In a few years’ time it should be perfectly feasible to expect subtle modifications to eyewear to allow us to watch football highlights or the news, or make video calls on the move. This may sound like an ambitious prediction, but we already have the technology in place; it’s simply a case of refining it and shrinking it down to a manageable size.
This talk of future trends has been brought on by the latest in video eyepiece displays, courtesy of a recent Japanese innovation called the iTheater. Rebranded for UK sale as ezVision, from ezGear, this is a compact set of video glasses that includes a pair of headphones, battery unit, A/V adaptor and carry case, clearly setting its stall out as something you’d use on the move. Whether you’d be happy sitting on a coach or train looking like a straight-to-video version of The Terminator we’re not too sure, but we’re keen to see how well this sort of technology has moved on.
Getting things up and running is pretty easy. After you’ve charged the supplied battery you simply connect things up and wire the A/V lead into a suitable source device. Composite inputs for audio and video mean you shouldn’t have much trouble with most technologies, provided they have some form of video and audio out. From here it’s simply a case of playing back the source material, popping the glasses on, the earphones in and sitting back to enjoy the show.
The ezVision’s press material claims that it gives the impression of watching a 50-foot screen from eight and a half feet away. While this is quite difficult to measure accurately it did feel a bit like being in a cinema. The quality of the picture isn’t particularly sharp or high resolution, but because of the dramatic effect of the large screen size this isn’t a big issue. We were actually pretty impressed by the comfy fit and effective earpiece design; audio in particular was quite imposing through the attached headphones.
First impressions were good and it was only after further testing that we noticed a few issues regarding performance. To begin, with the eyepieces sit about an inch in front of your eyes, which means that the screen you perceive is quite susceptible to background lighting. A couple of eye shields around the lenses to shut this out would have improved things quite a bit, and the more creative consumer might fancy fashioning some themselves.
There are also no options to change the contrast, brightness or colour levels of the image; in general you have almost no way to change the display as it appears by default. We also noticed that slight head movements do shake the screen around a bit, and while this isn’t as big an issue for watching movies, action gamers might find it a distraction.
So, the ezVision is by no means perfect but in this day and age we’d be very surprised to find a product of this nature that ticks all the boxes. Overall we were actually quite impressed by the experience. These video glasses are relatively kind on the eye, comfortable, include some impressive built-in headphones and do genuinely give the impression of watching a big screen. They’re also very versatile when you consider you could use them with a video iPod, games console or PC as well as a DVD player or other video source.
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