Vuzix Wrap 280 review

The video capabilities of the iPod touch and iPhone are great, but watching a full-length feature film on that little screen can be a pain. Step forward the Vuzix Wrap 280. At first glance the Wrap 280 looks like a pair of chunky sunglasses with a wire attached. They are, in fact a pair of video glasses that you plug into your iPod or iPhone to watch your movies and TV shows close-up.

They’ll accept any input with standard video-out connections too. The Wrap is essentially a pair of glasses with two LCD screens bolted on the inside. Supposedly this setup gives the impression of watching a 51in LCD screen at about three metres distance.

The glasses are connected to a controller box to which you attach your iPod or iPhone with the supplied dock connector cable. The box holds two AA sized batteries and the screw attachment required for setup.

Up close

The stated battery life is six hours, and the glasses were still going strong into our second feature film. They’re not as cumbersome as they sound and the connecting wire is kept out of the way with a clip on the leg of the Vuzix glasses. Two in-ear headphones plug directly into the glasses too.

Getting the screen to show a perfect image is tricky. We found ourselves making lots and lots of tiny adjustments before getting the unit truly comfortable. Even then a scene transition could make the screen look out of kilter. The tool for focusing each LCD is about an inch long and hardly an ideal solution _ we found it difficult to twist the screws and concentrate on screen sharpness at the same time.

When we eventually found a video quality we were happy with the viewing experience was an odd one. The glasses did give the impression of being immersed in the action, but not all the time and even then the impression that you’re simply looking at two small screens just won’t go away.

Detail wasn’t great with a general level of ambient light but turn the lights off and things improve immeasurably. It’s a similar type of quality increase to that of watching a projector with the lights on _ turn the light off and the image improves. Audio quality is good and we were impressed by the in-ear headphones.

OUR VERDICT

For £179 the Vuzix Wrap is a touch too expensive for the video quality it offers. The glasses idea isn’t a perfect solution, but once you’ve set it up the video is good enough for occasional use. If you’re on a plane, train or even bed-bound then the Vuzix Wrap 280 does offer an alternative to the neck-ache inducing view of the iPhone or iPod touch screen, but you might want to check that you can get the focus just right for you.

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