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Apple Vision Pro review: The spatial computing revolution is here, and I love it
7:17 pm | February 7, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Software Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Apple Vision Pro: Two-minute review

Apple has spent almost a decade developing the Vision Pro, and it shows. Everything about it is spectacular, from the exquisite design to brilliant visuals that blend the real with the fantastical, to the versatility that puts other mixed-reality headsets to shame.

The fact that, even after all that work, there are still limitations is frustrating. Sure, I want a sub-1lb/500g headset that somehow integrates the battery; and, of course, I want it to cost $500. The state of the art, even Apple’s bleeding-edge form of it, isn’t there yet. None of that, however, makes me think less of the Vision Pro. It's a stunning achievement in industrial design and technology that translates the inscrutable worlds of AR, VR, and mixed reality into an experience that pretty much anyone can understand and enjoy.

Using your gaze and gestures (finger taps, long pinch, pull) to control a computer is the intuitive technology control you didn’t know you were missing – the millimeter precision is more like what you’d expect from a seasoned OS, not the brand new Vision Pro platform, visionOS, Apple introduced nine months ago. Apple got this right on the first try, and it could become as second-nature as tapping, pinching, and swiping on an iPhone or iPad is today.

Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)

As a new computing platform, the Vision Pro is rich with features and possibilities. The fact that it does so many things so well, and that they work and make sense, is a testament to Apple’s efforts. I’ve been marveling at the attention to detail, and at how a bleeding-edge, V1 product can feel so finished and complete. Apple has created a headset that I’m itching to wear almost every day, and if I did nothing but work in it the Vision Pro would transform my life. I’ve long dreamed of having a 150-inch or larger workspace, but I couldn’t imagine how it would be practical or, more importantly, viewable. With the Vision Pro, I get an almost unlimited desktop that makes me want to never return to the confined space of my laptop.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

Encounter dinosaurs remains one of the most eye-popping Vision Pro experiences… (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

…especially when this virtual butterfly lands on your finger (Image credit: Future)

I’ve rarely tested a technology that has moved me in the way the Vision Pro does. Spatial videos are so achingly real that they instantly trigger an emotion that a flat image might not. Being up close with otherworldly or prehistoric creatures that seem to almost see me is at once jarring and thrilling. To pull this off, you need more than great apps, software, developers, and artists; you need a cohesive system that brings it all to life. The Vision Pro does it time and again, with 23 million pixels of imagery, spatial audio that travels the distance from band-bound speakers directly to your ears, and eye-tracking that knows your gaze better than you do.

There are frustrations and missteps, too.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Apple Vision Pro with the Solo Knit Band (Image credit: Future)

I struggled to find the best fit, and while I can now wear the Vision Pro for hours, my face reminds me afterwards that it’s not built for this. I've struggled on occasion to find a fit that doesn’t cause me some niggling discomfort (although the more immersed I get, the less I feel anything).

I don’t mind the external battery, but it feels not quite up to the task when you want to watch a 3D movie and power seems to drain at double speed. Thank goodness the battery can be plugged in for continued use.

Apple Vision Pro Review

You won't go anywhere without that battery pack (Image credit: Future)

While I think the outside-in pass-through technology that marries the real and computer-generated worlds is among the best I’ve seen, Apple’s attempts to keep you connected to people in front of you and through, say, FaceTime calls, need work. Personas are just this side of creepy, and EyeSight, which shows a video of your eyes to those around you on the exterior screen, looks a bit scary. Then there's the price, which is overwhelming, and will be an instant turnoff for many. I wonder, though, if they might feel differently after their first experience – I’d argue that they will decide they want a Vision Pro, and the only question will be how they can afford it.

Apple Vision Pro Review

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Apple Vision Pro: Price and availability

  • Expensive
  • Price does not include lens inserts
  • No yet available outside the US

Apple announced its Vision Pro headset on June 5, 2023, at WWDC 2023. It's available now in the US, and costs $3,499 for the 256GB model. Preorders opened on January 19, and the headset began shipping on February 2. Availability and pricing for other markets is yet to be confirmed, but Apple says that will follow in 2025.

Value score: 4

Apple Vision Pro: What's in the box

Everything that's inside the Apple Vision Pro box

Here's what you'll find when you unbox your Vision Pro (Image credit: Future)

So what do you get for your $3,499 (Apple sent me the 1TB version, which starts at $3,899 – you can opt for a $3,699 512GB headset)? Essentially, in the box is everything you need to put on and start using the Vision Pro. In order of importance:

  • There’s the Vision Pro system
  • A battery with attached cable
  • USB-C charge cable and 30W adapter
  • The Solo Knit Band
  • A Dual Loop Band
  • Two Light Seals Cushions
  • A fabric cover
  • A polishing cloth

The only thing that's not included, and which you might need, as I did, are the Zeiss prescription lens inserts. These will run you $99 for reading-glass lenses, and $149 for full prescription lenses, which is what I need. The Vision Pro might be unusable for those with particular sight issues – Apple can let you know upfront if that's likely to be the case.

It all arrives in a large white box that has all the hallmarks of containing a high-end Apple product.

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Apple Vision Pro carrying case

The optional case costs $199 but I thick its worth it (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro carrying case

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Apple Vision Pro carrying case

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You can buy an optional carrying case for $199, and, considering that you just dropped almost $3,500, I think it’s money well spent, although some might argue that Apple should include the case with the expensive headset. Apple sent me the case; it's compact, and has storage space for everything I mentioned above, and I think the hard-shell, soft-surface body will do wonders to protect your expensive new toy.

Apple Vision Pro: Specs

The headgear is, in some ways typical goggle size: it's roughly six inches wide by almost four inches deep from the edge of the Light Seal to the front of the glass, and almost four inches tall. 

Perhaps the most important spec of all, though, is the weight. Depending on which bands you use, the Vision Pro clocks in at 1.3 to 1.4lbs, or 600 to 650g. The external battery, which I kept either in my pocket, on the table, or on the couch next to me (later I got a nice $49.95 Belkin Case, so I could attach it to my belt), weighs just over three-quarters of a pound, or around 350g. Thank goodness Apple opted to not integrate the battery in its first mixed-reality headset.

Apple Vision Pro: Performance

  • Powerful, proven M2 chip
  • R1 appears to take the visual load
  • Never a lag
  • Could do with more base storage

Apple’s Vision Pro works as well as it does not only because of the design and remarkably intuitive interface. As always, it’s what’s inside that really counts.

At its heart is the  M2 chip, a second-generation piece of Apple silicon, featuring an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU that powers, for instance, the most recent MacBook Air (MacBook Pros now have M3 chips). In my experience, this is a powerful chip that’s well qualified to handle the demands of virtual and augmented reality.

However, the M2 has the support of a new piece of Apple silicon, the R1 chip, which appears to be primarily in charge of managing those 4K screens, and maintaining a 12-millisecond image update so that what you see is clear and butter-smooth.

The Vision Pro’s dual 4K micro-OLED displays with 23 million pixels are also industry-leading. My experience with the headset is that I get crystal-clear imagery wherever I look, and at whatever size I make the screens.

Apple Vision Pro Review

The Vision Pro's audio comes through a pair of audio pods which are hidden under that white rubber (Image credit: Future)

Apple has placed the stereo audio pod headphones on the stiff white rubber stems that feed into the Vision Pro frame, but they provide excellent spatial audio that’s arguably as good as anything you might get with in-ear buds. If you place an app on your virtual left, the audio will come from that space. At one point, I took a screen that was playing video and slowly dragged it from one side of my space to the other, and the audio tracked perfectly from my left side to the middle and then to the right. There’s also a six-microphone array that does a good job of picking up “Siri” commands. I love summoning Siri because, in the Vision Pro, the digital assistant is embodied as a small floating glass orb.

Apple Vision Pro bottom edge cameras

The Vision Pro's bottom-edge cameras (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

There are numerous cameras arrayed on the outside and inside of the Vision Pro. The two on the front handle the stereoscopic imagery that you can see and capture in photos and videos that you’ll play back later, and sometimes cry over.

The Vision Pro supports Wi-Fi 6 (though oddly not Wi-Fi 7, which in a few years will be ubiquitous) and Bluetooth 5.3, the latter of which allowed me to easily connect the Vision Pro to an Xbox controller, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad. 

Apple Vision Pro virtual keyboard

The Vision Pro is best for a quick message or short sentences; typing anything of length on it is virtually impossible (Image credit: Future)

The Vision Pro also displays a virtual keyboard that you can poke at in space. This can be resized and positioned to your liking, but the lack of physical and tactile feedback makes it difficult, at best, to use. What’s worse is that because you may not be looking at the keyboard when you type, the gaze control system can’t really help you with accuracy. To be fair, I’m a terrible typist and do often look at the keyboard when touch-typing. Ultimately, if I want to type within visionOS while wearing the headset, I find that using the Magic Keyboard Apple sent me is best (they also sent a Magic Mouse that can work across both visionOS and my connected MacBook Pro’s virtual display).

