When I first showed off the Vufine+ to several other individuals, the main question I got was “Is this like the Google Glass thing?”. To which I replied, no, not exactly. While similar to the Google Glass, the Vufine+ is a wearable display and not a wearable computer. This exactly why the Google Glass was so expensive, which was obvious once you tried it out. The makers of Vufine+ had a different idea on how to approach this. Instead of providing both the computer to do the work and the display to output it, they would design a wearable display that could work with no only computers, but also smartphones.
That thought process made a lot of sense, the more you think about it. Just about everyone has a smartphone, so you just need the display. This is where the Vufine+ comes in.
Name: Vufine+ Handsfree Wearable Display
Included in the package is a pair of non-prescription glasses, bracket, Vufine+ with a stabilizing arm, HDMI and USB cables and instruction manual. The device also includes an internal battery that will power the device for around 90 minutes, after it is fully charged.
The actual unit is an L-shaped device, which houses the display. Providing a resolution of 960×540, the LCOS display is just big enough to provide a great user experience. The weight of the Vufine+ is surprisingly lighter than you would expect by looking at it. All in all, it weighs just under 30 grams. This, in turn, heads you forget that the device is attached to your face, well other than looking at it. It’s very comfortable and not very intrusive.
How Does It Work
To use the Vufine+, you just need to attach the device to either the glasses that were provided our your own glasses, should you use a prescription, using the included bracket. Once the bracket is attached, the Vufine+ can be set into place via the magnet that is housed in the bracket. This lets the wearable display pivot up and down as needed. The Vufine+ also includes a limited amount of adjustment to either left or right, based on your viewing preference.
Connecting the Vufine+ is fairly simple as well, using the included HDMI and USB cables. The USB cable provides power, which can be removed once fully charged, while the HDMI cable handles the transmission of the signal. Once in use, you have three options for viewing content. The standard view, which is the default view when turning on the device. Pressing the power button again gives you access to the zoomed view that increases the magnification, finally a three button press provides access to view that stretches the image.
Finally, when the device is charging, the power button will emit a red glow, while powered on it will emit a blue glow.
What I Like
I never got into the whole Google Glasses craze, mainly because you had to be invited at first and even when you were, they were super expensive. With the Vufine+, the price isn’t an issue and the application usage is vast. Now I know several others have reviewed the unit, however, none of them approached this from a gamers or technology usage perspective. In my eyes, this is where the device shines brightest.
Imagine this, you like to stream on any of the popular social gaming services. As you know, a bit part of streaming is interacting with your audience. So glancing back and forth between a set of monitors is a bit of a pain, especially if you play on gaming consoles and are facing in another direction. I know many of you share this experience and get where I’m coming from. Well, with the Vufine+, I was able to extend that social interaction to my face, literally. Connecting the device to my PC, it emulates another screen, where I can push my chat windows over to. Meaning I can wear the glasses and game, all while keeping an eye on the chat in my channel.
This also applies for my job where I work as an IT professional. Dealing with servers, coding and every other aspect of the job gets to be consuming. Despite having a very large format monitor, things do get twisted and missed through the shuffle. So I had the same idea I had with the streaming aspect and setup a custom page to monitor things like instant messages, email updates and pushed that to the Vufine+ display. Worked without any issues, I was notified via an audio notification, cueing me to focus on the Vufine+ to see what was happening. Really helped with my productivity. I jokingly suggested that we get a couple of these for the office, not sure if my manager thought if I was kidding or not.
The display is also crisp and bright enough to be used both indoors or outdoors, which made it easy enough to use during my daily walks. I was also able to take it with my to one of my children’s concerts and was able to watch one of favorite tech reviewers while I was waiting for it to start. Don’t worry, I didn’t watch it during the actual concert. The only thing missing was audio, nothing a pair of ear buds couldn’t fix. And since I was powering the display with my smartphone, I was able to enjoy the experience completely. Though I did get a few questions as to what was on my face, more so from the other children at the concert.
What I Don’t Like
While in practice it works just fine, however, I do have issues with the Vufine+ using a magnet to keep the projection unit in place. The magnet does a good job, I’m not complaining about that. It’s just when using the Vufine+ if I happen to move my head too fast, like if someone is yelling to get my attention the unit falls down.There needs to be some sort of locking mechanism to prevent that from happening. Similarly, the provided cables aren’t long enough, so if you overextend their reach, they end up yanking the unit off my glasses. Thankfully the USB cable can be removed when not charging and the HDMI cable can be used with an extension cable. However, that isn’t provided, though shipping the unit with a longer cable would offset that.
Since this isn’t a transparent device, it does partially obstruct your vision. Finally, there’s no way to adjust the focus, short of moving the eyepiece and there is no ability to adjust brightness, contract or anything other controls.
Currently, the Vufine+ is available for purchase over at the official Vufine website. The entire package is priced at $179.99, while additional accessories such as headband mount, or the hat mount are also available for pre-order.
*This Vufine+ Handsfree Wearable Display was provided to us by Vufine for review purposes and is based off a prototype of the device. The retail versions may exhibit subtle differences. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
Vufine+ Handsfree Wearable Display
Provides a great handsfree experience for cheap
When I was approached about reviewing the Vufine Handsfree Wearable Display, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. As mentioned, I wasn't a huge fan of Google Glass and I was expecting this to be very similar to that device. However, once I finally got a hold of it, I changed my stance on the Vufine. It provides a very similar result, at a fraction of the cost and I haven't had many issues with the device. The only thing missing that would make this handsfree device perfect is if it was able to auto focus for you. That said, that is a minor detail and one that doesn't detract away from the Vufine's countless application uses.
I also don't worry so much when I'm asked to go shopping or when I have to go walk the dog. This a fantastic device and user experience that should be, well... experienced.