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The ASUS AirVision M1 glasses give you big virtual screens in a travel-friendly package

Their MicroLED displays are also surprisingly sharp.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

At CES 2024, ASUS seems to have taken people by surprise with the announcement of its AirVision M1 glasses, with some viewing it as an alternative to Apple’s Vision Pro headset. But I discovered that ASUS’ glasses are much more of a novel alternative to portable monitors than something meant for spatial computing.

The big difference between the AirVision M1 glasses and something like the Vision Pro or even Xreal’s Air 2 Ultras is that it doesn’t really support anything in the way of interactive AR. Sure, the glasses are able to project your desktop or multiple windows into space, but it needs to be tethered to a nearby device and doesn’t recognize hand gestures or other virtual objects.

A (somewhat blurry) look at the MicroLED displays inside the ASUS AirVision M1 glasses
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Instead, I found that its primary purpose is to give you extra screen space, but without the need to carry around big and bulky portable monitors. Featuring built-in microLED displays with a full HD resolution, the AirVisions can display up to six or seven virtual windows or desktops. You can also choose between a handful of aspect ratios (16:9, 21:9, 32:9 and more), with the glasses three degrees of freedom allowing you to either pin those screens in virtual space or track your head as you move around.

During my first demo, I used the AirVision M1s while tethered to a laptop, in which it behaved almost exactly like having a bit floating desktop that appeared to be hovering six feet in front of me. At first, the virtual displays were a little blurry, but after a short adjustment period and some time dialing in my IPD (interpupillary distance), I was pleasantly surprised by how sharp everything looked. When compared to something like Sightful Spacetop, which is billed as the world’s first AR laptop, not only did it have a much larger vertical field of view (up to 57 degrees), it also didn’t require any additional special equipment, as the glasses are essentially plug and play. While I didn’t need them, it’s important to note that the glasses come with a pair of nose pads to help ensure you can get a good fit, plus a prescription insert for people with glasses.

Once set up, it was pretty easy to create additional virtual workspaces. All I had to do was pull up a small command menu, press a plus sign where I wanted a new window to appear and that’s it. You can also freely adjust the overall size of the virtual display by zooming in or out. And one of the best things about the AirVisions is that using the laptop’s touchpad or typing wasn’t difficult at all. Because you can see through the virtual displays, I simply looked down and focused my eyes where they needed to go. That said, if you become distracted by something in the background, ASUS’ glasses also come with magnetic blinders that clip onto the front and provide a clean black backdrop.

However my favorite use case was when I tried a different pair of the AirVisions that were connected to an ROG Ally, where the glasses provided me with a massive virtual screen for gaming. In this way, it’s a lot like wearing a headset such as the Meta Quest 3, but for non-VR games. This is the kind of device I would love to have on a plane, where space is at a premium, especially for something like a portable monitor. That said, I’m not sure I could handle the embarrassment of being a modern day glasshole, at least not until devices like these become a bit more popular.

But perhaps the biggest difference between the AirVision M1s and Apple’s Vision Pro is price. While ASUS has yet to provide an official figure, a company spokesperson told me that ASUS is targeting around $700, versus $3,000 for Apple’s headset. And when you compare that to the price of a portable monitor, which often goes for between $250 and $400, and offers a lot less screen space, suddenly that price doesn’t seem too ridiculous.

So if you’re on the lookout for an alternative to the travel monitor, keep an eye for ASUS’ AirVision M1 glasses when they become available sometime in Q3 2024.

We're reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.