Vuzix Wrap 310XL Video Eyewear Review
Vuzix makes the experience pretty comfortable once you've decided how you want to use them. The concept is actually complex, and Vuzix has clearly pushed forward, continually refining the concept. The Wrap 310XL's are midrange video eye wear products in Vuzix's collection, and deliver as promised. They sport two small screen in front of each eye that together give the appearance that you are looking at a 55 inch screen (for these models) from 10 feet away. You can even wear them with glasses, or use the diopter adjustment to focus each screen individually to your eye sight.
Video was impressively good for coming from two tiny screens in front of your eyes. Out of the box the 310XL comes with two connection options. An RCA composite cable (you know, for that red, white, and yellow video cable audio/video connection), and an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch connector. I used the Vuzix shades with my iPad to watch YouTube and some movies. Hooking them up was easy, and they automatically played video when it started on the iPad. Video showed up only in front of my face and not of the iPad.
Sound comes from two noise-isolating earbuds that come included with the 310XLs. These plug in directly (individually) to the eye wear and go into your ears. Screen brightness was good, and the images were fluid. With an on-screen menu you can adjust the image setting, and change the aspect ratio of the video. The menus are easy to use, and are controlled via a remote unit attach to the cord. That unit is where the battery goes. It is powered by single AA battery (one comes included). That is great, but I worry about battery life. Vuzix does however claim 4 hours of use on a single alkaline battery, and up to 10 hours on a AA lithium battery. I say, "carry spares."
Wearing the Wrap 310XL set is pretty comfy actually, but I did get a bit of eye strain after wearing them for a while. I recommend taking little breaks, but this is normal when images are so close to your eyes. They also come with a tether to keep them securely on your head, in the event you doing something that will cause them to slip around. The nose bridge extends a bit as well for better adjustment. Don't think you can walk and watch at the same time though. While these look like sunglasses, they are head-mounted screens, and while watches, you can't really see much else unless you look down. One of the cool parts of having double screens for a stereoscopic effect is that they can display 3D video.
Aside from Apple products, you can hooks these up to a portable DVD player, some computer, many televisions, a number of digital cameras and camcorders, and most video game systems. Remember again that these aren't ideal for when details viewing is necessary (such as when you want to read text).
Priced at $249.99, these are a bit more than most people want to pay for a mere toy, but they aren't terribly expensive given the technology. The biggest issue a company like Vuzix has is having people find consistent use for a product like the Wrap 310XL. They are cool, and work as promised, but how often are you going to need them? At the same time, I am thrilled that companies like Vuzix are paving the way for products and technologies that will be of considerable use in the future. For now, if you find that you have a need for covert video viewing on a compatible device, then a Vuzix product is likely just what you are looking for.
Ariel Adams publishes the luxury watch reviews site aBlogtoRead.com.