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Nreal Announces $499 Consumer AR Glasses

Chinese augmented reality upstart Nreal announced a $499 consumer version of its Light AR glasses at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara, Calif. Thursday. The consumer edition is similar to the AR glasses the Nreal first showed off at CES earlier this year, but uses a phone for computation.

“We’re excited to finally make Nreal Light available to consumers, which at just $499 has dramatically lowered the barrier to adoption,” said Nreal founder and CEO Chi Xu.

Nreal’s glasses promise an experience close to that of a Magic Leap headset, albeit with a much more compact form factor, and a substantially cheaper price tag. Light looks similar to a regular pair of sunglasses, and the consumer version will ship without a dedicated controller, as well as a dedicated processing unit. Instead, consumers plug the device via USB-C directly into a compatible smart phone.

Nreal announced a partnership with Qualcomm at AWE, and a spokesperson said that any phone using the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor would be compatible with the glasses. Compatible phones from Nreal partners include the Black Shark 2 gaming phone, the Oppo Remo 5G and the LG thinQ.

In addition to the consumer version, Nreal will also ship a $1199 developer version of its AR glasses. That developer version comes with a handheld controller and an external computing pack, doing away with the need to use a phone to run AR applications.

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Nreal’s developer kit will begin shipping in September, while the $499 consumer version will become available at some point later this year.

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