Augmented Reality Eyewear
Augmented reality glasses are eyewear that adds a layer of digital information to your visual surroundings. They can overlay messages, navigation, heart rate and other custom data fields that you can control with gestures.
While these devices look like traditional glasses, they usually contain a lot of tech that makes them bulky and heavy. Lumus aims to make AR glasses a little less cringeworthy with its second generation of the Z-Lens waveguide technology.
1. Nreal Air
Nreal Air is one of the most advanced AR glasses on the market, boasting a transparent 130in display in a lightweight form factor. These smart glasses can be paired with your smartphone and double as a second screen for streaming, games, and movies.
The displays themselves are impressive, pushing 1080p for each eye with 400 nits of brightness. They’re powered by micro OLEDs that pass their image downwards through a set of glass. The glasses can be connected to your phone via USB-C, and Nreal has a list of supported smartphones on its website that work with the device.
Unfortunately, the Nreal’s cameraless design isn’t without its faults. For starters, the glasses drain your smartphone’s battery quickly when you use them with Netflix or other apps. They also lack the ability to track movement, which would have been useful when using them for navigation. However, they’re still a great option for those who want to experience what AR has to offer with a minimal investment. If you’re already an EE customer, you can even spread the cost using its Add to Plan purchase option.
2. Rokid Max
Four years after Rokid’s first pair of AR glasses hit the market, the company has returned with an updated ar eyewear model — Rokid Max. Designed to work in tandem with your smartphone or laptop, these smart glasses offer an unmatched display projected right in front of your eyes.
With a 1920×1080 micro-OLED display and a contrast ratio of 100,000:1, Rokid Max offers theater-quality audiovisual experiences that will blow your mind. And it comes with HDCP support, enabling you to stream movies and TV shows from various streaming services without worrying about violating copyrights. Besides that, the device reduces forward light leakage by 90% and is TUV Rheinland certified to pass Low Blue Light, Flicker Free, and Eye Comfort tests.
Rokid Max is ideal for anyone who wants a portable monitor on the go, such as programmers, music producers, or gamers. But its biggest selling point is that it’s less than half the price of a similarly-specced portable monitor. Plus, it’s lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods. You can get it on preorder for $439 starting today.
Originally developed in the 1930s to reduce glare for pilots, Ray-ban eyewear has since become an icon of retro style. Their iconic Wayfarer sunglasses have been seen on many celebrities and their Clubmaster frames are considered stylish for any occasion. The brand’s polarized lenses help eliminate glare and reduce eye strain, and they come in a variety of colors and materials.
The brand’s Stories smart glasses feature two 5-million-pixel cameras located at each corner of the frame for a panoramic view that mimics what your eyes see. You can take photos and videos, make calls, and upload content directly to social media. The glasses are water resistant and the battery lasts up to seven hours on a full charge.
The company’s culture scores poorly when compared to other large companies, with employees reporting low satisfaction with their total compensation (which includes pay, stock and equity), executive ratings, and work-life balance. But the brand’s quality products and extensive selection make it worth a look. Their virtual mirror is a great tool to try out the sunglasses before you buy them.
5. Echo Frames 2
Amazon may have gotten the basics of smart eyewear right, but it fell short in making them cool or at least a bit more invisible. Its Echo Frames essentially act as wireless open-ear headphones and let you control some core phone functions all with your voice. The Frames are easy to set up and use; simply power on, open the Alexa app and a couple button pushes later you’re good to go.
The frames sit on your ears and are considerably thicker than most glasses so they can house the speakers, microphones and battery. The underside of the right arm has a multifunction button that allows you to change settings, control customizable shortcuts and more. There’s also a touch and swipe sensor along the side to activate Alexa. The Frames are available with clear non-prescription lenses out of the box, but you can swap them for blue-light and polarized sunglasses lenses if you want.
The Echo Frames are part of Amazon’s Day 1 Edition program, which is designed to gather feedback on experimental products that would otherwise be too costly or time-consuming for a mass release. The $249 price ar eyewear tag makes them a solid choice if you’re an existing Alexa user that wants to take the assistant with you on the go, but it might be easier (and cheaper) to stick with traditional headphones or a smartwatch.