Optical4less

optical4less.com

Quick Notes:


Introduction:

Optical4less is located in Hong Kong. Pricing in USD. They sell single-vision, bi-focal, and progressive glasses, as well as a minor selection of contact lenses. Their only methods of contact are via on-line forms for which you have to register. They accept Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, and Paypal. Being located outside of the US, they are not listed with the BBB.


Impressions:

Optical4less has historically had a focus on lens quality. Their prices have never been the absolute lowest, but they maintained a competitive level at $29.00, complete with AR, anti-scratch, and UV coatings plus $8 for worldwide shipping. A large number of their frames are continuously listed as "overstock specials" at $15. They offer some of the highest index (thinnest) lens's available, at a higher price – all the way up to an index of 1.9 which is a plus for people with strong prescriptions who don't like thick glasses. Their website is full of information, but lacks polish in a number of areas.

All that said, the availability of current information about them has dwindled over time. If anything, I'd say they've probably become less popular, which is a bit of a shame. Chances are that I'll have to order from them again myself to get a current look at things.

The majority of their metal and plastic frames are $29.00 which includes single-vision lenses. They offer a variety of other frames (rimless, titanium, bendable, hingeless etc) but they generally cost between $10-30 more depending on what your're looking for. The majority of their frames are offered in 2-6 different colors which vary depending on the frame selected.

Single-vision lenses come free with the frame. There are 4 different index's for single-vision plastic lenses from 1.56-1.74 (one of which is polycarbonate), and 2 very-high-indexes for single-vision glass lenses (1.8 and 1.9). Photochromic lenses are offered in 7 different colors for single-vision lenses, and 2 colors for progressives. They have a massive tint selection including a mirror coating option. Lens brands listed include AS Hi-Max®, GIA®, DAGAS®, PRECISION®, Appolosoft®, and GN®.


Website and Ordering:

The Optical4less website is fairly easy to navigate though the design is clearly dated. Unfortunately, some aspects are likely to cause unnecessary confusion for first-time buyers. The information's great – it's the presentation that could use work. Aside from that, the browsing experience is quite good. It's easy to narrow down what you're looking for, and there's plenty of information about each frame

Going through the order process is fairly easy, though quite bland. Choosing a frame color automatically changes it in the display. Measurements are shown as well. When choosing a lens type, clicking on the link brings up excellent information about what prescriptions each lens is suited for, where your prescriptions strength "fits in", and in some cases, pros and cons about the particular lens.

While good solid technical information is available, the information about taking your own PD is easy to miss and lacks any sort of picture to help in that area. No information is given about reading your prescription either. The result is that anyone new to buying glasses online will have to figure things out on their own, as the site does not help you along in that area. On the other hand, those who have bought glasses online before will probably be pleased with the information provided.


Pricing and Value:

Optical4less is very middle-road when it comes to pricing. Their largest strength is in the ultra-high indexes offered – 1.8 and 1.9 are virtually impossible to find elsewhere.

Because shipping is a flat $8 worldwide and AR/UV are included free on all lenses (simplicity at it's finest), gauging your total price beforehand is a little easier than with some other retailers.

Prices below based on $29 frames – because Optical4less has not changed their prices in years, I've re-used the old chart and simply removed the lenses they no longer offer.


Lens offerings (based on $29 frames):

Single-Vision Frames & Lenses $29.00 (free lenses)
1.56 Standard included
1.6 Polycarbonate +35.00
1.67 Aspheric Ultrathin +35.00
1.74 Aspheric Universe +198.00
1.8 Super High index glass +88.00
1.9 Extreme High index glass +178.00
1.56 Photochromic (grey/brown) +59.00
1.56 Photochromic (blue/purple/green/red/orange) +99.00
 
Bifocal/Progressive Frames & Lenses $92.00 ($29 + $63 lenses)
1.56 Bifocal included
1.6 Polycarbonate progressive +115.00
1.50 PRECISION progressive +155.00
1.53 PRECISION SAFEWEAR (unbreakable) progressive +205.00
1.67 PRECISION Super High index progressive +265.00
Customized Polarize progressive (grey/brown/hunter-green) +175.00
1.56 PRECISION Photochromic progressive (grey/brown) +135.00
1.67 PRECISION Photochromic progressive (grey/brown) +335.00
 
Tint (optional) +8.00
hunter-green, orange, brown, red, grey, purple, royal-blue, yellow, green
 
Grandient Tint (optional)  +12.00
hunter-green, orange, brown, red, grey, purple, royal-blue, yellow, green
 
Mirror-coating (optional)  +39.00
 
Anti-Radiation coating (optional)  +29.00
 
Multi-coating – AR (anti-reflective), anti-scratch, UV, water proof FREE
 
Worldwide Shipping $8.00
Woldwide Shipping (2 pairs or more) FREE

World-wide shipping is free.