Apple provided me with a 1TB Vision Pro test unit, which retails for $3,899. The base model, which costs $3,499, starts with just 256GB of storage. Apple pitches the Vision Pro as the first “spatial computer,” which makes me wonder why it didn’t start with at least a half-terabyte of storage as standard.

Performance score: 4.5

Apple Vision Pro: Design

  • Exquisite materials and build
  • Good looks hide impressive specs
  • Not that light
  • External battery

I know people joke about the Vision Pro looking like a pair of hyped-up snow goggles. Maybe so, but I’d argue there’s not one false note in this design. Apple, as it often does, chose the best material, with a particular focus on weight. So, it’s a mix of an aluminum body, magnesium, carbon fiber, and woven fabric. It’s virtually all curved, with a gleaming glass front that protects the screen marrying almost seamlessly with the body.

There’s a lot of technology packed into the Vision Pro, but Apple has made some effort to hide it. There are cameras behind the glass, and a set of them along the bottom edge that watch your face and hands. The AudioPod speakers that deliver near-perfect spatial audio are hidden behind stiff, white rubber.

Along one side of the top edge is a familiar piece of technology: the Digital Crown. When I first saw this, I wondered why Apple would pull an idea from Apple Watch and slap it on its newest device. But Apple considers the Vision Pro to be a wearable, so there’s some logical continuity here. Plus, the Digital Crown turns out to be one incredibly useful and important piece of Vision Pro technology.

The 'Top Button' on the top left side, which is mostly used for Spatial Photos and Video, gets far less use.

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There are some large vents on the top of the frame, and a grille on the bottom, and these seem to work together to draw air in and flow it up and away from your face. The Vision Pro does get warm, but never so much so that it’s uncomfortable.

The Vision Pro and the Light Shield both curve to meet your face, but the crucial bit that makes this design work is the foamy Light Seal cushion. This rests on and follows the contours of your face, and it’s about as comfortable as such a thing should be, though on occasion during my testing time I've wondered if it should be either thicker or denser.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Once I settled on the Dual Loop Band, I found my Vision Pro comfort zone. (Image credit: Future)

Attaching this spatial computer to your head requires a band, or a pair of bands. The default Solo Knit Band is wide, and can be adjusted via a dial to make it tighter or looser. It’s never offered enough support for me, though.

It’s worth pausing here to remind you that the Vision Pro weighs 1.3lbs. That’s not particularly heavy in itself, but a typical set of eyeglasses might weigh 0.08lbs, and now imagine attaching a pound of ground beef to your head. This experience is far more enjoyable, but it needs support. In contrast to the Solo Knit Band, the Dual Loop Band supports the headset on the back of your head and across the top of it, and I bet most people will prefer it over the more attractive Solo Knit version.

Design score 4.5

Apple Vision Pro: Setup

I would not call any part of the Vision Pro setup process complicated or off-putting. There are several steps to go through, but mostly these are to customize the experience. As for assembling it, there’s the matter of which band you choose for comfort, and fitting the right Light Seal (the thinner one is standard, the thicker one is for glasses-wearers who have those Zeiss inserts). You also need to attach the battery cable, which snaps into the right side (if the headset’s glass is facing you) and locks on with a twist – there’s no chance of it popping off. The cable is long enough for you to drop the somewhat hefty battery into your pocket.

The bands snap on and off metal lugs using small orange pull tabs; I usually put the lens cover on, so that I can tip the Vision Pro on its face while I swap bands. Aside from the colorful screen behind the glass, which is just black when the device is off, that orange is the only bit of color pop on the headset.

If you ordered Zeiss prescription lenses, as I did, you’ll have to put them in before using the headset. They, like most other pieces on the Vision Pro (for instance the Light Seal and its cushion) attach magnetically. They’re also labeled, so you won’t get confused about which lens goes on which side. The box comes with a QR code that you’ll use to register the lenses with the headset.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)

There’s also a QR code moment when you want to sync your Vision Pro with your phone and iCloud account. None of this takes long, or is even remotely confusing.

The rest of the setup occurs mostly with the headset on. Apple fans will appreciate the startup, which includes a floating Apple logo and then the iconic 'Hello' spelled out in 3D scripted letters floating in your real-world space. It’s just a hint of what’s to come.

One of the keys to the Vision Pro’s technical excellence is its ability to track your gaze (along with the dual 4K micro-OLED screens inside the headset are cameras pointed directly at your eyes). So, the setup begins with pressing the crown to get the pupillary distance – that is, the distance between your pupils – right. The screens mechanically shift position to match your pupils.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Looking at and selecting these dots is an important step in the setup process (Image credit: Future)

Next, to ensure that the Vision Pro fully understands where you’re looking, you go through a series of vision calibration tests, during which a circle of dots appears and you look at each one, and pinch your index finger and thumb together. You do this three times in three different environmental light settings. I’d already tried this five times over the last seven months of demos, so I'd gotten quite good at it.

The system also needs to calibrate for your hands. This process consists of holding them up in front of the Vision Pro. You’ll see a faint glow around the outside edges of your digits, and then you flip your hands over and do it again.

While the system may occasionally ask you to reset the pupillary distance by holding down the Digital Crown, you won’t have to perform any other part of the setup again. For Guest Mode, if you want to let someone else to try the headset, they’ll go through the vision and hand calibration, but the results will not be used by the Vision Pro when their session ends.

As I've said, I found this setup simple, and quite effective in that from that point on the system has seemed to know me every time I've donned the Vision Pro, and it worked as well as the time before. The only step I need to follow now to get started is logging in with a PIN. You can also log on with an iris scan (OpticID) but, while I successfully registered my iris, I could never unlock the Vision Pro with my eyes. I've asked Apple about this issue and will update this review with its reply.

Apple Vision Pro: Software and Interface

  • Excellent intuitive OS
  • A true 'think-do' interface
  • Spatial computing turns the world into an unlimited digital space

You start on the home screen, or Home View, which can be summoned with one press of the Digital Crown. This screen will look somewhat familiar to most Apple fans: there's a grid of preinstalled app icons, many of which match what you’ll find on your iPad or iPhone (Notes, Safari, Photos, Podcasts, Calendar, Mail, Files, etc), horizontally arrayed and floating in your real-world environment. You can use the pinch-and-wave gesture to move through multiple screens of apps. This is where the apps you install will live – you can download many more from the App Store, which now has more than 600 visionOS apps. There’s also access to 'Compatible Apps' folder, which collected all the iOS and iPadOS apps I installed on Vision Pro. Apple claims that roughly a million iOS and iPadOS apps already work with Vision Pro, even if they were not designed for visionOS and the Vision Pro. It's not hard, though, to find ones, like most Google apps, that don't.

Compatibility is a mixed bag. Sometimes it works perfectly, other times less so. NBA2K got stuck on setup screens and wouldn’t let me access the game. In the case of Paramount Plus, which is not officially designed to work on the headset, it played, but I couldn't expand the live video to a full window. Apps that have not been custom-built for visionOS were the ones most likely to crash.

The Vision Pro defaults to a full pass-through mode, although that’s a misnomer; you’re never looking directly at your surroundings. Instead, the cameras on the front deliver a clear video feed of your surroundings to your eyes. It’s the best way to marry virtual information with reality, and it's very effective.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

The Home View (Image credit: Future)
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Environments (Image credit: Future)
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Home View on 50 percent immersed envrionment (Image credit: Future)
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App Store (Image credit: Future)
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Arcade (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

Immersion and audio controls. both accessed by spinning the Digital Crown. (Image credit: Future)

The Vision Pro is constantly keeping track of your gaze, and your hands and fingers, so as long as your hands are in view of the cameras you can control anything you see simply by looking and pinching. The headset will not register gestures made behind your head, or if you drop your hands down to your side; I usually have my hands in my lap, or raise them in front of my chest to pinch, drag, and zoom. To telegraph my intentions, I simply look at something and then pinch to, for instance, open an app.

Once an app is open, you can move it about the room by grabbing a thin white bar at the bottom of the app’s screen. This isn’t hard to do; you just look at it, pinch to grab, and move it. You can also use this gesture to pull the app window closer or move it further away. On the bottom right corner is a curved bar that you can use to resize from, say, a big-screen TV size to a wall-size app. Inside an app you can look at, for instance, a photo in the Photo app, and use both hands with a pinch gesture to zoom in and out.

Apple Vision Pro Review

My work, entertainment, information, and creativity space is all around me (Image credit: Future)

While working and playing in apps, you can have them superimposed onto your real world, or select one of Apple’s Environments to change your surroundings. There’s Yosemite, Mount Hood, Joshua Tree, Haleakalā, Hawaii, and even the Moon, and each one is a 360-degree, 'live,' immersive experience, complete with spatial sounds. Once you've chosen an Environment, you can twist the Digital Crown to turn the immersion up or down (this is also how you raise and lower the volume – you just look at the Volume icon instead of the Environments one). Up means the real world increasingly fades, and you’re surrounded 360 degrees by, for instance, the dusty surface of the Moon. Your hands don’t disappear, but they’re not resting on your knees, and instead appear to be floating above the moon’s surface.

