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Vuzix M4000 Review

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VR expert vuzix m4000
VR Expert Vuzix m400
VR expert vuzix m4000 front view

The Vuzix M4000 is one of the lightest smart glasses on the market. The device is mainly used in manufacturing, field service and warehouse logistics. Why is the device from the American company Vuzix so popular and what advantages and disadvantages does it have compared to its predecessor, the M400, and its biggest competitor, the RealWear HMT-1?

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

Pros and cons of the Vuzix M4000

ProsCons
4K video resolution Main frame is fragile
See through display Not the best device for heavy industry
Very light 222 grams Touchpad is not very user friendly
Drop tested to 1 meterVoice control does not work consistently in noisy environments
IP 67 rated - water and dust proof
28° degrees FOV
Very long battery life with external batteries
Comes with a rugged case

Vuzix M4000 Specifications

The Vuzix M4000 has the following specifications:

  • Display: DLP Waveguide
  • Resolution: 854×480 pixels
  • Field of view: 28 degrees
  • Camera: 12.8 MP, 4K 30fps video
  • Microphone: Triple noise-cancelling microphones
  • CPU: Qualcomm XR1
  • Memory: 64GB
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Weight: 222 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 M4000 is delivered in the Vuzix Peli Case as standard. The Peli Case is a compact and secure case that is ideal for storing and transporting the AR glasses.

  • Vuzix M4000 device
  • Vuzix M4000 frame (mount)
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • USB-C battery
  • Peli Case
  • Instruction manual

Additional accessories of the Vuzix M4000 Starter Kit:

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

Design and comfort

The Vuzix M4000 was designed for the workplace, ideally suited for use in manufacturing, field-service and warehouse logistics. 

The Vuzix M4000 is attached to a frame that looks similar to a frame for glasses. The device can be attached on either the left or right side of the frames. However, if the side gets changed, the M4000 display setup has to be switched manually in the settings, otherwise the controls will be counter intuitive. One advantage of the RealWear HMT-1 is that the device automatically detects when the display is placed in front of the other eye and adjusts accordingly. 

An external battery can be attached to the other side of the Vuzix M4000’s frame. This is then connected to the M4000 behind the head with a USB-C to USB-C cable. The M4000 also has an internal battery and can therefore be used alone, but it is recommended to attach the external battery for better weight distribution.

The main viewer and the battery look sturdy and stable, but the frame makes a rather fragile impression. The transparent display of the M4000 is made of plastic and glass and also feels robust. The device has an IP67 certification and is thus water- and dust-proof. It is also supposed to survive drops from a height of 1 meters without problems. 

The Vuzix M4000 weighs only 222 grams, making it one of the lightest smart glasses on the market despite the slight increase in weight compared to its predecessor. In comparison, the RealWear HMT-1 weighs 380 grams. Thanks to the frame, the device sits on the nose and ears like a pair of glasses. However, this can feel uncomfortable when worn for a longer period of time. Since the headset mainly sits on the nose, this can get especially uncomfortable there. The RealWear HMT-1, on the other hand, uses a headband that distributes the weight better overall, making it more comfortable to wear. The Vuzix M4000 is also suitable for eyeglass wearers. However, using the Vuzix M4000 becomes less comfortable when wearing eyeglasses. 

The Vuzix M4000 looks very similar to its predecessor, the M400. And in fact, there is only one, but significant difference in the design of the M4000. The opaque display of the Vuzix M400 has been replaced by a transparent waveguide display, which we will discuss in more detail later in the section “Display”. This offers workers the possibility of not losing sight of the actual task while looking at the display of the AR glasses. This is a big advantage over the predecessor and also over the competition from RealWear. In addition, the display can be tilted up and down without having to move the main part of the viewer. This was not possible with the M400 where you had to move the entire viewer to adjust the display.

Ease of use

The assembly of the Vuzix M4000 is very simple. The components can be easily attached to the frame using a rail system. Flexible mounting options make it compatible with almost any hat, helmet, face shield or glasses. The initial setup of the device is intuitive and self-explanatory. In order to register the device and install apps, it is necessary to set up a Vuzix account.

The Vuzix M4000 offers several control options. For easy navigation through the menu, the device offers 3 standard buttons, which are located on the upper side of the device. The navigation of the device with the 3 buttons works extremely well and the device can be operated well with those.  However, operating with buttons also means that the user has to take one hand off his task. For navigating the device, the M4000 also has a touchpad built into the side of the viewer. According to Vuzix, the operation is supposed to be intuitive and the touchpad offers multi finger support. In practice, however, the touchpad often proved to be difficult to use. The touchpad felt slow and not sensitive sometimes, which made navigating harder. The touchpad is also difficult to use with work gloves. 