The price charts are created by hand – if you notice any errors, please contact me.

Optical4less is very upfront about additional costs for certain prescriptions.

All-in-all, they really seem to cater to those looking for quality glasss on the low end of the price spectrum, those looking for special tint/lens colors, and those who want/need high indexes and are having trouble finding them elsewhere.




Optical4less Review (my recent purchase)

optical4less.com


Personal Experiences

May 31 , 2006 - I placed an order for 2 pairs of glasses from Optical4less.

The first was for progressive lenses ($63USD) in regular frames ($29USD).

The second was for a single-vision pair of Transitions lenses ($59USD) in bendable frames ($59USD).

Because 2 pairs were ordered, shipping was free. Shortly after ordering, I received a confirmation email which included a link to an order tracking page where the status of the order could be checked.

June 8, 2006 - The glasses had shipped. An email was sent to me, and the order tracking page was updated.

June 15 , 2006 - The glasses arrived. Each included a free case and a micro fiber cloth. A free mini-screwdriver / keychain was included as well.


Pictures

(click on any of the thumbnails to open a full size picture in a new window)
Optical4less - glasses overview   Optical4less - glasses overview #2   Optical4less - glasses close-up (progressive lenses)   Optical4less - glasses close-up (progressive lenses) #2   Optical4less - glasses close-up (transition lenses)   Optical4less - glasses close-up (transitions lenses) #2
#1 and #2 are of the package contents. The boxes were wrapped together with the shipping paper, and everything was taped together quite well. #3 and #4 are shots of the progressive lenses. #5 and #6 are of the transitions-lensed glasses in the bendable frames. Everything seemed to be in order.


June 15 , 2006 (continued)
Packing was good, basically identical to the packing in the first review.

Progressives

The frames had a good solid feel to them and a nice finish. They needed some adjusting, but were perfectly fine otherwise.

From what I could tell, the lenses themselves seemed to be of high quality. Note that I myself do not wear progressives/bifocals, so these were ordered for another individual, but she did try them and seemed to be quite pleased with them. I examined them myself as best I could as well, and there wasn't anything I could see that may have been amiss.

Single Vision Transitions

The bendable frames seemed good. They were both lightweight and flexible, and make these glasses one of the nicer pairs I own. They didn't need any adjusting.

The lenses themselves were great. Optically, they seem to be perfect. The transitions effect works properly. The lenses did have a couple marks on them (looked like scuff marks on the inside of the lens), but the marks rubbed off with the micro fiber cloth. All in all, another great pair of glasses.


  Days
Total time between ordering and delivery 15
Time to ship 8
Time in transit 7

Would I buy from Optical4less again?
Yes.

Would I recommend Optical4less to others?
Yes. The rimless glasses from the first review have also held up through a bit of rugged use and abuse. Between all 3 glasses, I haven't come across any problems, and most of the feedback I've heard from others has been positive as well. I am still concerned about the shipping note they send with the glasses about not being responsible for damage during shipping (see the first review for more info), and they can be more pricey than some of the other places, but other than that, everything else seems to be pretty top notch. From what I've heard from others, if you have a prescription that's pretty complex, Optical4less is often a pretty safe bet.




Optical4less Review (my previous purchase)

optical4less.com


Personal Experiences

Jan 18, 2006 - I placed an order for glasses from Optical4less. Their regular frames are $29, stepping up to rimless brought the price to $39 + $8 shipping. This included basic lenses (Hi-Index 1.56  AS® Hi-Max ® Aspheric Lens) and came with free AR. Note that shipping would have been free had I ordered 2 pairs or more.

Jan 24, 2006 - I received an email stating that my glasses had shipped. It also included tracking information. Hongkong Post provides tracking info up until it leaves the country. Once the package left Hong Kong (on the 26th), further tracking was not available on the Hongkong Post website.

Feb 8, 2006 - My package arrived in the mail. Included with the glasses were a free case, 2 micro fiber cloths, and a little slip/note with a couple basic care and cleaning instructions, and also stated that "O4L are NOT responsible for any contrived damages or damages which caused during the shipping process." It would appear that if your package has a little mishap during transit, your only recourse might be to take it up with the post office (although I would still recommend contacting Optical4less first).


