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Vuzix M400 Review

  • May 31, 2022
  • 15 minutes
VR Expert Vuzix m400
VR Expert Vuzix m400
VR Expert Vuzix m400

The Vuzix M400 is a monocular smart glass that has been on the market since 2019. It is one of the lightest smart glasses available at only 182 grams. The device from the American manufacturer Vuzix is mainly used for remote support or in the fields of logistics and manufacturing. We wanted to know, how does the device compare to the RealWear Navigator 500 or its successor, the Vuzix M4000?

In this comprehensive review we will take a deeper look at the following points:

  • Pros and cons
  • Specifications
  • What is in the box
  • Design and comfort
  • Ease of use
  • Power and Performance
  • Display
  • Camera
  • Streaming
  • Memory
  • Operating system
  • Sound
  • Price
  • Conclusion

Pros and cons of the Vuzix M400

ProsCons
4K video resolutionNot the best device for heavy industry
Very light 182 gramsTouchpad is not very user friendly
IP 67 rated - water and dust proofVoice control does not work consistently in noisy environments
Drop tested to 2 m
Very long battery life with external batteries

Vuzix M400 Specifications

The Vuzix M400 has the following specifications:

  • Display: Single LCD
  • Resolution: 640×360 pixels
  • Field of view: 16.8 degrees
  • Camera: 12.8 MP, 4K 30fps video
  • Microphone: Triple noise-cancelling microphones
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1
  • Memory: 64GB
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Weight: 182 grams
  • Controls: Touchpad, buttons, voice command
  • Battery life: 2-3 hours with internal battery, Up to 12 hours with external battery

What is in the box

The Vuzix M400 is delivered in a small black box as standard. It contains the Vuzix device and its accessories in a soft case. The following things are included with the purchase of the Vuzix:

  • Vuzix M400 device
  • Vuzix M400 frame (mount)
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • USB-C battery
  • Soft case
  • Instruction manual
VR Expert Vuzix m400 starterkit

The Vuzix M400 can also be bought as a starter kit with the following accessories:

  • Helmet mounts
  • Headband
  • Hat mount with Vuzix hat
  • Extended life 3,350 mAh USB-C power bank
  • Safety Glasses (medium)

Design and comfort

The design of the Vuzix M400 was developed specifically for the workplace. The monocular AR smart glass is ideally suited for remote support activities, in manufacturing or warehouse logistics, for example.

The frame of the Vuzix M400 is similar to that of a pair of glasses, except that it does not contain any lenses. The Vuzix M400 itself is actually a viewer, which needs to be attached to the frame. On either outer side of the frame the viewer of the smart glass can be attached, depending on whether one wants to wear the display in front of the left eye or the right eye. On top of the viewer are several buttons through which the M400 can be operated. There is also a touchpad on the side, which provides another control option. Besides the buttons and the touchpad, the device can also be operated with voice commands.

The external battery is then attached to the other side of the frame via a USB-C cable. This works very easily, so you can also change the side of the display at any time without any effort. The M400 is also usable without the external battery, although the battery life will be limited. Furthermore, the use of the external battery is recommended simply because of the improved weight distribution.

Overall, the main viewer and the external battery make a very robust and well-manufactured feeling. On the other hand, the frame on which the components are mounted feels rather fragile. The Vuzix M400 has an IP67 certification, which means that it is protected from water and dust ingress. The device has also been tested to withstand drops of up to 2 meters.

At just 182 grams, the Vuzix M400 is one of the lightest smart glasses you can find on the market at this time. In comparison, the RealWear Navigator 500 weighs 272 grams and is thus significantly heavier. Vuzix’s successor model, the M4000, is also heavier, coming in at 222 grams. 

Since the frame of the Vuzix device rests on the nose and ears like regular glasses, an unpleasant feeling of pressure occurs after some time, especially on the nose. This problem does not exist with the RealWear Navigator 500, since it uses a headband that distributes the weight over the entire head. However, the Vuzix M400 is also compatible with other mounting solutions and can be combined with hats or helmets, for example. With such a solution, the problem mentioned above does also disappear with the M400.

Overall, the Vuzix M400 and its successor M4000 are very similar. Both devices work in the same way, the only big difference is the display. The standard opaque display of the M400 has been replaced by a transparent waveguide display on the M4000.

VR expert vuzix m4000
VR Expert Vuzix m400

Ease of use

Due to the rail system of the Vuzix frame, assembling the Vuzix M400 is very easy. The viewer and battery can be easily attached to the frame. The initial setup of the device is also intuitive and self-explanatory. Creating a Vuzix account is necessary to register the Vuzix M400 and install apps on the device.

