Nreal, the Chinese startup behind the Nreal Light AR glasses which made a splash back at CES 2019, has now expanded to the United States, making the smartphone-tethered device available through select Verizon stores starting today.

Nreal Light is a pair of AR glasses that are physically connected to a smartphone via USB Type-C to drive its graphics and provide power, making it lighter than standalone AR headsets like HoloLens 2 since it’s offloaded the need for an internal battery, chipset, and cooling to the phone itself.

Image courtesy Nreal

Relative to enterprise-focused AR headsets like Magic Leap 2 and HoloLens 2, it’s also less expensive due to the inclusion of cheaper and less complicated optics, called ‘birdbath’ optics, which project light from a microdisplay to the eye via what’s essentially a curved see-through mirror (among other things).

As for apps, the AR glasses play bespoke content in pre-defined playspaces, all of which you can download from Google Play, such as Table Trenchesa 1v1 tabletop strategy game.

It also boasts a screen mirroring function for your phone so you can use every app on it,  as well as the ability to use multiple browser windows so you can watch a video and surf the web in different floating monitors. The tethered smartphone acts primarily as a laser pointer selector, something Oculus Go and Google Daydream users will be very familiar with in terms of UI interaction.

That’s the value proposition at least, as Nreal Light goes on sale in the US today for $599. Rollout in that country comes first to select brick-and-mortar Verizon stores. According to Tom’s Hardware, online sales via Verizon will kick off on December 2nd and those physical stores will act as places to demo Nreal Light before consumers buy it.

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Nreal Light boasts a fairly wide compatibility list, with the following phones offering support:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G UW
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 5G UW
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
  • OnePlus 8 5G UW
  • OnePlus 9 5G UW

The company says Light will also support iPhones in some capacity, however it hasn’t specified how that works.

Before its release in the US, Nreal has rolled out via telecoms in South Korea, Japan, Germany and Spain. The Beijing-based company also recently closed a $100 million Series C financing round which it will use for R&D and to widen its international reach.

Nreal Light has yet to launch in its Chinese homeland, however Nreal CEO Chi Xu has previously said it may happen at some point in 2022 along with “more countries as well.”

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Anonymous

    Chinese company = CCP mandatory spyware.
    F_ck off.

    • sfmike

      Duh… almost everything is made in China. I hope you’ve trashed all your products made there.

      • Anonymous

        Foreign company manufacturing goods in China doesn’t mean CCP could viably smuggle spyware or chips into the production. Chinese companies they are free to do.

        • dk

          using the internet could do that tho

    • VRFriend

      As for now USA was caught creating profiles of each person on Earth, having a timeline and all actions the person performed. All media, all photos, all emails. It is called NSA. Snowden revealed this in details. So f…. off man. The US is the worst terrorist on this planet. China and Russia next.

      • Anonymous

        All are evil but which one is lesser? Support Chinese product and you basically 100% give them more money to kill or surpress more dissidents and put soldiers of the free world in jeopardy.

        Since evil cannot be eliminated I’d rather get spied by a democratic nations

      • sebrk

        I mean noone of you are wrong

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  • shadow9d9

    That…is not a wide compatibility list..

  • sebrk

    You look like a tool using these glasses.

  • Bumpy

    They really need to push practical uses and examples otherwise most people will care zero about AR or any of this tech.

  • It’s the first consumer AR glasses launched in the US, I’m curious to see of how they will perform

  • We are happy to see this product launch to America. Nreal has been very successful for us.

  • Anonymous

    Tried this at the store and I was hooked. The future is coming faster than I realized.