This smartglass can do things that Apple's Vision Pro can only dream of — thermal vision, built in 5G, no wires and yes, it can easily withstand falls

RealWear Navigator Z1
(Image credit: RealWear)

Apple's Vision Pro is a highly capable - and expensive - mixed-reality headset, and it's already proved fairly  successful – an estimated 160,000 to 180,000 units were sold during the pre-order weekend alone.

However there are other smartglass products available to buy, however, with plenty designed for particular use cases. 

RealWear Navigator Z1, for example, which was unveiled at this year’s CES, is described by its maker as the “world's most advanced Intrinsically Safe wearable tech.” 

Thermal micro camera

It received its IS certification for thermal, electrical, mechanical, and safety compliance. This certification indicates that the device will not cause an explosion in environments where flammable particulates are present. This makes it a game-changer for industries where traditional consumer electronics like phones, tablets, and immersive AR/VR headsets are prohibited.

Whereas the Apple Vision Pro is mostly aimed at people who work and play indoors, Navigator Z1 is for people employed in more challenging environments. It is particularly well suited to those in the oil and gas industry. That’s not say you can’t use it in safer environments – it can be used in Microsoft Teams calls, for example.

Dr. Chris Parkinson, RealWear’s cofounder and CEO, stated, “Worker safety and productivity must not be mutually exclusive. With so many consumer-grade gadgets being hyped to industry, we have delivered something truly modern and in high demand for critical work procedures.”

The Navigator Z1 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6490 chipset and has a built-in advanced AI engine. It complies with strict ATEX/IECEx certifications, ensuring voice recognition for hands-free use even in noisy environments up to 100dBA. Its unique modular design allows for customization, including the addition of an IS-certified FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal micro camera and a swappable battery.

The RealWear Navigator Z1 will be showcased at this year’s Mobile World Congress and the device is available to buy now with shipping in Europe, the United Arab Emirates, and the majority of the Asia-Pacific region. Orders in North America, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and much of Latin America are expected to be fulfilled in March.

But if you’re expecting it to be cheaper than Apple Vision Pro, then think again. They say you can't put a price on safety, but in this case you can. It’s priced at a whopping $5,850.

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Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.