Apple Vision Pro Review

You can see my EyeSight here. That's not a pass-through; you're looking at screens displaying a video feed of my eyes from inside the headset (Image credit: Future)

While the Vision Pro can drop you into virtual reality, it’s smart enough to keep you connected to the outside world. When my wife started to speak to me during one immersive session, I could see her gradually appearing in front of me as we talked. On her side, she sees a video feed of my eyes on the front of the headset. Apple called this EyeSight, and it’s a hit-or-miss affair.

EyeSight shows a video recreation of your eyes based on what the camera sees inside the headset. The color is blue and purplish, and it can look, well, weird. My wife never liked it, but I noticed that she got used to talking to me while I was wearing the headset.

Software and interface score: 5

Apple Vision Pro: The Experience

  • There's nothing quite like using a Vision Pro
  • It can be hard to convey the experience to people on the outside
  • Your work life will change, too

If you can get your fit right (this can take some trial and error) there's nothing quite like the experience of using the Vision Pro. Even when I wasn’t wearing the headset, I found myself thinking about wearing and using it.

It's an able virtual-reality and mixed-reality machine, and I have much more to share there, but its ability to integrate my real-world work environment has been transformative for me.

I’ve spent many hours now working in the Vision Pro. To do so, you use the Control Center, which you access by glancing up until you see a green arrow and pinching to open, to launch the Mac Virtual display. In my case this showed me my MacBook Pro as an option, so I selected this and my desktop appeared before me as a huge 55-inch display. I could expand that to, say, 150 inches (or more), and then pull it close to me – this is the endless desktop I’ve always dreamed of, and none of this would work if every window, app, and bit of text weren’t crystal clear.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

That little arrow at the top is to access the Control Center (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

The Control Center has many of the typical Apple controls you'd expect (Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, etc). It also adds Mac Virtual Display and Screen Mirroring. (Image credit: Future)
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Choose your system (Image credit: Future)
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One click and the big screen will appear (Image credit: Future)

Just because I had my work desktop in front of me didn’t mean I lost out on the rest of the Vision Pro experience. On my right, I had Messages open (when a new message arrives, a green message icon floats in front of my face), and, on my left, I had my Photos. Sometimes, I would AirDrop an image (often a Vision Pro screen-grab that I'd captured by saying “Siri, grab a screenshot”) from the Vision Pro to my desktop, and then edit it in Photoshop on my giant virtual display.

You can place apps anywhere you want around you, and not just in one space. Vision Pro understands your space, even different rooms in your home.

One day I wanted to try JigSpace, an app that lets you manipulate and pull apart giant 3D objects like a race car. I wanted ample space to work, so I walked over to my den. The Vision Pro’s pass-through capabilities are good enough that I was never worried about navigating around my home, though I did need to sometimes look down to see what was near my feet. I would not recommend wearing your Vision Pro while walking in the street, where you need to pay attention to curbs and other obstacles.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

JigSpace let me put a jet engine in my den… (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

…and take it apart by looking and parts and grabbing them with my hands (Image credit: Future)

Once in the den, I opened JigSpace and started pulling apart a jet engine – whatever part I looked at, I could grab and drop somewhere around the room. Then I went back to work.

Hours later I was writing about JigSpace, but wanted to double-check something in the interface. I couldn’t find the app, so on a hunch, I got up and walked back into the den – and there was the app, where I’d left it hours before. What we have here with spatial computing and the Vision Pro is, maybe for the first time, the concept of space-aware computing. I could, perhaps, leave apps all over my house and the Vision Pro would remember where they were. To bring all open apps back into my local view, I just needed to hold down on the Digital Crown.

Experience score: 5

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Apple Vision Pro: Entertainment

  • An immersive entertainment experience
  • Spatial audio support is strong with or without AirPod Pros
  • Games designed for Vision Pro are often inspired
  • Compatible games don't always work as expected

I've tried watching movies on other virtual reality headsets, and it just never clicked. The Meta Quest Pro is an excellent device, but I still find it too uncomfortable to wear for more than 20 minutes at a time. There is, however, something special about watching a movie in the Apple Vision Pro, especially if you add in the AirPods Pro 2 (which include support for spatial audio and, thanks to their new H2 chip – also inside the Vision Pro – add support for lossless audio with ultra-low latency).

What makes it work so well isn’t only the near-perfect 3D fidelity (Disney Plus has a particularly excellent library of 3D films, including the trippy Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), but also the way in which you can immerse yourself in the theater experience with various Environments. The Disney Plus app provides some of my favorites: there’s an Avengers space, a Monsters Inc. Factory, and the Disney Theater, which is probably my top pick overall.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Inside the virtual Disney Theater (Image credit: Future)

When the lights come down, and you’re staring at a giant 70mm or even IMAX-class virtual screen inside a darkened theater, you can almost smell the popcorn. There’s virtually no light leakage to break the illusion, and I had no trouble losing myself in the experience of watching a two-hour movie. One thing I did notice, though, is that 3D movies can chew through battery life. If you plan on watching, say, the three-hour and 26-minute Killers of the Flower Moon (an Apple production, by the way) you’ll want to plug in the battery using the included cable and charge adapter. They’ll provide all the pass-through power you need.

As I write this, YouTube and, more problematically, Netflix, are playing a wait-and-see game with the new platform. That’s a shame. I’d love to binge the next Squid Game inside the Vision Pro.

Marketing for the Vision Pro often shows people sitting down while using it, but, while I've spent most of my time seated, I have played games while standing. Synthriders is a Vision Pro-ready game that has elements of Beat Saber in it; your hands are orbs, and there are music-beat-based orbs flying at you that you must bounce back or ride the waves of with your hands. I played this while standing, and between waving my arms and ducking glass trapezoids flying at my head, it was quite a workout.

Apple Vision Pro playing Synthrider

Apple Vision Pro playing Synthrider (Image credit: Future)

Entertainment score: 4.5

Apple Vision Pro: Spatial Photography

Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)
  • Vision Pro is a strong spatial photography machine
  • An excellent spatial imagery partner for your iPhone 15 Pro
  • The spatial photography and videography playback effect is often moving

I love how Apple always manages to cook up new terms for existing technology that somehow manage to capture the imagination of regular people. 

Stereophotography is well over a century old, and many boomers and GenXers first experienced it in the 1970s with View-Master toys. The effect was okay, though not remotely immersive. With the Vision Pro, Apple has introduced the concept of spatial photography, a 21st-century upgrade of 3D photography and videography that puts 3D image capture in the hands of, or rather on the head of, everyone. It even extended the concept by building spatial video capture into the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

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Flat 2D screens cannot do spatial imagery justice. (Image credit: Future)

In some of my earlier Vision Pro demos, I played back spatial video that I'd captured on my iPhone 15 Pro Max on the Vision Pro. This was no View-Master experience: I could view the videos in a floating window, which put them at a certain remove, or use a pinch-and-expand gesture with both my hands to almost enter the video. The edges fade away, so the spatial video looks like it’s floating in a cloud.

The Vision Pro can capture both still and video spatial imagery. To capture, you use the dedicated button on the top-left side of the visor. A single press brings up the option to shoot photos or videos, and after you select one you press the button again to capture a single photo or start recording spatial video (you press it again to end the video capture). I did this with photos of my hand, and then a photoshoot with my son. Every time I view spatial imagery I have an immediate and automatic emotional reaction; when I replayed the spatial content it was like my son was standing before me, complete with his pained expression.

I must hand it to Apple, it doesn’t just invent new terms, it reinvents the experience.

Spatial photography score: 5

Apple Vision Pro: Communication and Personas

  • Personas can look strange, but they're more useful than you think
  • Communicating through iMessage and FaceTime is trouble-free

During setup, the Vision Pro will guide you to create a Persona, a 3D rendering of your head that you can use in FaceTime and other video calls. To build mine, I followed the instructions, removed the headset, and then pointed the display at my face. It captured me looking up, down, left, and right, as well as making a few facial expressions. All of this information enabled the spatial cameras to create a 3D map of my face.

Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)

When I put the Vision Pro back on, I could see my new Persona, which automatically started mimicking my facial expressions (the cameras inside and the ones pointed down at my face and hands capture my live expression). I added semi-translucent glasses to my Persona, and I was done and ready for a FaceTime call with my wife. She hated it. Even though I think my Persona is one of the better ones out there, I can’t deny the uncanny valley look of it.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Chatting with my colleague Ray Wong's Persona via FaceTime (Image credit: Future)

Later, I conducted a call with a colleague who was also testing the Vision Pro. We both remarked on the limitations of our Personas, but throughout our 20-minute conversation those concerns faded away, and I forgot that we weren’t looking at either our real faces or our real hands. I’m still convinced that Apple can do better here, but then that’s why Personas are still in beta. By the time you finally decide to buy a Vision Pro (or some version of it), I expect Personas to be much more realistic and palatable.

