Manufacturer: Vuzix

Product Name: Vuzix iWear AV920

Review Date: 09/12/08

Author: Kristofer Brozio

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There are many interesting products or accessories on the market today that  enable us to get even more usefulness out of our already feature rich multi-media devices, be them mp3 players, ipods, computers or consoles. Some of them are very useful, while some are questionable in their actual ability to make our lives better.

Up on the review block today is an interesting accessory that can be used with basically anything with a video output, it allows you to have a personal theater experience that you can take with you. The product is from Vuzix and it’s the iWear AV920, it allows you to have the equivalent of a 62 inch screen for your own personal viewing pleasure. It’s basically a set of futuristic looking glasses with two LCDs screens inside, attached to the sides are also built in headphones. In my time with the iWear AV920 I’ve found it to be an interesting product to be sure, that does have its usefulness and some unique features that most people will appreciate.

Vuzix not only sent me the iWear Av920 product but also included an adapter for an ipod (which sadly I don’t own so I had no use for) and  what Vuzix calls an Immersive Eyeshield, whish is just basically an attachment that helps to block out ambient light.

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The box opens to show you the iWear AV920 in presentation style, under the glasses and to the sides are all of the accessories needed to use the Av(20s with various video sources.

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Included with the iWear Av920s is an iPod cable, RCA video/audio cable,portable DVD player cable, cable management clips, ear pads, head strap, USB cable, case for the glasses and a power supply.

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The Vuzix iWear AV920s remind me of something out of BladeRunner or any other futuristic movie really, they’re reminiscent of the video goggles from many sci-fi movies out there. They are sleek looking, with a small, thin profile, and they appear to be well made, though I would take care with them as they are a piece of expensive technology. Attached to the glasses is a small box that you use to connect your devices to, and charge the glasses.

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The built in headphones can be removed if you wish to use your own, so that’s a nice features for those that might have a favorite set. The nose bridge is adjustable to conform to everyone’s face and make the iWear fit comfortably.

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Specifications:

Vuzix iWear AV920

The iWear AV920 connects to almost any video device and delivers a virtual display equivalent to a 62-inch screen viewed from 9 feet

Price: $349.95 (USD)

Works on almost any video device.
The iWear AV920 is designed to connect to almost all NTSC or PAL audio/video device with video out capabilities.

Supported Devices Include:
* Portable DVD players
* Media players
* Gaming systems
* Digital cameras
* Camcorders
* Cellular phones with video output
* iPod Gen 5 cable included and Gen 6/Touch/iPhone cable available soon

Features:
* iWear 3D enabled for automatic 2D/3D control; no buttons required
* Can be worn with or without prescription eyeglasses
* The integrated rechargeable lithium ion battery gives approximately five hours of continuous viewing
* Includes mini USB charger

User Adjustable:
* Removable, integrated speakers (no clumsy uncomfortable earbuds) can be upgraded or removed to allow the user to plug in their own headsets
* AccuTilt viewer pivots up to 15 degrees for comfortable viewing angle
* Soft, comfortable, hypo-allergenic nosepiece extends up to 3/8"
* Custom fit headstrap

Advanced Optics:
* 32-degree field of view
* 3/4" eye relief and 5/16" eyebox.
* 2.5" intraocular distance (IOD).
* Color corrected 10th order aspherical lens with diffractive surface

Technical Specifications:
* Twin high-resolution 640×480 (920,000 pixels) LCD displays
* Equivalent to a 62" screen viewed from 9 feet
* Millions of colors
* Visor weighs 2.9 ounces
* Integrated rechargeable lithium ion battery allows approximately five hours of continuous operation
* 60 Hz progressive scan update rate

I did use the included ‘eyeshield’ and it’s actually very comfortable, made out of a soft rubbery material, it actually does work to keep out any ambient light and make the overall experience more ‘personal’, the eyeshield just clips onto the glasses very easily.

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My first impressions of using them were that they were a bit uncomfortable to wear, it took quite a while to get them to fit correctly and stay in place. The arms of the headphones at flexible and you’re supposed to adjust them to your own liking so you’re wearing them while the glasses are comfortably on your face. It takes quite a few tries to get the arms bent correctly so they fit and don’t move the glasses, at one point I was just tempted to remove them altogether, but since this is a review I continued fiddling with them until I got them to fit my head. While you’re adjusting the earpieces, you need to adjust the nose bridge as well, every time I thought I got them to fit right they would slide down my nose and I wouldn’t be able to see anything… but eventually I got it right.

Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like a lot of work to get them to fit comfortably and stay in place. The included head strap does help to hold them in place and I highly recommend using it, especially while playing games as you’ll tend to move your head and body.

For testing I used the iWear AV920 with my PS2 to play games and a Mvix multimedia box to watch movies. I also let me my 3yr old try them out and he was thoroughly impressed with them as he watched Maggie and the Ferocious Beast through them, he would have been more than happy to keep them so he could watch what he wanted when he wanted..

For myself actually using them was pretty cool, it actually does make it look like you’re watching on a big screen, and the picture is crisp and clear. The sound seems adequate through the included headphones, but personally I’d use a higher end set for a better experience, especially for gaming and movies.

There’s a small button on the bottom of the glasses that allows you to access an on-screen display to customize the viewing settings of the glasses, you can change everything as you would on a normal TV or monitor. There is a 3D effect as well, but I didn’t have anything that was in 3D, and changing the modes really didn’t do anything expect make the pictures a bit fuzzy.

Playing games is very cool, I threw in Devil May Cry and Virtual Fighter in my PS2 and played both for a bit, I’m wishing I had a first person shooter though as I think it would be very cool to play through the iWear AV920s, like playing on a big screen and being fully immersed in the game.

 

More Images:

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Conclusion:

The Vuzix iWear AV920 glasses are something that truly are very cool, they’ll allow you to privately watch movies or play games from most any portable and non-portable device that has a video output.

The quality of the glasses and the actual view is very good, the pictures were nice and sharp, giving you a crisp picture with good colors in movies and games.

The iWear AV920s truly do offer an immersive experience for all of your multi-media.

The only complaints I could have are that they take a bit of work to get them to fit correctly and the sound quality of the included headphones is a bit sub-par. You can of course opt to use your own headphones if you wish so that remedies the sound quality problem, but everyone will have a different experience with the overall fitting of the iWear AV920s.

Pros:

-Crisp Clear picture

-On Screen display to change settings

-Seems well made

-Lots of accessories included so you can use with many different products

-Easy to use

-Actually is immersive

-Great for gaming

Cons:

-Takes a bit of work to get to fit correctly

-Sound is just ok

-Expensive

Grades:

Overall: score 8 10 thumb2 Vuzix iWear AV920 Review

Design: score 7 10 thumb2 Vuzix iWear AV920 Review

Performance: score 8 10 thumb3 Vuzix iWear AV920 Review