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Vuzix Blade 3000 Are Less Dorky AR Glasses

I put on a pair of sunglasses, saw an app running in front of my face, and didn't feel like a complete and utter dork in public. The Vuzix Blade 3000 Smart Sunglasses look like a slightly less attractive pair of Oakleys from afar, but have Google Glass-style power under the hood. The company says this "prosumer" model will cost $1,000 once they ship in the back half of 2017.

Key Specs

The Blade 3000 is untethered from your phone, but it's Bluetooth enabled for audio. It hides a few ports, including a microSD expansion slot and Micro USB port, though you can also transfer data over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. There's an 8MP camera that takes 1080p video, and the whole system runs on Android 5.0 using an quad-core ARM CPU.

Why You Should Care

Now you can use AR — in public — without the shame that accompanies more enterprise-focused models. The Blade 3000 looks like a pair of sunglasses unless you get really close. You can use the glasses to check social media, take calls or get location-aware content. My favorite suggestion came from a Vuzix representative who told me that I could use the Blade 3000 to see golf course mapping and distance data without telling my playing partners that I was wearing smart sunglasses.

Vuzix is selling this as its consumer and enterprise model, though it expects to add and change features based on feedback from both types of users.

MORE: Augmented Reality Glasses: What You Can Buy Now

Hands-On Impressions

I used the Blade immediately following a series of enterprise-focused AR headsets, so they actually felt pretty cool. They're slightly bulkier than regular sunglasses thanks to the touchpad on the side, but they weren't too heavy for my head. I could clearly see a demonstration app that was running through a series of 3D models as soon as I put on the headset, and was pleasantly surprised by the haptic feedback when I scrolled through the main menu. I think I could walk down the street without anyone noticing, as long as I was paying attention to traffic as well as an AR app.

However, I only saw one demo app, so I'm hoping there's a big library for consumer applications by time they come out.

Pricing and Availability

Vuzix plans to release the Blade 3000 in the second half of 2017 for $1,000.

Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.