We've been talking about glasses as one of the next frontiers of wearable tech for what seems like eons. Many companies have been working on smart glasses with various functionalities, most notably AR, but Lenovo's latest offering is a simpler proposition: they're a monitor for your face.
The Lenovo Glasses T1 effectively put two Full HD micro-OLED screens right in front of your eyes, serving as an external monitor for Windows laptops, MacBooks, phones, and really anything with a USB-C port that supports video. They have built-in speakers to boot, making them an interesting accessory for gaming or media consumption on the go, but there's no AR magic happening here (for that, see the best Oculus Quest 2 deals).
Resembling a bulky set of shades, the Lenovo Glasses T1 aim to function as a private viewing screen. They're not smart glasses in that they don't do anything nifty in terms of computing or AR. All the computing happens on the laptop, tablet or phone you use them with, and their wired USB-C connection isn't going to let you move very far from that device. So they're just an external screen (or rather two) right in front of your eyes to use with a device that already has a screen. So what's the point?
The main sell of the Lenovo T1 glasses is that they'll offer a more immersive experience, making it feel like you're looking at a big cinema screen – so a better experience for watching films or for gaming on a puny smart phone or laptop screen. You could also watch media in situations where you might not be able to see your phone screen very well, for example, on a packed train, letting you escape into your own little bubble, disconnecting from the world around you.
With a simple USB-C connection and built-in speakers, using them should be as simple as plugging in earphones when you want to listen to music in a public place (though you'll need an adapter if you want to use them with an iPhone), and of course, nobody else will be able to see what you're looking at. This could be a benefit if you're a spy working on some top secret document on a busy computer train (probably against MI5 policy) or... erm viewing something NSFW at work perhaps.
If you're worried that such disconnection from the surrounding world could be unsafe, well, yes so are we, but there is a button that can be used to fix the screen in one location so that you can look away from it to see and do other things without the the glasses interfering.
The problem for Lenovo's going to be that smart glasses have already been a hard sell, and like many before them, the Lenovo Glasses T1 are hardly discreet. I can see them getting a niche audience among gamers, but whether many other people will be donning the shades, I'm not so sure – and there are already similar devices coming out, like the TCL NxtWear Air and the Nreal Air.
Lenovo says the Glasses T1 can support prescription lenses (there'll be an in-box attachable frame), and the nose clips can be switched to fit different size faces. It plans to launch them Lenovo Glasses Yoga in China before the end of this year and in select other markets in 2023. There's no word yet on pricing, but they should be more affordable than Lenovo's expensive ThinkReality A3 Smart Glasses (opens in new tab), which have AR functions and start at $1,499 / £1,319.