Eight months later with the Julbo EVAD-1

I think it's safe to say that the EVAD-1 is the most expensive pair of sunglasses I've bought, or possibly will buy. After a long and tedious conversation with US customs, hell-bent on enforcing FDA regulations I got my paws on them.

A recap

  • Sunglasses: excellent. Julbo's photochromic tech puts Oakley's to shame, and their lens technology is easily on par.
  • Heads-up display: excellent. Well positioned, very clear to read, good battery life.
  • Software: stable, but very, very limited. A technology demonstrator at bests.

So, how are they now?

Things have come a long way since last summer! The company behind the display technology, ActiveLook, released v2 of their app, that adds a lot of functionality: it can connect to any of my normal bike sensors over bluetooth, including handling devices with more than one data stream (power meters that also issue cadence or speed information).

A screenshot of a more customised display

Information display customisation has come a long way, too. Gone are the basic three fields, replaced with up to six fields per page, including cyclists favourites such as Normalised Power.

Needless to say this is a huge improvement, and shows what ActiveLook are capable of. They still have some way to go, but it's a huge relief to see them building on the original version.


...right. There's a but. These new improvements are wonderful: having a collection of Dead Sports Technology, I really didn't want the EVAD-1 to be added to the graveyard at all, let alone so soon.

Where ActiveLook are failing to deliver are the bugs. If you stop pedalling, the average power field is replaced by NaN: it sounds like they haven't caught a divide by zero event. The Normalised Power field never changes from -.-w, regardless of what power meter is issuing the data. The swipe sensor that lets the wearer change screens basically doesn't work. It has, I think twice, so I if I want to change the display I either don't, or I use my phone to.

Garmin integration

This is another area of woe: the standalone app has yet to change, recording all activities as a 'Street Run'. I hope the dev team is refactoring this as a data field, as Form have done for open water swimming with their excellent goggles. I want to be clear, though: although the functionality is limited, it does work solidly, there's just no data customisation, and you're always doing a Street Run.

Stryd integration

I've seen this asked a few times: does the EVAD-1 work with a Stryd footpod? Not that I've been able to make happen. What's interesting, though is that the EVAD-1 sits solidly enough on my head that I would absolutely use them running, and would prefer to look at the data overlayed on the top-left of my field of view than to glance at my watch.

Why no photos?

It's really hard to get a photo of the screen!

2021-09 Update

Device failure. They are no longer able to charge, but Julbo have agreed to a warranty replacement, made a lot more challenging due to Brexit.

2024-01 Update

Julbo agreed in principle to a warranty replacement, then nothing. To say Julbo's support is challenging is an understatement. I still had the glasses, so after months the battery had drained to zero, and I was able to charge them again, which sounds like an in-memory firmware bug.

I think at this point it's important to differentiate the technology, ActiveLook's screen, from Julbo's support, as ActiveLook are very supportive, and have made amazing updates to the platform. The EVAD-1 is a very expensive novelty that I take out every so often, but looking at the Engo v2, which its redesigned charging port and lower mass, make me optimistic for the future, as does their announcement of a full-colour screen.