Ahh, the Avegant Glyph. Not AR, not VR, something different. Private but not isolated portable entertainment viewer? In any case this is vying for the media hobbyist attention not against the Oculus or Google Glass (a stretch for consumer AR) alternative but a portable screen with some of that other functionality.
I Kickstarted this. This means I bought this early but will see no residuals due to any success of this project. So really, you only have to worry about me having Stockholm Syndrome with my wallet (buyer’s justification vs buyer’s remorse).
Took a while, but it delivered. They were responsive to questions, kept up on chat and sending periodic updates, etc. Shipped later than expected but that isn’t unusual. I’m not really here to talk about that and you don’t care unless you were a Kickstarter for it. But it might help you understand what kind of small organization created this!
Convenient video form!
Ok, so this charges with a normal Micro USB cable (included). Does not have an AC adapter/wall wart but you can just use a PC for slow charging or any standard AC adapter.
It uses whatever-HDMI to Micro HDMI (the Micro HDMI side plugs into the headset). It comes with an HDMI (for video source) to HDMI Micro cable that is about 2m/6ft long. This… this is not long. Useful for a laptop in front of you, not useful for a desktop on the ground or across the room where your normal screen is (*cough cough* my set up). This means I’m already in the market for an HDMI extension cable ($12). But, the included cable works if you want to move your body over there or relocate what device you are using.
This also works as just plain headphones (no battery needed) except it expects you to have a male/male headphone cable to use on whatever. I don’t have one, and will be dropping $5-10 for that. While I do have higher end headphones they all have the microphone/headphone double part for the cable which won’t work for this.
The sight adjustments are thorough. move each eye left or right individually, adjust the focus on each eye, and even raise the nose.
Oh, and it comes with 4 different sized nose pieces. For the bridge of your nose, they are flexible and have a strong magnet to keep them in place (kinda like the Xbox One Elite controller mods).
There is an optional headstrap that is in the way for headphone version, but may reduce stress on the bridge of your nose and ears when in video mode. Hard plastic attachments with solid rubber band of adjustable length.
Form Factor and Physical Impressions:
This looks slick. I’m told I look like a dork (also while wearing it), but really I don’t give a fuck. I’m in the future, people. You aren’t.
The headphone cans have a soft and semi-textured feel to them. Not fabric like Astros, more like a leather (I’m pretty sure pleather).
I have a big head for a medium height guy, but these extend a couple inches to accommodate. I’m not sure if those with fat heads will have pinching issues in both the headphone and video modes.
When switching out of video mode you’ll need to remove the nose piece (held in with a damn nice magnet) and should probably put in the “nose plug”. Then pop the screens in (feels weird, touching screens) and wrap the little protector around it which secures itself with a magnet.
Usage Review – Day 1:
Set up was a double tap on the right forward headphone after turning it on. The logo with a “target” appeared and is useful for setting up the screen location for each eye and adjusting the focus on each. Don’t forget to adjust the nose, you can raise it a bit.
I decided to keep it simple and just move over to the floor for a bit. Plugged it in, restarted my PC (maybe not actually), and it worked 90%. Needed to have my PC realize to pop-out audio to it, otherwise it automatically started in 720P resolution as promised. I fired up I Am Bread for Steam and was able to play it like I was on a different monitor. (thanks Stitch for the game!)
The corners are hard to view (see below) so you may want to prepare for that.
What is the experience like?
Hold your phone in landscape at 3/4’s arm distance. That is the size of the screen you’ll get. Reminded me of the Oculus Rift DK1, but further away and cleaner (no screen mesh of pixels). But the screen feels like it is 6 feet away.
Then there is a black horizontal band at that level. You can look above and below that for some eye contact and physical awareness.
Do not walk around with this on your face.
The list of cables you need to buy to get full utility out of this isn’t trivial. Expect to spend another $30. Mostly expected, and I’m surprised at myself for not having a couple of these cables.
Do note that objects in the corners are hard to see. I couldn’t see the close window button in the upper right, the time/date in lower right, the Windows icon in lower left, nor even the close tab in the upper left. I had to close an eye and push on the headset to focus there.
(again, maybe I need to try the set up again?)
Looking left/right can turn one eye into a bright blur. I can’t really explain it.
Travel and 3D:
I think this will have the strongest benefit and usage to someone who travels a lot. Plane, bus, whatever. throw in a video, have privacy but the ability to see around you (outside of that “Geordi La Forge” censor bar).
Somewhat annoying that I really need to bring accessories with it. The nose piece/noseplug adapters, the cables, the screen protector. This isn’t something I’d just throw around my neck as you need these accessories and don’t want to lose them.
This is pending, because I don’t have an male/male headphone cable to use with this. Also pending because I don’t have a MiniHDMI adapter to use with my Shield K1 Tablet.
So, have those things if you want to use this to the fullest.
I haven’t touched the 3D or 360* headtracking functionality of this yet. Again, I need to have other cables.