The augmented reality glasses from Nreal – which impressed us at CES in January – cost a surprisingly low $ 499 and would start shipping this year. The Nreal Light glasses can be connected to a Snapdragon 855 smartphone via USB-C and Nreal promises to be available later this year for consumers in & # 39; limited quantities & # 39; and will then be sent in mass market quantities next year. A $ 1,199 package for developers includes glasses, a controller, and a special computer package that can replace a phone.
The Nreal Light glasses offer an experience that lies somewhere between a heads-up display and a full-fledged, high-end mixed reality – while you look kind of like normal glasses. You can use them to watch videos on virtual screens, but also to place and look around virtual objects in the real world.
Nreal is one of the first makers of headsets to participate in Qualcomm's XR Certification Program, which is supposed to use 5G network speeds to provide high-quality AR glasses for gaming, software or video streaming. It has announced partnerships with various airlines, including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Softbank Corp. in Japan, LG Uplus in Korea and Swisscom in Switzerland.
We were fans of the Nreal glasses that debuted at CES – my colleague Nick Statt said that the visual quality was surprisingly high for a light and unobtrusive device, although he didn't like the tracking and spatial maps as well as the competition (and much more more) expensive) Magic Leap One and Microsoft HoloLens headsets. Nreal says it has improved since the fit of the glasses and has added several unspecified colors.
That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to buy Nreal Light if Nreal actually opens the sale. 5G networks and AR are both firmly in the field of early adopter and $ 499 is cheap for smart glasses, but still quite expensive for a niche gadget. Still, it will be a good sign for the XR platform from Qualcomm if they are actually delivered in 2019 – and after seeing it at the launch, we hope to see the final product ourselves.