Say hello, or more appropriately ‘Yo, dawg’, to the bold-looking Viture One XR eyewear. We’re having a hands-on session in the office this morning with these light, expensive guys.
Okay, enough of the 80s slang now. But really, doesn’t it look like I’m about to try to hack into the mainframe while screaming my synthwave mixtape? The Viture One XR glasses have been touting the kind of technology I’ve craved since the dawn of handheld gaming. By projecting the image right in front of your eyes, it seeks to alleviate the main problem I had when I took the Steam Deck on a trip: having to be hunched over for hours on end.
We are currently reviewing 88g glasses that project their games in 1080p at 60fps, with a pixel density of 55ppd. Of course, that’s nothing like what you’d get with the best VR headsets, but for something so ridiculously portable, I figured I’d be willing to look beyond thatif you’ll excuse the pun.
Keep in mind that this is a prototype model for a Kickstarter product and that many of the features are set to be enhanced for the final model.
After plugging it in, the Steam Deck recognized the Viture One right away and changed. I just had to rotate the myopic dials a little, which are conveniently placed above each eye, and then I was stuck in a nostalgic session of Oblivion, followed by an onslaught of Valheim.
First impressions: I am genuinely impressed with the development of the prototype. The image is sharp and there is no noticeable lag. We’ll have to wait for the final version to try to resolve the latency, but for a melee adventure, it already seems more than practical.
It gets a little warm, but only on one side, and it’s far enough away from your face that it’s not a problem. It’s nothing like the heat a VR headset throws, and it’s not all-encompassing. However, glasses wearers may be disappointed as they don’t really accommodate, whereas many VR headsets do.
It’s a little weird playing games like this without head tracking technology as I’m used to the camera following my head movements in VR, but it was fine once I got used to it. The fact that you can lie down or (theoretically) hang on to some sort of exercise machine and play games while doing sit-ups is pretty cool.
At the moment, being stuck to the Deck and having small ears meant there was a lot of slipping down my face, but that will change when the final version comes out. Complete with a fancy neckband, it will work on 5G Wi-Fi and the weight will improve from 88g to 78g, say the creators. I wish there was less bulk on the currently 5mm thick arms, but we’ll have to wait and see.
The neckband, which we haven’t seen yet, will come with several of the top streaming apps pre-installed and will be compatible with remote game streaming services.
I actually tried to write this article using Viture Ones. I plugged them directly into my PC, which detected them like any other monitor output with no issues, but it turned out to be a little weird to see the top of the screen. This was partially due to them slipping up my nose as I worked, partially because I may have chosen the wrong size of nose pad. Fortunately, the nose pad is being redesigned and will soon be adjustable.
The device promises to be more immersive than a small portable screen, but of course you’ll be able to hear what’s going on around you. That’s fine with me – so I know if someone is trying to get my attention – but the slight translucency of the screen can be a problem when looking at windows or anything that’s moving. You kind of have to look into something dark, and whatever you look at, you’ll still seem to be in some sort of technology-induced trance.
If you need to stop ignoring the world, you can switch modes from immersive to ambient, the effect of which isn’t there yet. The next version will have an opacity range of 5% to 80%, up from the 10% to 50% it is releasing now.
The eye box is currently 7mm, which will go up to 11mm with the next test model. This means it will be able to adapt to a wider range of student distances and attract a larger share of the population. While 7mm was no problem for me, our Graeme couldn’t find a setting that worked for him.
They’re a little rough now in their prototype form, but the man has a lot of potential. Priced at $400, however, the Viture One XR glasses are more expensive than the Quest 2. For many, when deciding between them and a VR headset, it will be a case that you’re after higher levels of immersion, or the portability and convenience that comes with a stellar look and feel.