We are still waiting for the arrival of consumer-grade AR smart glasses from Apple and Facebook, among others. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t AR products to try this holiday season.
The year 2020 marked the arrival of mobile devices equipped with sensors designed for augmented reality. That’s right, 3D displays that make science fiction’s holograms a reality are now priced to move. Even the AR toys have gotten better, bringing video game classics from the screen to your living room.
But again, 2020 has been a tough year, so no one will blame you if you decide to treat yourself to some AR goodies. Here are the best options out there.
. iPhone 12 Pro / iPad Pro
Since the advent of ARKit, practically any modern iPhone or iPad qualifies as the ideal AR gift, especially since a consumer AR wearable has not landed yet. This year, however, Apple has added LiDAR depth sensors to the iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro series, holding the promise for more robust AR experiences. If you or your loved ones have been delaying an upgrade for a few generations of iPhone and are interested in AR, now is the time to upgrade.
- Buy iPad Pro from $ 899 from Amazon
- Buy iPhone 12 Pro for $ 999 from Amazon
2. Glasses 3
The third-generation Snap Spectacles aren’t smartglasses just yet, but they’re the closest thing to Snapchat’s parent company at the moment. Compared to previous editions, Spectacles 3 has two cameras to capture photos and video in 3D and then add AR effects in Snapchat. And if you have a working pair of the original Spectacles, you can save $ 130 on the $ 380 Spectacles 3 through the company’s Trade Up program. If you don’t have original Spectacles, you can buy it from Amazon for $ 99. So technically you will get back another $ 30.
- Buy Snap Spectacles 3 for $ 380 from Amazon
3. Sight glass portrait
Looking Glass Factory’s 3D displays are starting to approach the impulse buying area with the Looking Glass Portrait. The 7.9-inch lightfield display and built-in computer make 3D images and video appear to pop out of the screen, without the need for glasses. The device won’t ship until the first half of 2021, but if the recipient you have in mind doesn’t mind waiting, you can pre-order one for $ 199 until December 7, and $ 249 until January 14.
4. Facebook Portal TV
Facebook’s line of smart displays / cameras has likened a secret weapon to the Amazon Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub Max, which is to add augmented reality, add AR effects and games to video calls. For those who distance themselves socially from young family members, the Story Time feature is a great way to connect remotely via video and AR. Or you can rock out with friends through the Mic Drop lip sync game. At $ 149, Portal TV is a pretty low price for access to dedicated virtual meeting hardware (assuming you have a TV), although Zoom calling isn’t supported (yet).
- Buy Facebook Portal TV from Amazon
5. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
While Universal Studios brings Mario Kart to life in Super Nintendo World next year, Nintendo is bringing the racing action to the living rooms of Nintendo Switch owners with Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. For $ 100 you get a remote-controlled car with camera and Mario or Luigi behind the wheel plus all the accessories to build a physical race track. Then download the free game to your Nintendo Switch to race around the track, with AR opponents and obstacles projected onto the screen.
6. Samsung Galaxy S20 + 5G / Note S20
For Android users who want the added benefit of a depth sensor, which enhances ARCore features such as Depth API, the Samsung Galaxy S20 + 5G fits the bill with its Depth Vision camera. The depth sensor has disappeared from the latest generation of Note devices, but they do have the added benefit of AR Doodle, allowing users to draw virtually in space with the S-Pen.
- Samsung Galaxy S20 + 5G for $ 949.99 from Amazon
- Samsung Galaxy S20 + 5G for $ 1,299.99 from Amazon