June 16, 2024
A person wearing the TCL RayNeo Nxtwear S XR glasses.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

I do know good glasses will match neatly into my life. I put on spectacles already, I cherished Google Glass, and I usually put on a smartwatch. I additionally put on headphones quite a bit to hearken to podcasts whereas I do different issues, and I like the thought of getting a whopping nice massive display screen proper in entrance of my eyes to look at movies. A digicam wouldn’t go amiss, both.

However getting all this in a single product continues to be a far-off dream, so I’ve to make do with separate units for now. However sadly, the merchandise we’ve at the moment haven’t fairly hit the spot, because the TCL good glasses I’ve been carrying (lovingly known as the RayNeo Nxtwear S) have proved. Nevertheless, it’s nearer to getting it proper than ever earlier than.

Lengthy identify, easy product

The TCL RayNeo Nxtwear S XR glasses with the sunglass attachment.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

The TCL RayNeo Nxtwear S aren’t actually good glasses. TCL calls them XR (for prolonged actuality) glasses, nevertheless it’s finest to think about them as a monitor to your face, as they don’t have any particular performance of their very own. As a substitute, the RayNeo Nxtwear S join to a different system, corresponding to your telephone or laptop, and shows what would usually simply be proven on that system’s display screen instantly in entrance of your eyes. There’s no built-in working system, no fancy processor, no AI voice assistant, or something other than a pair of Micro OLED screens and a few audio system.

Right here’s why I like the thought: I can watch something I like, in any place I like, on an enormous, shiny display screen with out having to place my chosen system instantly in my eye line or stare instantly at an immovable object like a TV. It’s full, immersive freedom. The 1080p picture is seemingly the equal of a 130-inch display screen from a distance of 4 meters, and there are twin audio system pointed towards your ears, delivering sound.

The screens might not have the very best decision, however they by no means look pixelated, whereas the distinction stage ensures blacks look black and there’s sufficient brightness to see the display screen throughout the day. However what I actually like is that it’s a pleasurable viewing expertise. Pair it with Bluetooth headphones, and you actually are sealed away from the surface world, left alone to take pleasure in what you’re watching in peace.

The problems with in the present day’s good glasses

A person wearing the TCL RayNeo Nxtwear S XR glasses.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

However all of this solely works nicely offered you set up with the compromises and use the glasses in fairly particular circumstances. It’s at this level the place my good glass goals turn into a little bit of a irritating nightmare, because the little annoyances rapidly add as much as nearly wreck what’s near being an ideal product. A lot of what I’m going to say is relevant to good glasses and wearable displays normally, not simply the RayNeo Nxtwear S.

I stated it delivers full, immersive freedom. Nicely, it does, form of. The Nxtwear S connects to its host system with a USB-C cable, so you might be tethered. I can dwell with this, nevertheless it’s simply the beginning of the compromises you must make to take pleasure in this fascinating system. It doesn’t have a battery of its personal, which is nice to maintain the scale and weight wise, nevertheless it actually places a pressure in your system’s battery. Lower than an hour of YouTube sucks 20% from my iPhone 15 Professional Max’s battery.

Regardless of the relative lack of {hardware} inside, the glasses nonetheless weigh 90 grams, practically 4 instances the load of my regular, on a regular basis eyewear. You actually discover the heft after a really brief period of time, particularly because the bridge piece isn’t very comfortable or forgiving. The USB cable can even get caught and unexpectedly tug on the glasses.

There aren’t any controls exterior of quantity and brightness, so every part you do requires entry to the linked system. Lastly, it really works finest in a really darkish surroundings. Even with the sunglass-style shades hooked up, something approaching daylight bleeds via and detracts from the picture.

Seeing the display screen

Taking off the TCL RayNeo Nxtwear S XR glasses's sunglass attachment.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

Simply because the display screen is correct up towards your eyes, don’t anticipate to have the ability to see it clearly if in case you have poor eyesight and want corrective lenses. It’s “positioned” 4 meters away out of your eyes, and should you couldn’t usually see a display screen from that distant, it’ll be a blur contained in the RayNeo Nxtwear S too. Since I final checked out this case, TCL has a partnership with a lens maker that gives customized lenses for an affordable worth. That is nice information, however you’ll nonetheless have to issue this into the general value.

You can put on the RayNeo Nxtwear S over common glasses, however solely simply, and it’s definitely not snug for lengthy. The arms are massive and thick behind your ears, so including one other set (even when they’re skinny) isn’t enjoyable. It additionally means the unforgiving nostril bridge is pushed additional down your nostril. As a result of the place is compromised, the display screen isn’t as clear correctly across the edges when worn like this. The straightforward reality is, should you want glasses, you actually do want to purchase a correct lens attachment.

It’s nearly well worth the expense as a result of, in the correct state of affairs, the RayNeo Nxtwear S is so near being good. Once I awoke early one morning, I put the Nxtwear S on and watched a number of movies. I used to be mendacity on my again in a pitch-dark room, in order that they didn’t overwhelm on my nostril a lot, and there was no intrusive gentle. It actually did look wonderful, and I discovered it very stress-free and fulfilling. I even managed to disregard the brilliant display screen on my linked iPhone, because it has to remain awake and play what you’re watching via the Nxtwear S on the similar time. See what I imply about compromises?

Is there hope for future good glasses?

The front of the TCL NXTWEAR S, with the sunglasses accessory attached.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

There’s quite a bit that makes the TCL RayNeo Nxtwear S annoying, however there’s additionally loads of potential. It actually may be very near being a usable wearable show, and what provides me hope is how significantly better it’s than the actually dangerous TCL Nxtwear G I attempted beforehand. Developments are being made which might be taking the idea in the correct route, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not fairly there but.

TCL appears to be working to enhance its good glasses too. For instance, the brand new Nxtwear S+ mannequin comes with an up to date, air-filled nostril pad part, and the same RayWear Air 2 glasses weigh 76 grams. Lowering weight and growing consolation are essential steps in making wearable shows usable for longer intervals of time, and can assist individuals forgive the opposite foibles too.

Utilizing the TCL RayNeo Nxtwear S has proven me my good glass goals are getting nearer to actuality, but in addition that there’s nonetheless some methods to go earlier than we get a product that wraps every part I would like — screens, audio, wi-fi connection, smartwatch-style performance, a digicam, and all-day battery life — into one, snug system I can put on on my face.

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