As a glasses wearer I've always been somewhat conflicted about the idea of smart glasses, given the whole switching drama that's involved (or 'doubling up', or just general inability to see clearly). I remember, almost a decade ago now, the rapturous response to Google announcing its smart glasses, Google Glass, a project that was ultimately destined to fail for various reasons (price, privacy, practicality). Clearly it wasn't only me with a conflicted view.
Other companies have tried to conquer this market, too, from Oppo to Huawei, Vuzix to Microsoft. Now Lenovo is getting in on the act with its consumer-focused smart glasses, the aptly named Lenovo Glasses T1. When I read about these smart glasses I immediately thought 'why now?', yet simultaneously 'I must try these now'. I wanted to see whether this new wearable could change my mind about smart glasses and whether I, and the general public, will truly ever want to wear them.
I was able to gain access to a pair of Glasses T1 at a Lenovo briefing ahead of the IFA tech show in Berlin kicking off, so luck was on my side. Inevitably, despite the T1's design enabling glasses wearers to add in their own prescription lenses, this wasn't something I could practically do at short notice, so my experience may not have been as rich as someone else trying these smart glasses out. Which immediately reinforced my confliction with such product types, but I wasn't surprised.
What did surprise me is that I kind of enjoyed the experience. The Full HD (it's 1080p per eye) OLED display floats in front of your vision and you can use a wired-in mobile phone just like a mouse pad for navigation. There's loads of light that bleeds in, of course, as this isn't a locked-in VR-like experience, it's an AR-like one, and the edges of my view weren't as pin-sharp as the centre.
Lenovo thinks the Glasses T1 will be used when you want a second screen or private screen experience in a busy space, such as when travelling on a plane. I like the boldness of that sentiment, but having then taken a selfie of me wearing said Glasses T1 (shameless selfie in gallery above) it became all too apparent to me that, no, I'm never going to actually want to wear smart glasses – these or (insofar) any others.
However, I suspect we'll continue to see this market develop and more product options appear. Whether that'll change my mind, well, I suspect it's going to take a lot more time and investment yet...