A few weeks ago, I was given an OxGadgets assignment to write about a new product called the Avegant Glyph. It was one of my first OxGadgets articles and this is one that stuck in my mind because it looked so awesome and futuristic. I had it in my mind that this is one item I would really love to review.
The Avegant Glyph is a cinematic wearable that started life as a Kickstarter project. It’s pretty expensive at £529.99 and is exclusive to Smartech areas of Selfridges in London and Manchester. It’s already won the CES 2017 Innovation Prize, so you know this is a device that has a big future.
My first impression was that it looked similar in design terms to a pair of headphones that I recently bought. It’s definitely an attractive device and is well-designed. There are two eyeholes on the band that attaches the two ear pieces and these obviously fit over the front of your face. There’s a special nose rest designed for comfort. This fit my husband’s nose better than mine. I just couldn’t get it to adjust to a comfortable position for me, even with the interchangeable nose rest options. It’s a good idea to check how comfortable it will be for your own facial features before purchasing.
The eyeholes are where the action is. They aren’t screens per se, but are projections of images onto millions of tiny mirrors. When not projecting there’s a dazzling brightness and when in use, the picture quality is really impressive. The images are authentic, the colours are vivid and you can still see things above and below you, so if you aren’t completely closed off from the world when the device is in use.
The idea is that you could wear this to watch movies, play games or watch live drone footage. It’s certainly better to watch a movie using this than it is to watch it on an iPhone, although the comfort issue can detract from the entertainment.
It can also pair with consoles which is where this device really comes into its own. Although I can imagine that many people would find this useful for watching movies while travelling or commuting, it’s gamers who will appreciate it the most.
I’m a contact lens user so I was keen to try the adjustable optics feature which allows those with less than perfect vision to wear the device without their glasses. Trying it without my contact lenses was cumbersome. I had to take my glasses off to wear it and then the adjustments had to be made because it had already been used when I was wearing my lenses. I couldn’t see much above or below me. My sight is really poor so I need to have some kind of lens at all times to correct my vision and with the adjustable optics, I felt vulnerable. I wouldn’t be able to wear this in a public place and would have to keep it for home use.
To sum up, the good points about this are that it’s going to be great for gamers and eliminate the need for screens and it would be ideal for watching movies while on holiday, instead of being restricted to a tiny tablet or smartphone screen. It has a gorgeous design and honestly, I felt really cool using it. It’s so sophisticated and futuristic and I don’t know anyone who owns anything like this so as silly as it sounds, it made me feel trendy!
The bad points are that it can be uncomfortable around the nose, especially for people with long bumpy noses like me, and especially with extended wear. Honestly, wearing it non-stop for hours at a time probably wouldn’t be recommended anyway. Also, as nifty as the adjustable optics are, it leaves the poorly-sighted person vulnerable if they’re using it in public. You can see the images being projected, but you can’t see anything else and that’s not a risk I would be willing to take with my safety.
The important question is, would I buy it if I had a spare £529 and I think the answer is yes, I would buy it. I remember feeling that ear buds were uncomfortable when I first tried them but I got used to them, so I would hope that the nose-rests on the Avegant Glyph would be the same. Failing that, there’s always the option to pad it somehow and still get the full benefit of the device. You can read more about the device on the Avegant website.