Mixed reality (MR) will be making a strong play in 2019, as we’ve already seen at the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week. Among those MR hopefuls is nreal light, an MR headset with the looks of plastic sunglasses DJs hand out at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and Sweet 16s. With dual-lens display at 1080p resolution per eye and brightness up to 1,000 nits, I was able to watch a football game and see every throw and tackle, right on the CES show floor.
nreal light MR Headset Specs
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|Operating System||Android OS|
|Field of View||52 degrees|
|Degrees of Freedom (DoF)||Headset: 6DoFController: 3DoF|
|Image||1080p resolution per eye Up to 1,000 nits|
|Weight||Headset: 0.2 pounds / 85gCPU/controller: 0.4 pounds / 170g|
|Battery Life||About 3 hours|
When I wore nreal light, what impressed me most was the AR image quality. First of all, the headset has two projectors (one for each eye), so the display was quite large, almost filling up my entire line of sight but still providing access to reality with its transparency. The green and white of the football field and one team’s uniform were particularly crisp and bright and looked accurate. I think I could’ve watched the entire game—if all the exciting tech of CES wasn’t calling my name.
nreal light must be tethered either to an Android smartphone via its USB-C port or the included CPU/controller. The CPU and controller are a square unit weighing 170g and packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU and haptic feedback. It has a circle on top that pops off, which you can use as a controller with 3DoF and a circular trackpad that clicks in for navigating menus and making selections. The headset runs on Android software, with a UI nreal built on top. I appreciate that nreal light will have different color options; we saw them in white, blue and red. Plus, they will offer add-on prescriptions lenses.
The glasses were light and felt narrow on my face. They were slipping off at first, but nreal has a nose guard to stop that from happening. I’ll admit, that narrow feeling would take me some getting used to, but the potential of 24/7 TV means it may be worth a shot.
I did notice the CPU/controller got a little warm. nreal said they are working on finding ways to help reduce heat. In the meantime, they’ve already come up with a couple handy ways of carrying the controller: a neck strap and a pocket clip.
nreal is currently looking for gaming development partners, so you can expect nreal light to have a gaming and entertainment focus. nreal will have its own app store upon launch. Its SDK development platform is currently available on Unity and Unreal.
nreal is planning on sending out early batches of nreal light in Q2, most likely in the U.S. and China, nreal’s home base. General availability should come in Q3 with a price tag around $1,000.