Communication and Personas score: 4

Apple Vision Pro: Final thoughts

The Apple Vision Pro is expensive, but I’m not sure I can argue that it’s too expensive for what it does. Someone asked me if I would buy it. I now know that if I could afford it, the answer would be an enthusiastic yes.

There has never been a wearable quite like the Vision Pro, let alone a mixed-reality headset like it. It’s a true 'think-do' platform. It’s powerful, but also inviting. It’s fun to use, but also completely ready for work. It might make you look like a bug, but there’s also beauty in its design.

Apple Vision Pro Review

I know, it's looks weird on the outside, but it's incredible on the inside (Image credit: Future)

I wish it were lighter, but still, I can forget I’m wearing it and give myself over to the experience of work, play, or entertainment in a dark, virtual theater.

I love working in the Vision Pro, but I'm aware that if you spend hours working in it, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to keep the headset on at the end of the day. Over time, Vision Pro enthusiasts will likely achieve a balance between work and play, though I’m convinced that the tug of this one-of-a-kind technology will remain strong.

The Apple Vision Pro instantly goes to the top of our list of the best virtual reality headsets. It may not be a best-seller yet, but those who have one will talk about it endlessly, and they may even let you try it. I suggest you take that opportunity if offered, or at least get yourself to an Apple Store for a demo.

There has never been anything quite like the Vision Pro. It's my favorite mixed-reality headset ever, and I’m certain that it has reinvigorated the AR/VR market while also creating something completely new. Spatial computing is a thing. Better get used to it.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Apple Vision Pro (Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Apple Vision Pro?

Buy it if... 

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider

How we test

For my Apple Vision Pro review, I spent almost a week, and as many hours each day as I could, wearing and using the mixed-reality headset. 

I watched movies, played games, communicated with friends and co-workers, streamed live TV, moved apps around my home, and did a lot of work on my giant MacBook Pro virtual display.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed February 2024
Lenovo Legion Glasses review: your best bet for AR glasses
7:00 pm | November 11, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Software Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality | Tags: | Comments: Off

Lenovo Legion Glasses: Two-minute review

Lenovo’s first foray into the AR glasses market could easily be one of the best smart glasses, with a great balance between design and functionality. They look similar enough to other AR glasses on the market, all-black, and mostly sleek sunglasses. There is a bulkiness that comes from the built-in lenses, which does make them jut out from your face a bit, and the optional lenses that can be slotted behind the main ones don't help with that either. 

Those spare lenses have a purpose, however, as those who wear corrective lenses can have them made out in our prescription. But having to pay for extra lenses on top of shelling out over $300 for the Legion Glasses is a tall order, which is why I appreciate the modified nose guard that allows you to wear your glasses under them. 

Lenovo had warned me about them not fitting every pair of glasses and I personally experienced the awkwardness of trying to shift them to stay on properly, which took a bit to master. But once I found the sweet spot, they stayed in place surprisingly well around my large plastic frames. Not the best look, however, so if you care about aesthetics you may want to splurge for the prescription lenses.

Compared to other AR glasses like the Xreal Air AR which only offers the corrective lens option, or the Rokid Max AR which offers the corrective lens option plus myopia adjustment wheels for each eye, the Legion Go offers the simplest yet most effective method out of them.

The build quality of these glasses is quite premium – it has a sturdy yet light form factor with glass lenses and a solid frame. These are glasses clearly built to last. Not to mention that it comes with spare nose guards and a spare pair of anti-slip adapters for when wear and tear happens.

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Editor John Loeffler wearing Lenovo Legion Glasses

(Image credit: Future)
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Editor John Loeffler wearing Lenovo Legion Glasses

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Editor John Loeffler wearing Lenovo Legion Glasses

(Image credit: Future)
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Lenovo Legion Glasses on table

(Image credit: Future)
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Lenovo Legion Glasses on table

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Lenovo Legion Glasses on table

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Lenovo Legion Glasses on table

(Image credit: Future)

I also love the buttons in front of the speakers, two on each side, as they activate several useful features depending on whether you short or long-press them. You can increase or decrease brightness, enable Low Blue Light Mode, control volume, and toggle the display off and on.

As for performance, the Lenovo Legion Glasses work exactly as promised, which is to say, quite well. I extensively tested it out with a wide variety of devices that feature USB Type-C ports including videos on the best smartphones, the Lenovo Legion Go, the best gaming laptops, the best gaming PCs, and more. 

Even though it only states that the Legion Glasses works with Android, iOS, and Windows, it also works perfectly with the Steam Deck as well. And it works equally well with all of them, though I wish there were more connection types other than Type-C, however, I can understand the rationale behind it.

The picture quality and brightness are superb, living up to its micro-OLED HD visuals and more. My only real complaint in that regard is the image can blur around the edges a bit and obscure any UI, especially if the glasses aren't fitted properly to your head. Sometimes you have to readjust them to hit that sweet spot, and then the visuals are great. Accompanied by excellent visuals are equally excellent built-in speakers, which are so robust that I forgot I wasn’t playing video games on a gaming PC. That also carries over to music and movie streaming, delivering great audio quality on those fronts.

Something that often isn't mentioned with AR and VR tech in general is how they can affect more sensitive people, such as myself. Normally I have sensitivity issues with 3D, VR, and some AR technology ranging from watering and burning eyes, headaches, and nausea to name a few symptoms. But I've found that prolonged use of the Legion Glasses doesn't affect me in the slightest.

Lenovo Legion Glasses: Price & availability

Lenovo Legion Glasses on table

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? Starting at $329.99 / £329 / AU$599
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The Lenovo Legion Glasses is a pricey gadget at $329.99 / £329 / AU$599, though it’s still more affordable than some of its competitors like the Xreal Air AR and Rokid Max AR, making it a much better deal by comparison. And if you're investing in a pair of AR glasses, you're most likely already prepared to spend a sizable amount of money so that shouldn't be much of an issue.

It’s also available for shipping in the US, UK, and Australia from the Lenovo storefront, which is great news for those in regions outside the US.

Lenovo Legion Glasses: Specs

Should you buy the Lenovo Legion Glasses?

Buy it if...

You want good-quality AR glasses
The build quality is extremely good with a nice weight and sturdy form factor. The lenses being made of thick glass also help.

You want a clear picture quality
The display is made of dual micro-OLED HD screens for each eye and the result is a bright and clear picture quality.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
Though it should be expected for AR glasses, you're going to be paying quite a bit of money for them.

You want a completely clear image
Though it's usually not an issue, sometimes the edges can blur a bit which is exacerbated by misaligned glasses.

Lenovo Legion Glasses: Also consider

How I tested the Lenovo Legion Glasses

  • I spent about a week testing these AR glasses
  • I tested it with a wide variety of screens
  • I used it extensively in different environments with different lighting

I tested the Lenovo Legion Glasses keyboard in a home office environment, seeing how well it functioned in both productivity work and gaming. I also carried it around in various bags to test its portability.

The Lenovo Legion Glasses is a pair of AR glasses that's meant as an alternative screen for a wide variety of devices. I made sure to quality-test it to see if it held up to being able to work on nearly any device with a USB Type-C port.

I've tested a wide range of accessories and these in particular I've tested for well over a year at different stages of completion, becoming familiar with its features and improvements.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed November 2023

Xreal Air 2 review: better in all but the most important way
3:00 pm | October 24, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Software Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality | Comments: Off

Two-minute Xreal Air 2 review

The Xreal Air 2 and Xreal Air 2 Pro AR glasses are here to replace the original Xreal Air (formerly Nreal Air) AR specs – and they’re just as much fun to use as the originals.

Design-wise they keep everything that made the Xreal Air good – they’re both comfortable to wear for long stretches of time and look kind of stylish too – though the base model doesn’t change things up too much from what’s come before. The Pro model has received new Electrochromic Dimming for its lenses allowing them to swap between clear and shaded at the literal push of a button – and this feature is the only difference between the regular Xreal Air 2 glasses and the Pro.

There are more changes in the picture and audio department thankfully. Both the Xreal Air 2 and Xreal Air 2 Pro have new Sony 0.55 Micro-OLED displays that boast 25% higher peak brightness and improved color calibration. This allows them to produce vibrant colors and provide good contrast in dark scenes.

The AR glasses also feature more immersive audio through their speakers, however, the bass is still a little weak and there’s a not insignificant amount of audio leakage from the open-ear speaker design. If you want to watch something in private you’ll need some Bluetooth headphones.

Unfortunately, the main issue holding the original Xreal Air glasses back wasn’t their picture quality or audio, it was their value, and the Xreal Air 2 and Air 2 Pro don’t address this issue.

I think the specs are a delight to use, but the $399 / £399 price tag – or $449 / £449 for the Xreal Air 2 Pro – is a massive turn-off. 

All you get for this high price is a wearable display for some laptops, phones, and handheld game consoles. If you want a more worthwhile experience from the AR glasses you need to buy an Xreal Beam and a handful of add-on adapter cables, and these can add the best part of $200 / £200 to the total cost.

