TL;DR review: Snapchat’s new iPhone X-only face lenses are fun and show offs the power of the power of Apple’s advanced face mapping technology, but only if you already have an iPhone X.
Cool Factor: 😎😎😎 (3 out of 5)
Ease of Use: 📘📘📘📘📘 (5 out of 5)
Performance: 💪💪💪 (3 out of 5)
Bang for the Buck: 💸💸 (2 out of 5)
⚡⚡⚡ (3.25 out of 5)
It only took six months, but Snapchat’s new augmented reality face lenses that work specifically with the iPhone X are finally live.
There are only three of them available right now and although the advanced face-mapping is pretty sick — the lenses look like they’re actually stuck on your skin — it’s by no means a killer new feature that’ll convince me, or the droves of users and celebrities who’ve openly abandoned Snapchat for Instagram, to return.
And you definitely shouldn’t spend $1,000 on an iPhone X just to get these special Snapchat lenses.
If you have an iPhone X and don’t see the new lenses, make sure you’ve got the latest version of Snapchat. And if that doesn’t work, try force-quitting the app and opening it up again. The new iPhone X-only lenses will appear at the front of your row of lenses.
The new lenses use the face-mapping data taken from the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system, which allows for up to 50 distinct muscle movements. If you’ve ever used the iPhone X’s Animoji, you’ll know the wizardry we’re talking about.
But enough about the tech. Let’s check out the lenses.
Diamond mask with flower crown
This lens puts slaps a bejeweled mask encrusted with diamonds on your face and a flower crown on your head. It also applies a layer of blush to your cheeks as well as mascara and eyeliner to your eyes.
Notice how the diamonds sparkle as you turn your head around. You can also spot some subtle shifts in the shadows in the flower crown.
Rating: 😍😍😍 (3 out of 5)
The luchador lens is the plainest of the trio, but it also best demonstrates how these new iPhone X-specific Snapchat lenses work.
You can clearly see how the mask sticks to your face and when you change your facial expressions, it remains mapped to your skin. You can also see some neat lighting effects same as the diamond mask.
Rating: 😍😍 (2 out of 5)
Porcelain mask with rose crown
The last of the new Snapchat lenses covers your entire face with what looks to be porcelain and a gold-colored rose crown. (What’s with Snapchat and flower crowns?!)
Like the other two, you can see the slick lighting effects on both the mask and the crown, but this lens also showcases the face-mapping tech’s limitations. With my face turned to an angle, I stuck my tongue out, and as I predicted, the lens wasn’t able to layer my tongue on top of the mask. So you end up with this:
The new Snapchat lenses are sweet, but has limitations. Look at how my tongue is underneath the mask.Image: Screenshot: raymond wong/mashableMashable Tech Editor Pete Pachal also noticed the same thing happened to his glasses. The masks do a decent job covering up your glasses (if that’s what you want), but you’re out of luck if you want your glasses on top of them (we tried).
The masks will cover up your glasses, too.Image: screenshot: Pete Pachal/MashableRating: 😍😍 (2 out of 5)
Cool, but I’m sticking to Instagram
It’s arguable which app, Snapchat or Instagram, has the better lenses. Frankly, I don’t really care. Lenses are cool, but they’re a novelty that wears off quickly. So I’m perfectly fine with the limited ones available on Instagram.
Like many others, I’ve all but stopped using Snapchat. I haven’t posted to my Snapchat Story in months. Instagram Stories is where everyone is on. The platform is larger and Instagram keeps adding useful features at a pace Snapchat can’t keep up with. And those features are cooler than Snapchat’s IMHO. (You’re entitled to your own opinion, of course.)
These new iPhone lenses are a cool party trick and they’re fun for a few minutes, but I’ll go out on a limb and say they’re not enough to save Snapchat.