Xreal Air 2 Pro

Ditch VR and utilise XR to magnify your entertainment.

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It's going to sound a bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy, but in many ways, Xreal Air 2 Pro is something I've been waiting for for a long time, in fact ever since I was first introduced to VR. Even back then, I preferred a console for my gaming fix, and even after the few impressive demos my then-colleague Halldor showed me, I asked: "Okay, but how does this complement my existing setup?" He looked at me questioningly and explained that this was not a supplement, but a replacement. Back then, there was a much greater belief that we would soon be playing all our games through VR, and even if that didn't happen, Xreal manages to get a lot closer than I imagined VR would be in a relatively short period of time.

Xreal doesn't make VR headsets at all, but rather smaller glasses with no actual power supply that act as a virtual display. Imagine a kind of goofy Ray-Ban, or perhaps a variation on the existing Razer Anzu sunglasses with built-in speakers, where each lens contributes to a relatively massive display in front of you. There are also built-in speakers, no battery as a small USB-C port at the bottom of one stem connects to the device you want projected out, and a removable sunglass frame on the outside. The concept is that you can more seamlessly take your Xreal Air 2 Pro around with you and find more scenarios where being able to project a 120-inch display in front of you becomes useful, whether it's an extension of your home office, a good old-fashioned evening of Netflix on the couch while your partner uses the TV, or an extension of a Steam Deck gaming session - the sky is the limit.

Xreal Air 2 Pro
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Okay, specifications. Weighing 75 grams, utilising three-stage electrochromic dimming to block out light, and using two 0.55" micro-OLED panels from Sony in 1080p and 120Hz, they can hit something like 500 NITS, which sounds like a lot, but that close to the eyes, it simply can't be much more. There are two directional drivers in each stem that deliver surprisingly full sound, and not only that, it's quite hard to hear even at the higher volume levels, and on an iPhone 15 Pro Max with SkyShowtime, Netflix and other streaming apps running, I didn't really notice higher battery consumption, although of course there is that.

In several instances, I've used Xreal to watch Halo, Avatar: The Last Airbender and other TV series that I actively follow but that my dear cohabitant doesn't want to watch (which is more than fair, by the way). Instead of sitting with an iPad or just looking at my phone, I've been able to easily reach for the Xreal Air 2 Pro and use up to 130 inches without compromising on comfort, sound or display. In reality, I probably compromise on all three parameters, but let's take them individually. With the glasses on, I can lie down on a pillow without having to hold anything in front of my head, which is surprisingly liberating, and the new nose pads are incredibly comfortable. Additionally, there's a liberation in being "out" in the world while consuming your content. Instead of having to project reality into a headset via passthrough like Apple Vision Pro, this is really just a pair of sunglasses, which means you can see out through the display (if the sunglasses frame is removed) and people can see your eyes and engage with you, while you're not completely blind. The sound is also not heavy, subwoofer-driven surround, but far better than such small devices have a right to be.

So, so far, a bit of a slam dunk, right? Well, it will continue to be, but there is one problem, and that's a narrow viewing angle. Set at 130", I think it takes a pretty finely tuned precision to see that entire frame, and there's no effect to blur real and digital reality, so imagine your field of view constantly missing the edge of the TV and the content on it. It's a little frustrating in practice and requires a calm head to find exactly the viewing angle that's comfortable and, most importantly, effective.

Xreal Air 2 Pro
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Furthermore, it should also be said that not all mobile devices support DP. My iPhone 15 Pro Max worked without any app or setup, as did a PS5, a Steam Deck and a Switch. But those that don't will need an Xreal Beam, a separate device, with a separate additional cost that's hard to swallow when the Air 2 Pro already costs €449.

That said, this is the biggest step in taking your content into virtual reality. I know it's not technically VR, it's probably more like XR (or Extended Reality), but this kind of technology exists in such seamless harmony with all the other devices I own and use, and for that very reason I'm more inclined to use them. For that reason, they're quite recommendable, and more than that, Xreal seems to be the key player I can recommend to most others in this area.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
overall score
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