While the tech world is still waiting for Apple Glass, a trend was already visible at MWC 2023. At the Barcelona show, connected glasses have indeed established themselves as one of the biggest trends to follow.
As Apple Glass rumors have gathered momentum, the MWC 2023 has finished putting connected glasses at the center of the news. The impression that emerged from the Barcelona show was that each manufacturer went there with its own device. Back to the different models that we could pick up or take a closer look at.
Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition
This is the announcement that officially marked the launch of what will continue to be the big trend of MWC 2023. Xiaomi has unveiled connected glasses that, if not intended for sale, demonstrate the future capabilities of this type of device.
We could see two members of the Chinese company wearing them live and the promises are many: home automation completely managed with the fingers thanks to the cameras on the device, video game in AR on the coffee table in the living room, internet in AR … all in a format below the 150 grams and with a Micro Oled display. Let’s face it, you’ll get excited.
However, all this remains very theoretical for the time being. During the presentation, we got the impression that the demonstrators didn’t really use the glasses and sometimes faked certain activities. Should we read here a desire to adapt to the constraints of a presentation in a small room full of journalists, or an admission of the work that still needs to be done to make the product viable? Since Xiaomi doesn’t market it and didn’t let us touch it, the brand is probably answering the question itself.
TCL RayNeo X2
We were also able to hold the TCL RayNeo X2 goggles in front of our eyes during a private presentation. It is undoubtedly the most convincing product of this type among those presented on the show. Once again we are faced with a prototype of a product that TCL wants to bring to market in 2023, but that the brand will first offer to developers.
If these glasses are so compelling, it’s because they pack two microLED projectors and the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 platform. The first are true transparent and color screens with an advertised brightness of up to 1000 cd/m2. Competitive glasses rely on screens that display only green. Here we had all the colors with a pretty correct definition.
Navigation in the interface is done by the branches and TCL already imagines the simplest applications, such as capturing photos, playing music or sending messages. The most impressive was undoubtedly the demo of a real-time translation application. For us, the interlocutor spoke in Chinese and the glasses were able to provide English subtitles in real time.
Of course we are still in front of a prototype and the design of the current version still leaves much to be desired. They are big glasses with a battery and the smart part at the end of each branch. The price is still completely unknown.
Oppo AirGlass 2
Oppo, for their part, has opted for a much more minimalist and concrete concept. Indeed, we were able to put the Oppo Air Glass 2 on our nose and play with it a bit.
First observation: instead of two parts as with most glasses, one for the screen and one for the glass, here we had a glass on which the interface was projected. The weight is directly affected, hence the name Air: 38 g.
Oppo then opted for a very simple interface: a few green pixels enter into a duel to display basic functionalities. We could check the weather, see the time, read a text by scrolling on the temple, and listen to music. Unfortunately, the most interesting parts have not yet been implemented. We are thinking here of the ability to subtitle and translate the words of a conversation partner live. Undoubtedly one of the reasons why the Air Glass 2 has not yet been released.
Huawei Vision glass
In the field of connected glasses, there are those who rely on AR and those who think they are televisions. From what we’ve seen, the Huawei Vision Glass falls more into the latter category.
Their tinted glasses fit perfectly with the exterior and the interface invites you to consult video content or sites. For example, a way to replace a screen with a much more compact object. A detail irritates us during our grip. The screen seemed very small. Difficult to see interest in these terms.
Moreover, the author of these lines who wears glasses, I found it complicated to wear these second glasses. And unfortunately impossible for me to remove them. The little rulers on the top two corners of the goggles used to accommodate didn’t help me much. However, a colleague from another medium, who also wears glasses, managed to adjust his vision, so it may depend on your level of correction.
Tooz Essnz Berlin
Tooz is a company jointly founded by Deutsche Telekom and Zeiss. As a reminder, the latter is an expert in optics and it is precisely this know-how that is emphasized in the Essnz Berlin glasses. The purpose of this device is to provide an augmented reality experience through glasses adapted to your eyesight, which you also get on prescription from your ophthalmologist. All this while ensuring a comfortable fit over the nose and ears thanks to a relatively space-saving design that tops out at 60 grams.
The sobriety shown can also be found in the augmented reality functions offered. We’re getting closer to what Oppo’s Air Glass 2 does here. Indeed, the Essnz Berlin is content with a small 480 x 640 pixel microLED display that displays summary content in green for the right eye. How to quickly consult an incoming notification, be guided step by step on a GPS route, check the weather forecast, etc.
During our quick test on Tooz’s small booth, we were able to find glasses that were more or less adapted to Omar’s nearsightedness. The ease of use was there and the layout of the information for the eye, at an angle, is well thought out. However, the display in green is not always pleasant for the retina.
Buttons enable navigation in the interface, but it is also possible to control the device by voice. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant appear to be compatible, but during the demonstration we were treated to, it was strangely Samsung Bixby leading the charge. The Tooz glasses are linked to your smartphone via a companion app and Bluetooth 5.0.
Under normal use, a person is expected to be able to use these AR glasses all day before needing to be charged. Tooz clearly hints that the Essnz Berlin may be released, but we don’t have a date or price yet.
Samsung’s future glasses?
Finally, we casually recall that this trend for connected glasses is also carried by Samsung, but from afar. From that side, the Korean giant had nothing to show at MWC 2023. However, several indications indicate that Samsung is also working on connected glasses.
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