Lenovo announces consumer AR glasses that can connect iPhones

After pushing corporate augmented reality (AR) glasses for years, Lenovo will finally sell augmented reality glasses to consumers, the company announced today — and it briefly got a demo of the lightweight Lenovo T1 glasses. With their Micro OLED displays and the required connectivity of Windows, macOS, Android or iOS devices, they bring some outstanding features to a space that has sparked industry interest but is still probably far from ubiquitous.

The first version of the T1 I tried had limited features; I was mostly only able to display a home page with basic menu options and a desktop with icons for apps, like browsing the web. While the glasses weren’t ready for me to watch a movie or navigate between apps, I was impressed with how clear the text and menu items were. This was in a sunny room with very high windows. Even when facing sunlight, the few colors displayed looked vibrant and the text was legible.

Lenovo specifies monitors with a contrast of 10,000:1 and 1920 x 1080 pixels per eye. The glasses are also TÜV certified to reduce low blue light and flicker, according to Lenovo. More time is needed to explore and challenge Micro OLED screens before the final verdict is made. But the combination of smaller pixels, and what I’ve seen so far, strong colors, should accommodate Screens very close to the eyes. On a larger scale, brightness can be a concern OLED The techniques, but the little demo I saw was fine in a sunroom.

I used the T1 glasses while connected to an Android smartphone via its USB-C cable, but they are also supposed to work with PCs, macOS and via an adapter sold separately, iPhones.

Sharon Harding

The user interface that appears on the glasses depends on the connected platform. During my demo, I controlled input via a five-way trackpad, a home button, and a menu button on the touchscreen of a tethered smartphone. I didn’t get much time with the glasses, but it was clear that I would need more movements for them to feel normal; I often had to look at the phone to see where I was inside the screen.

The edges of the eyeglass arms use a flexible rubber-like material to fit different head shapes. The Lenovo specs fit well with the shape of my face without making it heavy or making me play with the nose clip options. However, the left arm, where the cable comes out, didn’t sit perfectly around my ear. As they are, I don’t like to move around aggressively while wearing them or wearing them for several hours.

The rubber-like earpiece is malleable.
Zoom / The rubber-like earpiece is malleable.

Sharon Harding

With no processor or battery, it’s easier for the glasses to stay on top. There are also no sensors or cameras like Lenovo ThinkReality A3announced last year. Other T1 features include a pair of speakers (one near each temple) and the ability to add optical lenses.

Lenovo is building the T1 to be less powerful (and affordable) than the A3, which supports up to five virtual displays. But with fewer devices, they should feel lighter on the face than the 0.3-pound A3 glasses. However, it remains to be seen how full or immersive the augmented reality experience will be Lenovo will be able to deliver with the T1, which also includes a lower 60Hz refresh rate and a 38-degree field of view.

Lenovo says its wearable screen will appeal to gaming or streaming video content on the go. He also noted that a head-mounted display is more private for displaying things like bank records, documents or other sensitive information in public places than a phone or laptop.

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