Vuzix iWear AV920 Video Eyewear Review

I love my 65 inch TV. Even though it’s a rear projection TV and not a flat screen, which means it takes up a lot of space in my basement. I went from a 27 inch TV straight up to 65. I can’t go back now… no way. What do you do if you don’t have room for a giant TV, but still want that big screen experience? Vuzix thinks they have a solution with their iWear AV490 Video Eyewear. These glasses claim to give you a 62 inch screen experience. Let’s just see about that…

vuzix iwear av920

Hardware Specs

Twin high-resolution 640×480 (920,000 pixels) LCD displays
Equivalent to a 62″ screen viewed from 9 feet
Millions of colors
Visor weighs 2.9 ounces
Integrated rechargeable lithium ion battery allows approximately five hours of continuous operation
60 Hz progressive scan update rate

vuzix iwear av920

Package Contents

iWear AV920
Lens cleaning carrying pouch
Headstrap
DVD Player Cable
5th Generation Video iPod Cable (Cable Will NOT work with iPod Classic, iPod Nano, iPhone or iPod Touch)
Composite audio/video cable
Manual with warranty and safety instructions


I’ve always wondered how good video glasses were, but thought I wouldn’t be able to test them given the fact that I already wear regular glasses. The AV920’s can be worn with glasses, so I was happy to give them a try.

vuzix iwear av920

The glasses are made of shiny Black plastic and have a 53 inch cable with a small module connected at one end.

vuzix iwear av920

This module is where you plug in the included mini USB cable for charging, or one of the included video cables that allow you to connect these glasses to various video sources. Supported Devices include: Portable DVD players, Media players, Gaming systems, Digital cameras, Camcorders, Cellular phones with video output, iPod 5th generation devices. The iWear AV920 is designed to connect to almost all NTSC or PAL audio/video device with video out capabilities. For this review, I used my iPod Classic and a regular DVD player.

vuzix iwear av920

The AV920’s are like normal glasses in as much as they have folding temples…

vuzix iwear av920

and an adjustable nose bridge.

vuzix iwear av920

The default bridge has nose pads that can be customized by bending the wires that they are attached to. You can also remove this bridge and install a rubber bridge that is also included.

vuzix iwear av920

Also included is a soft rubber light shield that can be used with either style nose bridge.

You’ll notice the earphones that are built into the frame of the glasses. These earbuds are attached to flexible stems. The earphones aren’t really designed to fit inside your ears though…

You might think that a gadget like these video glasses might be difficult to use. That’s definitely not the case. All you have to do is to charge the glasses using the included USB cable for about 4 hours. This will give you approximately 5 hours of play time per charge. Once charged, you connect the appropriate video cable to the module and then connect your preferred video output device.

vuzix iwear av920

To power on the glasses, you just press the spring loaded wheel on the bottom right edge of the glasses. From there, you turn on the video device and video will begin playing on the twin LCD color screens inside the glasses. The wheel can be turned to adjust the volume in the earphones, or pressed to bring up the on screen menu which gives you the ability to change brightness, contrast, backlight brightness and video mode control (2D/3D).

The very first thing that I noticed with these glasses was the fact that I could not use either nose bridge style. The one with the adjustable nose pads stuck out too far and didn’t allow me to fit the video glasses close enough to my eyes while I was wearing my regular glasses. I tried bending them in a variety of ways, but had no real luck. I didn’t have much luck with the rubber nose bridge style either. Even when I took my glasses off, neither style felt right or allowed the glasses to sit on my face well enough. I couldn’t see the video without my glasses anyway. It was blurry. I ended up taking off the nose bridge altogether and then the video glasses were able to fit me – sorta. They still were not very comfortable.

vuzix iwear av920
Oh look, it’s Geordi La Forge’s sister!

