Hands-on: Lenovo straps a virtual monitor to your face with the Glasses T1

The smart glasses are much more an external, private display for your smartphone or laptop rather than something like a Google Glass resurrection.

Do you ever find yourself in a public setting, working on or watching something private and don’t want any prying eyes? That’s the problem Lenovo hopes to solve with its latest innovation, the Glasses T1.

Announced this week at IFA 2022, the Glasses T1 are another experimental wearable from a company that’s no stranger to strapping things to your face (I think we all fondly remember the days of Daydream VR). This time around, Lenovo is taking a more conventional approach with a design that much more closely resembles actual glasses instead of a headset, and its main selling point of a private viewing experience at a moment’s notice might intrigue some.

And before you ask, no, these are not a spiritual Google Glass successor. In fact, they couldn’t be farther from it. Lenovo stresses that these are a “wearable private display for on-the-go content consumption.” They aren’t built to give you directions for wherever you’re going, show you your notifications, or summon a voice assistant.

  • Lenovo Glasses T1 render
  • Lenovo Glasses T1 render
  • Lenovo Glasses T1 render
  • Lenovo Glasses T1 render
  • Lenovo Glasses T1 render
  • Lenovo Glasses T1 render
  • Lenovo Glasses T1 render

There’s a certain charm in that the Glasses T1 focus so heavily on doing one thing great instead of a million things mediocre. This obviously narrows the market reach of these so-called “smart” glasses, but honestly, what’s the market like for “smart” glasses anyway?

You won’t find any cameras, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth on these glasses. Instead, there’s a USB-C cable that runs from their left arm that can connect to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop (Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS are all supported) and offer up a special interface that gives you quick access to your apps, local content, and more. They rely on the power of your device for a lot of the heavy lifting, but they do their best to be as efficient as possible using special optics.

Lenovo Glasses T1 on subject connected to phone

In my demo, Lenovo paired the Glasses T1 with a Motorola phone which used the exclusive Ready For app to control the interface with a cursor. I found it to be very straightforward. Simple taps on the screen, for example, registered as clicks on the glasses, and running your thumb across the screen moves the cursor. I was able to do practically everything I could on the phone while wearing the glasses, including watch YouTube videos and read sensitive documents.

To make all of this possible, Lenovo includes a lot of tech inside. The display that projects in front of your eyes is a micro-OLED panel with a contrast ratio of 10,000:1. This helps to make colors feel incredibly rich and vibrant, while keeping black levels as low as possible. All of the internals can be found in the arms of the glasses, and you’ll even find speakers next to your ears for convenient listening.

In terms of the design, Lenovo was certainly proud of how slim these glasses are compared to other pairs that came before it. The company even said these can be worn as regular glasses all day long thanks to support for prescription lenses and swappable nose clips.

Lenovo Glasses T1 on subject next to flower

Of course, the demo wasn’t perfect. For one, the glasses felt chunkier on my head than I liked. I don’t think the nose clips were the correct size for my schnoz, so I had to hold them in place while I used them. The display was certainly nice to look at, but only as long as you ignored the corners which quickly tapered off into Pixelation World. And in case you were wondering whether the speakers sounded good, I have to admit that they weren’t terrible, just not very full of life.

Now, obviously, I used a pre-production pair of the Glasses T1, and Lenovo hasn’t said yet when these things will start shipping in territories outside of Chine beyond “2023.” They’ll need some work, and I’m anxious to see what a production version of the glasses will be like.

That being said, the target audience for a pair of glasses like this sort of doesn’t exist right now, at least outside of those who use privacy screen protectors on their phones and laptops. Lenovo seems to be targeting a lot of different users with the Glasses T1, from business professionals to binge-watchers to gamers. It’ll be interesting to see who clings onto them first.

Until then, enjoy these pictures of my brother happily sporting the glasses.

Lenovo Glasses T1 on subject