China-based XR company Xreal (previously Nreal) announced its newest pair of glasses at CES 2024, marking the company’s return to augmented reality right as Apple is prepping its $3,500 Vision Pro for its upcoming launch.

Called Air 2 Ultra, the device is the first in the company’s most recent suite of glasses to incorporate inside-out tracking since the introduction of its consumer Nreal Light glasses in 2021.

Unlike its more recent Air 2 and Air 2 Pro, Air 2 Ultra are ‘true’ AR glasses in that they include cameras mounted on the face of the device.

Image courtesy XREAL

Confusingly, the company calls those previous devices ‘AR’ too, but they’re actually closer to smartglasses since they don’t include positional tracking of any sort, or allow for the sort of room-sensing AR content you’d expect from an AR device like HoloLens 2, Magic Leap 2, or MR headsets like Quest 3 or Apple Vision Pro. Read more about what separates AR and smartglasses here.

Thanks to its dual cameras, the new Air 2 Ultra can do things like 6DOF positional tracking, image tracking, hand tracking, plane detection, depth meshing, and spatial anchoring of digital objects—putting it back into competition not only with the few companies preparing consumer AR glasses, but both Meta and Apple too, both of which have VR headsets capable of running AR apps (Meta Quest 3, Apple Vision Pro).

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Xreal Air 2 Ultra isn’t an all-in-one standalone package however. Now in pre-order for $700 with March shipping, the glasses are slated to tether to Samsung S22 and S23 for AR stuff, and to iPhone 15, or any Mac or Windows machine that can run Xreal’s Nebula launcher.

At the moment, the company has no plans to expand the list of compatible phones for the Air 2 Ultra. The company says however it’s going to eventually produce a custom computing unit “for the best AR experience.”

Here’s a look at the specs:

Size
Length: 148.5 mm, Width: 48 mm, Height: 161.5 mm
Weight 80g
Display
  • 52 Degree FOV
  • dual Sony Micro OLED
  • 1,920 × 1,080 pixels per eye
  • Up to 120Hz refresh (2D mode 120 Hz, 3D mode 90Hz),
  • Up to 500 nits brightness (2D mode 30-500 nit, 3D mode 20-250 nit)
LED Indicator Light
Two LED Indicator Lights
Ergonomic Design
Titanium Frame, Zero-pressure Nose Pad (S/M/L), 3-position temple adjustment, Detachable prescription lens frame
Electrochromic Dimming
3-level Electrochromic Dimming
Sensors
Two 3D environment sensors: Hand tracking, Head tracking, Environment understanding, 6 DOF Tracking, Depth mesh, Spatial Anchor, Plane detection, Image Tracking
Audio
2 Built-in Stereo Speakers, Sound leakage reduction, 2 Microphones
Compatibility
  • Samsung S22 (OneUI 5.1, Snapdragon processor), Samsung S23 (OneUI 5.1/6.0, Snapdragon processor)
  • Screen mirroring: USB-C Video Output, HDMI Output devices, iPhone, Android, MacBook, Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Windows PC, XREAL Beam (3DoF), Nebula for Mac Beta
Buttons
Multi-functional key (Single click to switch between dimming levels, Double-click to turn on/off the display), Up/Down button
Connector
USB-C DisplayPort Alt mode
In the Box
Air 2 Ultra, USB-C cable, Cleaning cloth, Protective case, User manual, Nose pad (S/M/L)
Alternative Text

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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.
  • Nevets

    Now, those glasses (once they’re consumer ready and more widely compatible) are truly exciting, more so than any other consumer AR products on the market. Once you understand their limitations, you’ll have the option of a relatively cheap, good quality, non-facebrick AR gadget. Roll on consumer release, whenever that’ll be.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Why the need to mention Apple’s Vision Pro? That just really sounds like an Apple fanboy.

    • xyzs

      Maybe because AVP is the most exciting XR product released since Oculus Rift CV1

      • Andrew Jakobs

        No it isn’t.

    • I did the same in my roundup. There are two reasons: 1. If Nreal is back to 6DOF AR is for sure because Apple is launching AR glasses. 2. Nreal mentions it itself in its press release (they market themselves as a more affordable version of Vision Pro)

  • ViRGiN

    “World’s most advanced lightweight spatial computing glasses for developers.”

    So what kind of bullshit we will have to deal with?
    There is zero presentation available on what does it actually do. Software won’t have half the features on launch until many months later.

  • Sky Castle

    They look incredibly nerdy. Looks like you’re wearing 2 sunglasses.

    • Mom’s Castle

      Your mom looks incredibly nerdy.