Xreal, formerly known as Nreal, unveiled its latest innovation in consumer augmented reality (AR) technology with the introduction of the Xreal Air 2 and Xreal Air 2 Pro AR glasses.
These AR wearables are set to usher in a new era of immersive entertainment, available for pre-orders today in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, said Peng Jin, Xreal cofounder in an interview with GamesBeat.
The Xreal Air 2 series builds upon the success of its predecessor, the Xreal Air, which debuted in 2022, becoming the best-selling consumer AR glasses available.
“Spatial computing is a very important technological trend, and I think we’re taking a very different approach,” Jin said. “We are introducing these glasses as what we call wearable displays. We want people to accept our glasses into their everyday life. And we see wearable display as what iPod was to iPhone. You start with a single application that is appealing and that added value to people. And as you build up your installed base, eventually you start to bring additional features into this experience.”
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The Xreal Air 2 series introduces the latest micro-OLED display technology, offering users a superior visual and audio experience in a more comfortable and lightweight design.
“I think having a perfect the display experience is absolutely important,” Jin said. “All the content will come later on. There are experimental apps. The key thing for us to is to bring people experiences that they can use every day.”
These glasses are compatible with leading gaming and streaming entertainment devices, including popular platforms such as Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Valve Steam Deck, and more.
“At Xreal, we believe in the transformative power of augmented reality, and our mission is to provide everyone with a big-screen experience wherever they are,” said Jin. “With Xreal AR glasses, we have revolutionized entertainment and productivity, allowing users to carry theater-quality projectors and full HD monitors in their pockets. The Xreal Air 2 series takes this experience to the next level, focusing on comfort and wearability while delivering exceptional display quality.”
Existing Air customers are pretty active. About two-thirds of Air customers in the U.S. use the glasses about five times a week, and 70% of them use it for more than an hour at a time, Jin said. For the Japanese market, 55% use the glasses more than three times a week at more than an hour at a time.
“This was very important to us when we thought about designing Air 2 because if people are going to use our glasses for such a long-term use, we wanted to focus on comfort,” Jin said. “So we changed the weight distribution. There is less pressure on your nose. We were able to reduce the overall weight by about 10%. We changed the nose pad. We changed the design of the legs to flexible materials so there is less pressure on your temple. So, all of this is really for people to feel more comfortable when they wear the glasses for a longer time.”
The glasses weigh 72 grams, compared to about 20 grams for normal glasses.
On top of that, there are a lot of improvements in display quality.
The Xreal Air 2 AR glasses feature the latest Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation’s 0.55-inch Micro-OLED displays, boasting an impressive 4,032 pixels-per-inch and a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 per eye.
With an ultra-high contrast ratio of 100,000:1 and a brightness of 500 nits, users can expect vivid, sharp, and detailed visuals. The displays have been precisely calibrated to provide accurate color reproduction, meeting the Gamma 2.2 standard. The Xreal Air 2 series also offers a remarkable response rate speed of 0.01 milliseconds or less and a fast refresh rate of up to 120Hz.
Recognizing the importance of comfort during extended usage, Xreal has prioritized the design of the Air 2 series to ensure optimal wearability. The glasses are approximately 10% thinner and lighter than previous models, featuring improved elastic temples and softer materials for enhanced comfort. Xreal Air 2 glasses are designed to alleviate neck strain caused by prolonged use of smartphones and computers.
Xreal Air 2 Pro
The Xreal Air 2 Pro introduces one-touch dimming control through Xreal Electromagnetic Dimming, allowing wearers to customize their virtual-screen experience. They can choose between Transparent Mode, ideal for maintaining awareness of the surroundings, Productivity Mode, which reduces external distractions, and Immersive Mode, providing a fully immersive experience for gaming and entertainment.
At the touch of a button, they can instantly select from three pre-configured immersion modes:
- Transparent Mode is configured at 0%, and blocks no light through the lenses, ideal for when users need to be aware of the world around them, e.g., wearing around the home, or traveling on public transportation.
- Productivity Mode is configured at 35%, reducing the amount of light that travels through the lenses, ideal for people who want to focus better on the task at hand without entirely shutting out their surroundings.
- Immersive Mode is set at 100% and blocks all light to give wearers the most immersive experience, perfect for enthralling gaming sessions, or watching TV and movies at home.
The audio system of the Xreal Air 2 series has been upgraded to deliver cinematic audio quality. Wearers can enjoy spatial wrap-around audio through an open-ear design, providing an immersive sound experience without disturbing others. The glasses also incorporate beamforming microphones that ensure clear voice calls, enhancing communication applications.
To cater to individual styles, Xreal also introduced the Xreal Kaleido Kit, a collection of adhesive skins that allow users to personalize their glasses with six different color options. The Xreal Air 2 series also comes with a new travel case, a light shield, and custom cables.
Xreal Air 2 and Xreal Air 2 Pro have received four certificates from TÜV Rheinland Greater China, including color accuracy, eye comfort, low blue light, and flicker-free certifications. These certifications validate the exceptional performance of the glasses in terms of eye health and user experience.
The Xreal Air 2 and Xreal Air 2 Pro are available for pre-order on Xreal.com and Amazon in the U.S. and U.K., with shipping scheduled to begin in November. Xreal Air 2 sells for $400 and Air 2 Pro sells for $450. Both products are already available in China and Japan.
The company believes that the glasses can be used with the smartphone, so it isn’t building the same functions like video recording into the glasses, as that can already be done elsewhere. As for AI and voice communication, Jin said the company remains focused on the entertainment experience.
“The virtual display is really what we’re going after,” Jin said.
The device can be used for watching streaming video on a very big virtual screen, and Jin said it’s like having “your home theater with you at all times.”
He added, “I think this thing could have a pretty big impact on the TV industry, just as smartphones had a big impact on the digital camera industry. These AR glasses can have a huge impact on the TV industry. You can use a pair of glasses instead of having a TV in your home, and you can plug our glasses into these handheld gaming consoles to give you an extra display option while you’re on the go.”
I’ve been concerned that Moore’s Law is slowing down, as has been said by Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. I asked Jin if that was the case in this technology too. But he said, “Display panels are very much on pace with Moore’s Law and its cycle. The more orders that come in, the cost will come down extremely fast. Once the volume starts with chips, you will see Moore’s Law [efficiencies] apply.”
While Verizon was a partner for the Air launch, Air 2 will be launching on Amazon and direct sales via the web this time. Since September 2022, the company has been selling the Air in Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Japan, as well as the U.S. And it has sold more than 250,000 units to date.
As for competing with Apple, Jin said, “The Vision Pro is designed to augment the experience that is already available on the Mac OS and iOS. They’re bringing spatial computing to their existing operating system. They’re using their installed base as leverage. I think Meta wanted to do the same thing, but it’s more challenging to bring the social network into spatial computing. For us, we don’t have that to work with. We don’t have that leverage. We are trying a cross-platform approach.”
Founded in 2017 by former employees from Magic Leap, Google, and AMD, Xreal has emerged as one of the surviving big players in consumer AR glasses.
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