Samsung is expanding its wearables category with a hulking great pair of AR glasses that look like someone's Ray Ban Wayfarers fell into wet cement and gained a few pounds. The company is reportedly developing its own tech-infused spectacles to take on Apple's rumored AR glasses and a leaked video has given us our first glimpse of what they might look like.
The design is definitely going to be divisive, with some people thinking they perhaps look like an oversized pair of kids' glasses that are going to fairly weighty and not at all practical to wear when you could just have nothing on your face and use devices like normal instead. Those people are me.
You can watch the two ads in the video below, shared by Twitter leaker WalkingCat (opens in new tab) who has a decent track record when it comes to Microsoft and Samsung leaks (via 9to5Google (opens in new tab)). They tweeted the Samsung AR Glasses and Glasses Lite AR videos, but suggested this could simply be an "R&D Vision Concept".
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By the looks of things, integrated control will let you control the content displayed on the glasses, and is achieved in this case by using it in tandem with the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Meanwhile the New Dimension Display shows the AR glasses' potential to overlay a non-invasive HUD for various activities – flying a drone in this instance. Anticipating that you might want to wear the glasses outside for some reason, where people can actually see you, they also have a Sunglasses Mode.
As someone who switches between glasses and contacts, and has terrible vision, this design does not look appealing in the slightest. Thick lenses typically limit frame options for regular glasses, and if you go with glass rather than plastic lenses, they inevitably weigh more, and it's noticeable. I can't Samsung AR glasses being all that light, and if you're thinking about wearing headphones with them, that's going to present a whole new set of problems.
Presumably, packing a pair of specs with fancy tech is going to need a fair bit of space, hence these chunky boi glasses. There's only a single variant in the video (albeit in two colors), both are worn by men, and both verge on comically oversized; so how these will fit on consumers with smaller faces remains to be seen. If you've ever bought a pair of gaming headphones, you'll be familiar with the struggle of using a one-size-fits-all product that really does not. But we've got some great options in our best gaming headsets guide!
As it stands, AR glasses have yet to take off, because people who don't wear them with any regularity perhaps don't appreciate how cumbersome wearing glasses actually is on a day-to-day basis. It's a hard pass on Samsung's AR glasses, but when AR contact lenses are a thing, sign me up!