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1-10 scale review:  4 (updated 11/19/09) 

The i-glasses SVGA is a pair of high-end video glasses from i-o displays. It uses a prism to show a full-color SVGA resolution display a few feet in front of your head, all inside a pair of light-weight (well, kind of light-weight) virtual reality glasses. 


Downsides Are Instantly Apparent

I had to re-write this review because I'm thinking I was completely out of my mind to have ever given this product a high review.  After obtaining a new pair of these years later now on ebay, I remember everything I hated about these.  I'll start with suggesting you don't buy these.  
Virtually whenever you see an HMD that is created small, the image is usually going to appear quite small too.  And once you get your I-glasses SVGA out of its box, you're not going to expect the images inside to be huge just from looking at it.  The unit has a tough, metal casing around the unit, two stems, and an elastic band that goes around the user's head while the browpad, connected by a flexible hinge, rests the weight of the unit on the user's forehead.  But then you see it.  Those two, tiny little eyeholes on the front of it.  You're asking yourself "How am I gonna see anything huge through those??"  Then with it on your head, you also notice that the eyeholes sit a good inch and a half from your eyes.  You automatically start to feel uncomfortable about the fact that you just plunked down $899 for a pair of virtual reality glasses you had expected to use for some immersive gaming.  Then you flip on the power.  And there before you is this small little blob of white light off in the distance.  And voila!  You are now officially unimpressed. 
Now considering the fact how much money these cost, you decide you're going to learn to love it.  And who knows.  You might.  The resolution is utterly outstanding on the I-glasses SVGA.  With over 1.44 million pixels, it truly is the highest (and most crisp) resolution of any HMD I've ever used.  And the images move on the screen fluidly and beautifully without visible light trails to be seen. 

The problem is this.  The company IO Displays refers to them as "award winning".  I haven't a clue what moron gave them this award, and for what reason.  ET for Atari 2600 got the "Worst Game Ever" award, so that doesn't help give credibility to the title of "award-winning".  
First off, let me say that I didn't realize these were only for PC's.  Now what kind of company makes you pay $899 for a pair of video glasses that can only be used with PC's and nothing else?  I guess there's a good reason somewhere out there.  But it's one reason I can't recommend you get these, unless you do EVERYTHING on PC's.  The I-glasses don't connect to any video/power box like other HMD's.  It has one simple, removable, thick, and heavy cord coming from the I-glasses themselves that extends a good 6 feet.  On the end of the cord is a dangling three plugs (kinda like one of those universal power adapters you see with all the different attachments hanging off).  The plugs are a power plug, where the AC adapter connects, an audio plug, which plugs into any standard headphones jack, and the PC monitor plug, that plugs into your computer's video output.  You will not receive the I-glasses SVGA with any type of battery pack, but will most likely have to order this seperately from the company (unless you found a value pack deal or something).  Be prepared to plunk down another $70 or so for this accessory.   


The resolution of the i-glasses SVGA is literally the best ever made.  The nearly 1.5 million pixels that display the image are crystal clear with amazing SVGA clarity.  Or at least they would BE crystal clear if it wasn't for the god-awful lenses you look through.  These glasses are very dim inside.   You can't see the picture clearly at all because there is a kind of awful glare inside, almost like when you're driving and the sunlight glare is making it hard to see the road.  Except there's no sun around you (or at least there shouldn't be).  Case and point, it's just very hard to see the screen clearly in these.  

Since I wasn't a PC gamer, I got a hold of a VGA adapter for the Sega Dreamcast, and started trying to play some obvious VR choices like the game REZ for instance (which is more recently released on Playstation 2).  I didn't see how I could get immersed in a video game if I could see things around me outside the game.  Ya see, unlike the Philips Scuba, which goes directly up against your head and blocks everything out, the I-glasses SVGA sorta just sits an inch and a half from your eyes and allows you to see most everything directly under, to the right, and left of your face.  To my suprise, though, I was able to lose myself after a while in the game, and to tell you the truth, the clarity of the resolution just blew me away and I was incredibly overjoyed.  You only have to use these for a little while and the screen almost magically starts to get bigger the longer you use it.  Seriously.  Like magic.  That seems to be the case with any HMD I use.  But once your eyes adjust, once you're focusing intently on the things in the game, your mind sorta stops thinking about things like the size and resolution of a screen, and you then get into the game.  Frankly for the unit's size and power, it is a really good HMD for immersive gaming.  But the game REZ is a lucky choice because there are big explosions of light throughout, and this makes it easier at times to see what's going on.  Other games I played, it felt like the screen got darker and harder to see as time went on.  

The basic truth

I have experience using IO Displays' first-generation video glasses, aptly titled the I-glasses LCB 3D (because they feature stereoscopic 3D support). And after using the I-glasses SVGA (or i-glasses PC) I am stunned they're made by the same company.  The I-glasses PC are far heavier, very uncomfortable, and not designed well for any kind of consistent comfort.  

To make a long story short, these things will HURT YOU!  

You could also say that the i-glasses SVGA are basically a useless invention.  At home, they do offer an alternative to a huge computer monitor that takes up space, but that space is well worth the investment in a regular monitor over this painful contraption.  On the road, however, the only reason to have one of these things would be to have a really enjoyable gaming experience.  Because really that's the main reason to own these.  But because they're painful to wear, the images are hard to see properly, the cord that hangs off is so thick, and they're not even USB powered (a standard which their current model may or may not support), I can't recommend these for any reason whatsoever.