As an additional control option, Vuzix also offers voice control for the M4000. This allows navigating through the device’s menu with voice commands. The microphones of the M4000 offer noise cancelling for this. However, this does not work nearly as efficiently as the voice control of the RealWear HMT-1. The RealWear device has the best noise-canceling system on the market, which is why users of the HMT-1 can still be understood by remote experts without problems even in very loud environments.

To complement the control options on the device itself, the company has developed the Vuzix Companion App. It is available for iOS and Android and increases the user-friendliness of the M4000 enormously. The Companion App can be used to enter texts, control apps and configure settings, for example. A concept that is also used in the RealWear HMT-1.

To make it easy to install and distribute applications, Vuzix has set up the Vuzix App Store. However, Vuzix App Store does not provide tools for managing groups of devices. A feature that RealWear offers for the HMT-1 using Foresight. For Vuzix devices this can be very inconvenient if you are trying to manage a large number of devices. For example, if you want to uninstall an app, you have to do it for each individual device.  Also, one of the most frustrating parts of the Vuzix App Store is that the website itself is very slow. This has a direct impact on the user experience. 

Power and performance

The internal battery of the Vuzix M4000 has a runtime of 2 hours. However, the M4000 is designed to be operated together with the external battery, if only for the weight distribution. With the external battery mounted on the other side of the frame, the battery time can be extended by another 12 hours. Thus, the AR glasses are also designed for longer working days. It is also very easy to hot swap the battery of the M4000. In contrast, the RealWear HMT-1 only lasts 5 to 6 hours without changing the battery. However, the battery of the HMT-1 is hot swappable as well.

As for the processor, Vuzix relies on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 for the M4000, just like for the predecessor. Together with 6 GB of working memory, the smart glasses offer very good computing power and can therefore run more demanding applications without problems. The RealWear HMT-1, on the other hand, only has 3 GB of RAM and the older Snapdragon 625 built in. With the smaller RAM and older chip, the RealWear device is not quite as powerful as the Vuzix M4000.

Display

The Vuzix M4000 is a monocular smart glass that features a transparent full-color display. The transparent display allows users of the M4000 to work more focused and efficiently during a work activity, as they do not have to look at the opaque screen like the predecessor. This is also an advantage over the RealWear HMT-1, which also has an non-transparent display. The transparent display on the M4000 is made possible by the so-called waveguide technology. However, one negative aspect of the transparent display is that the image becomes less clear when the brightness in the room increases. This problem does not exist with the opaque displays of the RealWear HMT-1 and the M400.

VR expert vuzix m4000 front view

The position of the M4000 display can be easily adjusted. In addition, the display can be worn in front of both eyes, depending on which eye is the dominant eye of the user. 

The resolution of the display has taken another leap compared to its predecessor. While the M400 only displayed 640×360 pixels, the M4000 now features 854×480 pixels. And not only that: the field of view has been improved from 16.8 degrees to 28 degrees. This makes the screen look even bigger and content can be identified better. With a FOV of 28 degrees, the M4000 has one of the largest fields of view in the monocular smart glasses range. In context, this leads to even more precision and efficiency, for example when visualizing work steps. 

Compared to the M4000, the RealWear HMT-1 also has a display of 854×480 pixels, but only offers a field of view of 20 degrees. In addition, the HMT-1’s display is opaque, which means that the user has to take his eyes off his work task when operating the device. However, one advantage of the HMT-1 screen is that it is very easy to adjust independently of the camera.

Camera

The main unique selling point of the Vuzix devices is offering outstanding camera quality. The Vuzix M4000 has the same camera that the M400 has already impressed with. It has the ability to record videos in 4K quality and 30fps. It can also take pictures with a resolution of 12.8 megapixels. Hardly any other competitor currently offers this quality and is thus Vuzix’s unique selling point.

The M4000’s camera has additional features with auto-focus and optical image stabilization, which enhance the video quality. The camera is also equipped with a flash for poor lighting conditions.

However, the M4000’s camera has the disadvantage that it cannot be adjusted separately from the display. When the user adjusts the angle of the display, the angle of the camera changes as well. 

In comparison, the RealWear HMT-1’s camera can only shoot video at 1080p resolution and 30 fps. On the other hand, it shoots photos with a resolution of 16 megapixels.  However, one advantage of this camera is that it can be adjusted independently of the display.

Streaming

Thanks to the excellent camera, it is possible to stream content in 4K resolution with the Vuzix M4000. In terms of streaming resolution, the M4000 is one of the best AR glasses together with the M400. 

