The Vuzix Blade Upgraded is an AR headset and the sequel to the Vuzix blade. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the demand for Vuzix products has increased, leading to the release of the Upgraded in October 2020. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the features of the AR headset.
In this article we will go into more detail on:
- Display and resolution
- Controls and features
- Stability and accessories
- Camera and memory
- Battery and processor
- Memory and Certification
- Price and conclusion
Display and resolution
The Blade Upgraded’s display features the new waveguide innovation from Vuzix. Waveguides is a technique that makes it possible to make the display transparent. As a result, the image is projected on to the transparent display. The Waveguides technology makes it possible to see through the display, which means that the display is integrated into the right glass of the safety glasses. This means that an external display no longer needs to be placed in front of the eye, as with the Vuzix M400.
The actual resolution of the entire display is 480 pixels x 853 pixels. However, the entire display is never used, but the headset uses an active square piece that has a resolution of 480 x 480 pixels. Because the active square is adjustable up and down, the Field of View (FoV) of the headset has a range between 19 and 28 degrees.
The Waveguide technique has a number of nice advantages, but also a number of disadvantages. This means that an external display no longer has to be set up in front of the eye, but the active part of the display can only be adjusted up and down. With the RealWear HMT-1, the display can also be tilted left and right, allowing for more optimal alignment with different eye types. It is also no longer possible to wear extra safety glasses over the Blade Upgraded.
Controls and functions
One of the new features that the Vuzix Blade Upgraded brings with it, compared to its predecessor, is the voice control. The headset can now be used completely hands-free, by means of the voice control that is currently available in English and Japanese. There are also stereo audio speakers built into the temples of the headset. This makes video calls possible without the addition of headphones.
In addition, the Vuzix Bade Upgraded smart glass is also equipped with a touchpad. The touchpad makes it easy to navigate through the interface using gestures. The Blade also has upgraded WiFi and Bluetooth functionality and the built-in microphones have noise canceling up to 95 decibels.
The voice control works well, but in general the touchpad is used more for navigating the headset. It is also a disappointment that this functionality is currently only available in English and Japanese.
Stability and accessories
The Vuzix blade Upgraded has the same design as its predecessor in which only the legs are slightly more reinforced. This ensures that the headset, despite being one of the lightest headsets of its kind at 90 grams, has a stable fit. In addition, the headset is also ANSI Z87.1 certified safety glasses.
In addition to the safety glasses, it is possible to expand the headsets by adding prescription lenses, sunglass lenses and a power bank. These last two expansions were missing from the original Vuzix Blade.
Although the headset has a stable fit, the lightness of the model and the lack of an IP certification also makes the headset very unstable and prone to damage. Especially in industrial use, this is one of the bigger disadvantages of the headset.
Camera and Memory
The Vuzix Blade Upgraded features an 8-megapixel camera lens and supports video at 720 pixels at 30 frames per second, or 1080P at 24fps. In addition, the Upgraded is integrated with a built-in auto scan, which improves the photo quality. Autoscan enhances the camera’s autofocus, reducing vibrations and providing a more stable HD quality image.
Compared to other headsets on the market, the Vuzix Blade Upgraded’s camera is certainly not one of the best. For example, the Vuzix M400 has a 12-megapixel camera and supports 4K video up to 30fps. It also turns out that the Autoscan of the Blade Upgraded does not always work well.
To store all photos, videos and other files, the Blade Upgraded is equipped with an 8GB flash memory and also has 1GB RAM memory. If the built-in storage memory is not sufficient, it is also possible to add an external microSD card to the headset.
Battery and processor
The embedded processor is the same as its predecessor, with a quad-core ARM CPU. The Vuzix Blade Upgraded has an internal battery of 470 mAh, which equates to a battery life of between 4 and 6 hours.
This is very low if we compare the battery with that of the RealWear HMT-1. The RealWear has a battery of 3250 mAh, which equates to a battery life of 9 to 10 hours. Where the RealWear can easily last an entire working day, the battery of the Vuzix Blade Upgraded will always have to be charged in between.
The Vuzix Blade Upgraded has two certifications, namely the EN 166 documentation and the ANSI Z87.1 certification. The EN 166 documentation confirms that the headset meets all EU requirements for eye protection. The ANSI Z87.1 certification means that the headset meets the international safety standard for face protection equipment. These standards mean that the headset offers protection against shocks, non-ionizing radiation and is resistant to exposure to splashing liquid.
Since the display of the headset is built into the safety glasses, and therefore the headset cannot be combined with other safety glasses, it is extra convenient that these certifications meet most of the standards used in the industrial environment.
Price and conclusion
With a price of € 840, – the Vuzix Blade Upgraded is in the low class when we look at comparable AR headsets. With the Blade Upgraded we see a number of interesting innovations to its predecessor. Where the waveguide technique provides improved transparency and a sharp interface display, with the possibility to operate the headset with voice commands, the Vuzix Blade Upgraded is an absolute improvement over its predecessor. The certifications also ensure that the headset can be used in more and more business environments. In terms of camera and strength, the headset is still lagging behind, for example, a RealWear HMT-1, a smart glass that also focus on the business and industrial market. Especially in terms of strength and lability, the Vuzix Blade Upgraded still has room for improvement, especially if the headset is to be used in industrial environments.
|Display||Built-in Waveguide technology||Memory||1 GB system RAM, 8 GB internal storage|
|Field of view||19-28 degrees||Operation||Touchpad and voice operation|
|Weight||90 grams||Processor||Quad Core ARM CPU|
|Audio||Built-in stereo speakers||Certification||EN 166, ANSI Z87.1|
|Camera||8MP Autofocus and 720P 30fps / 1080P 24fps video||Battery||470 mAh internal battery, 4-8 hours|
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