Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Saturday, I’m chronicling my experience and reviewing a pair of glasses from local eyewear label, Foptics.
The USP (unique selling point) of Foptics is definitely their affordability – their glasses (frame with lenses) start at a mere $34 (after promo code below)! I was definitely intrigued by the low price, and decided to check them out to see if the deal is as good as it seems. Let’s see if Foptics is any good!
Foptics – the Brand
Foptics was started by a guy named Ray when he was in his final year in university. After burning the midnight oil way too many time, he found that his eyesight was deteriorating, and was in need of a pair of spectacles. However, at the point of time he couldn’t find a pair of spectacles that he found stylish but also affordable – the stylish ones were sold in shopping malls at high prices, while the affordable ones in neighbourhood shops looked like they were deigned in the 80s. According to Ray, spectacles are typically sold in the market at a 300% margin, whilst lenses are sold at a whooping 950% margin.
Thus, Ray decided to set out his own brand offering affordable and stylish spectacles, and Foptics was born! First established as a Carousell store five years ago, Foptics has grown from strength to strength and now boasts a physical store in the heart of Chinatown. Due to their incredibly affordable prices, Foptics enables customers to purchase multiple pairs of spectacles to suit their different styling needs, without burning a hole in their pocket.
Alright, let’s see how my experience at Foptics went!
Foptics – the Experience
Foptics is located in the heart of Chinatown (58B Pagoda Street) on the third story of a shophouse, right outside exit A of the MRT.
Foptics’ showroom is bright and cheery, with distinct summer vibes accentuated by pink leaf wallpapers (left) as well as artificial grass wallpaper (right). It’s definitely an Instagram friendly showroom, which is probably why Foptics is a hit amongst teenagers and millennials.
Foptics wide range of frame designs are arranged neatly on white tables, and customers are invited to try them on at their leisure.
Needless to say, I helped myself to the wide variety of frames that were displayed! There were all sort of designs, from the more oppa thin metal frames, to frames inspired by Tony Stark (aka Ironman)!
A frame that caught my eye was the Syaf in Egypt. I usually wear more rectangular frames, but I’ve always wanted to try rounder spectacles as fashionwear. The Syaf comes in varying colours – including full silver and full gold – but I immediately gravitated to the “Egypt” colourway. The front of the frame is black, but the sides are gold for a touch of extra pizzazz. It has character, but is more versatile and less in-your-face than the full gold variant. Needless to say, I checked it out on myself in Foptics’ mirror (designed to look like the ones found in dressing rooms) and I liked it – a lot – on myself!
After noticing that I was checking myself out in the mirror, Melvin came by to render me his assistance. He shared that the Syaf is the brand’s latest design, and also one of the best sellers, especially amongst young adults.
In addition, Melvin also showed me one of Foptics’ latest frames, named the Game. It’s so new that it’s not even on their online store yet! Melvin shared that the Game was actually engineered with pro gamers (esports athletes) in mind, and possesses two key features. Firstly, the frame is fully flexible, meaning that wearers would not have to worry about the frame breaking if they happen to be a tad too rough. Secondly, there are also integrated eye hooks, which the wearer can adjust to his personal comfort.
Out of all the options, the grey variant of the Game was the most appealing to me. I thought it was an interesting colour, and I also loved how lightweight the Game felt on my face. I also found them to wear securely on my ears due to the unique, integrated ear hooks. In terms of style, I would say that the Game is definitely more stylistic as compared to Gunnar Glasses, which is what most esports athletes on the pro gaming circuit use. Aside from gaming, I think the Game is perfect for active sportsmen as well – even NSFs actually (the Game does come in Black)!
Aside from glasses, Foptics carry contact lenses as well, at an utterly astonishing price. A box of contact lenses from Foptics cost just $10, which is utterly insane! For those interested in coloured contact lenses, those start at just $18 a box, which is still very affordable.
Typically, a box of contact lenses would last its wearer an entire month. As such, Foptics actually has a monthly subscription service, where they would send you two boxes of contact lenses every two months – right to your doorstop! Yes, despite paying just $10 a month, you don’t even have to drop by Foptics’ showroom to collect the contact lenses. How dope is that?
Lastly, Melvin also showed me Foptics’ line of magnetic sunglasses. The “sunglasses” actually comes in two parts – a regular, magnet embedded frame, as well as magnetic clip on shades. This means that when you’re outdoors, you can simply attach the shades on to the default glasses, and take them off when you’re indoors! I think this is pretty ingenious, as it means that the wearer would not have to spend too much money on prescribed sunglasses which are usually steep in price.
After browsing the shelves, it was time to get my eyesight checked! A certified optician actually comes into the store everyday to conduct eye tests for customers, so you can be assured that you’re in good hands. Like most (though not all) eyewear stores, eyesight testing is free.
We started with an eyesight test with the machine – for those who have gotten spectacles before, this should be familiar to you! The optician uses the machine to get a rough gauge of the customer’s degree, thus facilitating the later tests.
With the results of the earlier eyesight test done by the machine, the optician now has a rough gauge to help her/him insert lenses of approximate degrees into the test glasses. Thereafter, the regular eyesight tests are then performed until I could read the alphabets at a certain font size. Again, if you have gotten a pair of spectacles before, such a procedure should be common.
