The best augmented reality glasses 2018: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

It's life after Glass for these face gadgets

Smartglasses are getting smarter and augmented reality specs are finally approaching prime time - and plenty of startups are getting into the space.

It's not just about slapping a camera on your face, either. AR, fitness tracking and mixed reality are all powering the next generation of smart eyewear.

Read this: Augmented reality explained

From first-person videos and photos to turn-by-turn directions, health-sensing and facial recognition, the invasion of the smartglasses is very much alive.

We don our future-specs to reveal both the best smartglasses on the market and the upcoming devices we believe have the potential to take connected specs mainstream in the next five years - check them out below.

Best AR smartglasses

Vuzix Blade Commercial Edge

The best smartglasses 2017: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

We were absolutely smitten with the Vuzix Blade smartglasses when we tried them out at CES this year. They make AR glasses look better than ever, in more ways than one. First, they actually look good. Not exactly Oakley's, but they don't scream "Look at me, I'm technology!"

They're not totally consumer-focused, but Vuzix is hoping that it's a large step in that direction. Alexa is on board to help out with all your smart assistant needs, and you've also got things like turn-by-turn navigation, location based alerts (think Yelp reviews) and messages.

The display is really good, with even photos looking crisp and vibrant. There's also an 8MP camera on board, with 4GB of storage to fill up with what you want. As for battery life, you can expect around two to two-and-a-half hours.

The Blade AR is maybe the best move toward mainstream AR glasses we've seen yet. The best bit? Vuzix has worked to lower the price from the original $1,800 down to $1,000, just like it said it would. It also comes with a slight name change: The Vuzix Blade Commercial Edge.

$999, vuzix.com

Solos

Solos aims to become a cyclist's best friend. These smartglasses pack in a small heads-up display enabling cyclists to glance at a host of useful data in real time, including speed, cadence, heart rate and power zones. They were supposed to be out in late 2016, but got held up by FCC certifications until recently and are shipping to backers now.

Read this: Trying on the Solos AR cycling glasses

They'll work with existing running apps like Strava and MapMyRide, will offer navigation and they're compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+ devices if you want to pair them with other cycling tracking kit. Solos has already been worn and used by the US Cycling team, so these glasses come with an elite athlete seal of approval.

$499, solos-wearables.com

Everysight Raptor

The best smartglasses 2017: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

Like the Solos specs, Israel-based outfit Everysight has taken its years of expertise building heads-up displays for the military and built its own smart AR smartglasses for cyclists.

With smartphone-like internals, the Raptors use an OLED-based projector system to provide the display, which along with a host of onboard sensors can show mapping data, heart rate information and other ride info.

Essential reading: Cycling with Everysight's AR smartglasses

There's also a camera to offer action-cam-style footage and voice commands to use the specs hands-free. Everysight launched the Raptor smartglasses last August and the company is now working on encouraging developers to build applications for the platform.

From $649, everysight.com

ODG R7 AR/R8 and R9

The best smartglasses 2017: Snap, Vuzix, ODG and more

First released back in 2015, ODG's crop of AR glasses is growing. Let's start with the enterprise-focused ODG's R7 AR glasses, which feature 720p lenses that are 80% transparent and can show video at 80fps with a 37 degree FOV. As well as a 4MP camera, there's voice recognition, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a whole bunch of gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers inside. There's also a more durable version, dubbed the R-7HL, which is available for those who need smartglasses in more hazardous conditions.

Read this: ODG ported Pokémon GO to its AR smartglasses

The R8, which isn't available yet and R9, which you can reserve now, are future options offered by the company. They both offer bigger fields of view than the R7 models ‚Äď 40 degrees for the R8 and 50 degrees for the R9. There's also positional tracking, which is a big deal. Thanks to the Snapdragon 835 processor inside, each also offers higher res images ‚Äď dual 1080p displays on each of the new specs.

The R8 glasses are the sleeker and lighter of the pair, and more aimed at regular people, with a pair of 1080p cameras that are said to be able to capture 3D video. ODG has managed to get these way down in price too, though they're still not cheap.

$2,749 (R7), $3,499 (R-7HL), $1,999 (R9), TBD (R8) osterhoutgroup.com

Vuzix M300

Building off the success of Vuzix's M100 smart glasses are the M300s, which are made for enterprise and come with a comfortable yet rugged design.

With an Intel Atom processor powering performance, the M300s run on Android with 2GB RAM, 16GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi connectivity among the more notable specs. There's also a 13-megapixel camera, head tracking support and dual cancelling microphones.

$1,499, vuzix.com

Epson Moverio BT-300

The BT-300 smartglasses ditch the clunky look of their predecessor, returning with a sleeker, more polished pair of AR smartglasses. The BT-300 is lighter than the previous model and not quite as geeky-looking either.

It uses a significantly sharper 720p HD resolution OLED display, and now packs a 5-megapixel front facing camera. It's also powered by an Intel Atom quad core processor with Android Lollipop covering the software bases.

