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Appletell Review: Vuzix iWear AV920

Sections: Features, iPod, iPod Accessories, Originals, Reviews

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Vuzix iWear AV920I bought an iPod Touch mainly because it brought a decent-sized widescreen display to the iPod – something that my old iPod 5G was missing. But what if you could extend your iPod’s viewing potential to 60 inches in front of your eyes? Well, that’s probably what Vuzix was thinking when they came up with the iWear AV920 glasses.

The AV920 glasses look like something from the future, hardly matching anything any portable media player I know. The metallic black plastic covers both of your eyes from the front, and at the back, your eyes look into two high-resolution displays that both create a virtual 60-inch display 2.5 inches away from you. It took a while for me to adjust the glasses, but fortunately adjustability is very easy on the AV920. The included earbuds that hang off the side of the glasses produce nice quality sound, too – but they didn’t suit my ears. Luckily again, the earbuds easily slide out, so that you can insert your own headphones. The glasses are lightweight and ergonomic, and things like the nosepiece are adjustable for maximum comfort.

Connecting the AV920 glasses to a video source is simple. In most cases, Vuzix’s supplied cables will do you fine. There’s one for standard component video, an iPod adapter (only iPod 5G, not iPod Classic or iPod Touch) and even a USB cable for certain sources. I was using Vuzix’s portable DVD player to watch the supplied demo movie. After adjusting it for my eyes, I was impressed by the video quality – especially the 3D scenes.

Vuzix

The AV920’s are great if you want privacy while watching a video; and the supplied “Light Shield” can be added to block out any light that might disturb your viewing. Because the quality is so good, you really are immersed in the viewing of video on this device. It produces vivid and realistic colours, on a bright backlit display that can be adjusted to one’s preferences (although an ambient light sensor would have been nice addition). I used them for about 30 minutes of viewing with absolutely no problem – but I wouldn’t want to use them for much longer than that without taking a short break.

The batteries are rechargeable and housed externally in a battery pack. It hardly takes up any room, and is also the hub in which audio/video can be plugged in to the AV920’s. One 4-hour charge will give the device 5 hours of use. The batteries haven’t run out since I first charged them – and I’ve given it a good amount of usage.

The on-screen display (OSD) is very simple and easy to use. There are 6 icons: LCD Brightness, Contrast, Video Mode Control (2D/3D), Backlight Brightness, Factory Reset, and Exit OSD. All of these settings are controlled from one scroll wheel that scrolls left, right and clicks. Everything else is controlled via the video source, e.g. an iPod.

Vuzix

For $349, this is an amazing product. If you want a view into the future, this is the cheapest way to get there. iPod owners that want to extend from a 2-inch to a 60-inch screen can do so by just putting these glasses over their eyes. These are perfect for use at home or travel, for example on an airplane. Vuzix also have a new model that has been launched this month called the AV920-C, that connects to a games console like a PlayStation 3, and can play multiplayer games.

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  • Adam Fisher-Cox

    Any eye strain at all?

  • REGoodson

    I just wish that there was a device that I could aquire, that would allow me to put my own content on each screen, a left and right video input! Or must I build my own sync system, if they just had a wire in the bundle coming from the glasses that would allow you to use left screen on high, right screen on low. Maybe I should try syncing the LEDs behind each screen… I dunno, but I'm seeking the answer somewhere.

  • Alex

    It's a little worrisome how the reviews for this product range from "great" to "abysmal" (CNET and others)…

  • clayton schartz

    When you deal with the people at vuzix, they treat you like you are an indentured servant to technology, when it comes to contacting them about repairs (that can happen easily because of their fragile components), you are better of finding a third party as they are only interested in selling whatever surplus supply they have invested. Also their English is sub-standard.