Video quality watching regular videos from my iPod or with a DVD player through these glasses was good. I won’t say it was super fantastic, because it’s not. The color is good, but the picture is nowhere near high def by any stretch of the imagination. And if these glasses are supposed to give a person a 62 inch big screen experience, I’d think you would expect a really really good picture. I’m not saying the video quality through these glasses is bad, it’s just not going to impress many people. I have been watching a 65 inch TV for several years and these glasses do not give me the same experience. I’d actually rather watch a 27 inch TV from 6-7 feet away, or watch video on the small screen of my iPod classic, then watch video with these glasses. This is mainly because I find the glasses to be uncomfortable to wear for any length of time. Also after watching video through them for awhile and then taking them off, I felt like my eyes were a bit tired and blurry for awhile until they readjusted.

I did find two ways that these video glasses can be both fun and useful. The first way is that they can do 3D. There’s a very short DVD included with the glasses that has a couple 3D movie trailers that you can watch. I love stuff like that and was impressed using the glasses for that type of video content. I’m not sure how much 3D content is available though.

The AV920’s are useful in that they would be perfect for someone that is confined to a bed and has to lie flat. Wearing the glasses while lying down does seem to be more comfortable, at least to me…

In the end, I think that $350 is a lot of money to pay for this product. For me personally, I’d rather just spend that money on an actual TV or watch video on the small screen of my iPod. Let me know what you think, would you use a product like this?

 

Product Information

Price:349.95
Manufacturer:Vuzix
Requirements:
  • Video output device (DVD, 5th Gen iPod, etc.)
Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Can connect to most video sources
  • Can play 3D video
Cons:
  • Uncomfortable to wear with and without glasses
  • iPod cable not compatible with iPod Touch or iPhone
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear

{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Abdul Sami Mughal August 20, 2008, 8:20 am

    You have just saved me from spending a few on these… I was definitely thinking of buying these…

    from my limited optical knowledge of the human eye i was hoping they would work well even without my glasses… so i was a bit surprised when you told me they do not… that kinda ended the dream there and then :( !!!

    1
  • Julie August 20, 2008, 8:49 am

    Abdul:

    I was hoping that I could use them without my glasses too. They do work WITH your glasses though – they are just a bit uncomfortable unless you’re laying flat on your back.

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  • Jake Tongue August 21, 2008, 11:19 am

    the geordie la forge thing was funny tee hee hee

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  • Julie August 21, 2008, 1:10 pm

    Jake:

    Thank you, thank you very much :o)

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  • Robert H. August 21, 2008, 2:22 pm

    Looks rather weird looking but does the video update fast enough.. Is there any ghosting? I read that some LCD devices have issues keeping up with some faster moving video and you get a ghosting effect with the vid..

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  • Julie August 21, 2008, 2:43 pm

    Robert:

    I didn’t notice any ghosting problems with the various videos I watched during testing.

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  • MyRealGenius August 22, 2008, 6:13 pm

    Hi Julie,

    I’m a big BIG Fan of your site, and make it part of my daily rounds of keeping up to date on the tech items, as I’m a buy-oholic. I wanted to add to this because this is one of the few items when it comes to HID units that you don’t see many people getting jazzed about anymore.

    I own a few of these, and just this past May, Buy.com offered up the “MyVu PMV-1003i Personal Media Viewer Solo” for $57.00. I just jumped for this because it’s the same version as the one you reviewed here, except the 1003i plugs right into the iPod drawing power off of it for the glasses. I get 2.5 Hours off the iPod using it this way, but there’s no external box to plug into. This version uses the Dock Connector on the bottom of my iPod Video 80 model, and the cord goes right into the glasses. It does have a small dongle on the cord for controls of Contrast, Brightness, and Volume.

    The screen resolution is also 1/3 that of the AV920 if you use their calculations of RGB being read as 307200 per color channel for each of the R, G, B, so you get 307200 x 3 = 921600 pixels for 640×480 resolution. The solo I got in May has a Matched Resolution of 320 x 240 (QVGA) from the iPod to the glasses, and the real resolution of this is 76800 per color of RGB = 230400 total pixels.

