Ever wish you could watch YouTube videos through your sunglasses? That’s pretty much what augmented reality (AR) glasses company Nreal is going for with the Nreal Air announced today. With a light, 2.72 ounce (77 g) weight and micro-OLED display, the Nreal Air is just what you need to finally watch Parks and Recreation in an actual park.
Since Nreal released the Nreal Light in 2019, AR tech has evolved so hardware offerings can be smaller. The Nreal Air is 27 percent lighter than the Nreal Light (3.74 ounces/106 g), although it also comes with less functionality. There’s no handtracking or spatial awareness, so you can’t interact with what you see. Instead, you’ll have to rely on an app on your smartphone, which must be tethered to the Nreal Air for it to work (as is the case with the Nreal Light).
This is because the Nreal Air isn’t about dragging and dropping furniture around your virtual home or trying on outfits via a virtual avatar before buying, or other, more interactive AR applications. Instead, Nreal is targeting the Nreal Air primarily at watching videos on YouTube and other streaming apps.
The Nreal Air looks like a pair of sunnies, but Nreal claims they’re optimized for both indoor and outdoor wear. The goggles can cast a virtual display measuring up to 201 inches diagonally when viewed from 19.69 feet (6 m) away. The display promises 49 pixels per degree (compared to 42 pixels per degree on the Nreal Light) and runs at a 90 Hz refresh rate, meaning it updates with new information more frequently than many mainstream monitors and TVs, which are often at 60 Hz.
In an attempt to make your binge-watching more comfortable, the Nreal Air has a three-step adjustable rake system that lets you tilt the glasses’ lens to tweak the viewing angle. Additionally, the glasses’ temples use elastic to fight tightness and slipping.
Nreal’s announcement claimed the new glasses are more private than the Nreal Light because the company “streamlined the outward facing camera to focus on the theater experience making the lenses spectacularly occlusive.”
Nreal is also touting the Air as the first AR glasses to work with Apple iOS, so you can connect it to your iPhone or iPad. The Nreal Light (the older version) only worked with 5G-compatible smartphones that use a Qualcomm chip, so no Apple compatibility. Nreal also said the new Nreal Air will work with “most” Android devices.
Nreal’s new AR glasses will hit China, Japan, and South Korea in December. An Nreal spokesperson told Ars Technica that “the US (and likely the EU) will follow.” The company is waiting to finalize partnerships with carriers in the US.
“It’s been an ongoing conversation, and the US is a major market for Nreal products, and actually Nreal is nearly there,” the spokesperson said over email. “2022 is a big year for Nreal in the US (finally).”
We were also told that pricing will depend on the carriers and be announced in December. The glasses will be “more affordable than Nreal Light and come in retail at approximately the cost of a mid-ranged smartphone,” according to Nreal’s spokesperson. The Nreal Light is currently going for about $600 outside of the US.
Listing image by Nreall