Myvu Crystal
video eyewear

Review: Myvu Crystal video eyewear for iPod

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You know what? If I were to buy a television for the sole purpose of playing video games and I didn’t expect any friends to ever drop by (no two-player action), I might just consider picking up a pair of video glasses like these instead.

Overview

I had a chance to try out the Myvu Crystal “video eyewear” recently and boy, what a difference does a little double-resolution make. While most video eyewear systems on the market clock in at 320×240 pixels, the Crystal manages to cram 640×480 into a package that you might even be able to get away with wearing in public, say, on an overnight flight or another type of event where most people around you are asleep. These glasses are getting smaller and more normal-looking, is what I’m saying.

Some technical details, straight from Myvu:

Introducing Myvu Crystal: watch what you love, when you want and look great doing it. Featuring SolidOptex® — the Myvu patented optical system — Crystal transforms your portable media player into a hands-free, full-screen private viewing experience. All that within the thinnest, lightest and most durable video eyewear available.

- Full VGA quality — our highest resolution available
- Our widest field of view — over 33 percent wider
- Features Kopin’s CyberDisplay® technology, offering the highest pixel density and sharpest resolution for any video eyewear of its size
- Earbuds from Ultimate Ears® for enhanced comfort, extended bass and sound isolation
- Up to 4 hours of battery life

Here’s what they look like. I figured you’d rather see them on a hot girl than on me.

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Pros

So I was sent this set along with an iPod Nano to try out how the system worked with relatively high-motion video. There were several movie clips, the most rambunctious being a scene from The Incredibles. With previous video eyewear that I’ve tried, anything playing at 320×240 just seemed kind of “blah” to me and made me feel like if I wanted to watch something at that resolution, I’d just hold my cell phone in front of my gigantic noggin for a while. The Myvu set, though, was pretty close to those claims you read that say “It’s like watching a 60 foot screen!” except that you can tell it’s not 60 feet but it does actually look pretty “normal” like a TV would. I tried out a few videos from my own iPod Touch as well as some YouTube clips and was pleased.

My real intent, though, was to try these puppies out with some video games. I loaded my Wii up with Excite Truck, Blazing Angels — a WWII flight game, and Tiger Woods 2008 and connected the glasses via the included red, white, and yellow RCA cables.

Excite Truck doesn’t let you change the view, so I was perpetually perched above and behind my truck, which was still cool but left me wanting more. Blazing Angels was phenomenal, though. I almost felt like I was flying and would get intermittent sensations of vertical and horizontal movement that affected me enough to move my head around to try to catch more of the action. Tiger Woods was fun, too, because I could concentrate on keeping my head steadily focused downward while swinging each club. Putting, especially, felt a lot more real.

The audio, too, sounded great. The attached Ultimate Ears ear buds felt very comfortable and the speech and music in movies and games was crisp and clear.

Everything was controlled by a simple, yet functional remote that sat in between the glasses and your video’s source. The iPod-centric version comes with a plug that goes into the bottom connector on your iPod and the regular version comes with female RCA plugs that can hook into most standard video sources. Both versions cost the same.

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Cons

So those are some of the positive aspects of the Myvu eyewear. The negatives include; a whole mess of cords (standing up to play Tiger Woods was a little difficult at times), and a relatively high price tag at $299. Some people might take issue with the four hour battery life being too short but I can’t imaging wearing any sort of video eyewear for that long. I don’t know if I’d sit through an entire movie but I’d definitely use them for gaming because I like racing and flight sims.

Finally, Myvu’s done a good job of slimming these things down to an almost-normal size, but I’d almost rather have a set that covered my eyes completely. That I could see the outside world around me was kind of distracting. To each his own, though.

Recommendation

For the most part, the pros far outweigh the cons. The sticking point for most people here, though, is going to be the price. For a set of high-resolution video glasses, $299 isn’t all that steep — they’ve come down a LOT in price over the past five years — but it’s like, do you really need video eye glasses? Do you even want video eye glasses?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, though, then I think you’d be more than happy with this Myvu Crystal set.

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Myvu Crystal Product Page [Myvu.com]

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