An ongoing pandemic is making real-life trips to movie theaters a dicey proposition for many of us. But for those who still want a big-screen experience without leaving the house, TCL at CES 2022 is introducing its second-gen wearable display, the NXTWear Air.
As a follow-up to the NXTWear G, the NXTWear Air has been designed to address some of the biggest issues with TCL’s first-gen glasses, most notably when it comes to comfort and style. The NXTWear G, which packed in dual micro-OLED displays into a tiny package, was criticized for being awkward and sometimes even painful to wear, while also making anyone brave enough to wear them on the go a target for ridicule. Not great.
With its latest attempt, TCL has reduced the weight of the NXTWear Air by 30%, bringing its total weight down to 6.8 ounces, and also created a new set of interchangeable frames to better suit your style. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty obvious the NXTWear Air is bigger and bulkier than a pair of regular sunglasses, but now they’re at least subtle enough people might not do a double-take when they see you on the street.
The size of the virtual screen inside the glasses hasn’t shrunk at all. TCL claims the NXTWear Air simulates the experience of watching a 140-inch screen when viewed from around 13 feet away, which is meant to recreate the feeling of sitting in a real movie theater. With a resolution that delivers 47 pixels-per-degree, you should get sharp visuals with little to no loss in quality due to the screen-door effect.
Content and power for the NXTWear Air is sent to the headset via an included USB-C cable, which can be connected to a nearby phone or PC. If movies aren’t enough, TCL says the NXTWear Air can also be used to play games simply by connecting a controller to your device. The headset also comes with built-in stereo speakers with support for “spatial effects,” though if you want a more private viewing experience, you can also connect wired or wireless headphones to your phone or PC as well.
There still aren’t a ton of people that want to wear a headset on their face to watch movies or play games on the regular, but with so many people now forced to fight with their family or roommates for monitors and displays while studying or working from home, the NXTWear Air seems like a fun, if niche, way to carve out some personal space.
Pricing and availability for the NXTWear Air are still to be announced, though if the new headset costs similar to the previous model, you can expect a price tag of around $700 to $800.