As a practical bonus, two spare hangers fall out of the box. Plus a compact set of instructions and some reading about the cryptic string of characters on the frame.

The beautiful adjective without frills best describes our first impression of the design of the glasses. The frame, made in Italy, looks more bulky than elegant. But that is a matter of taste and therefore more of a side note for us. Visually, the E-Lens Evo is a fairly inconspicuous addition to the long line of Shield glasses that are currently particularly popular with cyclists. Strikingly large glass, frameless at the bottom. What quickly catches the eye, however, is unusual and illegible calligraphy on the top of the frame. For this, Ekoï commissioned a contemporary French artist. However, it remains unclear what message David Minard wants to convey to the wearers. Nevertheless, this mystical eye-catcher gives the glasses something special.

From our point of view, the weight of the glasses is also an important first impression. An absolutely competitive 38 grams are placed on the bridge of the nose and ears. When wearing the glasses, you can still feel them, especially in the area of ​​the ears. The brackets are mounted relatively tightly on the frame and press slightly against the head. That may bother wearers with a broader head a bit. In any case, it ensures that the E-Lens Evo sits securely even on bumpy terrain.

First conclusion: no-frills design and high-quality workmanship.

At this point, one would like to ask directly what should one test in sunglasses for athletes. And this question is usually perfectly valid. But in the case of the E-Lens Evo from Ekoï, one detail needs to be examined more closely. According to the manufacturer, four small solar cells ensure that the Swiss-made LCD glass darkens automatically within a tenth of a second and brightens up again just as quickly in the right light conditions. This can be interesting and important, for example, on bike tours in the forest or on routes that lead through tunnels or underpasses. Basically, self-tinting sunglasses replace the white or orange replacement lens, which is clearly superior to the tinted lens in the dark or in the rain. With permanent changes of light and shadow, replacement lenses are practically useless. Self-tinting sunglasses like the E-Lens Evo could therefore also be regarded as all-weather glasses and used when darkness falls.

In our test, the pane reacted so quickly to sudden changes in light that the eyes hardly noticed it. Even in the gloomy basement, there was still so much light coming through the pane that you could easily leave your glasses on. For comparison: With comparable sunglasses without self-tinting lenses in filter category 2, only between 18 and 43 percent of the incident light reaches the eye. It doesn’t matter if it’s light or dark. In the basement you are more or less lost with such glasses. And the darker the lenses are tinted, the less you can see in low light conditions.

According to Ekoï, even with the darkest tint, 15 percent of the incident light still penetrates through the photochromic lenses of the E-Lens Evo. This corresponds to filter category 3 and is easy on the eyes, especially in the mountains or on the beach in strong sunlight. Important: The tinting of lenses has nothing to do with UV protection. In the case of the test glasses, this corresponds to the important CE standard, which stipulates filters in the European Union that repel UV rays with up to 380 nanometers (Nm). Ekoï promises that the lenses protect against dangerous UVA, UVB and UVC rays up to a wavelength of 400 nm.

Let’s move on to the hardware details. The glasses can be disassembled into their individual parts. Both the nose bridge and the disc could be removed without any problems. Likewise the attached brackets. A click here signals that the bracket is correctly seated. We also had no complaints when putting it together. In contrast to the temples, the nose pads of the E-Lens Evo cannot be individually adjusted. The microfiber bag, which is used to remove dust, sunscreen or fingerprints from the glass, did not completely convince us. It protects the glasses from bumps and scratches when transporting them, but we think that slightly finer woven cloths are more practical for cleaning.

>> Here’s the Ekoï E-Lens Evo

To make it short: There is hardly anything wrong with the E-Lens Evo from Ekoï. From our point of view, you can live with the fixed nose bridge. The cleaning cloth, which is a bit too rough for us, can be easily replaced. We were absolutely convinced by how the lens automatically darkens and brightens again when the light conditions change. A blessing for cyclists who often struggle with light and shadow. Otherwise you get a lot of sunglasses for your money. Which brings us straight to the last drop of bitterness: Ekoï is asking almost 320 euros for its premium model, which is also available with a black frame and green or blue lenses. A sporty price for sporty glasses. Other manufacturers of high-quality sports and lifestyle glasses offer carbon-framed lenses or limited special editions in this price range. A tricky decision for sun worshipers who want to treat their eyes to something extra special.

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