Performance & Verdict

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly



Our Score:


Vuzix does its best to help. The Wrap 1200's power box features navigational buttons for the onscreen menu and basic video controls, but that means having to regularly look outside the glasses while making adjustments. Surely building the power source into the arms of the glasses (which would balance the weight), charging them directly off USB and running a single cable directly to your device is the format which should be embraced.


Of course much of this would be forgiven if the Wrap 1200 could deliver the home cinema viewing experience it promises on the move. Unfortunately here it also comes up short. Vuzix is right to stress the importance of configuration because out of the box the viewing experience is poor. But spend time getting the focus distances and IPD right, adjusting the brightness, contrast, hue and colour saturation via the (somewhat clunky) onscreen display and the difference is sizeable. In fact we'd go so far as to say the end result is hugely enjoyable. In 3D (using YouTube's 3D videos) the effect is only passable with the extra dimension somewhat jarring so close to the eyes, but the virtual 75in big screen effect does work and with a 60Hz refresh rate there is minimal motion blur. Colour reproduction is a little washed out, but the bundled earphones are good enough to lock you into the action.


The problem is you are not locked in for long enough. The Wrap 1200 has a battery life of just three hours so if you're on a long trip you'll need to bring plenty of spare AAs which only adds to the number of things to remember. That said wearing 85g glasses (roughly the equivalent of an old Nokia candybar phone) on your head for any longer than a few hours does become uncomfortable.

Then there's the elephant in the room: price. £399.99 is a substantial sum to live out your Sci-Fi fantasies. It will put off the casual user and the long distance traveller will be cautious of the short battery life. Build quality isn't great either, there are no springs in the arms and lenses pop out too easily meaning you need to pack it carefully as well as remembering all the cables. For £400 you can buy a tablet with a 10in screen, 10 hours of video playback and a wealth of other features. We're sad to say it, but it's a no brainer.



As technology gets ever more powerful and portable a better viewing experience is essential and video eyewear represents one of the best solutions. Unfortunately we aren't there yet. The Wrap 1200 is an overly complicated and fussy solution which requires extensive tinkering to get the best from and is let down by weak battery life, iffy build quality and a sky high price. We’ve had a glimpse of the future and it is tantalising, but at present a glimpse is all it is.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 6
  • Features 8
  • Usability 4
  • Value 3


September 21, 2011, 12:31 pm

Interesting review. Hopefully the glasses can be made more practical in the near future as the ability to view movies while shutting out the rest of the world is a tempting idea.

The comment about buying a tablet as being a no brainer was also interesting given TR's thoughts last year when the iPad launched...
"As a product you could buy, it's a tempting but ultimately unconvincing device. Anyone with a particular penchant for Apple, or enough money to burn and a love of shiny tech, are likely to buy into it. Unlike the iPhone, however, it doesn't traverse the boundary between early adopters and the mass market. Most people probably wouldn't know what to do with it."

I know the review went on to want improved software, but as an iPad owner from a couple of weeks after launch the software and functionality I use most has been available from day one.
Not a criticism of TR per se, but interesting how a product has become a segment, and gone from a useless toy for the feeble minded to a no brainer decision in the space of a year. Apple do a lot of unpleasant things as a company, but you have to hand it to them – when they think they have something unique they go flat out to do it well from the get go. As Del Boy would say "He who dares Rodney, he who dares…"

Hamish Campbell

September 21, 2011, 2:27 pm

I'm a bit surprised you didn't compare it to the recent sony device

Isn't it the same concept? Seems this one kills it at least on looks, weight and portability.


September 21, 2011, 4:12 pm

I've been looking out for a device like this for 3D gaming, and the VR version with head motion tracking could be on my short list. However this review unfortunately looks at the device solely from a traveller's perspective and doesn't go into much detail about the image quality really.

The 3D from my projector and LCD monitor is still plagued by crosstalk and flicker, but a direct dual monitor feed to the eyes should remedy this? Any chance to tweak the 3D depth in the source to make it less 'jarring'?

How is this device connected to a 3D source if there's no HDMI? Does it support 3D Vision or only SBS video content? Did you test it with games at all?

