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Vuzix Wrap 1200

Introduction

The VUZIX Wrap 1200 and 1200VR were expected products in the VRGeeks community. Many discussions about new HMDs led to the conclusion that the Wrap 1200VR and maybe the Wrap 1200 would be a great piece for an HMD-based VR kit. By chance, I was able to put my hand on one Wrap 1200 for some days. Here are the results of my tests.


Characteristics:


-          Price : 499.99$

-          Screens :

o   Technology : LCD

o   Colors : 24-bit true color (16 million colors)

o   Resolution : 852x480@60Hz progressive scan update rate

o   FOV : 35° diagonal

o   Focal : adjustable, left and right independent

o   Virtual screen size : 1.9m at 3m distance

-          Sound : stereo earphones

-          Stereoscopic formats : side-by-side, anaglyph

-          Weight (measured during test) :

o   control box (with batteries) =72g

o   Glasses (without earphones and cable lying on the desk) = 88g

-          Autonomy (measured during test): 1h59

-          Video cables : RCA, component, iPod/iPhone/iPad

 


 

Out of the box

Content



The box is small; the explanation is that the content is a compact hardware and thin wires. We can find the video control box which is used as power supply and remote control. Very convenient by its small size, it can be put in the pocket when used.



The video stream inputs and outputs trough a proprietary connector type, this allows the control box to be very compact, but this constrains to use adapters. The packaged adapters are: RCA, component, iPod/iPhone/iPad.
To be able to use VGA format, 50$ must be paid to get the VGA control box.
The package also contains earphones, a USB battery charger and, of course, the HMD.
The two AA batteries for the control box are provided in the box.



Look and first impression


The glasses are good looking, they seem robust. Glasses pads and rubber grips make the HMD stay in place. The HMD is relatively light and this makes them comfortable to wear. Despite their appearance on commercials, the screens are bigger than the glasses, so they are quite visible. It is clear in one glimpse that they are not sunglasses, so too bad for the discretion.
In a general way the hardware seems correct, even though the video wires seem a little thin and fragile.



A sad thing is the power supply: batteries. The HMD consumes a lot of energy, so with two AA batteries the autonomy is very poor! Two hours is just enough to watch one movie and before that red battery icon appears on the top right corner of the screens. No need to explain the disagreements of charging the batteries and pause everything to change them. This is bad when we think there already is a wire for video and another for sound.



 



Startup

 

These tests were focused on a PC configuration. But the problem with this product is to find how to connect it to recent computers. I had some HDMI and mini-HDMI ports, maybe a VGA and a DVI, but no composite, no YUV and no iPod output. After some investigations it was possible to get an old (but honorable) Nvidia 7800GTX with an S-Video output and an S-Video to composite adapter!




With this setup, Windows Seven immediately detected the glasses as one single screen with the maximum resolution of 1024*768@29Hz. In this configuration, the frames aspect ratio seems correct.

 


Glasses setup


There are three possibilities to setup the correct glasses’ configuration:

-          The screens can be vertically inclined by manually moving the plastic frame where both are attached.

-          The lenses can be individually centered along lateral axis to adapt to different eyes spreads. A little cursor under each screen makes this manipulation easy.



-          The focal adjustment is possible thanks to a pretty-difficult-to-use cursor on the top of each screen. This is a great possibility for those who need glasses.

 



Screens: setup and quality

To setup the screens, we can configure the classical brightness, contrast, hue and color saturation. And for the stereoscopic part we have choice between: no stereo, side-by-side, and three exotic formats separating frames in anaglyph video streams. The eyes can be inverted and an “Auto 3D” mode is supposed to guess what kind of 3D is running on supported medias.

 


About the quality, the resolution, colors and fov are good compared to the price and to the last models. The resolution allows a sufficient accuracy to read the subtitles and enjoy some movies, but the lack of pixels makes the picture a little blurry.
In addition of that, the LCD blacks are grey making poor contrasts. Last problem: the configurable lenses tend to blur the frame borders and corners.







Uses

Watch a 2D movie is possible but not so good because of the resolution and contrast.
Depth feeling in 3D movie is too soft. The virtual screen seems to not being big enough to take advantage of the parallax.
In a scale 1 Virtual Reality scene, the parallax is realistic, so on 3D side the virtual screen size is no longer a problem. But the 35° fov is still uncomfortable the first 5minutes. On resolution side, the 852x480 resolution is enough to make clear frames combined with the permanent head movements.

 



Conclusion


We liked

o   The price

o   The hardware weight

o   The glasses’ setup simplicity

o   The fov and resolution improvement compared to last products

We disliked

o   The video connectivity

o   The power supply (batteries!!!)

o   The bad contrast

o   The fov and resolution (again, need to progress)

 

As said in the name, the “Wrap 1200VR” is more designed for VR than the “Wrap 1200”. The Wrap 1200 benefits from a fov and resolution improvement in the low cost HMDs to deliver to the public a good enough solution to quickly watch their movies on their iPhone. This product is cheaper than “1200VR” and it is really good to make HMD-based immersive configurations. But the 100$ difference would bring the possibility to connect through VGA or DVI (no need to get TV video output!), get an embedded orientation tracker and get an “unlimited” power supply trough USB.

 

Connectivity = 2/5

Power supply = 1/5

Design/comfort = 4/5

Tracking = No tracking

Screens = 3/5

Headphones = 3/5

Global = 3/5


Immersion capability = 3/5

 


Tested the 22nd September 2011

Christophe Gouet


Special thanks to Stéphane Largemain for his precious help in hardware supply and investigations.

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