Hamish Hector wearing the Xreal Air 2 Pro glasses

Here's what the AR glasses look like on my face (Image credit: Future)

At this price, you’ll have spent more than you would have on something like the Meta Quest 3 (which I gave five stars in our Meta Quest 3 review). Yes, a VR headset isn’t the same as these Xreal glasses but it’s an awesome XR wearable and I think most people would find it offers way more bang for your buck – as it’s not just a display, the Quest 3 does stuff without you needing to pick up a bunch of not-so-optional extras.

If you have a spare $399 / £399 lying around and you want to pick up some fun tech then you could do a lot worse than the Xreal Air 2, but for the money, you could do better too.

Xreal Air 2: Price and availability

The Xreal Air 2 and Air 2 Pro are available to preorder for $399 / £399 and $449 / £449 respectively from and Amazon. There’s no firm release date yet, but Xreal has told us they’ll be shipping to US and UK customers in November.

The two models are fairly similar, but the cheaper Xreal Air 2 loses out on Electrochromic Dimming. This exclusive Xreal Air 2 Pro feature allows you to dim the lenses between three presets – you can either go for fully transparent where you can see the real world more clearly, blacked-out immersive mode where the real world is (almost) entirely blocked out, or a half-way point between the two.

It’s certainly neat but an optional cover that comes with both models is still the best option for blocking out visual distractions while you try to immerse yourself in what you’re watching. As such, spending an extra $50 / £50 on the Pro glasses isn’t going to be necessary for most people.

Xreal Air 2: Design

  • Comfortable, lightweight design
  • Improved lens cover
  • New color options

I’ve tested a fair few AR smart glasses like the Xreal Air 2 and Air 2 Pro, and based on my experience they’re one of the better-designed options on the market.

The inside displays are shown off in the photo, they sit behind the Xreal Air 2 Pro AR glasses shades

Here are the Xreal Air 2 Pro's displays (Image credit: Future)

As with other smart glasses – like the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses or Rokid Max AR glasses – these specs aren’t noticeably larger than a regular pair of specs. The only telltale signs they aren’t regular glasses are the inner displays that sit behind the lenses, and a USB-C port at the end of the left arm for attaching a cable between the glasses and another device.

They’re pretty lightweight too. The Xreal Air 2 comes in at 72g and the Air 2 Pro glasses at 75g. The specs also come with a few easily swappable nose clips, which make it easy to adjust the position and fit the AR gadget. Those of you who wear glasses will appreciate the free optional frame attachment that allows you to equip the AR glasses with prescription lenses – though will have to pay extra for the actual lenses.

The Xreal Air 2 glasses are comfy to wear for extended periods of time for another reason. The biggest issue of some rival devices is that the bridge of the glasses (which touches your face just above your nose) can get annoyingly hot – and can do so after barely five minutes of use. 

That’s not the case with Xreal’s specs. Even an hour in I’m happy to keep using them for as long as I can.

The only significant fault I can find with the glasses is that they lack volume controls. Instead, the only buttons on the glasses allow you to change brightness levels – though I’ve never found a reason to set them at anything less than max.

If you pick up the Xreal Air Pro 2 model you’ll find an additional button for adjusting the Electrochromic Dimming – a feature that affects how shaded the front lenses are. As I mentioned above you can change the lens between transparent, blacked-out, or in-between.

This feature is certainly neat but I personally prefer to use the case cover that comes with both models when I want to immerse myself. The cover not only helps to block out more light from the front, but has plastic parts that extend underneath the lenses to further block out annoying light and reflections – marking an upgrade from the cover used by the original Xreal Air.

The Xreal Air 2 Pro AR smart glasses on a table with a black cover over their front

The Xreal Air 2 Pro doesn't look as yellow with the cover on (Image credit: Future)

The only downside of the cover is that it hides the kaleido decal that I’ve applied to the specs. I’m not entirely sure if this optional sticker kit comes free with every pair of Xreal Air 2 glasses, just the Pro model, or was just an extra in the reviewer’s kit but it applied a fun vibrancy to the AR glasses and makes them look a little less intimidating – wearable tech (particularly glasses) can make some people feel uncomfortable even if they don’t have any cameras.

I got a yellow kit as you can see from the images in this review, but there are navy, turquoise, blue, pink, and green options as well. You could also remove the hassle of applying a sticker and get the Xreal Air 2 glasses in red by default– the Pro unfortunately only comes in black without using any decals.

  • Design Score: 4/5 

Xreal Air 2: Performance

  • Impressive HD visuals
  • Immersive audio
  • Bass is a little weak, and the sound does leak a fair bit

The Xreal Air 2 Pro glasses offer a solid performance boost over their predecessor.

When it comes to visuals, the Sony 0.55 Micro-OLED display does an impressive job. Thanks to the 25% boost in brightness the glasses have received (and the calibration Xreal has done to get the specs TÜV Rheinland certified for color accuracy) I felt that colors look more vibrant than on the original Xreal Air glasses. The contrast in dark scenes is also pretty darn good, which is to be expected from an OLED screen. 

The 100,000:1 contrast ratio and 500nits brightness might not look like a lot on paper – they’re what you’d expect from more budget-friendly projectors that aren’t all that impressive – but because the glasses aren’t attempting to throw the image across the room they’re able to use the same specs to deliver a much higher-quality picture. 

That said, I do still find the best performance is to be had in a fairly dark space with the cover attached (and the Electrochromic Dimming set to max if you have the Air 2 Pro). They can still function okay in brighter spaces, but you’ll notice a dip in quality – especially if you don’t have the cover with you.

The only disappointment is that these specs still only offer full-HD (1080p) resolution. It’s fine but 4K visuals would really have been appreciated. At least you can benefit from a 120Hz refresh rate if you want to use them for gaming.

The Nreal Air AR glasses being used to see a video game screen while some holds a controller in their living room, they're sat on the couch with pillows all around them

Here's what it looks like to see virtual images on the Xreal Air glasses (Image credit: Nreal)

The glasses’ audio performance isn’t as impressive as its picture quality, but the sound is still pretty solid and offers a good level of immersion that will suck you into the action of the content you’re watching thanks to its upgraded “cinematic sound system” with spatial audio.

While watching various shows, films, and music videos I found that mid and high-range tones were delivered with good clarity – even when I cranked the volume up a bit there wasn’t noticeable distortion. That said, I found the specs do struggle with bassier tones. The lower-end performance isn’t terrible but it doesn’t have as much force behind it as I would like – which can lead to music feeling less impactful, and some action explosions lacking the intensity you’d get from a more capable setup.

I do like the open-ear design though – which is taken wholesale from its predecessor. It’s perfect for commuting as you can enjoy your favorite show or movie while you travel while still being able to listen out for when you get to your stop.

Just watch out for audio leakage – as while the situation is improved on these newer models, much like with the original Xreal Air glasses your audio still isn’t completely private. If someone is sitting or standing next to you while content is playing through the Xreal Air 2 or Air 2 Pro glasses at moderate volumes they’ll be able to hear it.

The only solution is to add a pair of Bluetooth headphones to your setup, but this will have an impact on the battery life of the device they’re connected to. However, if they’re a decent pair – like one of the picks on our best headphones list – then you might find the battery trade-off is worthwhile for the privacy and improved sound quality you’ll experience. 

  • Performance Score: 4/5 

Xreal Air 2: Compatibility

  • Compatible with a range of devices
  • Xreal Beam and additional adapters are pricey, but feel necessary

The Xreal Air 2 and the 2 Pro have an identical compatibility list to the original Xreal Air. 

Using the included USB-C to USB-C cable you can use the glasses with a range of laptops, tablets, handled consoles like the Steam Deck, and phones that support video output through a USB-C port (called DisplayPort). Just note that not every USB-C phone will offer this feature – for example, the Google Pixel 8 and other Pixel phones don’t support video output via their USB-C port.

For devices lacking a USB-C port or DisplayPort support, you can try using the Xreal Beam adapter. This optional add-on, which comes in at $119 (UK price to be confirmed), allows you to wirelessly cast content from your incompatible phone – such as an iPhone with a lightning port – to the glasses (note, the Google Pixel line still won’t work with the Beam as they can only cast to devices using Google’s proprietary Chromecast tech, not the generic version used by the Beam). 

Using another USB-C to USB-C cable you can also connect your Xreal Air 2 glasses to a Nintendo Switch through the Xreal Beam.

The Beam serves as a power source for the glasses too, and will help you enjoy content on your Xreal Glasses for longer – as rather than draining the connected device’s battery you’ll use the Beam’s stored power instead which lasts for around 3 hours.

If you purchase an HDMI to USB-C cable (make sure it’s this way around as most cables on Amazon are USB-C to HDMI, and as I found out they don’t work as intended with the Xreal Air) you can hook your glasses up to a console like a PS5, an Xbox Series X or a docked Nintendo Switch. 

