I made it no secret that I wasn’t much of a fan of the Meta x Ray Ban smart glasses. I just didn’t really see the point in them. The built-in camera was pretty mid, and not a patch on even the most basic of smartphone. The cameras kinda ruined the overall look of the sunglasses, too. I also found them quite creepy. Tom Morgan-Freelander, our Deputy Editor, disagreed. But since trying them for myself, I’ve become sceptical of anyone offering sunglasses with cameras attached to them, but Xreal’s Air 2 Ultra may change my mind.
At CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Xreal has added a new model to its Air glasses lineup. That would be the Air 2 Ultra, a $699/£550 set of specs that come with full 3D tracking built-in. There’s some pretty impressive kit in there, with six degrees of freedom tracking that’s pretty well suited for TV binging or gaming. What I’m most excited for however, is the number of AR apps that could be hosted in the glasses, should developers actually want to.
The numbers make a pretty good case. The Air 2 Ultra glasses come with a 52-degree field of view and 500 nits of brightness. There’s also a 1080p screen for each eye, with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz.
For me, Xreal are doing what I wished the Meta x Ray-Ban glasses did. I want a pair of smart sunglasses that actually have a reason to exist, and AR could be that. My main gripe with the Meta x Ray-Ban glasses is that they were, in my opinion, an unnecessary gadget. They didn’t offer a VR feature, but also looked too strange to wear out and about. The Xreal Air 2 Ultra seems somewhere in the middle. Yes, it has cameras pointing out from the left and right side of the frame, but the AR capabilities make it somewhat cool. Or, at the very least, it serves a sci-fi, futuristic purpose.
Whether developers will actually take advantage of these AR glasses remains to be seen. We’ll have to wait until they’re shipped out in March to find that out. But on first impressions, the Xreal Air 2 Ultra may have me believing in hi-tech specs again.
The Xreal Air Ultra 2 smart glasses are available to pre-order here.