We’ve talked about glasses as one of the next frontiers of wearable technology for what seems like eons. Many companies have worked on smart glasses with various functionalities, especially AR, but Lenovo’s latest offering is a simpler proposition: it’s a monitor for your face.
The Lenovo Glasses T1 basically puts two Full HD micro-OLED displays in front of your eyes, serving as an external monitor for Windows laptops, MacBooks, phones, and basically anything with a USB-C port that supports video. They have built-in speakers to boot, making them an interesting accessory for gaming or media consumption on the go, but no AR magic happens here (see the best Oculus Quest 2 deals for that).
Image 1 from 2
The Lenovo Glasses T1 resembles a sizable array of shades and is intended to function as a private viewing screen. They’re not smart glasses because they don’t do anything useful in terms of computing or AR. All computing is done on the laptop, tablet, or phone you use them with, and their wired USB-C connection won’t let you get far from that device. So they’re just an external screen (or rather two) right in front of your eyes to use with a device that already has a screen. So what’s the point?
The main advantage of the Lenovo T1 glasses is that they provide a more immersive experience, making it seem like you are watching a large cinema screen – so a better experience for watching movies or for gaming on a puny smartphone or laptop screen. You could also watch media in situations where you might not be able to see your phone’s screen very well, such as on a crowded train, so you can escape into your own little bubble and disconnect from the world around you.
With a simple USB-C connection and built-in speakers, using them should be as easy as plugging in earphones if you want to listen to music in a public place (although you’ll need an adapter if you want to use them with a iPhone), and of course no one else can see what you’re watching. This can be an advantage if you’re a spy working on a top-secret document on a busy computer train (probably against MI5’s policy) or… er maybe watching something NSFW at work.
If you’re concerned that such a disconnect from the surrounding world could be unsafe, well, so are we, but there’s a button that can be used to fix the screen in one location so you can get rid of it. look to see and do other things without the glasses getting in the way.
The problem for Lenovo will be that smart glasses are already hard to sell, and like many before them, the Lenovo Glasses T1 is hardly discreet. I see they’re gaining a niche audience among gamers, but I’m not too sure if a lot of other people will take to the shades – and similar devices are already coming out, such as the TCL NxtWear Air and the Nreal Air.
Lenovo says the Glasses T1 can support prescription lenses (there will be an in-box mountable frame), and the nose clips can be swapped out to fit different sized faces. It plans to launch the Lenovo Glasses Yoga in China before the end of this year and in selected other markets in 2023. There’s no word on price yet, but they should be more affordable than Lenovo’s expensive ThinkReality A3 Smart Glasses (opens in new tab)which have AR features and start at $1,499 / £1,319.
For more wearable tech news, see all the rumors about Oculus Quest 3 and Pro and PSVR 2. You might also want to check out the best Apple Labor Day deals 2022.