TCL NXTWEAR G Wearable Display Glasses review
Technology can be both impressive and tough to recommend.
TCL’s new NXTWEAR G Wearable Display Glasses fit firmly in that category.
Futuristic shades for $899 that create a portable big screen in front of your eyes is an undeniably tempting proposition. However, using them is rarely practical or comfortable.
What TCL has achieved shouldn’t be understated.
They’ve managed to cram two Sony OLED displays into an incredibly compact frame that delivers one of the highest-quality headset displays I’ve ever used.
The glasses are compatible with more than 200 devices including TCL’s own smartphones, Samsung’s newest Galaxy devices, Acer tablets and Lenovo laptops and its plug-and-play design means you never have to charge the glasses themselves.
Wearing them is supposed to create the feeling of viewing a 140-inch screen.
They’re not the smart glasses Google pitched in 2011 to enhance the world around you, nor are they pushing virtual reality.
NXTWEAR G is exclusively designed as a big screen you can wear on your face.
The glasses come with three silicone nose pieces to help fit all different shapes and sizes except my own. Each acts like a mini nose-tripod, holding the lenses one to two centimetres higher than you’d expect from regular frames.
My biggest problem with this was constantly fighting to get my eyes closer to the lenses for a better viewing angle. In the end, my best option was ditching the nose-piece all together.
A USB-C cable attached to the back of the frame’s right arm needs to be plugged into a device to power the glasses. I tried them with both a TCL 10 Plus and a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The picture is undeniably impressive. My eyes quickly adjusted and the clarity – particularly centre frame – is remarkable compared to similarly priced VR headsets. However, the size of the display is too large.
Seeing its edges clearly is incredibly difficult and because it’s a fixed display, turning your head doesn’t help.
This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the glasses had its specially made home-screen with large icons. Instead, what you see is essentially the display of an Android tablet which, by default, heavily relies on navigation functions at the bottom, top and left of screen.
I was impressed by how natural it felt using the phones as a touchpad to control a mouse on screen, however I would have preferred to use the screens as a keyboard to speed up searching for videos on YouTube and Netflix (this may be a feature, just not one I found easily accessible).
Once up and running, the videos looked nice enough, though I’d highly recommend headphones as the speakers on the glasses themselves aren’t great.
All-in-all, I’m not convinced that wearing TCL’s NXTWEAR G would be more useful or practical than simply using the devices you need to plug in for the glasses to work in the first place.
At home, you likely have a bigger screen available, and on the go, the cinema-like experience ultimately means you’re closed off from the world around you.
I could see them being great for gamers once Xbox kicks off its Game Pass Ultimate streaming service for mobile later this year – provided latency isn’t an issue – but $899 is a lot of money for that privilege.