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Review Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses Review: AR Fun Over Fashion

Jsimenhoff

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Feb 28, 2016
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The typical consumer has a tough time seeing the value in smart glasses. Early iterations, such as the Google Glass, were shunned due to their robotic, social-life-killing looks.


Vuzix Blade has a leg up on competing augmented reality (AR) smart glasses because the company has already made a name for itself in the enterprise space with various products, including the Blade, for business use cases. Now, Vuzix has equipped the Blade with consumer-friendly apps, like Amazon Alexa, games, calling and texting support and more. But is it enough to make the average consumer consider wearing a computer on their face? Read More Here

SCHARON HARDING @scharhar
Scharon Harding is Senior Editor at Tom's Hardware. She has a special affinity for monitors, laptops and virtual reality. Previously, Scharon covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.
 
I like how the review makes the device sound barely usable, then gives it a score of 3/5. Apparently Tom's Hardware wants to keep receiving review samples from Vuzix. : P

At least based on this review, the device doesn't sound all that practical for consumer use...

-Uncomfortable, so you probably won't want to wear it for much more than an hour at a time.
-Limited battery life, so you wouldn't likely be able to use it for more than a few hours anyway.
-Blinking lights, tinted lenses, and thick frames, so it won't just blend seamlessly into the background.
-Questionable styling, so you probably wouldn't want to wear it for fashion.
-Expensive, so it's not just some impulse-priced toy that you might consider getting for occasional use.

About the only notable positives that were mentioned for this device were the screen and a semi-decent selection of apps. You know what has an even better screen and an even better selection of apps though? Smartphones... Something everyone considering such a device would already have. And it sounds like you need to bring along a phone to get much of the functionality out of this device anyway, so exactly what purpose does it serve? From what I can tell, a smartphone would do pretty much everything this does, only better. Even a cheap $100 smartphone would be far more capable. Why would anyone want to watch videos on a standard-definition display overlayed in front of one eye when they have a better, higher resolution screen in their pocket, with built-in audio, no less? This review failed to answer the question "Why would anyone want this?"

This device seems to still very much be a product for certain niche business uses. I can see how something like this might potentially be useful for such a market, but not so much how it would be viable for the general public. They would need to address most of what's listed above before something like this would be worth considering. Consumer AR glasses should first and foremost be comfortable and not distracting, more like a regular pair of eyeglasses when not in use, and have battery life to last throughout the day. And I didn't see much listed here about actual "augmented reality". Can the device use its camera and positional tracking to overlay information about objects and locations in the environment? If it's just offering a limited feature set of what a smartphone already does, then it seems pretty useless. Good AR software would need to be there to make such a device worth using.
 

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