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How to use Warby Parker's new AR feature to try on glasses

With an iPhone X or later, you can pick your next frames with the app's new Virtual Try-On feature.

Matt Elliott/CNET

As someone who is on his third pair of Warby Parker frames and an owner and operator of an iPhone X, an update this week to the glasses-maker's app has me excited. Warby Parker added a new Virtual Try-On feature to its iOS app that uses augmented reality and the face-mapping capabilities of the iPhone X, XR and XS

I just cracked one of the arms of my current pair of Warbys last week, so I was happy to test out the feature to not only search for my next pair of glasses, but also to let you know, dear reader, if Warby Parker's new AR feature is convincing enough to be useful.

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Warby Parker Virtual Try-On

Unlike the Home Try-On option, where Warby Parker mails you five frames among a limited selection to test out, the Virtual Try-On feature is available for any pair of frames you find in the app. When looking at a pair of frames in the app, all you need to do is pull down from the top to open your iPhone's camera and see the frames on your face.

The AR is really convincing. The frames are positioned correctly -- neither too high nor too low on your nose. And there's depth to the image so you can move your head around to see how the frames look from different angles. If there are different color options for a pair of frames, you can tap to view the various colors. While in the AR mode, you can simply swipe sideways to view the next or previous pair. The AR frames load quickly, which makes the process quick and easy and not frustrating.

If you create an account, you can tap the little heart icon to add a pair to your list of favorites. And if you really like a pair, you can tap the camera icon in the top right to start a 3-2-1 countdown to snap a screenshot of the virtual frames on your face to save to your phone or share on Instagram, Twitter or via text. There's also a button to add a pair of frames to your Home Try-On list and another button to buy the frames.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Virtual Try-On as Step One

As cool and convincing as the Virtual Try-On is, I don't think I'll rely solely on its charms to pick out my next pair of frames. I have a fat head and a small nose, which makes finding the right fit with glasses a bit of a challenge. For someone with my facial dimensions, I plan to use the Virtual Try-On as the first step in helping me narrow down the options to five frames that I want Warby Parker to send me to try on at home. 

I still need to know that a pair of frames will fit on my fat head without sliding down my nose, which is an assurance I can't obtain from the Virtual Try-On, no matter how well done it is.

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