Smart glasses have been around for over a decade, but I’m glad they’re slowly coming out of their “niche category” shell and landing in the hands of more consumers in 2023. We’re still a long way from realizing the dream of real spatial computing with smart glasses, but I have to admit that looking at a bright, colorful virtual screen right in front of your eyes is impressive to say the least. Having a portable, private screen for yourself is great for things like watching movies and TV shows, reading a book, or even playing games. In fact, after spending the last few weeks with two of the best smart glasses on the market in 2023, I’m convinced that they’re the best accessory you can pair with your handheld gaming consoles.
1 A nice private virtual screen to play
An excellent alternative to the small screens integrated into portable consoles
The Steam Deck, as you probably already know, doesn’t have the best display. The base 64GB model’s panel, in particular, doesn’t even have an anti-glare coating, leading to poor visuals. So the fact that I can ditch that mediocre 7-incher for a massive 130-inch FHD virtual display that sits right in front of my eyes is just awesome. Having a dedicated screen like this truly improves the overall gaming experience and makes all the difference.
Steam Deck alternatives like the ROG Ally and the relatively new Legion Go handhelds have much better screens with high-resolution support and refresh rates than you get on Valve’s console, but they’re not still not up to the standard of bright and beautiful cinema. visual experience you get by using a pair of smart glasses. The 120-inch 60Hz screen you get with the Viture One is fine for the type of games I usually play on the Steam Deck, but you might be more inclined to choose the XREAL Air 2 which supports a rate of refresh up to 120 Hz. with direct connection for “Air Casting” mode. Either way, there’s no need to carry a portable screen everywhere for gaming when you own one of these glasses, making gaming on the go even easier.
The smart glasses are now part of my primary portable gaming setup, which includes a Viture One or XREAL Air 2, a Steam Deck with a dock attached to it, and a few very easy-to-carry cables:
2 Simple plug-and-play experience
No additional dock or accessories required
The best thing about using a pair of smart glasses like the XREAL Air 2 or Viture One is that they provide a simple plug-and-play experience with most devices that support USB mode- C Alt, including portable game consoles like the Steam Deck. . This means that all you really need to ditch the small built-in screen for a massive virtual display is simply a USB-C cable. The XREAL Air 2, I would argue, is slightly better in this regard as it uses a simple USB-C cable as opposed to the one with a proprietary magnetic connector on the Viture One glasses. This is not necessarily a problem, as you can store the required cables in the carrying case.
I recommend getting a dock for your Steam Deck if you want to charge it while playing for hours at a time, but it’s really not a necessity for casual gamers. I recently traveled with just the Viture One and Steam Deck as my primary gaming device, and was able to comfortably game for the entire duration of a three-hour flight without any issues. These glasses themselves also don’t have batteries, so it’s one less thing to charge while you play.
3 Immersive audio for gaming
No need for an additional audio accessory
You can use a pair of headphones or even gaming headsets with your portable consoles for a more immersive experience, but I was very happy with the sound coming out of the Viture One’s speakers for gaming. Even the play on the Steam Deck. I still carry them with me when playing in a relatively noisy place like an airplane, but I stopped using them when playing casually at home. There’s a lot of room for improvement in the audio department for smart glasses, but it’s a lot better than blasting the Steam Deck’s built-in speakers when you don’t want to carry around a pair of headsets to play.
4 Helps you relax your posture
No need to hold the device straight in front of your face
Most handheld game consoles on the market weigh close to 1.5 pounds. This may not seem like much, but it can cause serious wrist pain when holding the consoles for a few hours straight to game. You can try different postures to reduce strain on your wrist, but let me tell you, nothing is as relaxing as letting your hands – and the Steam Deck – rest on your lap while you play on a virtual screen that follows and moves with your head movements.
With smart glasses, the screen is always in front of your eyes, meaning you can even sit comfortably on a bed and play games without having to hold the console vertically to be in front of your face at all times. Honestly, I find myself playing on my Steam Deck for longer now because it’s more comfortable and relaxing.
The best smart glasses for gaming, like the ones I’ve featured in this article, can also be used with other devices like PlayStation 5, Xbox, PC, and Mac. I actually use the Viture One as my primary display when gaming on PlayStation 5 and Windows PC, and it’s been a great experience so far. However, connecting to other platforms isn’t as seamless as plugging in a USB-C cable. You may even need to purchase additional accessories like the XREAL Beam or Viture Neckband, but it’s possible to have a more immersive gaming experience with smart glasses. The fact that you don’t need to carry a portable display everywhere to play is a great start, and I can’t wait to see how these smart glasses evolve over the years to further improve the experience.
Viture One XR Glasses
The Viture One XR glasses are some of the best smart glasses you can buy right now. They project a huge 120-inch screen right in front of your face, and you can connect them to any USB-C device capable of providing video output and power. They’re great for gaming because you can connect them to your Steam Deck, smartphones, and more.
XREAL Air 2
The XREAL Air 2 is one of the latest pairs of AR glasses to hit the market and works with a variety of devices to enable spatial computing. It works as advertised to provide a good AR experience, but it won’t make you feel different from AR glasses or convince you to go buy a pair right away.