The Xreal Air 2 Pro AR smart glasses next to the Xreal Beam hub, they're both on a wooden table in front of a brick wall

The Xreal Beam is a neat but pricey add-on (Image credit: Future)

I just wish the Xreal Air 2 and Air 2 Pro came with more of these cables and adapters in their boxes – as either you have to opt for the relatively pricey adapters it sells as add-ons, or try and navigate the labyrinth of cheaper third-party options on Amazon which may or may not work. Including the cables in the box would not only make things simpler, it would help to make the Air 2 glasses feel like better value for money as you no longer need to spend extra on not-so-optional add-ons.

I also would prefer if the Beam was more like the Rokid Station – which is effectively a portable Android TV device for the Rokid Max smart AR glasses. You can jerry-rig together a setup that uses the Rokid Station and Xreal glasses, but you’ll need a pair of BlueTooth headphones for audio. If the Beam is going to stay as a more rudimentary product, much like I said for the additional connector cables, I’d like to see it included in the Xreal Air 2’s price.

Heck, even if it is given some upgrades I’d like to see it included in the Xreal Air 2’s price. It would make the $399 / £399 price tag a lot easier to swallow.

Should you buy the Xreal Air 2 glasses?

Buy them if… 

Don't buy them if...

Also consider

How I tested the Xreal Air 2 Glasses

For this review, I was sent the Xreal Air 2 Pro model to test – and as I mentioned it’s functionally identical to the regular Xreal Air 2 glasses except has lenses with Electrochromic Dimming.

To put the displays through their paces I watched a range of different content across streaming services and YouTube. I played movies with bright vibrant scenes to see how well the colors were presented, I watched shadowy scenes in films to test the glasses contrast capabilities, and I played many music videos to get a feel for the speakers’ audio chops.

I also made sure to test the glasses with a range of compatible devices including a smartphone, a laptop, the Xreal Beam, and games consoles.

Lastly, I would swap between these smart specs and a few others I have lying around from older reviews, including the original Xreal Air glasses to see how these specs compare.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed October 2023
Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Collection review: the Ray-Ban Stories 2 in all but name
9:09 pm | September 27, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Software Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality | Comments: Off

The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Collection aren’t officially called the Ray-Ban Stories 2, but they might as well be. They take everything that made the original Meta and Ray-Ban collaboration stand out, while improving upon those glasses to become worthy successors.

You’ll find improved design options, with two frame styles, five frame colors, and a slew of lens options that allow you to customize your glasses between over 150 different combinations. The charging case, meanwhile, looks more classically Ray-Ban without losing any of the functionality of the case that came with the Ray-Ban Stories.

The cameras get a resolution bump up to 12MP, and image stabilization has been improved to help keep your recordings from looking too shaky. The built-in speaker’s audio has also been given a boost, and there’s a handy voice assistant that lets you control the glasses hands-free.

I had the chance to try out the new Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses ahead of their launch, and while I want to spend more time with them before passing a final verdict, I’ve been impressed by the improvements I saw. That said, I feel these glasses won’t be a good fit for everyone – especially at $299 / £299 (Australian pricing to be confirmed). Unless you can think of a reason why you need these glasses yesterday, you might want to pass on them. 

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses: Price and availability

The new Ray-Ban Meta Collection Smart Glasses are on preorder from September 27 until their October 17 release date, and they’re available for $299 / £299 (Australian pricing to be confirmed). If you want to pick up a pair with Transitions or Polarized lenses this will cost you a little more, at £379 (US and Australian pricing to be confirmed) and £329 (US and Australian pricing to be confirmed) respectively.

A blue Wayfarer pair of the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Collection on a wooden table in front of their charging case

(Image credit: Future)

This price is the same as the launch price for the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, which were the first collaboration between Meta (then Facebook) and Ray-Ban, and is roughly on par with other smart glasses I’ve seen and tested. Just note that these are a very different kind of smart glasses to something like the Xreal Air glasses, so make sure you investigate your options before you order a pair.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses: Design

The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses come in two shapes, and a range of different color options to suit different tastes.

Fans of the iconic Ray-Ban look can pick up a pair of Wayfarers (in standard or large sizes), or you can opt for the brand-new Headliner style that’s been created specially for this collaboration. Both styles come in matte or glossy black, or you can choose a translucent material that comes in black, turquoise, or orange so that you can show off the technology inside your new specs – kind of like that translucent purple GameBoy you always wanted.

You can also outfit the glasses with a massive variety of lenses, from clear to prescription to polarized and a bunch more. All in all there are over 150 different combinations of frames and lenses, so you should be able to find one that suits you perfectly. No matter which combo you choose, the glasses have an IPX4 water resistance rating and boast 32GB of storage, which is enough for roughly 500 photos, and 100 30-second videos.

Three pairs of RayBan Meta Smart Glasses, one is blue with purple lenses, one is black with yellow lenses and the last is orange with blue lenses

There are so many different style options for these smart glasses (Image credit: Meta)

The camera is positioned on the right edge of the frame, just in front of the right arm. It also has a fairly large and noticeable light next to it, which activates whenever you’re recording a video or taking a picture so that people around you know when the camera is and isn’t on.

Best of all, the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses feel just as lightweight as a regular pair of glasses. The Wayfarers come in at just 48.6g (or 50.8g for the large frames) and the Headliner frame weighs 49.2g, so it shouldn’t be a challenge to wear these for long stretches.

Before I round off the design section of this hands-on review, I need to highlight the charging case – I love it. It looks just like a classic Ray-Ban case, but it has a USB-C port on the bottom and it can provide your smart glasses with an additional 32 hours of use thanks to its internal battery. It only takes 75 minutes to charge the glasses from 0% to full, or you can reach 50% in 22 minutes, which isn’t too bad.

On their own, the smart glasses can hold four hours of charge. This isn’t particularly impressive compared to smartwatches, for example, but considering the small size of the glasses it’s not a huge surprise.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses: Performance

Smart glasses aren’t just a fashion accessory, they need to be functional too – and based on my brief demo session with these Ray-Ban spectacles I’d say they do a good job of being a useful gadget.

You can see inside these transparent orange frames, giving you a look at the internal componenst and spoeakers housed in the arm of the Ray-Ban and Meta smart glasses

(Image credit: Future)

Its 12MP cameras won’t produce images as crisp as the 50MP snappers found on most mid-range smartphones, though I found that images and 1080p video captured on the glasses looked fine. There’s also a huge advantage over your phone in that you don’t have to hold a phone while recording, which allows you to take a more active part in the footage you’re capturing.

And you can seemingly get involved without too much fear of creating a super-shaky video. While I didn’t give the glasses a massive challenge in the demo, I wasn’t focused on keeping my head still either, yet I noticed that video playback looked reasonably steady for a camera worn on my face.

Audio from the glasses’ speakers also sounds pretty good. I didn’t have the chance to listen to the full range of tracks I normally rely on to get a feel for a gadget’s audio chops, but what I heard didn’t sound half-bad, and best of all audio leakage doesn’t seem to be much of a concern.

I tried out the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses at the same time as someone else, and I couldn’t hear their music while I was standing fairly close to them (and it was apparently playing at moderate volumes).

I need to spend more time with the glasses before I issue my final verdict on their performance. Beyond giving the camera and speakers a more in-depth test, I also want to put the microphone array through its paces. While the audio I recorded did sound clear, I was testing the glasses out in a room with very little noise – I don’t know how well they'll fare outside if I’m trying to record on a windy day or while I’m doing something active and breathing hard.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses: Features

A stylish person wearing a pair of black Wayfarer Ray-Ban smart glasses in front of a green background

(Image credit: Meta)

The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses have two new features that you won’t find on the Ray-Ban Stories that came before them.

The first is a simple voice assistant that allows you to record videos or snap pictures by speaking (using the wake word ‘Meta’). If you’re connected to your smartphone you can also ask the assistant to start a call with someone in your contacts, or send them a picture of where you are. 

The second is the ability to easily set up an Instagram or Facebook livestream that shows viewers a live feed from your glasses. I was able to set up a test livestream on Instagram, and literally at the push of a button I could swap from the smartphone’s camera to the connected Ray-Ban Meta glasses I was wearing. I hope this feature is extended to other services like YouTube and Twitch too.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses: Initial verdict

The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Collection offers solid improvements over the Ray-Ban Stories in every single way. That said, I’m still not sure how comfortable people will feel about having a camera always on their face, or how those around you will feel about the camera either.

I need to test them further, but based on my demo I feel like these glasses exist to serve a specific use case. If you can think of ways in which these will enrich your life then the $299 / £299 (Australian pricing to be confirmed) might seem reasonable. However, if you like the idea of smart glasses, but don’t have an immediate idea of how you might use these glasses, you might want to think twice about putting in a preorder.

Meta Quest 3 review: the best VR headset for most people
8:41 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Software Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality | Tags: | Comments: Off

I’ve not spent a lot of time with the Meta Quest 3, but my roughly 30-minute demo with the new headset has given me a taste of what it has in store for users when it launches on October 10 – and I’m already hungry for more.

The improved performance and graphics provided by the new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2, the slimmed-down design, and the superior mixed reality experience it offers combine to create a VR gadget that feels like an excellent successor to the Oculus Quest 2.

