Video glasses are by no means a new concept, and though early, standalone models weren't terribly attractive, they did a good job of offering a portable, personalized video-viewing experience. However, accessory glasses made for the iPod and other personal video players (PVPs) have mostly failed to impress. Unfortunately, the Icuiti iWear, available in an iPod-specific flavor and a more generic PVP version (the AV230), doesn't improve the situation. The $250 accessory suffers from an uncomfortable design and poor video quality. It's too bad, really, because the illusion of viewing video on a large screen from a distance can reduce eye strain.
The iWear fails first and foremost in its design. Though the glasses weigh a reasonable 4 ounces, this is noticeably heavier than its closest competitor--the MyVu PMV--which comes in at 2.5 ounces. It may not seem like it, but 1.5 ounces makes a difference when something is propped on your face. The iWear feels heavy when worn and, since the weight is concentrated at the front, tends to slip down the nose--it's overall quite uncomfortable. Another irritating design choice is the built-in earbuds, which are stiff and difficult to adjust. No one in the CNET office could keep the earbuds from frequently popping out of their ears, and I couldn't even get them in my ears, while having the viewing section pushed up to my eyes (which is necessary for proper viewing). One compensating virtue is that the iWear can be used with other headphones, which you leave plugged into your iPod or PVP.