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nreal Announces Light XR Glasses to Hit the Shelves at $499

Low-cost, lightweight XR glasses that can be used with a mobile phone? Yes, please.


We’ve been waiting for nreal’s XR glasses for a while now.

The company displayed an early version of the glasses at this year’s Game Developers Conference. There have also been beta versions out for a while as nreal has worked on new technology and games.

The company announced the nreal light XR glasses at the beginning of this year. However, a document made available to ARPost prior to public release announces that the model will soon be available to the public at the reasonable price of US$499.

The nreal light

“We’re excited to finally make nreal light available to consumers,” nreal Founder and CEO Chi Xu said in a statement. “[nreal], at just $499, has dramatically lowered the barrier to adoption and introduces a new category for mixed reality devices that are finally within the reach of an average consumer.”

To be clear, nreal light isn’t the first set of publicly available XR glasses. However, they are taking the crown of lightest model. The title was, until recently, held by ThirdEye. Granted, ThirdEye is self-contained while nreal comes with a controller and needs to be connected to an external computing device. But, we’ll get back to that later.

nreal light isn’t just the lightest weight model. It may also be the cheapest. While other XR glasses do exist, they are usually used in industry because they are simply too expensive for the average consumer. Examples include HoloLens 2 at over $3,000 and MagicLeap One at $2,500.

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nreal light also has an impressive 52 degree field of vision. It’s also geared more toward gaming and less toward industry. That also makes it more exciting for the average user. Finally, they’re the first publicly available XR glasses that will work with 5G internet.

Compatibility with Select Smartphones

As mentioned above, nreal light does require an external computing device. Normally, this takes the form of the Qualcomm Snapdragon. However it also works with select model smartphones. Needing an external computing device is a lot less of a setback if that external computing device can be a mobile phone that users carry anyway.

“We worked closely with nreal to ensure Snapdragon smartphone compatibility and ecosystem integration to transform the way people connect and consume entertainment,” Qualcomm’s Head of XR, Hugo Swart, said in the previously cited release.

In a potential gamechanger, nreal with also be compatible with the Black Shark 2, a smartphone dedicated to mobile gaming.

“Paired with nreal light, the Black Shark 2 will be able to deliver the highest performance mobile gaming experience,” Black Shark Global VP, David Li, said in the release. “nreal light will completely immerse our users in a fully interactive gaming environment that places you right in the heat of the moment.”

Information for Developers

nreal’s announcement isn’t just about consumers. It also has some big news for developers.

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So, aside from the $499 “nreal light Consumer Kit” package, which includes one pair of glasses, there’s also “nreal light Developer Kit”. The Developer kit includes the nreal light glasses, a 3DoF controller and nreal’s proprietary computing pack. Developers will be able to get it for $1,199. But first, they need to apply.

“Applicants will be prompted to fill in their information including previous development projects or project ideas for nreal light. Developers will be selected on a rolling basis for the opportunity to purchase the nreal light Developer Kit, which will begin shipping in September 2019,” says nreal.

In August, the company will also be introducing its SDK, which developers can use to either migrate existing or create new content for nreal light.


Jon Jaehnig
the authorJon Jaehnig
Jon Jaehnig is a freelance journalist with special interest in emerging technologies. Jon has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you have a story suggestion for Jon, you may contact him here.