Yes, the Quest 3 is pricier than the Quest 2 was at launch (coming in at $499.99 / £479.99, Australian pricing to be confirmed by Meta) for its cheapest model instead of $299.99 / £299.99 / AU$509.99) but its improvements certainly seem to justify the higher cost.

I’ll need to spend more time with the headset to get a proper feel for how it stacks up against the competition, but I already feel this may be the best VR headset out there; maybe finally replacing the ol’ reliable Oculus Quest 2, which has been my go-to headset recommendation for people looking to try what VR has to offer.

Meta Quest 3: Price and availability

Meta Quest 3 preorders went live on September 27 – the same day as Meta Connect 2023 – ahead of the official release date on October 10. You can choose between two models: a 128GB model at $499.99 / £479.99 (Australian pricing to be confirmed by Meta) and a 512GB option for $649.99 / £619.99 (Australian pricing to be confirmed by Meta). The only difference between the two is the on-board storage, so which one is best for you will depend on how many VR games and apps you want to have installed at any one time. 

The Meta Quest 3 and controllers on their charging station which is itself on a wooden desk next to a lamp

(Image credit: Meta)

Based on my experience with VR the 128GB model should be sufficient for most users. VR apps are generally fairly small in terms of file size, which means you should be able to download a lot before you fill up the headset. If you somehow do fill up the storage it’s also fairly easy to delete and redownload software quickly, as long as you have a decent internet connection.

That said, VR games are going up in scale, so 128GB might not go as far in the Quest 3 era. If you don’t like swapping out digital games, and you plan to use the Quest 3 a lot, you might need to invest in the larger model.

It’s also worth noting that the Quest 3 is pricier than the Oculus Quest 2 – which currently starts at $299.99 / £299.99 / AU$509.99 for the 128GB model – although as you’d hope for from a newer gadget the Quest 3 does offer some solid improvements that seem to justify the price.

Meta Quest 3: Performance

The Meta Quest 3 owes most of its performance improvements to the new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset that powers it – which Qualcomm describes as a literal “game changer” for XR. Other upgrades are the new 2064 x 2208 pixel displays (one per eye) and the bump to 8GB of RAM, from 6GB on the Quest 2.

According to Qualcomm and Meta, the new XR2 is able to deliver two-and-a-half times better graphical performance compared to the Gen 1 chip found in the Oculus Quest 2, while simultaneously delivering 50% better GPU efficiency – which should help to keep the headset from overheating, and the battery from draining too quickly. 

Speaking of which, Meta says the Quest 3’s battery can last for two hours and 12 minutes on average  – that sounds about right for a VR headset, but I haven’t yet been able to test the Quest 3’s battery for myself to see how long it lasts. With the included 18W charger the headset can reportedly be charged from 0% to 100% in roughly two hours.

Hamish wearing the Meta Quest 3 as he stands in front of a plant. He's looking at something in VR with wonder.

Mixed reality is very impressive on the Quest 3 (Image credit: Meta)

Numbers are one thing, but seeing the Quest 3 headset in action has sold me on the improvements Meta and Qualcomm claim the new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip brings.

Text is notoriously difficult to read in VR, but the usually blurry letters had crisp defined edges that were clearly legible in the experiences I tried, such as Red Matter 2. As a matter of fact, all objects looked sharper, and free from the slight haze that outlines VR objects, causing them to blend together. Shadows and reflections look much more realistic too, which helps to bring VR and MR worlds to life.

In one demo for Red Matter 2, I was able to swap back and forth between the Quest 3 graphics and a Quest 2 emulation, and the difference in the visuals was striking. It was like going back to play one of my favorite PlayStation 1 games and realizing that the graphics are significantly worse than my nostalgia will let me remember. And in Assassin’s Creed Nexus, while the graphics weren’t on par with Red Matter 2, I was impressed by how busy the world felt, with large numbers of responsive NPCs and interactable items filling the space.

I’ll need to spend more time with the Meta Quest 3 to fully test how well it performs, but it does indeed appear to live up to Meta’s promise that this is its most powerful headset yet.

Meta Quest 3: Design

The Meta Quest 3 takes many of its design cues from the Quest 2, albeit with some enhancements that will be greatly appreciated by users.

The headset is a little heavier than its predecessor at 1.14lbs / 515g (the Quest 2 was 1.10lbs / 503g), but it’s a fair bit lighter than the 1.59lb / 722g Meta Quest Pro. It’s 40% slimmer than the Quest 2 though, and with the weight sitting closer to your face it does feel a little easier to wear (this is something I’ll only know for sure after using it for a few sessions that are longer than my 30-minute demo).

A more minor improvement (but one I love) is that IPD adjustments (how far the lenses are apart) are now managed by a little scroll wheel found underneath the headset’s visor. Unlike with the Quest 2, you don’t need to remove your headset to change how far the lenses are apart with the Quest 3, plus you’re not limited to three predetermined presets – you can scroll between a much wider range of options, so you can set the Quest 3’s lenses to suit you perfectly.

You’ll also see from the images that the Meta Quest 3 doesn’t just come in white; you can swap the strap, and some of the plastic casing, for orange and blue options. Unfortunately, these color options cost extra, but if you fall in love with your Quest 3 and want to personalize it they could be fun add-ons to pick up in the future.

A blue Meta Quest 3 and its controllers sit on a blue pedestal in a fancy looking building

The Meta Quest 3's left controller (Image credit: Meta)

Before trying out the Meta Quest 3 I was concerned that the controllers would be an issue. They don’t use a tracking ring, but unlike the Quest Pro’s controllers, which also lack tracking rings, they don’t have internal cameras to replace it.

Instead, the Quest 3’s handsets rely entirely on the headset’s cameras, IR LEDs in the controllers, and AI for tracking. I wasn’t convinced that this would be a suitable alternative, but having used the Quest 3 controllers I can report that they work just fine; in my demo I noticed no differences between using them and using the Quest 2’s controllers, save for the fact I no longer had to worry about a tracking ring bumping into something.

Meta Quest 3: Initial verdict

Like Meta’s previous Quest headsets, the Meta Quest 3 will support every single game and app currently on the Quest store. So if you own an Oculus Quest, Oculus Quest 2, or a Meta Quest Pro you’ll be able to bring your entire software library to the new headset.

You won’t just be enjoying old VR experiences, however – there are new and exciting mixed reality apps to explore with this headset. The Meta Quest 3’s standout feature is mixed reality with full-color passthrough. This isn’t new to Meta headsets – it first launched with the Meta Quest Pro – but the Quest 3 is the first headset in the affordable Quest line to get the feature. Plus, the Quest 3 does it better than the Pro.

The picture quality is significantly less grainy, and the colors look more vivid than what the Quest Pro’s passthrough produced. While the real world still doesn't look exactly true to life, the Quest 3’s video feed does make it look a lot more so, which I found helped to sell the mixed-reality experiences.

A recreation of what mixed reality looks, A Meta Quest 3 user is rolling a large virtual die for a medieval tabletop game that looks like its real but isn't.

A recreation of what mixed reality looks (Image credit: Meta)

Another boost to MR is the improved AI provided by the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2, which in collaboration with the headset’s depth sensor and other external cameras can not only automatically map out your floor, but walls and other objects in the room as well. This allows mixed-reality experiences to interact more realistically with the space around you, and I found this made the feature feel a lot less gimmicky than on other headsets I’ve tried. Usually I ignore MR, but on the Quest 3 I can see myself turning it on as often as games and apps allow – I can’t wait to return to the mixed-reality Stranger Things and Samba de Amigo experiences I played in my demo.

I haven’t yet had the chance to use them, but the Quest 3’s new Augments sound like they’ll be great uses of mixed reality too. These mixed-reality widgets can be used to decorate your real-world space, and offer a range of different features. You can set up portals to your favorite games, get live weather updates for your local area, or just place a pretty-looking sculpture in the space. Best of all, Meta says these Augments will stay where you put them; so if you decorate your space with Augments during one session and then enter mixed reality in the same space on another day, everything will be just how you set it up before.

It’s also now a lot easier to swap between virtual reality and mixed reality – you just double-tap the right side of the headset to change your view.

Meta Quest 3: Initial verdict

The Meta Quest 3 is an impressive VR headset that takes mixed reality very seriously too. While it’s not as affordable as Meta’s Quest 2, it offers enough improvements that I feel it’s higher launch price is justified.

There are a few features I want to spend more time with before passing a final verdict on this new headset, but based on my early impressions this could be not just one of the best standalone VR headsets Meta has made, for most people, it might just be the best VR headset that money can buy.

Rokid Max AR glasses review: another passable pair of smart specs
6:06 pm | September 21, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Software Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality | Comments: Off

Rokid Max AR glasses: One minute review

The Rokid Max AR glasses are par for the course when it comes to AR glasses. They offer a lightweight wearable second screen for compatible devices, effectively providing you with a private, portable home theater. They’re not perfect, though.

