We last covered a Vuzix wearable video display a while ago now, finding the iWear AV310 Widescreen offered better audio than its rivals, but sound isolation was poor and image quality was mediocre. So how have things changed with the Wrap 280 Widescreen?
The Vuzix Wrap 280 Widescreen is basically a pair of glasses with a 384x240 LCD behind each lens, giving you the equivalent of a 51-inch screen viewed from 10 feet away.
With the right adaptors you can use it to watch movies and video clips from most video players, and a composite AV adaptor for your video-capable iPod or iPhone is included. Power is supplied by two AA batteries housed in a cable-connected hand controller, which is easy to use without removing the glasses.
The new generation of Vuzix video viewers are more stylish than the iWear series, looking like wrap-around shades instead of virtual-reality goggles. The audio is better too, with replaceable earbuds offering better sound isolation than the previous models.
Visual isolation is once more incomplete without a light shield, an optional extra that really should've been in the box and isn't even available at the time of writing.
Picture quality is much improved, offering clear, precise colours and a much more vibrant overall image, and you can now focus each screen independently, a real boon for spectacle-wearers.
Unfortunately, gains in performance and style have been made at the expense of comfort and usability. The Wrap 280 has to sit high to allow you to keep both screens in view, and its hookless side bars and inadequate nose bridge mean it often slides down your face while in use. We had to use an elastic band to hold them in position.
The technology behind the Vuzix has certainly improved. With proper, in-the-box vision isolation and a build that values ergonomics over style, they'd be great. But as they stand, make sure you test them for comfort before buying.
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