Pictures

(click on any of the thumbnails to open a full size picture in a new window)
Optical4less package   Optical4less box unwrapped   Optical4less glasses case first opened   Optical4less contents laid out   Optical4less contents #2   Optical4less glasses
#1 and #2 are the packaging, basically it's a white box covered with shipping paper. Inside the white box was the glasses case. #3 is the way the glasses case looked when first opened, pretty standard stuff. The micro fiber cloths were wrapped around the lenses to help keep them protected during transport. The case itself is semi-transparent plastic. #4 and #5 are a couple shots of everything laid out. Notice in #5 the white foam padding in the bottom of the case - if you were to transfer the glasses in this case, you would probably want the lenses facing down (against the foam) rather than directly against the plastic to help keep them from scratching. Finally #6 is pretty self explanatory, just a shot of the glasses.


Feb 8, 2006 (continued)
Packing was sufficient, basically the case fit snug in the box. A snug fit means that the case won't slide around, but also means that any impact to the box is going to be transferred directly to the case. The clamshell case itself is entirely plastic, and both looks and feels cheap, so a sharp impact during shipping might crack or break it. An upgraded case would help ensure that can't happen.

That aside, the glasses themselves are good. The frame seems to be sturdy, and the lenses are screwed in tightly enough that there's no play when shifting the frame. The lenses themselves are pretty much perfect and I couldn't find one fault or flaw with them. Excellent workmanship from what I can tell. The AR coating reflects bright light as a greenish color. The coatings are also water repellant. This makes it nice for cleaning, as you can clean the lenses under soapy water, and then run the lenses under the tap for the final rinse, leaving them drop and spot-free. Incidentally, this is the method I recommend for cleaning lenses, as by using only water, you're helping to keep your lenses scratch-free. Lingering drops can usually be dabbed (never rubbed) off the bottom of the lens with a tissue. Just make sure you use a mild soap (some dish soaps are mild enough), and never use hot water. Harsh detergents will eat away at the coatings, and hot water has been known to 'crack' coatings in some cases.


  Days
Total time between ordering and delivery 21
Time to ship 6
Time in transit 15

Would I buy from Optical4less again?
Yes. While a little more expensive than some of the other retailers, the glasses I received were great, and will definitely become one of my primary pairs. I shudder to think of what rimless frames/lenses with an AR coating would have cost me locally. Yet for under $50, I got exactly that. Quality-wise, they're at least as good, if not better than what I would have expected here locally for 3-4 times the price.

Would I recommend Optical4less to others?
Probably. After a couple months of usage, assuming all goes well, I'll likely upgrade this to a yes. My experience thus far has been really good, and quality seems to be superb. Of course, others experiences may vary, but I think the majority of people who purchase from Optical4less will end up completely satisfied.




Topics from the Optical4less section of the old forums...

 Topics   Topics   Replies   Author   Views   Last Post 
Sticky: Read before Registering! (0)
0admin532Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:25 amJan 21, 2007
admin
Second order 04-03-2007 (0)
0kvl1189Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:54 pmApr 03, 2007
kvl
Ordered 3-15-2007, Received 3-28-2007 (0)
0kvl1062Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:56 amMar 17, 2007
kvl
CUSTOMERS BEWARE! (3)
3hurstbrook2126Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:09 amJan 17, 2007
hurstbrook
Frustrating experience - very disappointed with O4L (4)
4maiea2162Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:15 amDec 19, 2006
hulahope
Very good purchase experience (0)
0becksod1079Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:53 amOct 13, 2006
becksod
Premium Anti Radiation Multi-coating? (1)
1coolme1460Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:29 amAug 17, 2006
robbiemaddren
Purchase experience 2 (0)
0chank1442Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:33 pmJun 13, 2006
chank
Purchase Experience (0)
0armaraas1402Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:43 pmMar 23, 2006
armaraas


Below is the original write-up for Optical4less (from 2006-2009). It's been kept around for posterity.

Optical4less

"$29 USD Eyeglasses"
http://www.optical4less.com


Optical4less saw the site and was kind enough to send the following coupon codes (must be entered exactly as shown):

Coupon code : http://www.rtgenterprises.com
Discount : 5 % Off All Purchases

Coupon code : eyeglassretailerreviews.com/
Discount : $10 Off $100


Introduction

Taken from the FAQ on their site:

All the lens from Optical4less are multi-functional: Thinner and lighter than polycarbonate lens , Anti-reflective coating , Prevent from harmful rays , 100 % UV Protection , Water proof and Scratch Resistant.

