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Review of the Nreal Air Augmented Reality Glasses

The Nreal Air Augmented Reality Glasses

The Nreal Air Augmented Reality Glasses

Today I am examining a pair of augmented reality glasses from Nreal. While I plan to use this device primarily for watching movies on a large simulated projector screen, the Nreal Air boasts several additional intriguing functions.

I am reviewing this item in conjunction with an Android phone. The additional components necessary to connect the Nreal Air to an iPhone and several game consoles will also be discussed.

review-of-the-nreal-air-augmented-reality-glasses
Nreal AR glasses with light shield in place

Nreal AR glasses with light shield in place

Physical Description

From the front, the Nreal Air's appearance is comparable to that of a pair of black-rimmed sunglasses. This device stretches 5.9 inches across, is equipped with temples (arms) that extend 5.9 inches, and, when fitted with a pair of prescription lenses, weighs only 3.45 ounces. Hidden behind the lenses, a pair of triangular-shaped compartments house micro-OLED panels.

These glasses must be connected to a compatible smartphone utilizing the included 49-inch type-C cable. The Nreal Air's port is located at the end of its left temple. The right temple houses two microphones, a monitor switch, and a brightness control. Applying up or down pressure near the base of the temples will shift them slightly, adjusting the glasses' angle in relation to the wearer's eyes.

Three sets of nose pads are provided, accommodating a variety of nostril widths. Prescription lenses can be attached to the included frame and fitted inside the Nreal Air.

The carrying case, complete with glasses and data cable, weighs 7.2 ounces. Its dimensions are 7.1 x 3 x 3.2 inches.

The Nreal Air relies on the connected smartphone's battery for power.

Data/power cable

Data/power cable

Specifications

  • Brand: Nreal
  • Name: Augmented reality glasses
  • Model: Nreal Air
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 80 – 98 grams (2.8 – 3.45 ounces) (without/with prescription lenses)
  • Width: 15 centimeters (5.9 inches)
  • Temple length: 15 centimeters (5.9 inches)
  • Data cable length: 1.25 meters (49 inches)
  • Companion application: Nebula
  • Battery: Relies on connected smartphone's battery
  • Display: Micro-OLED (3840 by 1080 pixels)
  • Video quality: FHD (full high definition) 1920 x 1080p
  • Perceived brightness: Up to 400 nits
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Contrast ratio: 100,000:1
  • Field of view: 46 degrees
  • Pixels per degree: 49 pixels
  • Perceived screen size: 130" at 4m, 201" at 6m in MR Space Mode
  • Certification: TÜV Rheinland low blue light, flicker-free
  • Fingerprint-resistant coating: Yes
  • Anti-reflective coating: Yes
  • Speakers: 2 open-ear speakers
  • Microphones: Dual microphone array with noise cancellation
  • Head tracking: 3DoF
  • Light shield: Removable
  • Prescription lenses frame: Included
  • Carrying case: Included
  • Nose pads: 3 sizes provided
  • Compatibility: Large selection of Android and Apple smartphones and some game consoles

The Purpose of Augmented Reality Glasses

Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that utilizes pose tracking and 3D near-eye displays to provide the immersive feel of a virtual world. VR goggles block out the real world, replacing it with another.

Augmented reality (AR) is different. It presents an interactive experience that combines the real world with computer-generated content. If you were watching a television broadcast of a baseball game, the score superimposed on the screen would represent the augmented content.

When wearing AR glasses, an image, webpage, game, or video appears as if projected in front of the wearer. He, however, is not entirely isolated. The real world can be viewed around and, sometimes, through the projected image. And if the glasses are not configured to allow the image to follow head movements, a simple turn to left or right will shift it offside and out of view.

View of nose pad

View of nose pad

Nreal Air Compatibility

This device is compatible with many but not all smartphones. Nreal provides a list of phones that work well with the AR glasses.

It may also be used with PS 4slim/5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and Steam Deck. Compatible Android devices can access Xbox Cloud Gaming and SteamVR.

A Nreal adapter and an Apple lightning to digital AV adapter will be required when connecting the Nreal Air to an iPhone.

The setup required for use with an iPhone

The setup required for use with an iPhone

The Nebula Companion Application

This application allows you to select either Air Casting or Air Space.

I use Air Casting to watch movies when connected to sites like Netflix or Prime Video. AR Space places me in the middle of a darkened dome-shaped room, its wall plastered with selectable webpages and games. When I pick up and move my phone, its movements control a 3D laser pointer capable of selecting any desired webpage.

A menu page is also included, allowing the user to select several options controlling the Nreal Air's functions.

The Kitchen Test

I connected the Nreal Air to my Android smartphone and used the application to select Air Casting. Then I navigated to Prime Video and streamed a series called The Tick.

I am slightly nearsighted. While the video was good, my nearsightedness resulted in the perception of a hazy aurora highlighting the light-colored subtitles. I will eventually consult my optician regarding the price of replacing the plastic inserts of the provided frame with prescription lenses.

The audio was fine, although my noisy air purifier forced me to increase its volume to the max. I could also have switched to a pair earbuds, taking advantage of of my smartphone's Bluetooth capability.

Since it was a sunny afternoon, much of the brightly lit surroundings could be seen through the video. I immediately snapped the light shield onto the front of my new glasses. While this fixed the problem, it also increased the difficulty locating my coffee cup and ashtray.

The next step was to switch to the AR Space mode and view a selection of the web pages available within this area. These pages could be opened using the 3D laser pointer, but I was forced to switch to the phone's touchscreen if a password was requested.

review-of-the-nreal-air-augmented-reality-glasses

The Living Room Test

As I am fundamentally lazy, I laid back on my couch, selected a movie from Netflix, and deposited my smartphone on the coffee table. Then staring toward the hidden ceiling, I spend an enjoyable two hours watching The Rundown.

The video's image was enormous, crisp, and bright in the darkened room. Although I had not been particularly impressed by the sound quality during my kitchen trials, this quieter area provided a far better setting for conducting audio tests. When watching television, I often notice subtitles describing subtle background noises that I cannot actually hear. However, as I listened to the movie over the Nreal glasses, the background noises were clearly audible. Stereo separation was also excellent.

Overall Impression

While the 3D laser pointer and an array of floating websites featured in AR Space were intriguing, my interests lay in the ability to watch a big-screen movie wherever and whenever I want.

The Nreal Air performs this task amazingly well, although short-sighted individuals may need to add a pair of prescription lenses to the mix.

I worried about my phone's battery life when connected to the AR glasses. Happily, after two episodes of The Tick and a full-length movie, my smartphone still maintained a 50 percent charge.

For those that like to watch movies on a big screen privately, the Nreal Air is a great option. This device is recommended.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Walter Shillington