Lens: VR28 Black iridium
Let me start by outlining the things that I don't like about the Juliets.
1st the earstems are rather dull with the exception of the hammerstems which are only on a few polished models.
2nd while the orbitals are far from the smallest I have seen from Oakley they also leave a lot to be desired. The downward portion of the Orbital is downright appalling. There is 0 coverage and quite a gap between my cheek and the bottom of the frame. Side to side the Juliets let a lot of light in the peripheral.
3rd the frame of the Juliet where the 'intake' port is gives you literally a blind spot on both sides. The frame is so large there that it blocks your view requiring you to move your head to see around it.
4th Juliets are not light, though I wouldn't call them heavy. The original Romeos were heavy, Juliets are just light enough that they don't bother me.
Now what makes the X-squareds BETTER THAN THE JULIETS? Earstems and overall styling, while obviously Oakley, are clearly a refinement over all other X-metals thus far. The earstems are incredibly slick! with the integrated "O" in the frame that wastes to dangerously thin before widening to accommodate the unobtainium. The rest of the frame is bold as hell. Great lines and 'outgrowths' (in lack of a better word) make the frame more than just a holster to the orbitals. The most genius thing about the frame though, is how it just gets out of the way. When wearing the X-metals everything about the frame just disappears. The outgrowths are invisible to the wearer. The intake port is absolutely invisible to the wearer, while looking so badass from the outside.
Next lets touch on the orbitals themselves... Complete and utter perfection. This is about as close to 100% coverage as you can get from any lens. All without looking ridiculous or derivative (like the XX x-metals) or without compromising fit (like Pitboss and many others that have large orbitals and terrible fit)
All in all these are the end game for me. Best Oakleys ever period. I say that without reserve. Yes they could be lighter, no their weight does not bother me. A+
Frame: Polished Carbon
Lens: Black Polarized
I didn't know there was a new X-Metal model until I saw these in a dealer in Hong Kong. I have longed for a new full framed X-Metal since the released of Penny. Not that I didn't like thehalf framed Romeo II and Half X which I also owned but I prefer a full framed a little more. These latest from the X-metal line are great. What I like the most about them is the lens coverage and how well it fit on my face. I think it's the best fitting X-metal yet. It look a little strange now that the two pins from the nose bridge has been removed from view but it's still there, just hidden. The polished Carbon frame are so shiny and sexy and the black polarized lens just match the frame perfectly. The newly designed arm with the extra holes are a nice touch too. Also noted are these also come with a free soft vault which cost $30 if purchased alone. Thank you Oakley:)
All models above.
Of all the X-metals, these come as number two, after Romeo.
They are really comfortable, very stylish, and the coverage is exellent!
To bad these were the last of the X-metals. I wonder what the next model would have been like...
These fit the larger head as well as the smaller, to a certain point.
The best looking ones, in my opinion, are the polished w VR28 Black Iridium Polarized and the 24K w Titanium Iridium Polarized.
Get a pair...you won't regret it!
Lens: Ruby Iridium
The release of the X-Squared marked the Return of the King for Oakley.
As Oakley's #1 marquee line (at least to collectors), the X-metals are the only sunglasses in the entire current lineup that still truly embodies the philosophy of cohesively blending art, science, technology and Oakley attitude. Starting back with the Romeo 2 however, the art and attitude aspects of the equation have dulled ever so slightly and eventually disappearing entirely with the Half-X. It is with great relief that all factors that make the X-metals unique have finally been revived in the X-Squared.
The most noticeable attribute of the XS is that it's the first squarish X-metal. Square orbitals normally would not work well with X-metals due to their far out, futuristic styling cues. But that's where part of the genius of the XS comes from. It takes typically fashion-oriented square lenses and morphs it into something that would fit well in another X-men movie. Borrowing successful design elements of the classic Juliet, the XS creates a form that truly sets it far apart from Oakley's current design approach. Given Oakley's current love of more mainstream aesthetics, the XS styling is refreshing.
The next thing I noticed was the earstems. The earstem on the XS is only a few millimetres shorter than the previous X-metals, but it's noticeable. The earstems are also a tad thinner and more sculpted than they have been in the past, and there is an ellipse logo carved out in the first third of the stem from the temple. Similar design cues can be found on some of the Wires, but this is the first time this has been seen on an X-metal.
The fit is wonderful. The orbitals are a work of art and would likely compliment most face structure and size. It's tighter than the other X-metals (partially because of the shortened earstems), but the fit will probably be great for most people. The weight is comparable to other full-framed X-metals, so it's a bit on the heavier side. However, it's just as comfortable as the Juliet, Penny or XX X-metal. The XS comes with replacement nosebombs for fine adjustments, but I've not seen any replacement templeshocks which may be a disappointment to some.
The customizers will love that you can probably interchange orbitals, nose bridges, and earstems (or so I've been told). For the wearers, you can tighten your own nose bridges (to a point). Little added conveniences such as these contribute to the already long list of benefits the XS provides.
There really isn't a whole lot of negatives to the XS. I guess if I were to be picky, I would say I wish they had included a completely overhauled aluminium X-metal case rather than the ballistic X-metal case it does come with. Or at the very least replace the X-metal badging at the top of the ballistic case with the new logo rather than the old one. I mean, they included a coin with the new logo, so it would make sense that an X-metal case would also include that logo. The included case is the weakest point of the XS offering, which speaks volumes about how great it is since most people find the ballistic case to be very cool.
Another negative is there's a wide range of batch variation for the Ruby Iridium lenses. I was hoping they'd master the art of making Ruby lenses but that doesn't seem to be the case. I've seen lenses that look like Fire Iridium to ones that look like +Red Iridium, with no tint being more common than the other. I can say that when you get a lens that is predominantly dark red (rather than orange or purple), the X-metal/Ruby combo is absolutely brilliant. Very Cyclops-like.
The XS has taken its sweet time making its way to Oakley fans, but the wait's been well worth it. While most other lines try to stomp Oakley into the mainstream mold, it's very exciting to see a product that demonstrates the old Oakley we've grown to know and love. It brings me back to a time when I need only see a small picture of a new frame to know and understand its brilliance rather than necessarily having to see it in person to make up my mind if I like it or not. Good memories from the height of Oakley's design renaissance.
There has been a great renewal of faith by fans because of this release, and Oakley deserves all the praise it gets for this achievement. Welcome back, X-metal.
Review dated: November 14, 2009