Optical4less is located in Hong Kong. Pricing in USD. They carry single-vision and bifocal/multifocal (including progressive) lenses. E-mail and fax are the only methods of communication listed on their website. They accept Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal.


Impressions

Optical4less is a fairly popular retailer. I was surprised at how many posts I found in forums and on Usenet about the high quality of the glasses people had ordered. I can't personally vouch for them one way or the other, but it was good to read the positive comments nonetheless.

Single-Vision glasses in most of their Alloy and Plastic frames comes to $29.00. This includes free Scratch resistance, AR-coating, UV protection, and a water proof coating of the lens. Other options such as Rimless, Semi-Rimless, Titanium, Hinge-less, and Rhinestone are available for more (generally $39-59). It's nice to see Transitions lenses being offered, as well as the option of mirror coating on tinted lenses. Unfortunately, as options are selected, the price quickly begins to rise.

If the quality rumors are true, it would suggest that Optical4less is the place to go for those looking for high-quality glasses, and I would imagine those looking for high-index lenses as well. They also are one of the few who offer mirror-tint and an anti-radiation coating. They are definitely not the cheapest, but a good selection of lens options as well as a high standard of quality could easily make up for that.

For those interested, they also have a "bendable frame demonstration" video available, called bendhigh.wmv.



Pricing

Frames from $29.00
   
Single Vision Lenses  
Plastic Hi-Index 1.56 AS Hi-Max included
Plastic Ultra thin 1.67 Aspheric Lens DAGAS +$35
Plastic Universe super high index 1.74 Aspheric Lens GN +$198
Plastic Appolo Lenticular / Myodisc Lens (far sight only) +$268
Glass Extrem Rx High index 1.8 +$88
Glass Extrem Rx High index 1.9 +$178
Glass Myothin Lenticular (Myodisc) Lens (short sight only) +$168
Hi-index 1.56 Transitions Lenses +$59
   
Multi-focal Lenses  
Flat top Bifocal +$63
Standard Multi-focal Progressive Lens Appolosoft +$63
Premium Multi-focal Progressive Lens 1.56 GN @ SWISSCOAT +$98
Super high index 1.67 Multi-focal progressive Lens GN +$178
Appolosoft Transitions Lenses +$152
GN 1.56 high index Transitions Lenses +$187
   
Premium Multi-coating (AR, scratch, waterproof) included
Premium Anti Radiation Multi-coating (recommended for computer use) +$29
Tint +$8
Gradient Tint +$12
Mirror Coating +$39
Standard Clip-on Sunlens +$25
Ultimate Clip-on Sunlens +$49
   
Global Priority Shipping +$8
Global Priority Shipping (2 pairs or more) FREE

A pair of single vision lenses without any add-ons (although free AR, scratch, waterproofing) is $37.00 after shipping worldwide. Basic Bifocals/Multi-focals are $100 after shipping worldwide.


Website Ratings

Category Rating Details
Website Great While at times it lacks a 'polished' feel, the site is easy to navigate. They offer good lens information, and most of their information pages are set up fairly well. When browsing through the frames, they have mini icons for things like "Hi-Rx" "Reader" and "Kids". Clicking on a frame brings up the information page for the particular model with measurements that are very easy to interpret. You can view the frames in the available colors, and view it from a few different angles. While going through the order process, it takes you through one step at a time. Fairly easy to follow, and helps to keep things from looking cluttered (which it might if they presented all the options at once).
Selection Good There is a nice selection and variety of frames. Unfortunately there are a couple categories that only have 4 frames or so offered, but most people will probably be able to find something suitable.
Frame Info Great Dimensions, material and color were given. The fact that they have different frame angles viewable, and that the dimensions are nicely laid out goes favorably for the site.
Lens Options Great Optical4less carries a selection which seems to focus on high-index lenses. They carry Transitions lenses, have a nice selection of tinted lenses, and even sell a mirror-tint. Scratch, UV and AR coatings are all free, and you can opt to pay extra for an anti-radiation coating.
Value Good $37 after shipping for a plain pair of lenses with coatings is a pretty decent price. Not as great as some other sites, but still not bad. As soon as you start adding options though, the price starts to fly. In fact, stepping up to the next lens option almost doubles the price. That being said, I have read quite a few times that the quality of their glasses is quite high, which if true, could make it entirely worth the price.