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MyVu video glasses reviewed

March 24th, 2008 by Marc in A/V Devices

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I’ll admit to being skeptical about the whole portable video concept. It’s a matter of fitting it into my life – music I can listen to pretty much anywhere, but to make use of portable video you have to be not driving, cycling, walking down the street, or operating any machinery. Which pretty much rules out most of my days!

Having just said that I spent last week commuting via train which left me with long gaps in the day to fill, so I got to spend some quality time with the MyVu personal media viewer. Follow the jump to find out how I got on…

To get the technical specs out of the way first, the MyVu glasses house a pair of QVGA resolution LCD screens and some earbuds, in a design eerily reminiscent of a certain star trek fashion accessory. You also get a remote control pendant for power / brightness and contrast adjustment.

The unit operates from a built in rechargeable battery integrated into the remote control pendant. They claim a runtime of about 4 hours out of a fully charged battery and certainly charging it every night made it last through the day for me. Charging is via USB.

MyVu claim that the lightweight design leaves you aware of your surroundings. And they’re right, sort of. When you’re wearing them you only have to glance down to see what’s going on around you. Handy for catching the drinks trolly on the plane, but walking around the street will take practice. I don’t recommend it…

universal_kit_pic[1]The MyVu glasses come in different versions – I was reviewing the "Universal" edition, compatible with 5G iPod video and Archos media players amongst others.

In the box you get cables to connect to various devices, a USB cable for charging and various sizes of earbuds and nose pieces to ensure a comfortable fit. You also get a soft pouch to store the glasses in.

So specs and presentation are all good. But how well do they work?

Surprisingly well is the answer. Picture quality is good but the big factor for me is the ergonomics of having a screen in front of your eyes all the time. I’ll be the first to admit that the screen on the iPod is pretty good, and the ones on the Archos devices are even better – but have you ever sat there for an hour and watched them? You basically have to hold the thing in front of you, angling it to bounce the ambient light away, then maintain that position for an hour. Really not that useful.

When you wear the screen though it’s a different story – you can just sit back into the chair and stare at the ceiling letting the image wash over you. It’s a much more immersive environment. The MyVu is light enough that it can sit on your head for an hour without feeling heavy and taking the glasses off to return to reality is quite a jolt!

On the audio side the earbuds are of the sound isolating variety so they block out a fair chunk of the ambient noise. You can still hear external announcements, just, but you don’t have to crank the volume all the way up to hear the content. Sound quality is very good too.

A surprise bonus (as verified by the passenger I sat next to) is that no sound leaks out of the earbuds to annoy anybody around you either.

It’s not all good news though – there are a couple of points potential buyers need to be aware of. Whether these matter to you depends on your personal priorities:

- The displays aren’t widescreen and the player has to be configured for 4:3 mode to match the screen. This means you may miss some of the picture, depending on how your player handles the 4:3 conversion. The iPod chops the side of the image – I got used to it but it’s annoying at first.

- The view at first seems relatively small. It’s basically the same as looking at the native iPod screen. Granted there is a practical limit to how large 320×240 will go before it becomes unwatchable so perhaps this is unavoidable but it would be nice if it was a bit bigger.

- There is no focus adjustment on the MyVu so If you wear spectacles you might need special clip on lenses. I say "might" because I do wear them but my prescription is relatively weak and I could get by without the extra lenses. The clip on lenses are available as a separate accessory.

All in all I enjoyed using the MyVu. I found it especially useful for using otherwise dead commuter time to catch up with video podcasts that I’d otherwise miss.

In an ideal world I’d like to see widescreen compatibility, a slightly larger perceived viewing size and some eyepiece adjustment but for $200 I don’t think I can complain.

6 Comments on “MyVu video glasses reviewed”

MyVu video eyewear reviewed » Coolest Gadgets Says:

March 24th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

[...] I recently spent some quality time with the MyVu personal media viewer. It’s an interesting gadget; I’ve not experienced video on the move like that before. Check out the full review on our sister site Coolest Reviews. [...]

Matthew Says:

March 27th, 2008 at 5:15 am

They sound interesting. I have a fairly strong prescription so I am not sure how my eyes would take to them. It would be nice if a focus adjustment was included as I believe they would work for me if that was possible as I just have a slight variation in each eye.

Shannon Says:

April 9th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Interesting review. I’d really like to get one of these to hook up with my PC. I know there are VGA versions out there but they’re too expensive. I was just wondering if I had TV Out on my PC and hooked it up to the AV in of the MyVu, would this work? Would I be able to see the entire screen even at higher resolutions for my PC?

Finally, I’d like to try gaming on this thing. Is it gonna be possible?

Marc Says:

April 15th, 2008 at 11:01 am

I’ve sent the review sample back now so I can’t check. There was a cable for viewing a standard (composite) TV picture in the box though so I would have thought it would work using a TV out.

If the PC is able to drive a normal (non HD) TV then it should drive the iView, but what the picture quality will be like is another question! The iView has 320×240 screens, so even if you take the PC down to 800×600 something is still going get lost along the way.

i-Bean Head Mounted Video System » Coolest Gadgets Says:

April 30th, 2008 at 1:12 pm

[...] myvu put itself on prominent display at CES Las Vegas this year, and you can read about that on our Sister Site. The Vuzix iWear VR920 was also on display at CES, and it looks somewhat [...]

Yummy Says:

July 16th, 2008 at 11:30 am

I have tested many different models from different brands. So far, for me the best is relaxview. I think the website is http://www.relaxview.eu Quality, good prices, and nice models.

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