Today AR headset company nReal have announced the debut of the nReal Light, a consumer-focused AR headset with a small sunglasses form factor for just $499. It begins shipping later this year. nReal is also launching the developer edition for $1,199. To help teams get started building experiences for nReal, the SDK will launch in August.
Out of all the AR companies we’ve seen in recent memory, nReal is one of the more promising ones. The nReal Light model has a 1080p display and is focused on ease-of-use. During demos we watched AR concerts on tabletops, streamed video on virtual floating screens, played simple games, and checked tasks with pop-up calendar displays.
For $499 you get the glasses themselves that must be connected to a smartphone running Snapdragon 855 or better. Not all 855 phones will work though, as they will require USB-C for the glasses’ DisplayPort output and there’s an app that will pre-certify only specific phones. This keeps the cost down so they don’t need to ship the device with its own processing unit. We’ll have a full list later this year hopefully before launch.
“nreal light provides a light-weight XR Viewer that allows consumers to take advantage of 5G including high bandwidth and low latency to deliver immersive experiences virtually anywhere,” said Hugo Swart, head of XR, Qualcomm Technologies in a prepared statement. “We worked closely with nreal to ensure Snapdragon smartphone compatibility and ecosystem integration to transform the way people connect and consume entertainment, and to further advance XR to make it the next generation of mobile computing.”
This sort of lightweight and frankly pretty stylish design is likely the future of AR headsets as opposed to bulky visors. nReal’s field of view reportedly falls right around 52 degrees, which is a step up from the original HoloLens and just barely wider than the Magic Leap One’s 50 degrees.
The consumer edition of nReal Light will start shipping in limited quantities later this year but will be mass produced in 2020. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!
Update: Details added about USB-C requirements.