For intuitive operation of the smart glass, Vuzix has included several control options on the M400. There are 3 buttons on the top of the device, which can be used to easily navigate through the menus of the device. This works very well, however, it also means that the worker has to take a hand away from their actual task. 

The second option is to control via touchpad, which is located on the side of the Vuzix M400 viewer. The touchpad offers multi-finger support and has a couple more features compared to the buttons. However, using the touchpad in practice has often not proven to be very intuitive, as it sometimes does not respond properly or just slowly. It is also very difficult to operate the touchpad with working gloves.

The third option for controlling the Vuzix M400 is voice control. The smart glass users can navigate through the menus using their voice. The microphones of the M400 are equipped with a noise-canceling function. However, it has to be said that this type of control does not work nearly as well as the voice control of the RealWear Navigator 500. The device from RealWear undisputedly has the best voice control for smart glasses on the market at the moment.

To further enhance the usability of the Vuzix M400, the company developed the Vuzix Companion App. This smartphone application is available for iOS and Android and helps, for example, to enter texts, control apps and adjust settings on the M400.

App management and distribution is handled through the Vuzix App Store. This works similarly to RealWear’s app portal Foresight. However, RealWear’s store has the great advantage that device groups can also be created and managed. This is a feature that is not available with Vuzix’s app store. For example, if you want to uninstall an app on a number of devices, you have to do this for each device individually with Vuzix.

Power and performance

The Vuzix M400 is designed to be used with the external battery. This gives the device a battery runtime of up to 12 hours. However, the M400 can also be used with the internal battery only, the battery life is then only 2 hours. When used with the external battery, the Vuzix is ideally suited for a full workday and more due to the long battery life. In comparison, the RealWear Navigator 500 has a battery life of up to 8 hours. The battery of both devices is hot-swappable, which means it can be replaced during operation.

When it comes to the processor, Vuzix relies on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1. This is installed in the M400 and in the M4000. The processor is complemented by 6 GB of RAM. Thus, the M400 can handle demanding applications like workflow solutions and remote assistance solutions.

The RealWear Navigator 500, on the other hand, is not quite as powerful as the Vuzix devices when you look at the specs. Only 4 GB of RAM and the slightly older Snapdragon 662 are installed in RealWear’s device. However, hardly minimal differences can be seen in both devices performance in practice.

Display

The Vuzix M400 has a high quality OLED screen. OLED screens are, generally speaking, better with contrast then LCD screens as they can produce a darker black. Therefore, the display of the Vuzix M400 remains clear even in direct light. However, the display of the Vuzix M400 has a resolution of 640×360 pixels and is thus inferior to its successor, the M4000, and also the Navigator 500, as these two smart glasses have a resolution of 854×480 pixels.

The display is also where the big difference between the Vuzix M400 and M4000 becomes apparent. While the M400 has an opaque display, Vuzix uses a transparent display for the M4000. This is made possible by the so-called Waveguide technology. Due to the transparent display, users are less distracted when looking at the display and rather keep the focus on the actual work task. However, one disadvantage of the Waveguide display is that it is not as visible in bright light.

VR Expert Vuzix m400 overview

Not only in resolution, but also in field of view, the Vuzix M400 lags a bit behind the competition. The M400 only offers 16.8 degrees field of view, while the Navigator 500 offers 20 degrees and the Vuzix M4000 even comes with a field of view of 28 degrees.

Camera

Probably the biggest unique selling point of the Vuzix M400 is the outstanding camera quality. The device can record videos with a quality of 4K at 30 fps and it also shoots photos with a resolution of 12.8 megapixels. By the way, the same camera is also installed in the Vuzix M4000. Apart from the other Vuzix smart glasses, hardly any other smart glass on the market offers such a high video quality. For comparison, the RealWear Navigator 500 has a better photo camera with 48 megapixels, but it can only record videos with 1080p and 60fps.

The quality of the M400’s videos is further enhanced by useful features like auto-focus and optical image stabilization. In addition, a flashlight ensures that footage is clearly viewable even in low-light conditions.

One disadvantage of the M400 and M4000 is that the camera is attached directly to the display, which means that the two cannot be adjusted independently of each other. This is an advantage of the RealWear Navigator 500, where the camera is located above the display and can therefore be adjusted independently of the position of the display.

