Thunderbird AIR AR Glasses Unboxing and Review

I came across this product while browsing videos and discovered that it stands out from other AR devices due to its portable large-screen functionality.

You can use it as a portable display, similar to the head-mounted theater device from a well-known company, but it’s lighter in weight and has a simpler connection method.

Originally, I intended to use it for gaming because whenever I turned on the TV at home, the kids would gather around to watch… but in practice, it didn’t work out well. I’ll explain the details later.

I bought it during the 618 shopping festival, and the total cost, including the HDMI and wireless screen mirroring kit, was over 3400. However, I never got around to testing it until recently when I remembered to unbox and try it out.

Main specifications:

  1. Weight: 69g for the glasses alone, 75g with the lenses attached.
  2. Sony OLED panel with a physical resolution of 1920×1080 per eye, utilizing the polarized BirdBath optical solution.
  3. USB-C with DP connection for direct power supply via a computer or smartphone USB-C port. The data cable is non-detachable and connected to the leg of the glasses.

Regarding wearing comfort:
Overall, the appearance is decent, and once you put them on, they closely resemble ordinary sunglasses. If not for the dangling cable, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference from regular sunglasses from a distance of 2 meters.

The weight is manageable, and wearing them for an hour is not too tiring. However, the forehead area can get hot, reaching a temperature of around 41 degrees Celsius. When you take them off, you might notice a slight sweat on your forehead, but it’s much better than the discomfort of VR headsets.

The glasses’ legs are similar to regular eyeglasses, and you can lie on your side while wearing them. However, adjusting the position of the glasses is quite challenging. It’s better to sit or lie down to watch.

Regarding connectivity:
A single USB-C cable can connect to devices with DP output. For example, Android smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Apple iPhones are not compatible and require a wireless screen mirroring adapter. Mac computers work fine, and devices like iPad Pro and iPad Mini with USB-C ports also work, although there is currently a bug preventing volume adjustment on iPads.

For game consoles or devices with HDMI output, you need an adapter to convert HDMI to USB-C output. Since HDMI cannot provide power, the adapter needs to be connected to a PD power source. Of course, a power bank can also be used.

About the visual experience:
Each eye has a resolution of 1920×1080, and the contrast of the OLED panel is decent, with a color gamut exceeding 100% sRGB.

The official claim is that the screen size is equivalent to a 140-inch display at a distance of 4 meters. However, the actual experience depends on the contrast between the screen and the surrounding environment. For example, if you look at a distant wall, it feels like a 140-inch screen. But if you focus on a nearby object, it feels more like a 32-inch TV.

The colors are vibrant, and the picture looks comfortable in bright scenes. However, dark areas are disappointing, with unnatural transitions between pure black and gray. Watching movies with dark details can result in severe pixelation. Overall, the color balance tends to be warmer.

The clarity is reasonably high, without any noticeable screen-door effect. There is some slight chromatic aberration and blurriness at the edges of the screen, but it’s much better than the experience with devices like the Quest 2. However, when viewing text in a point-to-point manner, it can still be tiring. Increasing the Windows desktop zoom to 150% provides a more suitable experience.

Playing games can be uncomfortable because the screen moves along with your head. Wherever you turn your head, the screen remains fixed in that position, unlike VR where the screen is fixed in space. This makes it tiring to view the edges of the screen during gaming. For example, if the UI is in the corners, when you normally watch TV, you can easily see it by slightly turning your head. But with this device, when you move your head, the entire screen moves, and your visual center is always at the center of the screen. To see the UI or subtitles in the corners, you have to move your eyes! It’s exhausting… However, for watching movies or binge-watching, it’s tolerable. Generally, watching for up to 1 hour doesn’t cause much fatigue. The sound comes from the glasses’ legs, and the quality is average. It has a reasonably loud external speaker, but in public settings, it’s better to use Bluetooth headphones.

About the lenses:
If you require prescription lenses, you can contact the manufacturer for customized lenses that are installed on the inside of the glasses. They are lightweight but appear to come at an additional cost.

That’s about it… For me, it’s not particularly practical, but it’s suitable for those who love watching movies or frequently travel.