While Epson's smart glasses have always been quite business-focused, it has teased the prospect of using them in the gym to race in virtual environments ‚Äď and there's also a drone edition so you can use them to control your DJi drone straight from your specs.

$699, epson.com

Sony SmartEyeGlass

Sony released the essential tools to allow developers to start coding applications for its Google Glass rival way back in 2014. It's taken a while, but you can finally buy the developer edition.

The SmartEyeGlass includes a bunch of features, including a gyroscope, accelerometer, ambient light sensor and built-in camera. However, the monochrome screen is likely to put off consumers.

On the plus side, it is one of the more affordable options on the list. If you're in the US, you'll be able to purchase them from B&H.

$349, developer.sonymobile.com

DreamGlass

The best augmented reality glasses 2018: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

As you'll notice above, most AR smartglasses are expensive. They typically come down as tech and components get easier to make. DreamGlass, the situation is quite the opposite. They're heavily discounted until 5 December. After that, the price raises to $619. So if you're interested you better pull the trigger quick.

Currently only offered as a developer kit, the smartphone-powered DreamGlass brings a resolution of 2.5K, a 90-degree field of view, 1080p RGB camera and built-in gesture control. And by offering compatibility with Unity, this is one device that could legitimately become a cost-effective option for developers to build from. It's one to keep an eye on for the future, but for now you can get a better look at what the folks at DreamWorld are cooking by jumping over to our first impressions of DreamGlass.

$399, dreamworldvision.com

It's not all about what you can see

Snap Spectacles 2.0

The best augmented reality glasses 2018: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

The young person's choice of smartglasses, Snap's second-generation Spectacles improve upon the original in worthy ways. You don't just have to take 10 seconds of video, you can also take photos now. Don't worry about getting them wet either, as the second-gen Specs are water resistant. Of course, you'll only be able to share your photos and video to the Snapchat app, which thankfully has faster data transfer now, though we still wish we could send our snaps straight to the camera roll.

Read this: How Specs changed my vacation

They're cheap, they're cheerful and they handily sidestep privacy concerns ‚Äď if someone's looking at you with a pair of these bad boys on (and the lights are on), they're probably filming you. If not, then sorry, you're too boring. While they can be pretty useless for everyday activities, they really shine when you're doing something special, like vacationing, and you just want your devices to get out of the way so you can enjoy that beautiful view.

The glasses also charge in a case that's smaller than the first one was. It's all really simple. (FYI Snap is making acquisitions that make a set of AR glasses likely. Imagine your filter game when that happens).

All in all, Specs have improved over the first generation, but we still aren't entirely convinced they're worth the outlay. Find out why in our full Snap Spectacles 2 review.

$150, spectacles.com | Amazon

Lowdown Focus

The best smartglasses 2018: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

Toronto-based wearable tech company InterAxon has partnered up with the Italian Safilo Group to create the newly named Lowdown Focus, in collaboration with Smith Optics. These are a pair of brain-sensing glasses and/or sunglasses aimed at improving your performance under pressure.

These stylish glasses are packed with sensors that can track brainwaves, eye movement, facial expressions and more. Plus there's a three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and pressure sensors. It's got real-time biofeedback, brain training exercises and meditation help you get "in the zone", focus and stay calm when it's showtime.

$349, smithoptics.com

Vue

The best smartglasses 2017: Snap, Vuzix, Sony and more

Vue's prescription glasses and smartglasses are the product of a $2m Kickstarter campaign that was aiming to ship the smart glasses by July 2017. However, after dealing with some technical challenges, they've now been delayed to June 2018.

Again, there's no AR here. Instead, Vue glasses use bone conduction tech so you can use these instead of earphones, as well as a touch interface to control music and calls. They also handle notifications and activity tracking.

We were impressed with the music playback when we saw prototypes last year, and we'll check back with them once they're closer to shipping.

$199, enjoyvue.com

Level

The best augmented reality glasses 2018: Snap, Vuzix, ODG, Sony & more

VSP's Level smartglasses aren't the smartest pair of glasses out there. They're essentially light fitness trackers that will give you your step count, miles, calories burned and active time. But they're also nice and stylish, with cute names referencing important inventors that made Level possible.

However, what makes them special is that they use fitness tracking not to help you, but to help others. The companion app will give you a point every time you hit your fitness goal. When you get 50 points, you can redeem them for free eye care and a pair of glasses for a person from one of four groups: Homeless, a child, veterans or seniors.


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30 comments

  • Chuck·

    You left out Vuzix. Their M100 is available from Amazon. With the recent investment by Intel, their new wave guide glasses should be out "real soon now".

  • chels·

    I LOVE GLASSES Y'ALL

  • don·

    is there a glass that you could us s a teleprompter

  • ARTechie·

    Of all the glasses you mentioned, none have been implemented in the field (and saving users hundreds of thousands of dollars) like the Vuzix M100,currently being upgraded to the M300. A simple web search would have revealed the M100's dominance in the field. Who is feeding you your information? Are you even aware that Vuzix won 8 awards at this years CES?

