Wearing tech on your face is all the rage these days, from Oculus and Vive to Google Daydream and Samsung VR. Each of the aforementioned devices offers its own level of entertainment and experiences, and so do the Vuzix iWear Headphones. The Vuzix iWear Headphones are a bit of a specialty product and certainly not for everyone but they do offer an interesting experience. Read on for our full Vuzix iWear Headphones review.
The Vuzix iWear Headphones have the following features and specifications:
- 3.7V 4,000 mAh rechargeable internal battery
- Up to 6 hours hands-free (display off)
- 2 hours hands-free +display
- 1-hour hands-free + display + camera + high CPU loading
- Twin one million color pixel HD displays (1280×720)
- Floating display design for minimal face contact and maximum comfort
- 55º diagonal field of view in a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio
- 24-bit true color (16 million colors)
- 2D and 3D video support (side-by-side, over-under, and frame packed)
- Driver unit: 40 mm
- PET diaphragmNoise-isolating over the ear design
- Frequency response: 5 – 25,000 Hz
- Electronic equalization with presets
- Sensitivity (db): 100 dB/mW
- 2 noise canceling Microphones
- 5-megapixel stills
- 1080p video
- 16:9 aspect ratio
- 3 Axis Gyro, 3 Axis Accelerometer
- 3 Axis Magnetic Sensor (compass)
- -3 Axis Accelerometer
- HDMI and USB connectors
- Input resolutions: up to 1920 x 1080p
- Thin single cable connection to iWear®
What’s In The Box
- Vuzix iWear with carrying pouch
- Immersive light shield
- AC charging adaptor
- Quickstart, warranty and safety instructions (full manual by digital download)
The Vuzix iWear is certainly a robust and heavy device with a substantial build quality. The weight of these may bother some users, but I found the included headband does a very good job of balancing the load over your head. The headband is adjustable which allows you to loosen or tighten the iWear to your desired comfort. Essentially, these look like giant lensless sunglasses with massive headphones attached to them, which isn’t a bad thing.
The materials feel top quality and are mostly plastics, rubbers, and soft-cloth. The ear cups on the headphones are amazingly comfortable and the headband is well crafted. The tension adjustment is good except that it can get annoying to hear the clicking when adjusting it on your head. The glossy black color does pick up fingerprints if that is something that bothers you.
There are basically two areas of the Vuzix iWear where the action is happening, the lens area and the left headphone ear cup. There are some sensors about for head tracking. The inside front of the iWear is where the twin one million color pixel HD displays are housed, and they basically look like two mini screens. On the left earcup is where you’ll find the brightness control, mode button, volume rocker, EQ, microphone and power button.
Overall the design is nice on the iWear, good quality materials, and good build. They are a bit front heavy, which is pretty standard for any type of VR headset, but the headband does help out. Overall, the comfort level is pretty great with these on your face. The face pads, headphones, and headband are all very comfy which means you should enjoy the content you’ll be consuming that much more.
The Vuzix iWear has twin one million color pixel HD displays (1280×720) that will likely need a firmware upgrade when you buy it. While there is no software to putz with there is firmware that will need upgrading once in awhile. Once you have the firmware updated you’re ready to start using the iWear as intended and that is to consume video content using those dual 720p displays.
Vuzix claims that using iWear will give you the sensation of watching a 125″ HDTV and that is kind of true to an extent. I found the experience satisfying but I found the resolution lacking. I’m not sure if kicking up the resolution to full 1080p for both displays would help, but I felt the resolution was a bit lacking when watching movies from a full HD source.
The 3D video experience is much better. While the resolution still isn’t what I would call stellar, the 3D experience is immersive and a lot of fun. Head tracking works nicely too and adds to the 3D experience, but the lack of 3D video content kind of makes it difficult to justify. I didn’t use these to game with, but I’m sure 3D gaming is going to be just as nice as 3D video.
Overall the display is acceptable but I was hunting for more than I got and maybe I wanted a bit too much, but I think for $499USD, the display could be better.
The sound coming from these guys is something Vuzix got spot on. The ear cups are big, cushy, comfy and do a great job of noise isolation. The sound produced is great, the bass is stellar and the surround sound experience is spot on. Listening to your content with these on is seriously like being right there in the action and I really think the sound experience is overall really great and up there with high-end headphones.
For a product like this, the price and value is really going to be subjective. Yes, the Vuzix iWear Headphones offer you a pretty good content consumption with a fairly decent 3D experience, but if screen resolution matters to you then the value may go down. On a personal level, I want to love the Vuzix iWear but I can’t love them at $499.99USD, not with the resolution I experienced watching movies, and there just isn’t enough worthwhile 3D content out there.
Most people aren’t going to line up to lay out $500USD on a VR headset, period. Whether it’s the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Vuzix iWear. For those who would lay the money out on a VR headset, the iWear are a pretty decent pair, but they do lack in certain areas that could make or break the experience for some users. The main selling point here, and what sets this product apart from Oculus and Vive, is that you can plug into just about anything and use it.
The Vuzix iWear can be hooked up to a PC, TV, smartphone or tablet through an HDMI connection and you can consume any of your content freely. The other VR headsets are limited to the content produced for them and they often require a substantial PC rig to get them working properly. This was a difficult review to do as there are a lot of great things about the Vuzix but also some bad things. In the end, you’re going to have to decide what sacrifices you’re willing to make, what you want to use these for, and if they make sense in your world.
I’d almost say you could take advantage of Amazon’s return policy to try them out for a few days to come to your own conclusions. This is a product that you really need to use to get a feel for and to make a real informed comfortable choice. It’s like buying a car, a test drive never hurts.
*We were sent a Vuzix iWear review unit for the purposes of this review.
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