We took control of the Oppo Air Glass, the modern version of Google Glass

Unveiled at the end of 2021 and available in China, the Oppo Air Glass will not be released in France for the moment. But Frandroid was able to get its hands on it and see more closely what this connected monocle had to offer.

Source: FRANDROID

After smartphones and watches, manufacturers are looking to equip us with a third screen to stay ever more connected without losing contact with the world around us. And in this game, our eyes remain the best support, the last which has not been totally taken over, except in science fiction films.

Before you turn into a cyborg or get a bionic eye, it’s easier to do using connected glasses or headphones that can distill information in front of your eyes.

Glasses ? No, a monocle over glasses

Last December, the Chinese firm presented its Oppo Air Glass, “augmented reality glasses”, as the brand explains. The glasses will actually be yours. Because Air Glass is a monocle to be fixed on a frame. Without it, the device will be of little use to you.

We took control of the Oppo Air Glass, the modern version of Google Glass
A monocle that requires glasses // Source: FRANDROID

We had the opportunity to test the product which unfortunately will not be available in France immediately. It comes in the form of a half pair of glasses. Hardly practical, you might say. And you are right. In 2022, the monocle is no longer really fashionable and Oppo’s invention does not quite assume its concept of a screen on one eye. You will therefore have to magnetize them on the branches of a real pair. First concern: if the temples of your frame are too thin, it will not work, the magnet provided being a bit wide.

The Air Glass (well the…) are fixed on the right side only and will therefore add a screen in front of your glass in the form of another glass. Aesthetically it’s questionable and adds extra thickness. But worn, the glasses thus connected are rather pleasant and without excessive weight (30 grams more).

We took control of the Oppo Air Glass, the modern version of Google Glass
A large branch with a speaker at the end and a screen on the glass // Source: FRANDROID

This strange monocle comes in the form of a slightly curved glass 7 mm thick and 5 cm long, all on a thick rod. It must be said that the latter embeds the entire system, the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor, a battery, microphones and a speaker at the end.

It’s actually a Spark micro-projector with micro-LED screen (5 lenses — 640 x 480 pixels). Custom waveguide technology enables the display in front of your eye. The screen is quite bright (up to 1300 nits), with a font and information in green which stand out quite well. In a room with standard brightness, you have no trouble reading the information displayed. If you find yourself outside, in a fairly sunny area, it will be a little more complicated. This is also the disadvantage of this ” assisted reality which doesn’t want to cut you off from the environment by adding information to a simple drink.

Multiple means of use, few uses

The Oppo Air Glass can be controlled in four ways: touch on the branch by pressing or to sweep up to go from one menu to another and confirm; with your head movements if you have activated the function in the application; with your Oppo Watch taking into account your gestures as a remote control; and finally, using the voice command. However, it’s Breeno, the house assistant who currently only understands Chinese (and a little English).

We took control of the Oppo Air Glass, the modern version of Google Glass
A screen on a screen and a display in green to read better (when you have the glass in front of your eye) // Source: FRANDROID

The connected glasses work with a companion application of the same name. It offers three tabs. Residence is there for basic functions (brightness adjustment, silent mode or do not disturb). Cards brings together the different usable applications and they are not legion for the moment (translation, weather, agenda, teleprompter). The kit is inopen-sourceand Oppo ensures that other partners should arrive to offer uses. At present, only Baidu is displayed to help with cycling navigation. At last, Settings allows various settings of the device.

Connected via Bluetooth to a smartphone (for the moment only from the Oppo range and under Android 11 at least), the Air Glass can also take advantage of other uses such as taking calls or listening to music. And yes, the monocle has a speaker to stream music (Spotify or any other service on your device). The sound is good, nothing more. Above all, it’s a little strange to only hear with one ear… but it’s also the design of the product that requires that.

What uses?

So what can the Oppo Air Glass be used for? At first glance, we see a professional use. Function Prompter may be the most interesting, because it will display the text that you have entered in the application on the screen to allow you to read it. Attention, this one will not scroll. It will be up to you to tap on the branch to display the different pages. You can simply adjust the font size.

We took control of the Oppo Air Glass, the modern version of Google Glass
Touch is one of the four means of controlling Air Glass // Source: FRANDROID

What’s also strange when reading the text (or any other information that appears for that matter) is the sensation that your eyes wander. In fact, it’s not just a feeling. Anyone in front of you will see your eyes branch off to the left of your glasses (your right) and wonder what you’re looking at the wrong way.

We took control of the Oppo Air Glass, the modern version of Google Glass
Your eyes look to the side to read the screen // Source: FRANDROID

It is also due to the thickness of the temple which slightly shifts the over-screen of your glasses and therefore your gaze. It is not fully aligned with the lens of your own frame. The monocle alone, without the need for glasses, would have been more in line with your sight. In addition, by adding a single screen, your two eyes mark the shift in the axis of vision a little more.

Whether you’re reading the weather, your appointments, or checking your activity data, both eyes will be drawn to this screen. But it only takes a quick glance for the majority of possibilities so you won’t be squinting tomorrow.

An asset for museums and exhibitions

Oppo hopes that its Air Glass can also be used in museums and exhibitions to provide additional information during the visit. We admit to seeing a very interesting contribution and less “gadgetthan for the rest. Because the Air Glass have the same flaw as the Google Glass in their time: difficult to see a long-term use in everyday life. It is true that, at the moment, the use cases are also not legion and that the development over time may make us lie.

We took control of the Oppo Air Glass, the modern version of Google Glass
The charging base // Source: FRANDROID

As it is, the product is however well put together. The touch controls are responsive, the display pleasant for quick information in a corner of his vision. Some translation functions were not very telling to us, because they were in Chinese-English only, but we could see the speed of execution.

The Oppo Air Glass announce three hours of battery life in operation and 40 hours on standby. To recharge, they have a base with proprietary socket that charges via USB-C and can also be operated on battery. However, don’t expect Oppo’s innovation anytime soon. Sold for nearly 700 euros, the glasses are currently only available in China.

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