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Device Review: Google Glass XE 2.0

Google Glass XE 20Google Glass XE 2.0 is the refresh of last year’s XE Glass hardware. The main difference here is that you can now use a micro USB mono headset to listen to your music and make or receive calls on the device. Google started to offer replacements to first gen owners so they can enjoy the updated units. Also, a select few had the opportunity to buy an additional set, a change from last year’s one unit per person.

Unfortunately, the battery life is still the same so you will get about a day of light use and 5 hours of normal usage. So if you wish to use the device a lot, you will need to keep a charger with you. Hopefully, the mass market release of Glass will bring better battery life.

In the Box:

  • Google Glass Unit
  • USB 2.0 Sync and charge cable
  • Wall charger
  • Active Sun Shades
  • Mono ear buds

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HARDWARE

The Glass units pack a dual-core 1.2 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 SoC. The processor is more than capable of running the entire library of available Glassware. You can even side load apps that normally run on a smartphone. The display is like having a 25” display at about 10 feet away, mounted above your right eye.

Device Specifications:

  • Dual-Core 1.2 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 SoC with Power VR SGX540 GPU
  • 5.0 MP Camera
  • 640×360 Transparent Display
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of ROM (12 GB Usable by the user)
  • Android 4.0.4 with the Glass Launcher on top
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • WiFi 802.11/b/g

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Over the course of a week of testing, the battery would last me about a little over 10 hours with light use and 5 hours of normal use. I would recommend having a charger with you during the first few days of getting Glass, while you get used to its limited battery life. The build quality of the unit is very good, I would say that it feels like an expensive pair of glasses. The ergonomics are very well balanced. You will not feel the unit on your head, as it is designed to be unintrusive.

Overall, the Glass Unit should give a great view into the future that Google is trying to create. They are really trying to get people to accept wearable tech such as glasses. The XE 2.0 will also be compatible with the prescription inserts in 2014.

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Interface

The Glass unit runs Android 4.0.4, skinned with a Glass launcher. The implementation is visible in every aspect of the UI, and it is presented as a card style UI (similar to Google Now). You would not think it is ICS at first glance, but the fact that you’re able to load regular APKs on Glass shows it Android roots. Of course, the apps might not work as well as on a smartphone. I have seen people load Nova Launcher and get it to work on Glass.

Multitasking is present here as well, as you can run navigation and listen to your music at the same time. The interface does not offer picture and movie sync with your connected Android or iOS device yet. But with my Note 3 USB OTG cable, I was able to connect Glass to my phone and download the files with ease.

The camera has a wide angle, fixed focal length (no zoom) lens so you get a lot in your picture. There is a dedicated camera button, which is also used to extend the 10 second default video shot. Messaging apps will get you connected with Hangouts and text messages via your connected device.

I was able to get used to using Glass within a few hours, and was comfortable with operations after a day.

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DESIGN

The Glass units come in black, white, grey, red, and blue, so everybody should be able to find a color that works for them. The frame is made with metal and plastic, and it looks great. The inserts for the shades make it even more functional for daily use.

I found that wearing Glass is a great conversation starter. This type of tech is still very new, and most people have heard of Google Glass, but haven’t seen it yet in real life.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

The design is great, and Google is really making progress with getting people to accept Glass. Google has started to offer more invites to get people into the XE program, so more and more people will be able to experience Glass.

The Good:

  1. Lightweight
  2. Functional
  3. Easy to root (Google provides root img file)
  4. Endless possibilities

The Not so Good:

  1. Price point
  2. Battery life
  3. Battery Accessories (to help battery life)

I would recommend the Glass XE program to developers and early adopters. But unfortunately, the price is just a bit high for what it offers most general consumers. If you have a chance to talk with an XE Glass owner, ask them all the questions you have. I’m sure they will be very happy to share their thoughts as well.


Full review on Baayta.com

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