TCL’s New Smart Glasses Are Portable Movie Screens

TCL’s New Smart Glasses Are Portable Movie Screens
Image: TCL

It feels like every consumer electronics company is attempting to make a pair of smart glasses right now. For the most part, those efforts are focused on augmented reality. But TCL’s NXTWEAR G Wearable Display Glasses aren’t about giving context to the world around you. They’re meant to help you stay immersed in your own little world while on the go.

TCL first teased the glasses earlier this year at CES, but a lot of CES presentations are more proof-of-concept than bonafide consumer devices. We got more details today as part of TCL’s Mobile World Congress offerings, and I have to admit: These ones are pretty intriguing. The glasses combine two 1080p Sony micro OLED displays that can supposedly emulate a 140-inch display in 16:9 aspect ratio. The glasses also sport stereo speakers and, in a nice touch for those of us with terrible eyesight, a lens adaptor.

TCL also previewed a multi-screen collaboration feature, which lets you share screens across different devices — including the NXTWEAR G. Clearly, TCL is also trying to position this as a potential productivity tool. However, the design and specs seem to be better suited for viewing content, with the added bonus of privacy when you’re not at home.

Another interesting choice from TCL: The NXTWEAR G is plug-and-play. All that’s required is a USB-C display-out port from whatever device you usually watch content on. That does mean you have to deal with an unseemly wire, but on the other hand, there’s no cause to worry about battery life. Not having to worry about battery life opens you up to a more comfortable form factor, as it doesn’t require TCL to play the “Now Where Can We Stick This Bulky Battery?” game.

Speaking of form factor, the NXTWEAR G has an “open-fit design,” leaving a fairly wide gap at your peripherals. That’s unusual for an “immersive” device, as the whole idea is to block out the outside world. It seems like that’s the goal for these smart glasses, too, so it’s interesting to see a sort-of ambient mode.

This is a pretty cohesive set of features, and these days, I’ve become used to concept smart glasses that are never heard of again once the press conference or presentation is over. It’s impressive that these babies will apparently be available starting next month — so long as you live in Australia. TCL says market availability will follow in “select regions” but didn’t specify what those might be, or the price. In any case, the NXTWEAR G isn’t likely to be an item you see out in the wild all that often. (We’re just not there as a society yet.) But even so, it’s nice to see a pair of smart glasses that are trying to do one thing well instead of overpromising features it can’t deliver.