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13 July 2017

REVIEW: Avegant Glyph

For your eyes only.

Our previous travels into the many worlds of VR have so far been pretty low tech, reviewing cheap headsets for smartphones. That changes with the Aevegant Glyph; a virtual reality and video viewing headset that incorporates everything into a product no bigger than a pair of headphones. We check it out.



Eh?

Let us explain: the Avegant Glyph is, from the first glance, a pair of over-ear headphones. They are chunky yet light, and have a very modern, minimal aesthetic. However, sound isn't the only thing this thing can kick out, as embedded in the headband are two peep holes, complete with pop-out lenses, behind which are two small screens. Pull the band of the headphones forward and down onto your nose and all of a sudden you're wearing a VR headset.


And the Avegant Glyph is true VR as the headset supports head-tracking. Just like your phone will while running a VR app or playing a VR video, when you move around the image will move with you, presenting an immersive environment. They can also be used to play static content, like films and TV shows, as well as connecting to your laptop or PC to act like a weird in-head screen.

The Avegant Glyph features an HDMI in port, and ships with a decently long cable. This we used to connect to anything with a full-sized HDMI port, like a (larger) laptop and then hit up some YouTube VR content. It can very easily be used to play any video content you have saved on your machine, and as both your ears and eyes are completely immersed in the action, it makes for a very private way to watch something. Yep, we know what you're thinking. Dirty minds.


One important thing to point out is that above, when we mentioned two small screens, we were actually wrong. The Avegant Glyph doesn't use screens per se, but rather small mirrors onto which light is reflected by embedded projectors. This means your eyes aren't fighting to focus on a flat and painfully close screen (as with a smartphone VR headset), making the Glyph more comfortable to use over longer periods. Such as the length of a movie.

So, if you have a device that has an HDMI out port, you'll be able to use the Avegant Glyph with it straight out of the box. However, to get the full mobile treatment of playing games and watching content from your Android phone or iPhone, you'll need and HDMI to USB/Lightning adaptor, which unfortunately isn't included. That isn't a big deal, considering you are good to go with your laptop and games console, but still it is worth noting.


Also, as good as it was to watch and play things through, we couldn't help but feel slightly less immersed than with a cheaper, simpler VR headset. The Avegant Glyph rests on your nose and does not feature any kind of eye enclosure to block out ambient light. As a result we were all constantly aware of the 'the outside world' in the periphery of our vision, which occasionally spoiled the VR effect. For films, video, and games... not an issue. For VR... well, after a while we missed our cheap £10 headset from eBay.

So although we felt slightly let down in that department, the Avegant Glyph was still an incredible bit of kit. With the headphones on and cranked up, and with a film playing on the scopes, you feel like you're in your own private cinema. They would be perfect for a long flight, and as they take up the same amount of space in your bag as a pair of noise cancelling headphones, they'll be easy to travel with.


You'll get a bit freaked out when the flight attendant taps you on the shoulder to get your attention, though.

£499.99

Available from www.amazon.co.uk




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