Sony's upcoming viewer has double HD screens, with more than twice the amount of pixels compared to Vuzix's. Is the low resolution of the Vuzix a problem for movies and gaming? Even if used just in 2D, 'hugely enjoyable' sounds promising...

The price is not that sky high imho compared to Sony's device if it's a good gaming device. A 3 for value may be a bit harsh considering there's aspects which haven't been properly reviewed.

I'm a great fan of TR, but thought this review was a bit one-sided and shallow.


September 21, 2011, 4:29 pm

Agreed. It is an exciting sector, but still needs a lot of development.

I get your point about the iPad, but you misunderstand. 1. You can only review a product based on its abilities at the time and the iPad was horribly limited at launch. 2. Seeing it then take off just means the sector has potential, but the product can still be limited - which it is. 3. Tablets are remain the product everyone desires but no-one needs. If you have £400 to spent on video eyewear however a tablet is a better buy.


September 21, 2011, 4:31 pm

John saw that device, I have yet to see it so I was only able to review the Wrap 1200 on its own merits (or lack of).

Given their different designs I suspect they have different aims.


September 21, 2011, 4:39 pm

We do go into image quality on page two. To refresh: there is little motion blur, but for gaming it would not be sharp enough. The colours are also too washed out, regardless of tweaks, to spot the subtleties required for decent gaming.

'Shallow' is a selfish comment, you are looking for very specific needs and requirements from the VR model for gaming which we were not reviewing.

The Wrap 1200 is intended to address a wider market and we review it with that purpose. It certainly wouldn't be suitable for your needs. And yes, I'm afraid £400 for a device with passable picture quality, poor battery life, a cumbersome design and questionable build quality is extremely overpriced.

We greatly wanted the Wrap 1200 to blow our socks off, but based on our experience it will require a number of generations before it can do that.


September 21, 2011, 5:01 pm

@Gordon. FWIW I didn't misunderstand I just disagreed. If the iPad at launch was a useless as described it wouldn't have sold in sufficient numbers to attract developers to create apps. So the evidence is that those who claimed it was a "fail" were simply wrong. I've been with TR as a reader for a very long time, but I'd have more respect for the brand if it didn't claim always to have been right.

As for need vs want any tech sector website that uses that argument is on very thin ground. Today's consumer society is based on want. I'm just about old enough to recall the world before home computing, so I know no-one NEEDS home PCs, mobile phones, digital cameras, flat screen TVs, the internet and all those other toys and gadgets.

My aim wan't to argue, but to contrast TR's changing perspective over quite a short time-frame. All its really done is remind me just how arduous the sign in process for the comments section on the TR website is.


September 21, 2011, 5:07 pm

>> Tablets are remain the product everyone desires but no-one needs.

Strange response, that would be every product you currently review. Nobody needs anything TR reviews, Desire Yes, Need No.

I Personally still don't use a Tablet, but I can see how such devices for a lot of people do everything that's required. IOW: for these people the product's not limited.

Gordon, you wasn't alone in your thinkings of the Tablet market. I would just admit you miss judged it. Nothing wrong with that, there is a lot of other stuff you've got spot on.


September 21, 2011, 6:51 pm

On the latter point we can fully agree and apologise – we're looking into sorting it out.

As to your other point, I think Gordon's right to infer you misunderstood because what he's saying is that if you're looking to spend £400 just on a device to watch video on the move then a tablet is a better bet than these glasses. The argument of whether you should spend that sort of money on such a narrow usage is an entirely different one. This also addresses you assertion that we've somehow changed our minds about tablets.

Here are my thoughts on tablets in general:

What I think few of us more technologically minded people failed to realise with the iPad was what it would mean for casual users. For the most part, and from my observations, tablets have redefined who is a power user and who only ever wanted a computer to do a few basic tasks – power users see them as a luxury, mass market see it as their main computer.

PCs really exploded in the first place because they were the way you accessed the internet (which everyone wanted to do), then laptops took over because they were more convenient, now tablets are taking up that mantle for the mass market - the market that has seen sites like ours grow and move away from talking regularly about CPUs and hard drives. For those of us that still need a laptop and even a desktop machine, though, the tablet is only ever an extra, rather than a critical tool. After all, smartphones serve that casual on the move computing experience for when you don't want to carry a bag.

