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Lenovo ThinkReality A3: Quality time in mixed reality

Lenovo ThinkReality A3: Quality time in mixed reality
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Ross Robin

Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3, which I first wrote about last year, is among the first of a new breed of hybrid smart glasses that compensate for most of the processing and connectivity to a host device like a smartphone. But with Lenovo launching the occasional PC here and there, the company has enabled various functions when connected to one of its more powerful PCs. While the smartphone experience provides a typical augmented reality view of viewing and manipulating 3D objects in space, the laptop experience enables the creation of virtual screens other than those on a PC.

It is paired with both the Motorola G100 and one of the Lenovo Workstation laptops. I recently spent some time with the ThinkReality A3 to get a feel of how practical the device is for a range of tasks, Unboxing the smart glasses requires peeling some protective packaging off both the front and back of the internal screens; This requires removing the lenses and re-installed. The A3 can also accommodate intraocular lenses designed for eyeglass wearers like me; While I didn’t customize them, I was able to get my glasses under the A3 by removing the nose rest.

The A3 connects to either a PC or smartphone via a dedicated USB cable that includes a right-angled connector to mount to the top of the eyeglass’s wide left temple and a soft clip that helps hold the cable there. The top of the right temple includes an action button flanked with controls for adjusting brightness up and down; These buttons can also be used to re-center the screen in your field of view.

When connected to a smartphone, Lenovo introduces a native augmented reality interface within the lenses that allows, among other things, to use the phone’s Android apps in an open space. In contrast, when connected to a computer, the host machine manages virtual displays. Lenovo says it has advanced the Android smartphone experience against screen mirroring simply because while the A3 benefits from processing, battery and smartphone connectivity, the company views the glasses as a standalone device with its own mobility needs. It could mean that when used with a computer, the glasses are more on the peripheral side, which is consistent in terms of what glasses (monitors) replace, and where their user experience is managed.

The smartphone interface offers virtual buttons to manage settings and a simple launcher for Android apps. Launching YouTube, for example, causes an arrow-driven interface to install the app in a virtual space. These apps are surrounded by a set of non-removable virtual buttons to control functions such as volume and brightness. While this counteracts immersion in the app experience, Lenovo says window decoration is necessary to maintain control over the interface.

However, the advantage of the hybrid approach of AR versus VR is that you can take advantage of the host smartphone screen for tasks such as entering text (more efficient on a smartphone keyboard versus operating an AR-based keyboard) or manipulating objects using part of the smartphone screen as a pad Keep track of. However, one can understand why Lenovo does not want to assume access to the smartphone, because, even in the best case scenario, it requires moving your focus away from the screen.

By default, A3 activates the controls in the virtual space by preserving the gaze of an object. This might work fine for some apps but wasn’t ideal for YouTube or other video apps, since extended passive rendering pauses the screen, so I switched to clicking virtual buttons over the physical action button on the glasses. This also speeded up the process of clicking on the default controls.

In the end, although there are many applications to gain access to video clips and binary reference materials and other dimensions when working in high-leverage tasks such as repairing mission-critical machines, the potential of smart glasses shine when viewing images a three-dimensional stereoscopic. Interface can smartphone A3 launch default viewer such as a motorcycle pre-loaded from Ducati things (marketing company Lenovo) partner. Bright and detailed picture appeared in the living room. I can approach him and view it from multiple angles; Bomber display showed an alternative to bike racing force augmented reality perceptions.

The A3s are especially fun to use outside as they worked well on a partly sunny afternoon. Lenovo says it is classified to resist water IP54. The company offers a Y cable to provide an additional power source for the eyeglasses. This is especially useful because the glasses are greedily draining the smartphone battery. Recently released Motorola. Unlike G100, Edge Plus supports the latest flagship of the Motorola wireless charging, which also opens up some possibilities to prolong the experience of AR on the move.

In short, when paired with a compatible smartphone, the A3s is convenient, easy to use, well designed and can use Android app compatibility to bridge the content gap even if these apps are a little tricky to manipulate compared to the touch interface for which they were designed. Rarely, though, does a product have such a split personality between how it works when connected via a smartphone versus a laptop. I’ll discuss the A3’s PC proposal and some thoughts on Lenovo’s mixed reality approach in my next column.

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