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

It's life after Glass for these new face gadgets
Now and next: The best smartglasses

Google Glass feels like a long time ago now, right? Let's declare the mourning period for that particular tech experiment to be over. Plenty of tech startups and companies are launching either totally new smartglasses or refined versions of old devices.

And the rise of the shiny, new tech term 'mixed reality' - which signals something much more present and interactive than the fixed, boring augmented reality - hasn't hurt either.

From first-person videos and photos, to turn-by-turn directions, and facial recognition of the people you meet, the invasion of the smartglasses is (still) 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...

Snap Spectacles

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

The hipster choice of smartglasses, Snap's Spectacles keep things simple and stylish. The smartglasses record 10 seconds of circular video at a time, which is then shared to SnapChat and on other social media like Twitter. That's it. They charge in the case, 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).

They're cheap, they're cheerful and they handily sidestep privacy concerns - 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 old and boring. Can you get hold of a pair, though? Only if you keep your eye out/beg/borrow/pay double on Amazon. Look out for a review soon.

$130, spectacles.com | Amazon

Vuzix Blade 3000

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

Vuzix's prosumer smartglasses are "probably the nicest looking, most comfortable pair of proper smartglasses" our US editor Hugh Langley has ever tried. And we don't take that endorsement likely.

When they arrive, the Blade 3000s will cost less than $1000 - a promising start - and offer a display projected onto the right lens to overlay emails or even YouTube videos on the world around you. There's voice assistant and touchpad controls plus a camera to capture stills and 1080p video, eight hours of battery life, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and potential designer collaborations on the horizon. Coming later this year.

TBC, vuzix.com

ODG R7 AR/R8 and R9

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

Each side of ODG's R7 AR glasses has a 720p lens which 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.

Read this: ODG ported Pokémon GO to its AR smartglasses

Now, the R8 and R9 were both debuted at CES 2017. Both offer bigger field of views than before - 40 degrees for the R8 and 50 degrees for the R9. There's also positional tracking which is a big deal and thanks to the Snapdragon 835 processor inside. Each also offers higher res images - dual 1080p displays on each of the new specs.

The R8 glasses are the sleeker and lighter of the two 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 still not cheap. R8 and R9 dev kits are coming in Q3 of 2017 but there's no firm release date yet.

$2,750 (R7), $1000 (R8), $1,800 (R9), osterhoutgroup.com

Vue

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

Vue's glasses and smartglasses are the product of a $2m Kickstarter campaign that aims to ship the smart specs by July 2017. 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 in when Vue starts shipping this summer.

$189, vue.backerkit.com

Solos

Following in the footsteps of the Recon Jet setup, 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 ship in October but, from the looks of the Kickstarter campaign, they are delayed.

They'll work with existing running apps like Strava and MapMyRide, offer navigation and are 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.

$500, solos-wearables.com

Level

Another pair of smartglasses that wants to put fitness tracking onto your face, these smart specs are the work of the University of Southern California's Center for Body Computing and VSP Global. The latter was previously involved in creating frames for Google Glass.

Level are worn like a normal pair of glasses but have a series of sensors embedded into the frame including a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer. The tech is used to monitor steps, distance, calories burned and active time. This data is all logged inside a smartphone app and when you reach a certain points goal, it can earn the reward of a free eye exam or glasses for someone in need.

An early prototype was launched last year, but now it's being prepped for an academic study and a consumer pilot research with results to be revealed at some point in 2017.

$TBC, VSPglobal.com

Vuzix M300

Vuzix's existing M300 smart glasses are built for enterprise and come with a comfortable but 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 to take pics, 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 its predecessor 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 and is working with drone maker DJi so you can control flights straight from your specs.

$900, epson.com

Recon Jet

Designed for cyclists, these sporty looking specs wouldn't look out of place on the Tour De France, and are designed to deliver the kind of data Team Sky riders would kill for. Combining a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, HD camera, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, altimeter, thermometer and GPS receiver, the Jet delivers detailed ride statistics directly to your eyes.

Connect Jet to up to eight ANT+ or Bluetooth peripherals (such as heart rate monitors, power meters and cadence sensors) and you'll get a full report on how your body's doing, too. The removable battery is a big plus for long rides, and the option of prescription inserts means they should be good fit for all.

$499, reconinstruments.com | Amazon

Sony SmartEyeGlass

Sony released the essential tools to allow developers to start coding applications for its Google Glass rival a while ago and the SmartEyeGlass hardware seems to be stuck in dev phase.

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, if Sony chooses to release it beyond the business world.

$899, developer.sonymobile.com

Sony SmartEyeGlass Attach

But you don't actually need to stick a full Sony headset on your bonce; the Attach accessory was unveiled back in 2015 and the company used the smart accessory for its AR talks at SXSW 2016.

Sony SmartEyeGlass Attach features a 0.23-inch OLED single lens microdisplay, with a 640 x 400 resolution and a control board which contains an ARM processor, sensor hub, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. The display module is just 40g, and there's a 400mAh battery to power the whole thing. Sadly, it's still - STILL - just a concept at this point and there's no indication from Sony as to how much it might cost.

$TBC, developer.sonymobile.com

Jins Meme

Google Glass alternatives

This smart eyewear from a Tokyo-based company doesn't provide an AR experience for their wearers; it uses bio-sensing tech to detect changes in a wearer's eye and body movements to track and alert on safety, health and fitness. The glasses can track tiredness and alert drivers who may be about to nod off.

EOG electrodes built into the frames and in the nose pads can detect blinks and eye movement in eight directions, and the accelerometer and gyroscope sensors along the earpiece monitor body axis and walking pattern to improve posture.

Jins Meme hasn't been released outside Japan and apps won't work outside the country. If you're in Japan, the ES model will cost 39,000JPY (roughly $350) and 19,000JPY (around $170) for the MT model.

$TBC, jins-jp.com

21 Comments

  • Chuck says:

    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 says:

    I LOVE GLASSES Y'ALL

  • don says:

    is there a glass that you could us s a teleprompter

  • ARTechie says:

    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 says:

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

  • yogibimbi says:

    Garmin Varia Vision?

  • PatrickJ says:

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

  • Vincent says:

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

  • trollbob2000 says:

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

  • udaygulati says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  • Lockpro says:

    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.

  • Bhilley says:

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

  • Donnieboy says:

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

  • chitown388 says:

    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 says:

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

    • ant76 says:

      The VUE has that functionality.

  • goran74 says:

    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 says:

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

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