    Why all the numbers? Well they say it’s almost 1M Pixel count on the AV920, but it’s really 1/3 of that in the real world of 307200 pixels total resolution. The bigger question is can you see a difference between the two…Nope You can Not.

    If you really want to be dazzled, you should see if you can your hands on the new Myvu Crystal viewer that just came out (http://www.myvu.com/Crystal.html) It has the same resolution of the AV920, but has a very different Field of View at 22.5 degrees which really does add to the visual quality of the HID. It’s a real WOW factor that I didn’t think would produce for me. One of the nice things I like about the Myvu Crystal is I can link it up with my Canon XL2 Video camera, and I can’t begin to tell you the looks I get when I use it with that – It’s priceless!

    NOTE: I don’t work for any of these companies, I’m just a consumer. I do consult on high end items for a select clientele I have a following of, but most are for the Richie Rich of the world.

    [Edited at August 22, 2008 18:37:06 PM.]

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  • Julie August 22, 2008, 11:01 pm

    MyRealGenius:

    Thank you so much for your comments. It’s really nice to have someone else to add their experience with this product to mine. I was worried that I might be too picky about the display. From what you say, I guess I’m not ;o)

    Now I want to try the Myvu Crystal to do a comparison :o)

    BTW: do you wear glasses? Do you find the Vuzix (and the Myvu) to be comfortable to wear?

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  • MyRealGenius August 27, 2008, 12:04 am

    Julie,

    I think glasses will work as I do wear them for normal every day stuff, I did try them on with glasses and I rather not wear them because it does touch the lens of the glasses. Since I’m 20/15 vision I just leave them off to use the viewer. I found that a personal feature of a man’s larger nose might make the difference for all the HID systems out there that sit on the bridge of the nose. Mine leaves a little read mark on my bridge but it goes away quick. I got the Crystal Viewer hooked up to my Canon XL2 Video Camera, and for some fun with a little practice on a vest and stabilizer arm from GlideCam you can look about as cool as it gets, and get the shot of a life time.

    I like both of the HID I have but prefer the Crystal over the Solo because as you noted that the arms on the viewer over the ears are not the most comfortable in the world. I wear the Solo to bed mostly, and the the Ear Plug Speakers fit nice into the ears even laying on my side. I don’t care much for that design of the rigged arm like protrusion with the speaker on the end of it for your ears, not well thought out at all.

    I do look like something from Battlestar Galactica when in bed at night with the Glasses on and in my case a full face respirator I have to sleep with on all night. If I had the guts I’d post a picture, but my fear of showing up on some YTube Site with the title of “Forget the Tree Man, look at this poor sole!” :-)

    Scott

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  • Julie August 27, 2008, 6:27 am

    Scott:

    Thanks for all the info that you provided. I still want to try the Crystal glasses at some point.

    Answer me this… you say that you wear the glasses to bed… so, if you had a very nice / large flat panel HD display mounted on the ceiling, would you still prefer it to the glasses? Just curious.

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  • MyRealGenius September 3, 2008, 2:28 am

    I would you still prefer the Glasses, because I can lay on my side with them on. I wouldn’t sleep well knowing I had a 100 pound flat panel mounted over my head on the ceiling anyway. My luck it would come down on me, and just ruin my whole night :-D

    Scott

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  • Garrett October 15, 2008, 2:08 pm

    Unless you are far-sighted, there is no reason to wear glasses with any video screen like this. Those of us who myopic or near sighted should have no trouble viewing light that is only coming from an inch or two away. If you are far-sighted, however, I imagine that these might be rather difficult to use.