  • wenwen88516·

    The product is awesome! we designed a new smart glasses at http://snip.ly/o7n99

  • yogibimbi·

    Garmin Varia Vision?

  • PatrickJ·

    looking forward to the day we don't have to lug around smart phones.  

  • Vincent·

    The winner will be the manufacturers that incorporate OLED displays rather than LED.

  • trollbob2000·

    What a pointless steaming hole to throw money into.  All trending and looking wannabee for about a week..... then FLUSH...

  • udaygulati·

    Does anyone know which would be the best pair of glasses for video chatting with someone? ie showing someone what you are seeing while chatting with them. Probably one of the most useful use cases on Glass.

  • Soulfiremage·

    When is someone going to give us decent glasses for simple things like reading, discreet browsing and straight forward work? And not just years of endless developer kit only pre release stuff?

  • jlev·

    Someone please develop an app for use in these glasses that allows a singer to read lyrics. I write long songs but can't remember all the words. It would be incredibly useful to use as a teleprompter. 

  • jlev·

    I need glasses that allow me to read lyrics like a teleprompter. Someone please make this reality. 

  • Lockpro·

    I want wearable glasses with a POV camera that can be aimed. I want to record repairs of small items that are held in my hand, or repairs that are no more than 3' from my face. Must also have a built in monitor so I can easily see if my shot is framed correctly. The monitor must also be able to be used as a telepromter or to be able to display power point slides to guide the instructor comments during a live session. Finally, the frames must be able to accommodate prescription lenses.

    • Extraneus·

      Check out Laforge Shima glasses; I believe they're set to cover most of these needs on launch, if everything works out as planned. Keeping the video camera rolling for remote viewing instead of just up to 30 seconds of recording will probably take a custom app for the smartphone and companion mod for the glasses, but I can't imagine that it wouldn't be doable... 

  • Bhilley·

    Love it! I would absolutely wear the Vue frames!!

  • Donnieboy·

    I need those Italian GlassUps, why you didn't mention them? Best design by far!

  • chitown388·

    how about glasses (currently in development) with liquid lenses that can adjust itself based on so that you are seeing, so that you will only need one pair of glasses to see clearly both close and far?

  • Rumol·

    Wish author of article had listed their cntact email. Looking for glasses with GPS so can find them when lost.

    • ant76·

      The VUE has that functionality.

  • goran74·

    I just finished the very interesting web site regarding shopping.Currently I seeking investors to develop this web site.Web site is new. We can call it the next step of online shopping. The main product of the smart glasses. Would you like to send you the video to see what was going on? Thank you, Goran

  • ant76·

    I'm surprised to not see Laforge's 'Shima' glasses in this list.

    • Extraneus·

      This! The Shima glasses from Laforge are easily the best looking and most promising smart spectacles under development at the moment! People above are asking for teleprompter and music lyrics capabilities; these will be there from the start with the Shimas...

  • akki·

    i want a simple looking smart glass that no one can obsereve it being one....

    and to answer phone...

    which is the best??

  • hmott·

    Why are cyclists and athletes getting all the attention?  I've always wanted to have a wearable HUD, but frankly I couldn't care less about my heart rate.  People who literally NEED one for health reasons probably already have it.  For myself, I'd like to be able to walk casually down the street, with my head held high while watching a yt video.  And HUD's don't need cameras, make those an attachable accessory.  I don't want people around me wondering if I'm secretly recording them.  Any HUD models that only come with an integrated camera, I'm not buying.  That's a good option for athletes, but not everyday-city-people.

  • Melan4e·

    Snapchat glasses seem the most current but we should be careful as a simple snapchat hack can make all our data accessible to everyone.

  • Derrilin57·

    I'm a disabled musician with brain injuries and memory issues and all I need is to be able to put pdf's up on a cool looking pair of these glasses, no cameras, gps or medicals needed. If they're available already, could someone point me to them. Thanks.

  • Gorillacramp·

    You should have a look at Lucyd, they are working on AR glasses with a blockchain powered app store. Prototype expected in early 2019 with production to follow soon afterwards. lucyd.co

  • Chisco9·

    I've got the Epson moverio BT300, I've got it paired to an external keyboard, mouse and a headphone. I use to check my emails, to fly my drone and I also use it as my skype phone. I also use it to watch YouTube video and films on Netflix. Basically I use it for everything a phone can do. To really enjoy the moverio download all the apps you want from the Amazon app store.

    I'm thinking of getting the vuzix but need to be convinced it can replace my moverio

  • skeptic·

    i'm looking for smart glass that will show me my right visual field while driving: this is due to a medical problem that took out my right visual field. that means i need a camera that either is wide angle or sits on glasses pointing to my right side, or both. With view then placed in front of my eyes. so far i've not been able to find that. don't care about taking pictures or videos nor about being able to project things from internet onto my visual field, although i will accept that if i can get the basics i need. any ideas anyone? thanks