Streaming

The Vuzix M400 is capable of streaming 4K resolution video footage. Together with the Vuzix M4000, they are among the only AR smart glasses that enable 4K streaming. This makes remote support sessions or remote maintenance, for example, even more effective and easier, as the expert has a much clearer picture of the situation in front of him thanks to the high quality. It must be said, however, that 4K streaming requires a faster-than-average and stable internet connection. As well as a display that supports 4K.

Most remote support software such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, TeamViewer or Remote Eye work on the Vuzix M400. If you have questions about the availability of software on the Vuzix M400, check out the Vuzix App Store, or contact us.

VR Expert - Remote Support Software

The applications listed above can also be installed on the RealWear Navigator 500. However, the streaming resolution on the RealWear device is limited to 1080p.

Memory

Both the Vuzix M400, the M4000 and the RealWear Navigator 500 have an integrated memory of 64 GB. The big advantage of the Navigator 500, however, is that the memory can be expanded by many times by inserting a micro-SD card. 

However, the internal 64 GB of the Vuzix devices are sufficient for most use cases without having to worry about running out of memory at some point.The space can only be a limiting factor of offline recordings are made on the device itself at 4K resolution for extended sessions.

Operating system

By using the Android 9.0 operating system, Vuzix also makes it possible to manually install Android apps on the device. To make installing apps even easier, Vuzix has created its own Vuzix App Store. Here, users can download apps and assign them to their Vuzix devices.

In comparison, the RealWear Navigator 500 works with the newer Android version 11, which promises even more energy efficiency and is supposed to save the battery. However, the Android version does not make a difference to the user experience.

Sound

An integrated speaker is located on the inside of the viewer of the M400. This can play sounds with a volume of up to 97 db. It is also possible to connect headphones to the headset via 3.5 mm audio jack or Bluetooth. The same options are also available on the M4000 and Navigator 500.

Price

The Vuzix M400 currently costs 1705 Euros at VR Expert. To get access to further accessories of the M400 Starter Kit, the price of 1846 Euros has to be paid. This is especially good as an out of the box solution, so that all accessories are available for optimal use right from the start.

Compared to the M400, the successor model M4000 costs 2325 euros. At 2029 Euros, the price of the RealWear Navigator 500 is exactly in between the two Vuzix devices.

VR Expert Vuzix m400

Conclusion

The Vuzix M400 is one of the lightest smart glasses on the market and stands out especially due to its excellent 4K video quality. Another big advantage is the use of an external battery, which increases the operating time of the device to up to 12 hours. This makes the device extremely attractive for a lot of use cases.

On the other hand, the Vuzix M400 does not make such a robust impression as the RealWear Navigator 500. Furthermore, the operation of the RealWear device feels much more intuitive due to the outstanding voice control. The Vuzix M400 cannot make up for this with the additional touchpad, as this unfortunately could not convince us.

All in all, the Vuzix M400 is a premium smart glass that is perfect for applications where the streaming or recording quality of the camera is important. In harsher environments, such as heavy industry, the Navigator 500 from RealWear is probably a better choice.

Let us advise you on the use of Assisted Reality Glasses and contact us now at info@vr-expert.com.

VR Expert Vuzix m400
VR Expert Vuzix m4000
VR Expert RealWear Navigator 500

Specifications

Vuzix M400

Vuzix M4000

RealWear Navigator 500

Price

1705 €2325 €2029 €

Display

OLED

DLP Waveguide

LCD

Resolution

640×360 pixels

854×480 pixels

854×480 pixels

Field of view

16.8 degrees

28 degrees

20 degrees

Camera

12.8 MP,
4K 30fps video

12.8 MP,
4K 30fps video

48 MP,
1080p 60fps video

Microphone

Yes,
noise-cancelling

Yes,
noise-cancelling

Yes,
noise-cancelling

CPU

Qualcomm
Snapdragon XR1

Qualcomm
Snapdragon XR1

Qualcomm
Snapdragon 662

Memory

64 GB

64 GB

64 GB

SD card slot

No

No

Yes

RAM

6 GB

6 GB

4 GB

Weight

180 grams

222 grams

272 grams

Controls

Touchpad, buttons, voice commands

Touchpad, buttons, voice commands

Voice commands

Battery life

2-3 hours (internal),

Up to 12 hours (external)

2-3 hours (internal),

Up to 12 hours (external)

Up to 8 hours

IP rating

IP 67

IP 67

IP 66

Water and dust resistant

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fall proof

2m

1m

2m

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