Nreal Light Mixed Reality Glasses Debuting at $499, Shipping Later this Year
Mixed reality headsets tend to be bulkier and eye-wateringly expensive. They are therefore usually targeted mainly at the enterprise market. However, the Chinese startup Nreal is about two revolutionize the mixed reality market by unveiling a new light and more affordable mixed reality headset for the consumer market. The Nreal Light augmented reality glasses are a customer-grade mixed reality headset with a stylish design and a 1080p projection.
The mixed reality sunglasses provide high-quality visuals within a contemporary design that is sleek and wearable; the kind of design that you can wear around without calling attention to yourself or looking creepy.
The Nreal Light glasses are built with two cameras up the front which track objects in real-time. The glasses also work in concert with other sensors to give users six degrees of freedom (6DoF) tracking. They are capable of projecting 1080p at 60fps and have a 52-degree field-of-view (FOV). The design makes them particularly suited for pulling information when you are either commuting or playing games while on the go.
The augmented reality glasses will be retailing at $499 and will begin shipping later this year in “limited quantities”. The glasses can be interfaced with any Snapdragon 855-powered smartphone over a USB-C connection. For the customer kit, Nreal also entered into a partnership with Black Shark which is geared at providing end users with the best-performance mobile gaming experience, immersing players into a fully interactive gaming environment.
The mixed reality glasses will begin shipping in large quantities to the mass market from next year. There will be a $1,199 develop kit that will include the mixed reality glasses, a controller along with a dedicated proprietary computing pack which could be used in place of a smartphone.
They look like normal sunglasses and provide a user experience that is between a heads-up display and a fully-fledged top-end mixed reality headset. You can put the glasses to diverse uses such as watching high quality videos on virtual screens. The glasses can also have an AR-function where they can be used in superimposing virtual objects onto the real world and even in looking at your surroundings while engrossed in the immersive experience.
The Chinese hardware manufacturer has been one of the pioneering headset manufacturers participating in the Qualcomm’s mixed reality certification program. The program is geared at leveraging the high speeds of 5G networks to provide users with high quality streaming of various types of content including software, games and videos to augmented reality glasses. Several carriers have partnered for the project so any user with an Nreal Light mixed reality headset and a 5G-enabled device will be able to connect to a vast array of networks by carriers across the globe including China Unicom, Swisscom, China Mobile, Softbank Corp, EE, KT, KDDI, China Telecom, Uplus and LG, thereby enabling them to stream latency-free XR content.
The device is an improvement over the version that was debuted at the CES with Nreal stating that it has since improved on the fit of the sunglasses and incorporated multiple color choices.
The company will be revealing the cocktail of apps for the device as the launch date nears. Its developer kit, with all its goodies, will begin shipping in September this year. All devs who might be interested in this can apply here to get the mixed reality glasses.
The Nreal Light headset currently shows lots of promise, especially given the relatively low price-point for what is obviously a high-spec device. However, it’s still a niche product for the early adopter terrain. It will be exciting to watch how the device will stack up against its competitors in the market, particularly the Magic Leap One.