XReal Air 2 AR Glasses Review: Minor Improvements – Dexerto

The XReal Air 2 is the company’s latest pair of augmented reality glasses, but do they justify the need for an upgrade?

I’m not sure how to start writing this review, to be honest. The Xreal Air 2 arrived a few weeks ago, and through surprisingly extensive use, I’ve come to a strange conclusion that I wasn’t a fan of Ive’s original pair.

Xreal has a real winner on its hands here, but not the Air 2 itself. It was the combination of glasses and a small bag that completely changed my view of the product.

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With a new ad campaign happening on social media, as well as a fresh product, how does the XReal Air 2 fit into the crowded augmented reality glasses market?


Xreal claims to have made the AR glasses lighter this time around, which is one of the features they were up against. There’s a reason for that, and that’s because, much like the design, very little has changed. I’m still a big fan of Valley’s stylish and unusual sunglasses, and the lighter weight makes a difference to the overall experience.

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It came with some yellow stickers, but I decided not to try to figure out how to put them on completely, or I’d be obsessed with stray pleats in my peripheral vision.

However, an integral part of the XReal Air 2 is the Beam. The remote control is soft and round, with a long power button at the top of the screen. It looks really cool because you can see that it shows a white LED to show the battery level.

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The design is quite clear and has two USB-C ports on the top. One for the glasses and one for the connecting device. It’s simple, and the trackpad can work with some physical indicators, since it’s never really looked at. However, since it never seems to you, the shell looks nice enough.


This is where the XReal Air 2 review suddenly turns into the XReal Beam review. The problem with the Air 2 is that none of the major problems we had with the original have been fixed or improved.

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The field of view is still a paltry 72 degrees, making any virtual desktop a remote viewing experience or a wandering pain. This also applies to any mobile VR experience, which I mostly stayed away from and focused on the desktop experience. Guess it’s just like the first warts and all.

Fortunately, this time the desktop software, Nebula, received an update to support the Air 2. I used them to write a few reviews, with Nebula running on my M1 Pro MacBook Pro at 90Hz. Performance is quite stable, even with the app in beta.

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It gets pretty scary if the app you want on the glasses is on another virtual desktop. After leaving the nebula environment, these glasses divided the screen into two parts.

Glasses may be required

While the Nebula software works well, it highlights a major problem that the XReal Air 2 still has. I am nearsighted, I need glasses to see far away. With the Beam and Nebula apps, the Air 2 can bring the screen much closer.

However, it’s still not particularly close enough for my eyes, and a search for any sort of focus dial software is nowhere to be found. Not only do you have to spend at least $400 on these glasses, but you still have to go out and buy prescription lenses in the exact shape needed for easy fitting.

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Neither device is worth the investment, especially when the second device is as hard to come by as the first. Especially a device that doesn’t really have any major overhauls in its feature set yet.

All that being said, even when I’m wearing the glasses with my other glasses underneath quite comfortably, text and some images are still blurry in some areas. My partner, who is farsighted and can see the screen very well, still says that small things like text are often blurry.

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Sony micro OLED panels are used inside them. If not identical to those offered in the Apple Vision Pro. Colors and video are distinct and usable for most of the content I’ve watched.

It’s OLED screens that are potentially problematic. Since the Air 2 boasts beautiful OLED panels, there’s no practical way to offer a focus option on the hardware side. Glasses should shrink, not grow. However, on the software side, I’m sure something can be done. Using two glasses at the same time is old and fast.

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However, if your headphones are out of charge, built-in audio is still a last resort. They’re fine for the odd YouTube video, but I don’t think I could watch a full movie on them.

Enter the beam

Despite all the negatives, when the Beam arrived a few days later, it quickly changed my view of the XReal Air 2. Being able to quickly connect almost any device and display it as a floating window as I pottered around the house. Game changer. I reflected my phone on the beam, and continued to float and wash the dishes as I enjoyed the same few episodes of Doctor Who, or the extensive YouTube video essay.

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Since I’ve been using it more to consume video stuff while doing other things or relaxing, rather than concentrating, I’ve started to understand the Air 2 in a new light.

Not quite there yet, XReal

You can see exactly what XReal wants to do, like everyone else, but no, they’re not there yet. The core elements work, but it’s a growing concern that the company is pushing them as full features.

Nebula on macOS and Windows is still in beta, and the mobile version may not support your phone at all. To get around this, and have a better time overall, you should buy the Beam for $119. XReal Beam software is also incomplete.

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An option for apps to acknowledge that it’s not ready yet. Updating Beam to the latest version to access the distance settings never really seems to work and going into the various settings is like pushing volume on a broken TV. You must have talent.

Although, when it works, and in the few cases where it works frequently, I get it. I have reached the ultimate goal, and I am all aboard. Writing or playing some games undisturbed at night is a godsend.

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Game performance

We were given a USB-C to HDMI cable, which we connected to a Nintendo Switchs dock for Mario Wonder, as well as an Xbox to review Alan Wake 2. While this worked flawlessly, there were some definite glitches that couldn’t be fixed with a lot of downloads. Longer HDMI cable

The games themselves look great, and both are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of tone. Mario Wonder made an appearance with its exciting levels, while Alan Wake 2 enticed us with external headphone support.

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Cloud and mobile games on XReal Air 2

We also tried streaming Xbox Cloud to our iPhone via a Lightning to HDMI adapter. This is where everything turned into a nightmare. While it’s not like Id walk with these settings, I wanted to make it as low latency as possible.

Mirroring wasn’t an option, so I moved the iPhone via HDMI to USB-C, to the Beam, and to the glasses. The HDMI to USB-C cable feels surprisingly heavy when worn on the ear for long periods of time.

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The pitch for a clean machine is immediately thrown out the window. In the ad with the boy on the train, they didn’t show the other person being shot by the little wire devil they made. It’s messy, but it works. Xbox Cloud gaming on the XReal Air 2 is great, as long as you have that direct connection.

Mirroring phones or other devices on the Beam lightens things up a lot, but we never found it to be a decent enough gaming experience to do anything other than watch floating YouTube videos.

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XReal Beam steals the show

If you want to play in XReal Air 2 or are not limited and want to have some control over your virtual screens, you should settle for that Beam combo. This gives you the extra control you need over the original video output on the Air 2. You can lower the screen with the press of a few buttons so it doesn’t follow you when you get up to do something. Or, as mentioned above, force it into a corner while you do something else.

Ruling 3/5

The added element that Beam brings to any device normally only available in the Nebula PC app, the future of augmented reality we’ve been promised, makes it harder to recommend the Air 2 in any capacity without it.

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Beam may bring a new layer to the device, and while hopeful cheer is always great, the XReal Air 2 isn’t ready for mass prime-time use just yet.

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