Image source: Rokid
Utilizing the Android TV operating system, Rokid AR glasses resemble ordinary goggles but also function as a portable media player. While it may surprise some, my first encounter with augmented reality devices dates back over a decade, primarily for enjoying 3D movies. In 2012, Epson introduced the intelligent BT-100 Moverio eyewear. With the anticipation surrounding Apple’s Vision Pro “spatial computer,” poised to usher in a new technological era, smart glasses and face computers are again in the spotlight. Therefore, I eagerly accepted the opportunity to review the Rokid AR glasses.
Despite featuring large and hefty lenses for content projection, the Rokid AR Glasses maintain a design and fit akin to traditional goggles. I discovered that wearing the glasses with the front cover often allowed for better concentration on the screen, effectively tuning out the surrounding environment. Without the cover, one perceives their surroundings through the projected image, a feature particularly relevant in environments conducive to augmented reality applications. The glasses sport volume controls on one side and a USB-C port on the other, facilitating connection to the Rokid Controller for media streaming. Acting primarily as a prism for content projection, the glasses lack battery or software capabilities.
The Rokid Controller boasts buttons like those on a standard Android TV remote. However, its internal battery provides up to five hours of streaming, contributing to its bulkiness. While this feature is commendable, it results in a tangle of wires, albeit allowing simultaneous charging and video consumption. Drawing from my experience with Android TV, navigating the controls is intuitive. Despite receiving a standard Android remote with the package, I opted not to use it.
Given my mixed history with augmented reality and virtual reality headsets and my need for corrective lenses, I initially approached the Rokid glasses with skepticism. However, the built-in diopter adjustment pleasantly surprised me, allowing for fine-tuning visual sharpness to accommodate my needs. Despite being heavier than typical goggles, the glasses remain relatively lightweight compared to virtual reality headsets, facilitating easy head movement.
Upon powering up the accompanying controller, the Rokid glasses essentially function as an Android TV device, reminiscent of my OnePlus TV’s home screen. Hence, one should not mistake them for facial computers; the Android TV operating system powers their functionality.
Watching videos on platforms like YouTube enhances the appreciation for this gadget. The expansive screen dwarfs my 65-inch TV, captivating attention and immersion despite the absence of a 360-degree effect. Integrated speakers ensure clear audio, although noise-canceling headphones enhance the immersive experience. After a mere twenty minutes, I indulged in a Malayalam comedy serial episode, feeling rejuvenated. Navigating video selections and the screen interface proved effortless with the controller’s touchpad.
The device’s compatibility with apps from the Google Play Store extends its versatility to gaming. While the included remote suffices for basic gaming, a paired controller enhances the experience, allowing for more demanding games. To explore further, I downloaded a browser and accessed The Indian Express website, realizing the potential for revolutionizing media consumption. Reading articles uninterrupted, sans spectacles was notably convenient.
After over a week of use, I am convinced that Rokid Glasses can redefine consumption patterns, provided they become more accessible. Their user-friendly nature and the absence of specialized software requirements make them appealing for widespread adoption. Moreover, their compact size renders them preferable to carrying an iPad for in-flight entertainment.
However, a few drawbacks merit consideration. Removing the glasses after prolonged use may be disorienting, necessitating time for eye adjustment. Additionally, wireless headphones are recommended for an optimal audio experience, as the device’s audio quality proves adequate at best. While the five-hour battery life suffices for most scenarios, long-haul travelers may find it prudent to carry a separate battery pack for recharging, especially considering occasional faster-than-usual battery drainage.
Priced at $903.44 for the complete package, the Rokid AR Glasses and Controller combo represents a personal entertainment investment offering a glimpse into the future. However, the price point, reminiscent more of a home theater experience than augmented reality features, may deter some potential users.