I got the Xreal Air 2 Pro, expecting the ability to see reality with potentially some augmented data superimposed.
What you get is a set of glasses, which mimik something what I guess you’d get from bi-focal glasses: two use cases supported via one set of glasses.
For the bi-focals that would be
#1 long distance viewing straight ahead (traditional lense set)
#2 reading distance looking downward (lense offset adjusted for older eyes that have issues accomodating for reading distance)
In the case of Xreal Air 2, the OLED display is super-imposed in the #1 straight ahead position while (at least) #2 is supposed to be a pass-through.
The problem is that #1 isn’t just a super-imposition and that #2 is never much of a pass-through, either.
Generally, even with nothing connected and thus without power, the Air 2 will block a lot of light. Where in theory you should be able to use the Air as a 2nd “secret” screen above the built-in one when you’re working on a notebook, even at maximum brightness settings on my Asus OLED 14" laptop, I had to strain my eyes to read black on white content, which was far too bright without the headset.
The #1 or straight-ahead area that gets super-imposed by the internal OLED displays is twice or more less transparent and I’m pretty sure I’d run into walls, people or traffic, if I were to use it on the go.
Perhaps that would work in California sunshine, but it sure doesn’t work in Central Europe’s winter weather, even at high-noon, nor indoors.
And yes, just in case you’d wonder, I did take off the “extra California cover”, which leads me to believe that in California the super-imposed OLED won’t be bright enough…
On the Xreal air 2 pro, you can adjust the transparency of the entire outside glass area in three settings, but the most transparent mode isn’t transparent enough and I guess the least transparent mode won’t cut it in California sunlight, because there is that extra cover for the “real darkmode”. Around here just cutting off the entire #2 area would make for a far more practical device, which could be sold as a “secret 2nd screen”. Of course it would look not nearly as cool, but I pay for practical usability.
It would still fail the definition of “augmented reality” as the reality is quite simply too dark to perceive even with the “augmentation” completely off.
I can’t tell if the “augmented” section would be bright enough to overcome a California sunshine reality, because I simply don’t have one near enough to try.
But the evident discrepancy in the transparency of the “augmented” and non-augmented section within the headset make that very unlikely.
All-in-all the Xreal Air 2 is huge disappointment and completely oversold as an augmented reality device.
If I could get it to work in a pedestrian mode (my Androids don’t work with it), that could be cool, but chances are I’d get killed trying that downtown because too little of the outside reality gets through.
In a bus, train or even in as a passenger in a car the built-in ear-speakers are too much of a bother for anyone next to you, so you’d be pretty much guaranteed to get some “glasshole” treatment. The speakers useless for music, but voice is somewhat better than typical phone quality.
For industrial remote service support applications the transparency in the lower #2 section is simply too low and you’d need a camera to make that work, too. No idea if the Air 2 has a microphone, which would be another issue.
And then I simply assumed that an augmented reality headset with two separate projection devices would support 3D viewing and applications: as far as I can tell that is not the case, both displays will always just mirror the display-port input as this is a zero-intelligence device.
Those are fine and may have their niche. But not at a > €600 price point.
And not when I can’t get them to fit my eyes or my mobile devices.
The Air 2 Pro is going retour because it didn’t even manage to fulfill the most basic use case that was left: acting as a 2nd screen on a stationary PC (because it wouldn’t fit my IPD and face height).
The web site is a terrible scrolling mess for iPad’ers, finding technical specs or useful information is next to impossible. The only PDFs are full of alphabets and languages, but no clues.
The videos sport a guy so beautiful and sexy even I as a straight man can see why women might want to eat him alive, but things like exactly how to swap the nose distance pieces get three frames where teethy smiles and suggestive gestures get 90% of the video.
It’s easy to see how 90% of the budget went into marketing and 10% into engineering.
And that’s just not working for me.
The “Beam” is still en-route, so I couldn’t test it, but basically I don’t expect much from it, since my mobile phones are vastly more capable devices than any Beam is likely to be.
And I guess that’s also true for the RTX 4090 on my desktop: whatever the Beam does, both should be better at it.
But I’ll have a look once it arrives, do a report here, and then return both in all likelyhood.