I'm not a fan of the glasses' design overall, but one major negative aspect of the design isn’t just down to my personal tastes. The bridge of the glasses – the part pressed up against your face – gets hot. It never burns, but it is unpleasant, and the glasses heat up fairly quickly.

Picture-wise, the Rokid glasses are fine – roughly on par with a decent budget projector. This means you’ll get fairly vibrant colors when the brightness is turned up to max, but you’ll need to use the optional lens cover or use them in a dark environment for the best visuals. No matter your setup, contrast in dark scenes is weak, with onscreen details of scenes in shadow or set at night losing any intricacy. 

Similarly, audio is passable, but the Rokid Max’s inbuilt speakers lack any kind of force in the bass department, so expect your favorite film score to sound less impactful than you’re used to. There’s also a fair amount of audio leakage, so unless you want everyone around you to hear what you’re watching, we’d recommend using headphones – though headphones aren’t usable with the Rokid Station.

Speaking of the Rokid Station, this add-on may be officially optional, but I’d recommend picking it up if you can. It turns the glasses into a portable Android TV (with a roughly five-hour battery life), giving you access to a host of streaming services. You can also cast videos from your phone to it just like you would with a Chromecast.

Lastly, the Rokid Max AR glasses are slightly more pricey than some of their rivals – such as the Xreal Air glasses – and I don’t feel they offer a better experience for the money. During sales, you've previously been able to pick up a bundle of the glasses and Rokid Station at a reasonable price, so I’d recommend waiting for a deal before buying a pair.

Hamish hector Wearing the Rokid Max AR glasses

Look, I'm wearing the Rokid Max glasses (Image credit: Future / Hamish Hector)

Rokid Max AR glasses: Price and availability

The Rokid Max AR glasses usually cost $439 – they’re currently only available in the US unless you ship them internationally – though at the time of writing, they’re on sale for $399 at and the official Rokid store. Both prices are in the same ballpark as similar AR glasses, however, they’re at the higher end of the scale. The Rokid Max glasses cost more than rivals like the Xreal Air AR glasses (at $379) and don’t offer a compelling enough reason to consider them over the competition.

The Rokid Station is an optional add-on (which we’d recommend you pick up with the glasses as they turn it into a standalone Android TV) for $129. Though at the time of writing, the Max and Station can be bought in a bundle for $489, saving you $89. This deal won’t be around forever, but always look out for similar sales, as it’s hard for us to recommend these smart specs at full price. As a pair – at the discounted price – the Rokid Max and Station are a formidable duo compared to the competition, offering simplicity and good performance at a relatively decent price.

In general, we’ve found AR glasses feel a little too much like an early adopter’s gadget. By that, we mean that the price you pay is high for what you get. While they do serve slightly different purposes, it’s hard not to compare AR glasses to a VR headset like the Oculus Quest 2 – which costs as little as $299 and offers considerably more bang for your buck.

  • Value score: 3/5

Rokid Max AR glasses: Performance

  • Colors look vibrant with max brightness
  • Struggles with shadowy scenes
  • Sound lacks fullness and oomph

The image quality from the Rokid glasses is comparable to a decent budget projector – fine but not faultless.

With the Rokid Max AR, I could enjoy full-HD (1080p) video on a virtual 210-inch screen, which is pretty awesome when just lying back in my bed. In a dark environment, the picture looks solid with decently vivid colors – though I’d recommend setting the brightness to max for the best image. If you’re in a brighter environment, the black cover is a must, as you'll struggle to see what’s happening without it.

Unfortunately, as is the case with other AR glasses, these specs struggle to reproduce dark scenes with clarity. Watching the finale of a film like Spider-Man: Homecoming – where our protagonist faces off against a villain with a dark costume in a dingy warehouse at night – making out details is a challenge. Characters’ facial expressions were sometimes impossible to see when they were in shadow, and the villain’s costume and glider just looked like dark blobs rather than intricate designs.

A person watching a show with someone in a space suit exploring a red planet, the screen is floating virtually in front of the person thanks to the Rokid AR glasses

A mock up of what using the Rokid Max glasses is like (Image credit: Rokid)

A minor annoyance is that the screen can become somewhat blurry at the edges. Generally, this isn’t a problem as the action is in the middle of the screen, but details on the fringes won’t be in focus, which can be an immersion-breaking distraction when you’re trying to enjoy a show.

Audio-wise, the Rokid glasses are passable in terms of mid and higher-range tones, but the bass lacks any kind of oomph to it. That said, if you’re planning to use them for film and TV rather than music videos you should be fine, just expect your favorite scores to sound a little more flat and emotionless than you're used to.

Additionally, audio does leak a considerable amount at moderate to loud volumes, so if you're using the Rokid Max AR glasses in a public space (like on a train during your commute to work), then you need headphones – though headphones will only work if you connect the glasses to your phone, using the glasses and station means you’re forced to use the in-built speakers. 

  • Performance score: 3.5/5

Rokid Max AR glasses: Design

  • Fit really well
  • Not my favorite design aesthetically
  • Get uncomfortably hot

Design-wise, the Rokid Max AR is a mixed bag, with some factors I love and others that are disappointing.

On the positive end, I love the fit of the glasses. They’re comfy to wear at just 75g and come with two interchangeable nose clips. What’s more, they offer 0.00D to -6.00D myopia adjustment wheels for each eye, and you can buy an optional lens attachment at a fairly decent price (the site says they’re usually $30, though I’ve seen them on sale for $15) if you need a bigger adjustment. Ideally, this lens clip would be free, as you also need to provide your own prescription lenses, but at least it’s there if you need it. Not every pair of AR smart glasses is as accessible for prescription glasses wearers.

On the negative end, they suffer the same major design issue I found with the TCL Nxtwear S glasses; the bridge (which is pressed up against your face) gets hot when the device is in use, rather than an outer edge that's not against your skin as with the Xreal AIr glasses. The heat was never painful, but it did get uncomfortable, especially during the hot weather we were experiencing in the UK while I was testing these out. 

I also think the glasses are pretty ugly with their bug-eyed look and choice of blue plastic covering. This just gives me an excuse to never remove the optional cover, as it gives the glasses a nicer shape (at least to me).

The Rokid Max AR glasses with a cover and the Rokid Station sat on a polka dot covered table

The Rokid Max AR glasses, station and optional cover (Image credit: Future / Hamish Hector)

Lastly, while the case is annoyingly close to being perfect, it falls short and is still kind of a failure. Yes, it’s great storage for the glasses and its cables but, ideally, it would also store the  Rokid Station. There’s a perfect slot in the base of the case for the station – it fits so precisely that this must be intentional – but then there’s only space to fit the glasses too, and no room for the necessary connector cable that attaches the two pieces together. 

I tried shoving everything in to see if it could work but ended up breaking the zip – it’s fixed now, thankfully. No other AR case included with the glasses I’ve tested offers the ability to carry the glasses and adapter in a single pouch; I was hoping Rokid would be different, but I’ve been disappointed again. Maybe a future iteration will finally fix this frustrating problem.

  • Design score: 2/5

Rokid Max AR glasses: Compatibility

  • Compatible with devices that support Display Port over USB-C
  • Rokid Station is easy to use

The Rokid Max glasses are par for the course in terms of compatibility. If your gadget supports Display Port over USB-C, then you can plug these specs in and use them as a second screen. This includes many laptops, smartphones (such as the Samsung Galaxy S23), and even the Steam Deck. To be able to hook up other devices like a Nintendo Switch, PS5, iPhone 14, or PC with only HDMI-out you’ll need to buy additional adapters, which Rokid sells for around $40 each.

You could also pick up the Rokid Station to turn your smart glasses into a smart TV powered by the Android TV OS. This little AR smart glasses hub is really neat and one of the easiest to use that I’ve tested. Once you’ve logged in with your Google account, you can download a range of apps for the best streaming services – including Netflix and Disney Plus. Alternatively, using the in-built Chromecast, you can cast videos from your phone to the Station.

The advantage of this is that your glasses will use the Station’s five-hour battery rather than your smartphone’s. You can even charge the Station while using it, so you can endlessly enjoy your favorite streamed content.

The Rokid Max AR glasses arm seen from the side. You can see the speakers on top, the nose clips and inner screens

The Rokid Glasses from the side (Image credit: Future / Hamish Hector)

Should you buy the Rokid Max AR glasses?

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if...

Also Consider

How I Tested The Rokid Max AR glasses

  • Used for a couple of weeks
  • Tested with a range of devices 

To test out these AR smart glasses, I used them for a couple of weeks in my home – using them as a second screen for a laptop, smartphone, and the Rokid Station. This was to get a feel for how easy they are to use with a selection of compatible gadgets.

I also made sure to watch a range of content types through the glasses, including music videos, movies, and YouTube videos, to understand the audio and visual capabilities of the Rokid Max glasses. In particular, I made sure to listen to bass-heavy music and very visually dark content, as these can be challenging for AR glasses. During my tests, I also made sure to watch the same content multiple times to get a sense of the glasses' performance with and without the cover in rooms of varying brightness.

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed September 2023]