5. Sony HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer, £700
The most elaborate personal viewer to reach the consumer market so far, this headset is about immersive 3D and even uses high-resolution OLED panels. A two-piece set comprising the 3D viewer itself and an HDMI dual output switcher, a single cable links the two, delivering sound, vision and power.
Any HDMI source can be connected, from a set-top box to a Blu-ray player, so this is best viewed as an alternative to a bigscreen TV or home cinema. The screen appears to be 750-inches in diameter, and mimics a ‘real’ cinema by tilting the OLED panels to emulate that big-screen effect.
By keeping out any external light, the illusion of a large screen is surprisingly convincing, and there’s genuine high definition clarity to be had. The refresh rate of OLED is lightning-fast (just 0.01 milliseconds) so there’s no blur or 3D crosstalk – and the sound quality is awesome, but it’s hardly flown off shelves.
4. Oakley Airwave heads-up display goggle, £500
Another impressive, though half-baked attempt to pre-empt Google Glass, Oakley’s sports-centric effort at ‘performance optics’ is about smart stuff in both senses. Dubbed rather worryingly as ‘technology that delivers the goods straight to your brain’, Airwave is aimed primarily at skiers and snowboarders.
3. Vuzix M100, £TBC
After a few attempts at personal displays and TV specs, Vuzix may have cracked it with its upcoming augmented reality M100 smart glasses. With a processor equal to any smartphone, the M100 – shown-off at CES 2013 and now with app developers – comes equipped with a Full HD camera, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, a compass, and both microUSB and microSD slots.
Where the M100 differs from Google’s Glass is that the eyepiece itself – which has a 480×272 resolution – is not transparent, but fixed. So it’s not really augmenting reality, it’s adding to it; this is a smart ‘second screen’. Available in mid-to-late Summer.
2. Google Glass Explorer Edition, approx £500
Users will be able to command Glass – already the colloquial term – to take photos and videos, search the internet and find directions using Google Maps, with the headset using Bluetooth to link up to Android and (even) iOS devices.
Google is promising a modular design in the wake of the Explorer Edition, so prescription glasses-wearers will be invited, too.
If you have a really, really packed life Google Glass could be a revelation. Or will everyone ignore each other, bump into one another, and constantly crash their cars? And will Google Glasses mainly show adverts? All will be revealed on what’s destined to be the real pioneering product. OK glass, we’re ready!
HoloLens offers a unique AR experience. It’s great build quality and attention to detail are pluses, and the application potential seems limitless. It’s now a matter of whether Microsoft can fix some nagging issues, and how much it will cost regular folks..So far it is the best AR headset.
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