Order Placed (Oct 23, 2009): I looked through the “under $10″ section of the Coastal website and found some frames for $9.95, including free standard lenses, an AR coating, and the standard anti-scratch and UV coatings. There was a “handling” charge of $0.69, and shipping to Canada was $9.95, bringing the grand total to $20.59.
Order Shipped (Oct 23, 2009): I received an email stating that the glasses had shipped, which included a tracking number.
Order Received (Oct 26, 2009): The glasses arrived. They had been shipped from the Coastal sister location here in Canada known as “Clearly Contacts”. You’ll notice 3 days is pretty quick compared to some of the other purchase reviews – part of this can be attributed to the glasses being shipped the same day (I ordered early morning and got the message that they’d shipped late afternoon), but most of the time is due to the fact that these were shipped from within Canada. In any case, ordering on Friday and getting them on Monday was a pleasant surprise.
Packaging: The glasses clamshell case was loose inside the box. However, the case itself was very durable, and I’d be surprised if one managed to get damaged during shipping. Included inside the box was a coupon card, business card holder (although no business card inside), micro-fibre cloth, and a mini keychain screwdriver, along with the clamshell case containing the glasses. Opening the clamshell case revealed a cloth carry case with the glasses themselves inside. It may be worth noting that the micro-fibre cloth didn’t clean very well – it left smudges, so if you plan to use it to wipe your glasses, you may need to clean the cloth itself first.
First Impressions & Quality: The frames were extremely solid with a quality feel to them, and had hinged arms. Lenses seemed to be perfectly cut within the frame, and the anti-reflective coating was visible.
The AR coating reflected light as a green color, and the only obvious dirt was a tiny smudge in the center (along with a much larger fingerprint I accidently added with my finger when taking the glasses out of the carry case). Both washed off easily with a little soap and some cool water.
I ran the lenses through the “hot water test”, and they passed without issue.
Putting the glasses on, they didn’t need any adjustment – they fit very well.
Really, for under $10 (just over $20 shipped), it looks to be a really solid pair. The frames seem durable, lenses seem precisely cut, the AR coating passed the hot water test, and there’s really nothing I was able to find to nit-pick about.
Final Thoughts: I have to say, I was really pleased with the purchase. The frames seemed so sturdy, and the lenses so well-cut, that I really expected the AR coating to fail the “hot water test” (I figured I’d used up my $10 worth of pleasantries). Yet it passed. I’d be impressed if they were $30 or $40, so you can imagine how thrilled I was that they were only $10.
Would I buy from Coastal again?: Definitely. Fast shipping, quality frames, quality lenses, quality coatings, and a low price… it’s really tough to go wrong.
Would I recommend Coastal to others?: Yes. Again, the same reasons as above. They’ve also got a selection of fashion/designer frames at a pretty low price, so they should fit a few price-ranges.
I would note that Canadians may want to check out both the ClearlyContacts (Canadian) and the Coastal (US) sites. I checked afterwards, and the frames I ordered from Coastal for $9.95 are $38 on the Clearly Contacts site. Since you can order from either, it may be worth checking to see who has the frames you’re looking for at a lower price.