Top Google Glass alternatives

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Google Glass is an augmented reality headset made by the folks at Google. Functioning in the same way as a pair of glasses, Google Glass is thee to provide a smartphone-like experience without having to use your hands. You may be wondering what Google Glass actually does, and whether it’s worth having. Allow us to explain the ins-and-outs of the device, as well as showing you some of the alternatives that are available for you to buy.


1. So what can Google Glass do?

The main component of Google Glass is a small glass prism that’s attached to a body with is itself attached to a pair of glasses frames. The prism functions as a heads-up-display (HUD) that shows you everything that you’re doing. The body itself is also home to a five mega pixel camera. Glass can be used to surf the internet, check and send email, take photos, record video, and get GPS directions. There are also a selection of apps including Evernote, Path, Facebook, and Twitter with more being released all the time.

Like smartwatches Glass can also be used to receive from your smartphone, and while it can’t negate the need for a phone completely, it can complement your smartphone is a similar way.

Google Glass can be purchased directly from Google for £1,000.

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2. The alternatives

So now we know what Google Glass is, it’s important to note that it isn’t the only pair of smartglasses out there. One of the key issues with smartglasses are it stands right now is that the vast majority of them either exist as concepts or have been discontinued for a variety of reasons. There are still some out there, and we have found four alternatives to Google Glass that are/will be available for the general public to purchase.

3. Epson Moverio BT-200

The BT-200 is designed to be a more in-depth augmented reality experience, merging the digital world with the real one. The glasses display the equivalent of a quarter high-definition (960 x 540) 320-inch display within your field of vision. A number of apps are available from the Moverio Apps Market, and the device comes with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, six hours of battery life, 8GB of expandable storage, and a camera. The BT-200 also comes with Bluetooth Wi-Fi, and Miracast connectivity, the latter being especially important because it means you can cast the glasses’ display onto any Miracast compatible TV screen.

You can buy the Epson Moverio BT-200 from Amazon for £549.

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4. Meta 1/Meta Pro

The glasses from Meta are designed to let you see and interact with 3D holograms, similar to the tech Tony Stark used in Iron Man. The holograms are overlayed on top of the physical world for people to interact with them in real time using a natural grab, pinch, and touch interface. Meta’s products aren’t really designed for the average day-to-day users, rather they’re meant to be a tool for designers to utilise in order to visualise their designs in a more realistic way. With that in mind it shouldn’t be surprising that Meta’s products do not come with things like smartphone integration, or GPS. It’s got one function that it does well, rather than throwing everything together.

Two versions are available, the Meta Pro and the Meta 1 Development Kit. The MEta Pro is only available in limited numbers and you have to inquire with Meta if you want to get your hands on one. The Meta 1 DK, on the other hand, is available for anyone to purchase. It comes with a qHD display, a 720p camera, and Dolby 3D audio.

You can pre-order the Meta 1Development Kit here for $667 (£416). You can inquire about the Meta Pro here.

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5. Recon Jet

The Recon Jet is a HUD specifically designed for sport. It’s everything you need from a smart device while you’re exercising, but with the convenience of being on your face. The Jet includes a display that’s angled downwards so you can quickly glance at it without the risk of losing your footing and comes built onto a pair of sunglasses. Like any other fitness-based wearable the Jet comes with built-in performance metrics that display details like speed, space, heart rate and so on. If that wasn’t enough, they’re also water and dustproof, come with an HD camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, as well as smartphone connectivity so that you can get your notifications on the go.

You can pre-order the Recon Jet here for $599 (£374).

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6. Sony SmartEyeglass

The SmartEyeglass isn’t due for commercial release until March, and unlike the other on this list isn’t available for pre-order just yet. They are coming, though, so don’t worry too much about it.

The glasses act as full-on heads-up-display overlayed onto a natural view of the world. The glasses connect directly to your smartphone via a wireless connection, and also come with a wired controller. This controller is where the device’s battery is kept, so the bulkiest part isn’t resting on your face all day long. The glasses also come with a 3MP camera, and a number of apps will be available at launch including basic facial recognition that can display people’s information next to their face, and a city guide that points out various points of interest as you pass by.

Details are a bit scarce right now, as is the pricing and exact release date. That being said, Sony has promised that the glasses will be available to the public in March.

Tom Pritchard