Collaboration with remote experts e.g. for maintenance or inspection can be performed with even higher precision and accuracy thanks to the strong streaming quality with the Vuzix M4000. This is because the remote expert can see even more detailed what the worker has in front of him due to the high resolution. 

The M4000 does not offer a built-in function for streaming video content. However, standard communication apps such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Cisco Webex can be used with the Vuzix M4000 for remote expert applications. Visit the Vuzix App Store to have a full overview of all apps that are available.

Compared to the M4000, the streaming resolution of the RealWear HMT-1 is only 1080p, but the selection of streaming apps is the same.

Memory

The Vuzix M4000, just like the M400, has an internal memory of 64 GB. The memory can be used to install applications on the device. However, the Vuzix M4000 does not support a micro SD card, which means that the memory cannot be expanded even further. The RealWear HMT-1 only has 32 GB of internal storage. However, the memory of RealWear’s AR glasses can be expanded by inserting a micro SD card. The 64 GB memory of the M4000 is still enough to store many files on the device without the risk of running out of memory.

The M4000 also has a RAM of 6 GB. This makes it possible to run more demanding apps. In comparison, the RealWear HMT-1 only has 3 GB of RAM. In practice, the common softwares run well on both devices, although the M4000 with 6 GB of RAM technically has an advantage.

Operating system

The operating system of the Vuzix M4000 is Android 9.0, just like on the predecessor. Using the Android operating system makes it possible to install Android apps manually.

To make installing apps as easy as possible, Vuzix has created the Vuzix App Store. There, apps can be easily downloaded and installed on the Vuzix device.

For comparison, the RealWear HMT-1 runs on the newer Android 10 version. The newer Android version promises to work even more energy-efficiently and thus save battery.

Sound

The Vuzix M4000 has an integrated speaker, which is installed on the inside of the viewer. This has a volume of up to 97 db. In addition, the M4000 offers the option of connecting a Bluetooth headset to the device. The same options are offered by the RealWear HMT-1 in addition to the predecessor model M400.

Price

The price of the Vuzix M4000 is currently at 2325 Euros. If you want the extended accessories of the Vuzix M4000 in addition to the usual bundle, you should get the Vuzix M4000 Starter Kit. The Starter Kit is priced at 2500 Euros. For comparison, the M4000’s predecessor, the M400, currently costs 1705 euros. The competitor from RealWear, the HMT-1, is priced at 1877 Euros.

VR Expert Vuzix m4000

Conclusion

The Vuzix M4000 stands out especially for its excellent 4K video quality. It is also significantly lighter compared to its biggest competitor, the RealWear HMT-1. Another advantage, not only over the HMT-1 but also its predecessor, the M400, is the transparent waveguide display. This allows the user an unobstructed view of his work and thus ensures greater efficiency and safety when working with smart glasses. 

However, the lack of robustness of the standard frame limits the number of possible use cases. Furthermore, the voice control of the M4000 is not as convenient as that of the RealWear HMT-1, and the touchpad is not completely convincing either. Especially in very rough and noisy environments, the RealWear HMT-1 has the advantage over the Vuzix device.

Overall, the Vuzix M4000 is a new edition of the M400, with the big difference that the display is transparent. In comparison with the RealWear HMT-1, both devices offer significant advantages and disadvantages. 

For many use cases, however, the Vuzix M4000 may be just the right solution. Let us advise you in this regard. Contact our experts at info@vr-expert.com

VR expert vuzix m4000
VR Expert Vuzix m400
VR Expert Realwear HMT-1 with workband

 

Specifications

Vuzix M4000

Vuzix M400

RealWear HMT-1

Display

DLP Waveguide

OLED

LCD

Resolution

854×480 pixels

640×360 pixels

854×480 pixels

Field of view

28 degrees

16.8 degrees

20 degrees

Camera

12.8 MP,
4K 30fps video

12.8 MP,
4K 30fps video

16 MP,

1080p 30fps video

Microphone

Yes,

noise-cancelling

Yes,

noise-cancelling

Yes,

noise-cancelling

CPU

Qualcomm
Snapdragon XR1

Qualcomm
Snapdragon XR1

Qualcomm
Snapdragon 626

Memory

64 GB

64 GB

32 GB

SD card slot

No

No

Yes

RAM

6 GB

6 GB

3 GB

Weight

222 grams

180 grams

380 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)

5-6 hours

IP rating

IP 67

IP 67

IP 66

Water and dust resistant

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fall proof

1m

2m

2m

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