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  • Julie October 15, 2008, 3:32 pm

    Garrett:

    I’m very near sighted, and had to keep my glasses on to use this product. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m at that age where bifocals are going to be a necessity. Yay – not. ;o)

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  • Alan Li March 19, 2009, 3:17 pm

    Can this connect to an Xbox 360? That would be the only reason for me to consider purchasing a pair, as the TV on which I play my games is absurdly small, and I’m looking for something better to play my nice HD games on…

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  • Gerry E. May 6, 2009, 7:02 pm

    Julie, I can certainly appreciate your comments on the product, as I also find them fairly uncomfortable to wear for 2 hours at a time…… but my comment is……
    have you ever noticed that when you buy binoculars, 99% of them are adjustable? They are adjustable due to the fact that not all people’s eyes are the same distance together…. there are people with eyes fairly close together, and people like me, who’s eyes are farther apart than other people (fat head I guess) anyway, I have found that being that these video glasses are not adjustable, I don’t see the picture the way it is supposed to be seen…. kind of like watching a projector type television from the side…. some of the picture is “blacked out”. I don’t know why these companies don’t make one of these pair of video glasses that can be adjusted to fit peoples eyes (to get the correct picture as intended) it doesn’t seem to me that it would be that hard to invent. And, up to now, I haven’t seen any that ARE adjustable. To me it doesn’t make much sense…. everyone is different.

    Thanks,

    Gerry

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  • Scott October 16, 2009, 9:17 pm

    Hi, Have been trying to decide which type to get. Have been looking at the VR920 and the MyVu Crystal. The MyVu are almost 1/2 the cost which is always a bonus, but I was wondering what you all thought. I had been leaning toward the VR920 till I read the review here and then was the comment about the MyVu Crystal. At this point I think the MyVu are the better choice and its what I am leaning towards.

    I also wear glasses and was wondering if anyone bought the clip-on’s offered by MyVu, and what type of experiences you had with them. I am a disabled cancer patient so have to spend a lot of time in bed (Or in the Hospital), and wanted these for a couple of things. Primarily I love on-line gaming and felt these would be great to hook up to my PC with my recliner. Has anyone used these for that type of thing? I have a GeForce 9500 graphics card with VGA and DVI output. Any suggestions on an adapter that can be used to hook up to the MyVu Crystal?

    Have any of you heard anything about the Trimmerson VR Headgear?

    Thanks

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  • Phattanapon October 26, 2009, 2:15 pm

    Have you tried using the included head strap?
    It helps keeping the display at the proper position and balanced.
    You might feel more comfortable.
    I’m using VR920 for PC but I guess AV920 also comes with a head strap.

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  • marcela December 10, 2009, 2:31 am

    Hi, Im a dentist from Mexico, and I was thinking on buying the iwear av920 for my patients, but after reading your review… it gets me more and more confused wheter to buy it or not. I mean, it is a lot of money plus the international shipping… so, I was wonder, did you try the Myvu? what do you think is my best option, considering the fact that sometimes the patient stays on the chair for 1 hour, and I would like to have them with this glasses, so they wont worry about pain or being anxious? well, thank you for your review!!

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  • Julie December 10, 2009, 8:22 am

    @Marcela I haven’t tried the Myvu, but the Vuzix weren’t very comfortable for me. Maybe it’s because I wear glasses and I have really bad vision without them. Have you considered mounting a small LCD screen within your patient’s view and having them wear headphones to hear the audio? That’s what my dentist does.

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  • Alex January 5, 2010, 7:45 am

    Very good review – Thanks.

    The price difference between the myvu and the vuzix one is clearly the 3d capability. And I am an 100% 3d fan therefore i wouldn`t consider myvu at all. 3d is the future!! But it really depends on what you are looking for.

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  • ancjob September 30, 2010, 6:11 am

    i have headplay personal video display video glasses with ipd and focus adjustment
    it does field sequential 3D only and is connectible via composite / component / USB / VGA / S-video
    i’d say almost all things it can connect to which provide the output as above
    Since AV920 supports all popular 3d formats hence the need to get one…
    moreover shear weight of headplay over my nose is a turn off.
    if laying on bed – headplay is great else it’s like tying a brick over your head with twin display inside
    the display quality is very good – if properly adjusted it works great!
    however as is with all headsets – it becomes un-comfortable after 45 min or so…

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