Lenovo rolled out its ThinkReality A3 augmented reality headsets in mid-2021 and while it’s still a decidedly connected experience, it’s perhaps one of the best AR implementations to date. .
Microsoft, Google, Magic Leap, and now Facebook, may have big ambitions for the future of wireless augmented reality experiences, Lenovo’s more enterprise-based approach combines the convenience and comfort of how businesses might be more likely to adopt.
Here at OnMSFT we received a pair of ThinkReality A3 smart glasses to test out with both PC and mobile use, pairing them with Lenovo’s P15 workstation laptop and Moto G100 and the experience went downhill. felt more refined and comfortable than compared to something like Microsoft’s HoloLens 2.
|ThinkReality A3 Smart Glasses|
|Resolution||1080p per eye|
|Weight||130g / 0.3lbs|
|audio||3 noise canceling microphones|
|Connectivity||USB-C Gen 1
|Compatible Smartphones||motorcycle g100|
|What’s in the box|
|Software Features||Speech Recognition
High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) for Digital Rights Management (DRM)
|Lenovo recommended ThinkPad systems for the Lenovo VDM||ThinkPad P17 Gen 1 (20SQ, 20SN)
ThinkPad P17 Gen 2 (20YU, 20YV)
ThinkPad P53 (20QN, 20QQ)
ThinkPad P15 Gen 1 (20ST, 20SU)
ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 (20QT, 20QU)
ThinkPad P1 Gen 3 (20TH, 20TJ)
ThinkPad P1 Gen4
ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 (20Y5, 20Y6)
ThinkPad T15g Gen 1 (20UR, 20US)
ThinkPad T15g Gen 2 (20YS, 20YT)
Notes: ThinkReality A3 glasses are not supported or compatible with Lenovo and ThinkPad Docks.
|Required configuration||Minimum system requirements: Minimum system requirements:
* Processor: Intel Core i5 or better
NVIDIA Quadro T1000 or better
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000 or better
USB-C ports: USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 with DisplayPort 1.2
Drivers: For ThinkPad systems, update to the latest ThinkPad drivers, including the latest NVIDIA drivers. For more information, click: Popular Topics: Drivers
Look and feel
While infinitely sleeker than a HoloLens headset and rounding the corner of Google’s initial Glasses design, the A3 still looks like a bulky pair of sunglasses. Luckily, the A3 only looks bulky, while the actual weight sits at around 130 grams. The A3s benefit from the traditional heaviness of AR headsets, as they try to be nothing more than hard-wired work tools. Maintaining a cord connection is vital to the functionality and performance of the A3s. A side benefit of the wired connection is also putting much of the computing innards in a separate device, freeing up the A3s to simply house two 1080 displays, two wide-angle cameras, a Qualcomm XR1 processor, three noise-canceling mics, speakers stereo and dedicated GPUs. .
As with most traditional ThinkPad-branded devices, the A3s are available in matte black with red accents on various areas of the bezels and their carrying case.
The frames of the A3s are stiff enough to stay in place even if the user moves quickly or chews.
The dual screen color shift on the A3s lenses themselves takes some getting used to, as the top is shaded lenses while the bottom is a little lighter to help favor the AR aspects of the lens. ‘user interface.
For a while I balked at the idea of a wired headset experience, thinking the cords would interfere with head movement, but the placement of the cords on the A3s is just fine. A connection port sits at the top rear of the left earcup and drapes behind the shoulder. Now, if full body movement is required when sitting in front of something like the Lenovo P15, users will run into issues and it could be connecting to the Moto G100.
The feel of the A3s is only part of their whole story. The A3’s most compelling offering is the actual user experience where Lenovo has taken notes from its A6 series lineup and integrated intuitive features into the A3 platform.
On a laptop or desktop as powerful as the P15, the A3 flies. When using the A3s connected to the P15, I experienced negligible latency, very few frame rate drops or hiccups when navigating through the custom Lenovo software. Colors, virtual objects, and icons were as vivid as any 720p or 1080p monitor. Unfortunately, it’s been a headache trying to get screen recording on Windows 11, from A3s, as enterprise apps need to be approved for use on A3s and at the moment few of viable screen recorders are available.
On the mobile side, the story is a little different. Maybe it’s the modems from the Moto G100 or my home network, OS dropouts were evident when using the Moto G100. Lenovo pre-installs its suite of companion apps on the Moto G100 out of the box, which includes the official A3 Companion app, the A3 Model Viewer and last but not least the AR Cast app.
The user interface on the A3s is similar to the PlayStation’s XMB layout with a row of unique icons and a sub-menu that either falls from the horizontal axis or opens in a semi-circle is a neat and intuitive layout, especially if users decide to go hands-free and use headtracking instead.
The obvious comparisons to Microsoft’s HoloLens are there and warranted, but there’s a distinction between what Microsoft seems to be aiming for and what Lenovo has achieved with the A3s. The A3s built on working with Windows Mixed Reality and extended functionality to mobile settings. Although HoloLens offers greater mobility in its wireless approach, accessing specific mobile apps from your phone is something HoloLens has yet to address.
The simple ability to connect to a phone (a singular chosen by Lenovo) provides a level of familiarity and flexibility not often found in AR or VR experiences.
Would I recommend them to most people? No.
The A3s are a tech enthusiast’s dream, but realistically their wired connection for running a near-desktop setup via virtual imaging is still not very practical. The same goes for using the ultra-specific Moto G100 with the A3s to walk around watching Twitter and YouTube while having morning coffee still requires the use of one hand and a phone, which isn’t too different from our current usage scenarios.
I like the direction the A3s are taking and think its development has surpassed that of Microsoft’s HoloLens, but there are still a few practical issues that enterprise augmented reality needs to address before it can eventually bring the technology to the rest of the world. between us.