September 8, 2022
Lenovo is entering the consumer market for wearable displays after selling similar devices for business use for the past five years. The lightweight Lenovo Glasses T1 have micro OLED displays featuring 10,000:1 contrast and 1920×1080 pixels per eye, with an audio speaker at each temple. Capable of being powered by a Windows, Android, macOS or iOS device, they connect with USB-C. Lenovo likens the Glasses T1 to having “a personal monitor” in your pocket and says they allow wearers to experience content “well beyond the limited screen size of mobile devices.”
Absent an onboard processor or battery the glasses closely resemble ordinary sunshades. There are no sensors or cameras, and users can add prescription lenses. For all that, the early T1 glasses are reported to have limited early functionality.
“I was mostly only able to view a homepage with basic menu options and a desktop with icons for apps, like web browsing,” writes an Ars Technica reviewer that got to experience a demo at IFA Berlin. “Although the glasses weren’t ready for me to watch a movie or hop around apps, I was impressed at how clear text and menu items were,” the reviewer writes, emphasizing solid performance in a sun-flushed room, where “brightness can be a concern with OLED technologies.”
“You aren’t getting any VR or AR experiences with these types of glasses, and you can’t safely walk around wearing them as your vision would be entirely obscured, and the cable keeps them tethered to whatever your source is,” writes The Verge, which says the Glasses T1 are “designed for you to stay put as if you were watching an actual TV or monitor, but the effect makes it feel like a huge theater screen.”
The Verge compares them to other consumer smart glasses, such as TCL’s NXTWEAR AIR, “which puts two 1080p micro OLED screens in front of your eyes, just like Lenovo’s T1,” and the Nreal Air, “though that one has a 90Hz screen refresh rate compared to the T1’s 60Hz.”
Lenovo introduced actual AR glasses for business use in 2017, per TechRepublic. The company later unveiled its ThinkReality A6 AR product in 2019, followed by the sleeker A3. Ars Technica reports Lenovo’s AR 3 glasses “started at about $700, but most units sold were over $1,000,” noting that “not only has Lenovo already found an audience for AR glasses, but it has also been able to upsell to that audience and is now expanding into the consumer space.”
Lenovo is positioning the Glasses T1 for mobile gaming and streaming, but says they have a serious side, too. “As hybrid work has become the new norm, professionals are looking to get more done on their mobile devices,” Lenovo said in an announcement that notes its Glasses T1 glasses provide “a private workspace to prevent shoulder surfing,” minimizing public use security risks.