Here I go... test-driving my first pair of 2019 smart glasses. Vuzix Blade, let's do it.
The Vuzix Blade headset is a lot like a Google Glass, but in a pair of glasses. The smart glasses pair with an iPhone or Android phone and can get notifications and run apps.
The glasses look... kind of normal, maybe?
Navigation happens via a touchpad one of the arms of the glasses... the Google Glass revisited.
I'm wearing contacts here, but the Blade will have prescription lenses.
These are $1,000. Hardly what anyone would ever pay, but Vuzix says these are aiming at enterprise customers. It's based off an Android OS, running custom apps on a quad-core ARM processor.
The Blade runs apps, which can display graphics. The visible display has a clear border, but is big enough that you can see photos, videos and notifications, and even play a few games. Streaming video apps should come in the future, if you care to watch shows on your glasses.
The Blade will run Alexa and work with voice assistants, but the current prerelease version I'm using doesn't have Alexa yet. I've tried it, though, and it works. Google Assistant support is also planned.
Do I like using my finger to navigate? No.
But I've also not been wild about smart glasses and their awkward proposition.
A voice-connected pair of glasses, if made small enough and light enough, might be interesting.
Maybe the Blade is a hint of other glasses to come.
The Vuzix Blade doesn't have its own speakers... you need to pair it with Bluetooth headphones for that. It does have microphones, though, and a 720p/8MP camera for photos and video.
The Blade charges via Micro-USB. A little power button on the inside turns it on and off, and a microprojector displays images on the lens over a small etched square.
The Vuzix Blade pairs with a phone much like a smartwatch. And, in a way, that's exactly what it is: a smart wearable for your face.