ThinkReality A3 AR Glasses Review
Lenovo has done a wonderful job with the ThinkReality A3 AR Frames, from the build and weight to the execution of the platform. They currently work with ThinkPad models with dedicated graphics chips and the Moto G100, but there’s no reason this awesome headset couldn’t work with most modern smartphones and PCs. It’s that good.
- Stable, smooth, convincing execution
- Nice, Durable Build
- Even Better when tethered to certain Moto-branded Androids
- Doesn’t run standalone or wirelessly connect to any platform
The ThinkReality A3 glasses represent Lenovo’s foray into the Augmented Reality space, bringing enterprise-level abilities and next-gen features to the desktop and mobile. Does the A3 headset have what it takes to compete with the Oculus and Hololens’ of the world?
The ThinkReality A3s are a pair of Augmented Reality smart glasses that come equipped with a Qualcomm XR-1 SmartViewer, a specialized processor for AR/VR devices, 1080p resolution per eye, and an 8MP RGB Camera. 3 noise-suppressing mics and stereo speakers cover the audio, with voice, object, and image recognition. It’s also equipped with head/gaze tracking, a barcode reader, and High-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) for digital rights management (DRM).
The A3 smart frames connect to certain Lenovo and Motorola devices, particularly higher-ended Thinkpads and Snapdragon 800 powered Motorola smartphones like the Moto G100. When connected to a desktop or laptop it works as a virtual monitor hub, turning your primary monitor into a wide-view curved virtual display – or extending it by adding two separate monitors of discreet, private viewing or work sessions.
When tethered to the Thinkpad p52 we had available, the ThinkReality A3 ran without a glitch and looked as vivid and clear as an actual physical display monitor despite the slight transparency in the image (think Star Trek or 2Pac Hologram quality).
ThinkReality A3 Platform for Android
We may have not had an easy way to stream the desktop monitor view with our readers, but that’s a different story when you connect the A3’s to the Android platform – particularly the Moto G100. Lenovo has built a favorable mobile platform for the ThinkReality A3, and if they decided to go full throttle they may have something mainstream on their hands.
The A3 has three built-in apps for the platform: the A3 Companion app, A3 Model Viewer, and AR Cast- the latter makes screen-recording the A3 in use with the Moto G100 possible.
Granted, Android apps have to be cleared from the Enterprise end using ThinkReality Portal in order to run on the A3 – but basically, any app installed on your device will run in AR as long as you can deal with a head-tracking pointer as the main means of navigating the interface. While there are image-tearing and graphic glitches issues in the screen recording, those artifacts aren’t present in real-time.
I had minimal issues with the ThinkReality A3 frames, they ran flawlessly when connected to supported devices. The only time I ran into any issues was when I attempted to connect them to other devices either not made by Lenovo, or unofficial Lenovo devices. Nevertheless, the VR frames ran fine on the ThinkPad X2 detachable and the ThinkBook P15 Gen 2 – so long as Lenovo’s Virtual Monitor Manager software is installed. At the time of writing this article, the only Android device that the A3 detected was the Moto G100.
The ThinkReality A3 Glasses are an interesting product that would be a must-have if money was no object. Priced at $1,499, these glasses are aimed squarely at the enterprise market. With a light build, slick design, and an ambidextrous ecosystem that’s compatible with both Android and Windows it could be a home-run product – if Lenovo can get the price down to consumer-tier.
One or two more iterations from now, I see the ThinkReality platform competing as a standalone ecosystem for work, Media consumption, and should Lenovo dare develop the platform further – Gaming. The ThinkReality A3 smart frames are definitely one to keep an eye on.