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Wearable displays are in their infancy, but the technology is emerging at a fast and furious pace. Just last month, I reviewed 22Moo’s version of the Video Goggle and now the Myvu Solo Edition debuts and cracks the $200 price point to boot.

There is a lot to like about this offering. There is a definite ‘Geek Factor’ to putting on these glasses and immersing yourself in a simulated theater environment as you watch movies or music videos on your iPod. Myvu brings some new features and technology to the table and does it all in an affordable package. Read on for the full review. The promotion of the Myvu Solo from the Myvu web site reads as follows:

Myvu is the smallest, lightest eyewear display available today and is perfect for viewing movies from iTunes(r). Myvu is compatible with the 30GB, 60GB, 80GB and the U2 Special Edition Apple iPods with video. The viewing experience is comparable to a large TV screen
from six feet away. Myvu is designed with a sleek thin form factor that allows users to see above, below and through the viewer creating ‘situational awareness’ for on-the-go lifestyles.

About Myvu Corporation

Myvu Corporation is the leading developer and manufacturer of innovative eyewear
displays for today’s mobile entertainment revolution. With its patented, proprietary
technology, myvu is at the forefront of the electronics and video display industries. The
company’s video viewers, which represent an ergonomic breakthrough over conventional
head-mounted displays, have received widespread industry recognition. Myvu is a privately
held company based in Westwood, Massachusetts, with venture capital financing from Atlas
Venture, Essilor International, The Hillman Company, Intel Capital and Turner Broadcasting
System, Inc. For more information, visit www.myvu.com.

What’s in The Box?

Myvu solo provides everything you need to enjoy videos from your video iPod(r), any where, any time, including a new charging feature that powers myvu directly from the iPod. With myvu solo, users gain the same viewing experience offered through the myvu, fully loaded edition. Simply connect your myvu solo edition to your video iPod and enjoy a hands-free, private viewing experience. Myvu, solo edition includes:

  • in-ear noise-reducing earbuds
  • pendant for picture and audio controls
  • microfiber protective sleeve and lens cloth


On to the review…..

From the moment I opened up the Myvu solo, I could tell that this was a very carefully designed and well made product. Build quality was much superior to similar type products I have seen and reviewed. The package includes several sizes of both earbuds and nose bridges for the glasses as well as a very nice travel pouch which can hold both the Video Glasses and the iPod.

Design:

The Myvu Solo is designed like a quality pair of glasses. The frames are high impact black resin-like plastic. The hinges are extremely durable and sort of ‘lock’ in the open position when worn. coming from the bottom of each side of the frame are thick cords attached to quality ear buds. Several sizes of tips for the ear buds are included. These are the partially inn-the-ear variety of ear bud which provide some sound isolation and superior acoustics compared to most iPod like plastic ear buds.

Attached the the very end of the left side of the frame is a cord which leads to a handy controller which can adjust both the brightness and the volume of the Myvu. At the far end of this cable is the iPod dock connector.

Unique to the Myvu is that it has no internal power supply – it draws its power right from the iPod itself. The benefit of this kind of design is that there is no charging involved – as long as the iPod is charged – the Myvu is always ready to go. On the down side is that battery life is slightly shorter when the Myvu is connected.

The Viewfinder is reminiscent of those old View Masters where you looked in and saw the pretty slides. There are two openings for your eyes to look in with a comfortable nose bridge to rest the goggles at the perfect viewing angle and distance from your eyes.

The concept is simple – plug in the Myvu to the iPod, select your movie and then select the ‘TV Out’ option – put in the earbuds and watch your movie. Unlike other models of video goggles tested, the Myvu worked perfectly every time.

Picture Quality:

The Myvu simulates watching the movies on your iPod as they would appear on a large screen. I really did feel like I was in a theater and far away from a very large screen. The image was certainly not as sharp as it looked on the iPod screen and it was not as clear as my HDTV – but I think it is unrealistic to expect that – this is emerging technology.

That said, the picture seemed large and pretty darn clear. Colors were a little washed out – but not too bad. The image was crisp and the included brightness control really helped to fine tune the picture quality.

Sound Quality:

The Myvu had great sound. Sound effects were loud and clear, stereo separation was very good and music was nice an balanced. While not terribly strong in the bass department, this can be augmented by the EQ settings of the iPod itself. There was no crackling or crumbling and the included earbuds did not fall out and were very comfortable.

Use with Eyeglasses:

This is the Achilles heel of video eyewear – those who wear prescription glasses are usually out of luck. It was quite an ordeal trying to watch movie with my glasses. I had to first put on the Myvu and then slip my glasses underneath resting them on the tip of my nose. Factor in the bi-focal lenses and you have a challenging viewing situation. That being said, the Myvu comes with something that no other set of Video eyewear seems to have – a direct Rx Clip On attachment that can be ordered from a reputable eye care professional and fit with your prescription.

Now, the fact that they offer this for a suggested price of $99.00 is great and the clip ons look very cool and I wish I had them for this review (perhaps I will order them and write a follow up once I get them.) Once, however, you spend the $199.00 for the Myvu’s – you might be reluctant to spend the extra $99.00 to use the prescription Rx. My experience tells me that it is most likely well worth the money to not have to fumble with both your glasses and the Myvu’s at the same time.

Overall Conclusions:

The Myvu Made for iPod, solo edition qualify as one of the most innovative products I have tested so far this year. While there are other similar options on the market, the build quality, picture and sound quality and ease of use make the Myvu second to none. These were fun to use. The glasses still give the user great peripheral vision – so you can see what is going on around you while you are immersed in a big screen movie experience. It is hard to describe – but very cool to try.

For those who often watch movies on their iPod, or commuters, or travelers or those who just want to sit out in their hammock and watch a big screen movie on their iPod – the Myvu solo gives you the freedom and flexibility to do so.

I would not recommend this for those who wear eyeglasses unless you have contact lenses or buy the Rx attachment and get it filled with your prescription.

Final Grade: A

Pros: Great design, great build quality, very good picture and sound, amazing ‘Geek’ factor=
Cons: Not wearable with Glasses unless you buy the Rx attachment, amazing ‘Geek’ factor

The Myvu for iPod Solo Edition is available for $199.00 at www.myvu.com

Unique to the Myvu is the very cool way in which it can be purchased as well.

Consumers will have easy access to the new myvu solo through myvu.com as well as ZoomSystems robotic stores. ZoomSystems stores are open 24 hours and offer an experience much like shopping online, but with the instant gratification. Shoppers select products using a simple touch screen, finalize purchases with a credit or debit card and receive products immediately via robotic arm.

Written by Gary