In January electronics giant TCL announced a set of smart glasses they’ve only yet called a “Wearable Display” but just a month later we’ve got them in our hands, on our head and an Australian first look at the TCL Wearable Display.
Now before you think about these glasses, I need you to forget what you think about smart glasses. These are NOT Google Glass. They are NOT a VR headset, they are also not 3D Glasses.
These Wearable Displays are actually the simplest concept you could have – answering the question “How Can I watch Netflix on a big-screen TV when I don’t have space?”. Or, “How can I enjoy watching videos on the train when everyone is looking at my phone?”.
These TCL Wearable Display glasses plug into your smartphone (This version is USB-C, and requires a decent bit of hardware to be plugged into, and the relevant software installed).
When you put them on, what you see is like a desktop computer. Icons for your apps on a screen. Similar to how a Samsung phone looks when you enable Dex and plug into a desktop monitor.
Your Smartphone screen then becomes a touchpad to move the mouse or pointer around on the screen. Tap to click.
Launch Netflix, and you can scroll with two fingers, move the pointer with one and tap to play.
When you play, you get a full view of the show. Sound comes out the ear-stalks similar to how the Bose Frames work, but the stalks aren’t as chunky as Bose.
They fit strangely on your head. Sitting out far and up high, which from the outside is awkward, but watching them, it’s ideal. Plus, look down and the real world around you is visible, so these aren’t like a blockout set of VR glasses.
I sat on my lounge at home. The glasses blocked out a perfectly good 85 inch Hisense TV on the wall. They are blacked out – you cannot see “through” what you are watching, but it’s under the screen where you can see like looking down at your lap.
With an 85 inch TV in front of me, I was able to get a sense for the scale of the “screen” I was seeing in the glasses. I’m telling you, it was a 150 inch screen. Of course in reality it’s less than an inch of screen in the top of the glasses, that reflects into the lens you are staring at.
But wow – the brightness, and the clarity was excellent.
I think the only negative I have from the get go is I think the screen could have been bigger:) Feels like a lot of black around the screen unused. But it’s the same at the cinema right? You can see the walls, the seats around and the ceiling, you just don’t notice.
We’re a bit used to glasses like this being full view immersive. Perhaps that’s just what TCL was aiming for here – a simpler approach.
TCL knows Display, and this is next level intelligent display.
And this is not a prototype, these glasses will be available in the second half of this year. TCL is talking about a price tag under $900, and you can expect they’ll be bundled with a smartphone.
So, for your next TV – are you thinking 55 inch TCL TV, or 150 inch TCL glasses?
Can’t wait to try them in more detail when they release later this year.