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The best smartglasses 2018: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

 The best smartglasses 2018: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

AR Week: It's life after Glass for these face gadgets

Google Glass feels like a long time ago now, right? Let's declare the mourning period for that particular tech experiment to be over. Plenty of tech startups and companies are launching either totally new smartglasses or refined versions of old devices.

It's not just about dropping a camera on your face either. AR, fitness tracking and mixed reality are all powering the next generation of smart eyewear.

From first-person videos and photos to turn-by-turn directions, health sensing, and facial recognition of the people you meet, the invasion of the smartglasses is (still) very much alive.

We don our future-specs to reveal both the best smartglasses on the market and the upcoming devices we believe have the potential to take connected specs mainstream in the next five years…

Best AR smartglasses

Vuzix Blade AR

 

We were absolutely smitten with the Vuzix Blade smartglasses when we tried them out at CES this year. They make AR glasses look better than ever, in more ways than one. First, they actually look good. Not exactly Oakley's, but they don't scream "Look at me, I'm technology!"

They're not totally consumer-focused, but Vuzix is hoping that it's a large step in that direction. Alexa is on board to help you out with all your smart assistant needs, and you've also got things like turn-by-turn navigation, location based alerts (think Yelp reviews) and messages.

The display is really good, with even photos looking crisp and vibrant. There's also an 8MP camera on board, with 4GB of storage to fill up with what have you. As for battery life, you can expect around 2 to 2 and a half hours.

The Blade AR is maybe the best move toward mainstream AR glasses we've seen yet, and while the dev kit will be available for $1,800, the company thinks that could go down to about $1,000 in due time.

$1,800, vuzix.com

Solos

Solos aims to become a cyclist's best friend. These smartglasses pack in a small heads-up display enabling cyclists to glance at a host of useful data in real time, including speed, cadence, heart rate and power zones. They were supposed to be out late 2016, but got held up by FCC certifications until recently and are shipping to backers now.

They'll work with existing running apps like Strava and MapMyRide, will offer navigation and they're compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+ devices if you want to pair them with other cycling tracking kit. Solos has already been worn and used by the US Cycling team, so these glasses come with an elite athlete seal of approval.

$500, solos-wearables.com

Everysight Raptor

Like the Solos specs, Israel-based outfit Everysight has taken its years of expertise building heads-up displays for the military and built its own smart AR smartglasses for cyclists.

With smartphone-like internals, the Raptors use an OLED-based projector system that provides the display that along with a host of onboard sensors can show mapping data, heart rate information and other ride info.

There's also a camera to offer action-cam-style footage and voice commands to use the specs hands-free. Everysight is working on opening the platform to encourage developers to build applications in time for when the shades land in February.

$649, everysight.com

ODG R7 AR/R8 and R9

Each side of ODG's R7 AR glasses has a 720p lens, which is 80% transparent and can show video at 80fps with a 37 degree FOV. As well as a 4MP camera, there's voice recognition, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a whole bunch of gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers inside. There's also a more durable version, dubbed the R-7HL, coming later this year for those who need smartglasses in more hazardous conditions.

Coming later this year are the R8 and R9, both of which debuted at CES 2017. They offer bigger field of views than before – 40 degrees for the R8 and 50 degrees for the R9. There's also positional tracking, which is a big deal. Thanks to the Snapdragon 835 processor inside, each also offers higher res images – dual 1080p displays on each of the new specs.

The R8 glasses are the sleeker and lighter of the two, and more aimed at regular people, with a pair of 1080p cameras that are said to be able to capture 3D video. ODG has managed to get these way down in price too, though they're still not cheap. The R8s will ship to developers sometime in winter 2018 while the R9s have a targeted shipping window of 2018.

$2,750 (R7), $1,000 (R8), $1,800 (R9), osterhoutgroup.com

Vuzix M300

Building off the success of Vuzix's M100 smart glasses are the M300s, which are made for enterprise and come with a comfortable yet rugged design.

With an Intel Atom processor powering performance, the M300s run on Android with 2GB RAM, 16GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi connectivity among the more notable specs. There's also a 13-megapixel camera, head tracking support and dual cancelling microphones.

$1,499, vuzix.com

Epson Moverio BT-300

The BT-300 smartglasses ditch the clunky look of their predecessor, returning with a sleeker, more polished pair of AR smartglasses. The BT-300 is lighter than the previous model and not quite as geeky-looking either.

It uses a significantly sharper 720p HD resolution OLED display, and now packs a 5-megapixel front facing camera. It's also powered by an Intel Atom quad core processor with Android Lollipop covering the software bases.

While Epson's smart glasses have always been quite business-focused, it has teased the prospect of using them in the gym to race in virtual environments – and there's also a drone edition so you can use them to control your DJi drone straight from your specs.

$779, epson.com

Sony SmartEyeGlass

Sony released the essential tools to allow developers to start coding applications for its Google Glass rival way back in 2014, but the SmartEyeGlass hardware seems to be stuck in dev phase.

The SmartEyeGlass includes a bunch of features, including a gyroscope, accelerometer, ambient light sensor and built-in camera. However, the monochrome screen is likely to put off consumers, if Sony chooses to release it beyond the business world.

$899, developer.sonymobile.com

Sony SmartEyeGlass Attach

But you don't actually need to stick a full Sony headset on your bonce; the Attach accessory was unveiled back in 2015 and the company used the smart accessory for its AR talks at SXSW 2016.

Sony SmartEyeGlass Attach features a 0.23-inch OLED single lens microdisplay, with a 640 x 400 resolution and a control board which contains an ARM processor, sensor hub, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. The display module is just 40g, and there's a 400mAh battery to power the whole thing. Sadly, it's still – STILL – just a concept at this point and there's no indication from Sony as to how much it might cost.

$TBC, developer.sonymobile.com

                                     Courtesy; www.wareable.com