Alternatively, you can skip the hassle if you simply wish to stick to the same degree as the lenses on your old spectacles – Foptics has a machine (pictured above) that allows them to determine the degree on your old pair of glasses. However, I personally wouldn’t recommend it, as your eyesight may have changed significantly since the time you got your previous spectacles made.
With my degree determined, Foptics then informed me that my spectacles would be ready in 3 days. Now, that isn’t that long especially when compared to your regular neighbourhood spectacle shops, but if you need a pair of glasses in a hurry Foptics might not be the right place for you. Personally, I wasn’t in a hurry, so I was fine with the 3 days wait. If you’re busy, Foptics also offer delivery of your finished glasses right to your doorstep for just $5. I promptly returned in 3 day to find my new pair of spectacles – as well as a wooden spectacles case and cleaning cloth – waiting for me, and I couldn’t wait to try my new glasses on!
Foptics – Review
I’ve been wearing my pair of spectacles from Foptics for a couple of weeks now – and I must say, they thoroughly exceeded my expectations.
The Syaf feels decently built, when handled in the metal. It’s probably not the most sturdy of frames – I’m not confident that the glasses would survive multiple falls – though that is perhaps due to the thin eyewire frame design rather than shoddy construction. Nevertheless, this is probably one which you have to be careful not to be too rough with. If you want one that can survive whatever you throw at it, the aforementioned Game with its flexible frame construction would likely be a much better option.
Again, I was struck by how lovely the colourway is. If you’re a long-time reader of my website, you would know that black and gold is probably my favourite colour combination ever. I love the flashiness of the gold at the sides, but also how the black tones it down at the front. A tad flashy, but not obnoxiously so!
I also like the eyewire frame design of the Syaf. This thin minimalist style has been gaining popularity in recent years, undoubtedly fueled by the Korean/hipster wave. For the longest time, I’ve been sticking to more formal, rectangular frames. As I’m in formalwear often, I usually find those to suit my style best. However, I must say that I appreciated the nuances of the Syaf here – it’s not too round (so it’s not too hipster in its styling) but also not too rectangular (and as such more casual in appearance). I found the silhouette of the Syaf to be very easily wearable, and it should fit most face shapes!
I find wearing the Syaf to give a nice casual look to my entire outfit. Even though I’m wearing a suit jacket, the Syaf adds a nice dose of casualness into the look and prevents me from looking too formal or stuffy. I think it’s quite versatile as well, and should fit most outfits except for perhaps black-tie formal. People have also told me that these spectacles makes me look more approachable, as well as younger in general. I can easily see the Syaf being a hit amongst teenagers and young adults!
Comparison: Foptics vs Oblique Eyewear
Given that I had recently reviewed fellow local eyewear brand Oblique Eyewear, I’m sure many of you guys would be wondering about the differences between the two brands. As such, I’ve decided to weigh in on both brands in this short comparison here!
The most similar design in Oblique Eyewear’s catalogue to the Syaf is the Milton. Like the Syaf, the Milton is an eyewire frame, featuring an oval design that gives the wearer a distinct Korean vibe. I’ve handled the Milton when I was at Oblique Eyewear previously, and I have to say that it came across as quite sturdy. Comparing the two frames, the Milton does come across as slightly better built than the Syaf.
In terms of my personal experience with both stores, I would say that whilst both Foptics and Oblique Eyewear clearly target the millennial/Gen Z groups, there are still distinct differences between the two. To me, Oblique Eyewear comes across as more edgy in their style, more of a streetwear, trendy vibe. In contrast, Foptics is perhaps more mainstream, with more variety of frames in its repertoire, from Korean style ones like the Syaf, to frames like the aforementioned Game that is designed for sports/esports. I even saw children spectacles available at Foptics! As such, which store is better for you perhaps depends on your own personal style, as well as individual needs when it comes to eyewear.
However, I would say that Foptics definitely shines in its value proposition. The Syaf – at just $34 with lenses (after the promo code below) – is a quarter of the price of the Milton with lenses (even after my promo code for Oblique Eyewear). I do think that the Milton is the more sturdy of the two, but is it quadruple the durability of the Syaf? Probably not. One can get 4 pair of spectacles for the price of the Milton at Foptics, which is definitely something to shout about!
Conclusion – so is Foptics “shiok” or not?
The value proposition of Foptics is undeniable. Starting at $34 (after promo code below) for frames + lenses, it’s quite possibly the best bang-for-buck deal you can find in Singapore. At that bargain bin price, one would expect the spectacles to be terrible, but they are actually quite decent, and backed by a 3 months warranty! I can definitely imagine say, NSFs getting both the Syaf and the Game for their eyewear needs both outside and inside of camp.
For those interested, you can quote “WAHSOSHIOK” when at the store or online for 5% off your final purchase amount! After the discount, a pair of spectacles with multicoated lenses from Foptics’ essential range will set you back just $34, which is a ridiculously good deal. However, I would actually encourage readers to opt for the Blushield PC lenses instead, which helps block blue light from digital devices, thus helping to reduce digital eye strain. Given that most millennials/Gen Z (me included) are constantly either on our phones or computer, having Blushield lenses is definitely paramount. It’s not that much more either – a pair of spectacles from Foptics’ essential range, with Blushield lenses, cost just $47! Whether you’re a broke student on a tight budget, or a fashionista looking to snap up multiple frames to accessorise with different outfits, you should definitely check Foptics out.
View Foptics’ website here.
58B Pagoda Street
(Chinatown Exit A, 2 stores after Guardian)
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!