So, to the likes of me and Gordon, tablets are still just big, portable screens that are convenient for watching video on the move. Hardly a major change of opinion.


September 22, 2011, 4:50 am

No, I'm sorry Gordon, he's completely right.

This review approaches the Wrap 1200 almost totally from the perspective of a travel device, which is insane for a device that can connect to video game consoles. Wittering on about travel related concerns for better than half the review for a device that is clearly not designed solely for travel use and then talking about the actual image quality for exactly one paragraph before you go right back to wailing about the battery life and weight is pretty much exactly what I would describe as "one sided and shallow".

Personally, if I bought a thing like this, even if it worked by bluetooth with absolutely no connectors and its battery life extended well beyond the heat death of the universe, I would never even consider taking it outside my house because it costs more than my car. Yeah, it's very very expensive, except as compared to the 75 inch television set it replaces and the much larger apartment I would need to accommodate it. That's what I was looking at it as: a device to have instead of a TV.

Literally all you say negative about the display is that "the color is a little washed out". What does that even mean? Does it mean the Denver Broncos' orange isn't quiiiiite as vibrant as it should be, or does it mean I won't be able to tell them from the cleveland browns? Did you try connecting it to a PS3? Can you read the text in games that way? Can you navigate the desktop on your computer with it?

This is like a review for a car that spends the entire time talking about the seats and cupholders without actually telling you if it can get up to highway speeds.


September 22, 2011, 4:52 pm

Ed you're spot on. I've nothing to add to that.


September 22, 2011, 4:56 pm

omechron - then we have to agree to disagree. Gaming requires a far better quality of video than casual viewing. If it can't do the latter it is woefully inadequate for the former.


September 22, 2011, 5:02 pm

BeardedHawk that's somewhat outdated. PCs are not something people 'need'? Smartphones are not needed by many? Monitors? Mice?

If you're going from the perspective of food, water, oxygen then sure... but in modern society a great deal of technology is needed to function effectively.

I fail to see how our argument that tablets are a luxury (fitting a gap between PC and smartphone) and their success is being wrong? Likewise commercial success has little to do with quality. How often are the highest grossing movies the best? If you're #1 in the charts is it automatically a good song?

But yes you right, sign-in is arduous and is being worked on.


September 22, 2011, 5:39 pm

Okay... so is "the color is a little washed out" the real deal breaker for gaming or is there something else wrong with it? Exactly how washed out are we talking here?

The big questions here is "Can you actually read the text in PS3 games while you're playing them?" because that's the primary problem I'm trying to solve by replacing my 25" 4:3 standard definition TV from 1997.


September 22, 2011, 6:15 pm

You perhaps have a point that Gordon could have gone into a little more detail on explaining why the picture is inadequate but it would to a large extent have been wasted words as the message is quite clear; it's not very good. If you're looking for a living room video experience, spend the £400 on a TV. Admittedly you won't get 3D but the experience here isn't good enough to lament this and the 2D experience will be worlds apart.

The shear physics should tell you all you need to know. These use LCD panels that appear as large as a 75in TV, yet they only have a resolution of 480p (non HD). You're absolutely guaranteed to get a better picture buying a 32in HD telly and sitting closer. In fact if you're upgrading from a 27in SD telly, you'll be blown away.

As such the only "sensible" application of these glasses is a portable viewer and of course Gordon explains the shortcomings here.


September 23, 2011, 5:16 am

Could I just congratulate you on actually reviewing one of these devices. This this is the first professional review I have seen, rather than user reviews and geeks gushing over tech and not really caring if it works. I think one of the obvious conclusions is that the sunglasses concept simply doesn't work and Vuzix is only sticking with it to mislead people into thinking the device is much more lightweight and portable than it really is. Perhaps something like ski goggles would work better; some modern designs look quite cool and trendy and the strap around the back of the head would compensate for the weight at the front. It wouldn't look any more stupid than the present design in practice, and would be more comfortable and practical. OLED screens also seem a much better solution than LCDs, although ultimately I suspect the only real solution would be to directly project images onto the back of the eye. I would have liked to have seen more on the 3D gaming possibilities.

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