UK cell carrier EE is partnering with Chinese AR startup Nreal to bring the Nreal Air AR glasses to the UK. The glasses have been available in China, Japan, and South Korea since December 2021and will come exclusively to the UK carrier “later this spring” according to EE.
The Air glasses are the (relatively) affordable, consumer-focused sequel to the Light glasses from Nreal. They feature the equivalent of an up to 201-inch 1080p screen (from six meters away) and a slim, lightweight look designed not to stand out too much compared to regular sunglasses.
Nreal says that the glasses are focused on consumer use cases such as watching movies, shows, and playing games. The Nreal Air will also have mixed reality functionality called the “MR Space” that will allow users to pin app windows in a 3D space within the glasses.
Despite the “Air Casting” moniker used to describe the glasses’ screen mirroring tech, the glasses have no built-in battery, and thus will plug into compatible smartphones via an included USB-C cable. The company’s previous glasses, the Light, used DisplayPort over USB-C as its protocol, and thus was compatible with any other device that used DisplayPort over USB-C. We’ve reached out to the company to see if this compatibility is also in the Air glasses.
Other notable details are the included prescription lens frames for nearsighted folks, a hard carrying case for transport, three included nose pads for adjustable comfort, open-ear speakers and dual microphones for audio, and angle adjustment for viewing the glasses’ screens. Nreal also promises five hours of screen mirroring battery life for the connected smartphone.
Take a massive screen on the go
The last time we saw the glasses was at CES 2020 with an early development sample. The Air glasses look significantly more stylish these days, so you won’t look like a total dork wearing them in public.
At a virtual 131 inches, while mirroring from a smartphone, you’ll be able to take a screen bigger than most TVs with you wherever you want. AR and MR glasses have attempted this sort of thing in the past (you may remember Google Glass), but those ended up being expensive, enterprise-focused, and not very useful machines, at least for consumers. Nreal has even had mixed success with its own offerings, but the third time could be the charm for the startup.
Pricing details are forthcoming, but as previously mentioned, Nreal wants the glasses to be (comparatively) affordable for the average interested consumer. Most big OLED displays can cost thousands of dollars, so we’re excited to see what a consumer-focused pair of AR glasses can do.
And we await news of when the glasses will arrive on US shores.