Native Eyewear Hardtop Ultra XP Sunglasses Review

by Brian Mullin on July 6, 2016

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The Native Eyewear Hardtop Ultra XP is a great pair of sunglasses, and the large lens and its hanging design have great peripheral visibility and a panoramic field of view, and the tough N3 polarized lens offers excellent optical clarity. They’re comfortable and durable and feature flexible and grippy temples, interchangeable lenses, sturdy vented frames, and padded and adjustable nose pads.

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Features

The Hardtop Ultra XP comes in a multitude of frame colors and lens options and includes one interchangeable SportFlex lens in a padded carrying case. The standard versions retail for $129 and include the Asphalt with Grey Lens, Desert Tort with Brown Lens and Fraser Green with Brown Lens. The upscale Reflex versions retail for $149 and include the Steel Blue with Silver Reflex Lens, the Granite with Blue Reflex Lens and the Desert Tort with Green Reflex Lens.

I tested the Polarized Silver Reflex model, and the lenses feature their mirrored Reflex coating which reduces glare and enhances contrast, while the Silver tint provides excellent all-around protection even in bright sunlight. The polarized N3 lenses pass the Z87.1 impact protection test, provide UV protection up to 400nm, reduces damaging blue light and selectively filters UV, all of which offer higher contrast, crisper definition, and peak visual acuity.

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The Hardtop Ultra XP uses their co-injected Rhyno-Tuff Air Frames, which utilize a high-performance thermoplastic material that is light, durable and sturdy, and they feature six vents along the brow for ventilation. Also, the frames have an anti-ocular intrusion system to prevent the lenses from shooting towards your eyes during a crash or impact. They co-inject the comfortable and sticky Cushinol padding into the inside of the temples, offering a nonslip grip to hold the sunglasses in place during rugged activities. The temple tips provide a wider section of Cushinol and feature a design that hugs the mastoid bone just behind the ears for additional security and comfort. The hinges feature a cam-action design so that the temples lock into place when fully open offering non-hinged stability and hinged usability. The nose pads also utilize the grippy Cushinol material, and their arms use the Flex Metal adjustment system for a customized fit. The Interchangeable Lens System is easy to use and includes the SportFlex lens which works in low-light conditions, including early mornings and cloudy days.

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Impressions

The Polarized Silver Reflex lens offered good contrast, sharpness, and reduced glare, especially when you rolled directly into the sun. The Silver color was superb in bright light and when out in the full sun, so I didn’t feel like the light was blinding me. They were outside of their comfort zone in lower light conditions, such as early morning, dusk, cloudy days and when riding in deep trees since the tint was too dark. During those cusp conditions, it was simple to swap out to the SportFlex lenses, which were awesome in dimmer light.

The lens shape and frame design mostly alleviated fogging, but in cold, wet and humid conditions it didn’t always work unless you got some air rolling through the brow vents. The thick Cushinol nose pads were grippy and comfortable, and the adjustable Flex Metal arms offered tons of customization for almost any nose and face shape.

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The front frame section which included the venting and anti-ocular intrusion systems took up space, so it sometimes interfered with my eyebrows and brow, though you could easily adjust the nose pads to keep it farther away from the face. The wraparound sunglasses fit snugly, and the grippy Cushinol temples with the extra wide padded temple tips with the mastoid bone design stayed firmly planted when thrashing and bashing through the most extreme conditions and terrain.

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The lenses have a high degree of clarity, and the large shape and hanging design offered an excellent panoramic field of view, without any edges or obstructions. Also, their width and height provided great wind blockage and sun protection. Although the cam-action design of the hinges locked the temples firmly in place when open, the temples themselves were quite flexible. The synergy of temple’s flexibility and soft padding and the adjustable nose pads offered an extremely comfortable pair of sunglasses, which fit well on the face and under helmets.

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The Interchangeable Lens System was simple to use and only took a few moments to swap out the lenses. Just hold the hinge area and the outer lens, push up on the hinge to flex it out of the way while pulling down on the lens lower corner and it then quickly comes off. To swap in the new one, insert the inner lens tab into the frame notch by the nose, hold the hinge and push the outer lens tab into the frame notch to lock everything in place.

Native Eyewear offers a superb lifetime warranty for all of their sunglasses.

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Bottom Line

The Native Eyewear Hardtop Ultra XP is a great pair of sunglasses, which are comfortable and stay put while riding in any terrain, and the large lenses and hanging lens design provide an excellent spacious viewpoint. The N3 lenses have excellent clarity, and Polarized Silver Reflex lens offered good contrast, sharpness, reduced glare, especially in bright light, while the SportFlex lens was useful for low-light conditions. When required, their interchangeable lens system made for easy and quick lens swap outs. The wraparound and flexible temples with their full-length inner section of the grippy and soft Cushinol material and widely padded tips were extremely comfortable and kept the sunglasses firmly in place.

On occasion, I had some fogging issues, which was easily remedied by getting air flowing through the frame vents. Due to the venting and anti-ocular intrusion systems the frame was somewhat thick/deep, so it sometimes interfered with my eyebrows and brow, though nose pad adjustment helped alleviate that situation.

Pros

  • Interchangeable Lens System – easy and quick lens changes
  • Comfortable
  • Panoramic view
  • Large lens with hanging design
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Frame is somewhat thick, might interfere with eyebrows or brow
  • Occasional fogging issues

For further information refer to nativeyewear.com

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