Let me ask you a question: Yes really Want to buy glasses for your personal cinema? As cool as they may be, they always feel like an artifact of dystopia yet to grip us. When the air burns and the sea boils, you won’t be able to fit a 40-inch HDTV into your support pad, so you’ll have to do it. It’s hard to scream “ambitiously.”
It doesn’t help that no one does Sony, Avegant,, Royole nor others – this concept succeeded. Back then, personal theaters replaced VR as an idea whenever someone needed to talk about a product that was forever on the verge of breaking through, and never was. But while they are the solution to the problem and their historical satiety, things may change soon.
You see, TCL has been banging on this door for years and is preparing to launch its first model. Nxtwear G solve many of the problems that had plagued these earlier attempts. They’re not perfect and you probably won’t want to buy a pair, but this is the closest to achieving the success of this concept.
TCL’s Nxtwear G puts two tiny screens close to your eyes to trick you into thinking you’re looking at a bigger screen. Instead of pushing full-tech glasses, TCL put two screens inside, a pair of speakers and positioning hardware. This reduces the weight to a very acceptable 130 grams, which is much more comfortable for your neck for long-term wear.
Everything else, including the power supply, is handled by the device you connect it to, and the list of compatible hardware is quite long. You can use Samsung, LG and OnePlus headphones, as well as over 30 laptops and more than 25 tablets and 2-in-1. Basically, TCL has made a plug-and-play external display for your head that should play nicely with any compatible USB-C device equipped with a DisplayPort.
The company decided to counter most of the wisdom received that we saw in other personal cinemas. Instead of shutting the user into a black void, all the better to replicate that feeling of multiplexing in the tenth screen in the mall, TCL wants you to see the outside world. Even when I tried the prototype, back in 2019, its representatives said you should feel comfortable carrying this on public transport, communicating with people like you.
With every device I’ve tried them with, you just need to plug in the Nxtwear G and it all starts. If you’re using a compatible TCL phone, a pop-up window will appear asking if you want to use mirror mode or PC mode, which puts you in Android mode. Then the phone acts as a touch pad for finger navigation, although if you want to do more than hunt and boil, buy a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
I also connected it to my MacBook Pro, and the device recognized it as an external screen and I was able to work and watch TV with the primary screens off. I actually wrote part of this piece while I was into this thing, even if I had to zoom in to crazy levels to make sure everything was readable.
The Nxtwear G features a pair of 16: 9, 60Hz micro-OLED 1080p screens that the company says is the equivalent of a 140-inch screen. This requires the usual suspension of ocular disbelief, but the effect works here, and the speakers do their job well enough. It’s worth saying that they essentially break the sound in all directions, so grab a Bluetooth headset if, say, your partner gets very upset when he hears you watching Columbus when you are both in bed.
I don’t know if you should expect perfect pixel quality from such small screens, but keep in mind that it won’t beat your smartphone. Sure, HD video looks fine, but the small size of the screen means it’s really hard to see good details. The colors were washed out, certainly compared to the footage played on the TCL 20 Pro 5G and MacBook Pro I was connected to during testing.
The height of TCL is to say that, in addition to passive viewing, you can also use glasses for work and I think TCL could achieve some success. Like I said, it’s possible to work with them and it would make sense to use them if you need to review sensitive documents. When working, say, on a train, this is the perfect antidote for shoulder surfers and other driving snoopers. Of course, anyone who inevitably jokes about watching adult content without anyone noticing it has a cookie.
What TCL has managed to do is solve the riddle of why you would ever want to use a personal cinema several times. There are times and places where you could do this both for work (more or less) and for play (in some circumstances). Unfortunately, while the company has progressed in solving technical problems, it has not had much time to devote to making this experience enjoyable.
Your mileage may vary, but I thought using these glasses was a wonderful experience until the moment it became painful. It is currently impossible to use them for a long period of time before something starts to hurt, either inside or outside your skull.
One of the most problematic design decisions the TCL made was to include a trio of nose pads that push the screen up and over. The idea is to keep the screens in line with your eyes, but the unfortunate result is that you have to put nose pads through your nose. Like, to the point that you feel, no matter the size, you seem to be wearing those wire handles to close the nostrils that professional swimmers wear during sporting events.
Then there are Temple Tips, part of the glasses that bend to hook your ears. While with plain glasses these tops are semi-plastic and can be adjusted by an optician (or at home, with a hair dryer and a bit of cunning), Nxtwear G hands are stiff. Long periods of wearing mean you’ll drive two slices of hard plastic into the soft fleshy part of your head behind your ears.
The solution I found to alleviate both problems for at least a moment was to completely pull out the nose pads and wear them like plain glasses. After all, as a seasonal wearer of glasses, I accepted that the experience might not be so good – but I discovered that this is actually better. I got a full screen display and it was much more comfortable to wear for a long time. But unfortunately, the reason why the nose pads keep the glasses next to your snout is that it avoids getting hot, because the Nxtwear G generates a decent amount of heat (not heat, heat, beware).
And then, finally, there’s the issue of eye strain which, no matter how I wore them, still meant I had to give up because of significant breaks. Maybe because I’m short-sighted and so my eyes are already weak and weak compared to the average personal cinema user. But I doubt and doubt that many people can risk a headache due to eye strain if they use it for too long at once.
Now I bet you’re thinking, “Oh, if prices were in addition, I’d take a couple just to see what it’s all about.” I don’t blame TCL for having to recoup some development costs for these things, but boy. These glasses are sold in Oz at a price of $ 899, which is most of the $ 700. Hell, you can buy TCL’s new 20 Pro 5G for $ 500 and just hold it close to your face and pat it on the back for its frugality.
Aside from the joke, I think TCL deserves tremendous credit for making what can only be described as the best wearable screen ever made. And if you are able, I would say you should go and try them out, because my comfort dealers may not affect you. And TCL deserves a fair shot at making these things cheaper and a little less prone to squeezing because we’re so damn close. Honestly, if personal theaters will succeed, it will be because they follow the template set by TCL. It only takes a few adjustments.
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