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I remember way back in the early 90′s, the Sci-Fi catch phrase “virtual reality” was bandied about. Thanks to unforgettable TV shows and movies like Seaquest DSV and The Lawnmower Man, I thought for sure that by 2006 VR devices would be all over the place. Much to my consternation this hasn’t exactly occurred. Hell, I don’t even have a cool time-share deep under the Atlantic. Tuna and whales floating through the backyard is all I’m asking for, people!
So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard about two new products: the myvu personal media viewer and the ezVision iWear. Looking suspiciously like VR goggles, both of these devices are video iPod accessories that allow you to watch movies without relying on the iPod’s tiny screen. Better yet, the myvu and iWear promise to provide a large TV-like viewing experience.
Costing $269 (direct), the myvu connects to iPods via a headphone/video port and comes with its own handy carrying case and battery pack (powered by 3 AAA batteries). The eyephone unit, using a term coined by the legendary writer William Gibson, is a thin goggle-style boasting two tiny LCDs that let you tuck away your cell phone or video iPod to enjoy hands-free TV viewing. The goggles also feature decent ear-buds with some passive noise-canceling. While the myvu looks sort of slick with its black futuristic design, I won’t be using it on the subway anytime soon. I’d sooner strap two cats to my back, start playing the sax, then claim I’m from outer space–believe me, it happens. Also, it was difficult to use the myvu while wearing my incredibly attractive pair of glasses.
At $400, the iWear is a bit more expensive, doesn’t look as nice as the myvu, lacks a carrying case, but has a bigger “virtual” screen size, also with two LCDs. The resolution is 320 x 240, and the unit weighs about 2.5 ounces. Power is supplied by a rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery. Unfortunately the ear-buds don’t have the same rubberized passively noise-canceling attributes as the myvu. I’m happy to say that if you wear glasses, they are much more compatible with the iWear.
With both devices, display quality was all right, but not quite the 50-inch plasma experience I was expecting. Still, it beats squinting at the iPod’s miniscule screen.
Thanks to PC Mag Consumer Electronics Reviews Editor Brian Bennett for the review!
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