Product Reviews

As the world’s first AR laptop, it delivers the convenience of a virtual 100-inch screen with the ability to display as many windows and apps as you need to get work done from wherever you are. The concept of working from home has been utterly redefined in the past few years. As long as there’s Wi-Fi and a computer, many people can technically work from anywhere. But for those who have gotten used to clicking through multiple monitors or walking at a standing desk, working away from the house requires schlepping around a bunch of peripherals to be productive.

But what if you didn’t have to crouch over a dark, tiny laptop screen at the coffee shop? Now you can harness the power of a multi-monitor setup with a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses and a keyboard.  Created by a new company called Sightful, founded by former executives of Magic Leap, Spacetop does exactly that. It’s available for purchase through an invitation-only early access program for $2,000. Delivery to those selected will start in early July. Anyone can apply, but Sightful says it’s specifically looking for “enthusiastic early adopters” who will provide feedback the company can use to refine the experience.

AR Laptop

Person wearing augmented reality goggles and working at a desk with augmented reality computer screens in front of them

Delightfully Basic

I had a quick hands-on experience with Spacetop, and I was pleasantly surprised by its simplicity. Essentially, it consists of a pair of glasses connected to a standard keyboard with a touchpad via a wire. AR Laptop weighing in at just 3.3 pounds, it’s only slightly heavier than the latest 2.7-pound MacBook Air and compact enough to fit snugly into your backpack or bag.

Sightful, the company behind Spacetop AR Laptop, utilized hardware components from NReal (known for its AR glasses) and Wistron (an electronics manufacturer for laptop brands like HP and Dell) to create this innovative device. They took the time to customize it with thoughtful features to improve the overall user experience.

The glasses underwent several iterations to ensure they are comfortable for extended wear, without leaving marks on your face, pulling on hair, or smudging makeup. They’re also optimized for viewing content up close, such as reading text, with a physical button on the right arm to adjust display brightness.

For those needing prescription lenses, Spacetop offers them at no additional cost, with invite-only access. These custom lenses are magnetically attached to the glasses, providing a tailored fit for users. This was a relief for me, as someone who typically wears glasses under AR and VR headsets.

The keyboard of the AR Laptop is equipped with various custom features, including a mini display for QR codes, a holder for the glasses, and adjustable LEDs to match your surroundings’ brightness. It also boasts two USB-C ports supporting fast charging, DisplayPort 1.4, and SuperSpeed USB up to 10 gigabits per second, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

AR Laptop

Sightful Spacetop AR goggles and computer

With Spacetop AR Laptop you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage. Although the battery life isn’t as impressive as some laptops, lasting around five hours, it can recharge from 0 to 85 percent in less than two hours.

Running on Spacetop OS, the device is compatible with a wide range of applications and services, including Google Workspace, Slack, Microsoft 365, and popular video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

In terms of performance, Spacetop AR Laptop isn’t designed for heavy-duty tasks or demanding software. It’s best suited for basic activities such as web browsing, emailing, video calls, and messaging, all at the same time.

Spacetop AR Laptop For Self-Explanatory

AR laptop

Person wearing augmented reality goggles and working at a desk with augmented reality computer screens in front of them

I’ve attended a lot of tech demos in my career, and I’m used to sitting through long tutorials before laying a finger on a new device – or else being micromanaged the entire time. So I was a little taken aback when Sightful founders Tamir Berliner and Tomer Kahan placed Spacetop in front of me without first demonstrating it themselves.

This approach proved how simple and intuitive it is. I just put the glasses on and got to work. Greeted by a sea of apps, I sent a test email to myself, resized and moved windows around, and watched a video on YouTube, all with a few clicks of the keys on the keyboard and taps on the touchpad. Spacetop OS is extremely bare-bones, but it’s identical to navigating a standard laptop. If you’ve used a computer, you can use Spacetop AR Laptop without any explanation required.

With 1080p resolution per eye, the graphics and text looked crisp and clear enough to work with for long periods. You can also move freely around the room – all I had to do was press a couple of buttons on the keyboard to align the windows so they were in front of me again. Performance felt swift from what I saw, but I didn’t get the chance to put it through its paces.

The glasses of Spacetop AR Laptop kit, on the other hand, are another story. Don’t get me wrong – they’re comfortable. I wore them for most of the demo, which lasted about 40 minutes. There’s even a handy Reality mode that basically acts as a screen saver so you can see what’s actually in front of you. And, looking in the mirror afterward, I didn’t see any telltale red marks that would reveal I’d been wearing an AR headset 10 minutes before.

But I would have social anxiety wearing them in public. They just don’t look like regular glasses. While they’re certainly sleeker than a clunky virtual reality headset, they’re not the most discreet. They look like a mix between swim goggles and safety glasses. I’m not sure I’d be able to sit in a coffee shop or on a flight without worrying about the weird stares I’d get.

AR Laptop For Refreshing Approach

I’m generally skeptical about AR and VR, especially when it comes to the workplace. When the pandemic hit, I spent a few months working in Spatial, the VR video conferencing app, but the novelty wore off every time I had to race to put on the headset so I wasn’t late for a meeting. We’re still not using Meta Horizon Workrooms; it turns out that the only thing worse than a work meeting is a work meeting where you beam into a cartoon conference room and sit next to your coworkers’ cringe avatars.

Tech giants aside, Spacetop AR Laptop isn’t even the only startup working on bringing AR to the masses. As just one example, Nimo’s smart AR glasses are still somewhere in gadget purgatory. After three years of watching this rigmarole, I’ve grown to appreciate a boring, reliable laptop, monitor, and webcam.

But the best part about Spacetop AR Laptop is that the computer won’t fundamentally change how we work. It just adapts to the way the workspace has changed, allowing us to take virtual versions of our ordinary desk setups wherever we want.

As someone whose setup has grown to three external monitors, the ability to stretch my tabs and windows across multiple screens now makes or breaks my ability to focus. It’s hard for me to work anywhere other than from home, which makes conferences or traveling a little difficult. One day with AR Laptop, I will be free of the cramped screens of a portable monitor, at a coffee shop, on a flight, or in the car. Here’s to hoping I’ll eventually get used to wearing those funny-looking glasses though.


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April 2024